Warm-Up Stroking Drills (Amy Brolsma)

Amy Brolsma shares a number of warm-up drills to get the knees and ankles warmed up after a skater steps onto the ice.  As Amy explains, these kinds of exercises are particularly helpful as warm-ups for competitions or test sessions.  Notice the focus on presentation.  The drills themselves are not that hard, which allows the skater to focus on presentation and proper execution.

The first drill is one that Amy calls “Champion Stroking.”  This drills is often referred to as “Russian Steps” or “Russian Stroking” and it can be modified to add turns and steps and additional complexity.  Amy calls it “Champion Stroking” because she feels “like the skaters feel like a champion when they do it.  When they really stretch and they get their arms out, they feel empowered to do something great.”

The next drill is just a figure 8 of forward crossovers, with varying arm movements and varying tempos.  Amy notes changing tempo is important as it applies directly to the performance in the program component score.  The next drill is forward cross strokes.  Again notice the slow tempo at the start and then it speeds up.  Next Amy uses repeating forward inside edges down the ice, with an increasing tempo.  Amy notes that these drills are great for fixing stroking problems, such as toe pushing.  Amy wants the skaters to use the whole blade (blade usage) but not push through the toe pick.

For the final drill, Amy uses back outside cross strokes and repeating backward inside edges.  She recommends having skaters listen to the sounds their edges and toe picks make as they can easily learn to self-correct basic stroking problems.  Amy wants to avoid the “kitty scratch” which she defines lots of toe pick on back stroking.


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