Dr. Mike Bracko

Sports Physiologist • Skating Coach

Dr. Mike Bracko

Sports Physiologist • Skating Coach

How the Pros Skate


Hockey Skating


Summary:

  • Hockey striding has a single and double support phase. Propulsion starts at the beginning of the single support phase, with the majority of propulsion taking place during the double support phase.

  • Hockey players spend a lot of time on the ice gliding on two feet.

  • The gliding is interspersed with striding characteristics such as low, medium and high intensity skating and gliding and crossover turns.

  • Balance on one skate is not important for hockey players, because they rarely do this during a game.

  • A hockey player should maintain a position of bent ankles, knees, hips and trunk leaning forward.


  1. Skating is bi-phasic: 1) single support phase and 2) double support phase (Marino, 1977).

  2. The single support phase is also called the gliding phase and the double support phase is also called the propulsion phase. Propulsion starts during the single support phase and ends in the double support phase (Marino, 1977).

  3. Bracko (1998) identified the skating characteristics used by NHL forwards, and the time and frequency of the characteristics, during a game:

    Timed Skating Characterisics % of Total Time on Ice Frequency Skating Characteristics % of Total Occurences
    Two Foot Glide 40% L-Crossover Turn 20%
    Cruise Strides 16% Gliding L-Turn 17%
    Medium Intensity Skating 10% R-Crossover Turn 17%
    Struggle for Puck/Position 10% Gliding R-Turn 16%
    Low Intensity Skating 8% Stop & Start 10%
    High Intensity Skating 5% Fwd Bkwd 7.6%
    Backward Skating 5% Bkwd Fwd 6%
    2 Foot Stationary 3%    

  4. Hockey "performance" skating is characterized by a lot of gliding (40% of time spent on ice), interspersed with short bouts of low, medium and high intensity skating and "cruising" strides which last 1 - 3 seconds with more left (gliding and x-over) turns than right turns (Bracko, 1998).

  5. The same study showed that the most common skating characteristic sequential pattern for thirty seconds after the start of play, was as follows:

    1. Struggle for Puck/Position 2 seconds
    2. 2 Foot Glide (Gliding Left Turn - Gliding Right Turn) 2 seconds
    3. Cruise Stride (Left Crossover Turn) 1 second
    4. 2 Foot Glide (Gliding Left Turn) 2.5 seconds
    5. Cruise Stride (Left Crossover Turn) 1 second
    6. 2 Foot Glide (Gliding Left Turn) 2.5 seconds
    7. Cruise Strides (Right Crossover Turn) 1 second
    8. 2 Foot Glide (Gliding Left Turn - Gliding Right Turn) 2 seconds
    9. Struggle for Puck/Position 2 seconds
    10. Medium Intensity Skating (Left Crossover Turn) 2.5 seconds
    11. 2 Foot Glide (Gliding Right Turn) 1.5 seconds
    12. Medium Intensity Skating (Right Crossoever Turn) 1 second
    13. 2 Foot Glide (Gliding Left Turn - Gliding Right Turn) 1.5 seconds
    14. Cruise Strides 1.5 seconds
    15. Low Intensity Skating (Left Crossover Turn) 3.5 seconds
    16. 2 Foot Glide (Gliding Left Turn) 2.5 seconds

  6. Very little time is spent on one foot. During low intensity skating, only .44 sec. is spent on one foot, medium intensity skating = .32 sec. and high intensity skating = .26 (Marino, 1977). In one unpublished study (Bracko, 1990), out of 25 elite players (Canada Cup) analyzed, only one player spent more than one second on one foot.

  7. Balance on one foot appears not to be an important performance skating factor for hockey players. A two foot glide position is an important performance characteristic and is the basis from which all other skating characteristics are derived.

  8. All skating characteristics evolve from a two foot glide position. The ability to move into other skating characteristics from a two foot glide position is important for hockey players as the nature of the game is stride - glide - stride - glide (Bracko, 1998).

  9. Performance enhancement programs should emulate game performance skating. Game performance skating is characterized by : gliding - striding - turning - gliding - striding - turning, etc.

  10. There is a lot of skating and maneuvering while under the influence of stick and/or body contact which increases energy expenditure and may cause fatigue more so than simple high intensity skating (NHL forwards engage in high intensity skating 5% of the time on the ice.)

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Bracko's Top Shelf
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Dr. Bracko's Top Shelf
A monthly newsletter with practical information about skating instruction and improving skating performance for all ages. It also has information about dry-land training, nutrition, and specialized training for high performance skating. The newsletter gives useful information to parents, coaches, and players.

Register

Hockey Institute
403.246.3880
bracko@hockeyinstitute.org