Updated to reflect some new knowledge and perspectives that I’ve come across regarding the term “fast feet” or “quick feet”.
- Updated to make things simpler to understand
- Clarify the difference between what we see on the ice and how we train to make that happen.
- Better understand why blade contact time is important.
For my original article see here.
I’m going to reference my article Cause or Effect in this article lot’s too, so check this out to see where I’m coming from.
- What you see: “fast feet”
- Actual determinants of skating speed
- How to train skating speed
What you see: “fast feet”
What you see as fast feet is stride turnover or frequency. This is measure as the number of strides in a given distance.
Confusion occurs when observers mistake fast feet for speed. Speed is the ability to cover a certain distance in a certain amount of time. The less time it takes to cover that distance, the faster you are.
So “fast feet” is usually the effect of a high stride turnover or frequency. But the cause could be that the skater is extremely powerful and can do full, long strides very quickly. But it can also be the case where a skater does not take long strides, but takes many of them.
The most important thing to note is that “fast feet” is an effect that you see. But it doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about an athlete.
Actual Determinants of Skating Speed
- Use a technique that allows you to keep your skate blade on the ice as long as possible
- Power of your legs to do “triple extension”
How to train Skating Speed
Use a technique that allows you to keep your skate blade on the ice as long as possible. So you require the ability to achieve and maintain a deep knee bend while skating. In order to do this, you need to know how to use your glutes properly. Doing squats and single leg squats to parallel will allow you to train this movement pattern. Also, see a good skating coach who can teach you to raise your skate blade contact time while you push into the ice. All the figure skating bullshit out there won’t help you with that, so keep that in mind.
Power of your legs to do “triple extension”. Your ability to extend (straighten) your hips, knees and ankles simultaneously is your ability to do triple extension. Exercises like sprinting (with proper mechanics), power cleans, snatches, jumps (with proper technique) all train you to do triple extension with power. And because power is the ability of your body to put large amounts of force into the ground in a certain amount of time, having the ability to generate large amounts of force is also necessary. That’s why exercises like squats, deadlifts, step ups are great: they teach you to generate large amounts of force and then apply it to the ground. Again, ladders and all THAT bullshit won’t help your speed or “fast feet” because: 1) don’t teach you to do triple extension 2) don’t tend to require large amounts of force generated in short periods of time – rather, small amounts of force in short periods of time.
Understand the difference between what we see, and what is actually important. Furthermore, understand how to train the IMPORTANT variable…not an illusion of skating speed.