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What exactly does it take to get top end speed in hockey players?

Developing top end speed in hockey players requires a combination of multiple factors which together will create top end speed. These factors include but are not limited to off ice strength, power and explosiveness as well as the skaters ability to utilize proper technique (stride rate, stride length and body positions) in order to direct the forces into the ice. As a hockey player, you can learn a lot about what it takes to create elite level speed by watching athletes whose only purpose is to develop speed on the ice in short distance speed skaters (long and short track). These athletes all train for strength, power and explosiveness off the ice and then spend countless hours perfecting there technique to be able to apply as much force into the ice to develop speed. The best speed skaters in the world have a high combination of stride rate and length but more importantly skate with a high degree of knee flexion (or bend), go through a full range or motion on every push off, transfer their weight from the push off skate to the glide skate and push out to the side with a powerful arm swing coming forwards and slightly across their body! During the next couple of weeks, I strongly suggest you take some time to watch some of the worlds fastest athletes on ice and see if there is anything that they might be doing to generate speed that you could utilize in your daily training environment.

Brian Shackel, MSc