Q&A: How to stop taking lots of small steps

Q: “Ive been skating for about 2 years semi regularly, though I took to it pretty naturally I still feel like I could be a lot stronger staying on my center-outside edges to be able to increase my glide length! I feel like I am working too hard to keep up with other skaters and still taking smaller strides but I can’t always stay on my outside edges enough! Any recommendations would be wonderful. Thanks for all your help Asha!”

A: Cassandra this is a GREAT question and you touch on several points relating to your skating stride; wanting to increase your Glide phase and noticing you are “taking smaller strides” and “working too hard” compared to others. I’d like to offer help on those two parts.
Taking more strides per minute than other skaters means your cadence (skating tempo) is rather fast and for efficiency you want to aim to slow your cadence down while still retaining good speed. How can you train this?

I think many issues with skating stride need to be “unpicked” in different exercises and practiced in isolation before then returning to the full Stride and seeing if your practice has had any effect. I’ve noticed that trying to fix things with the stride while only striding tends to be much harder as you are needing to break a bit of a cadence pattern for example and doing something different like a drill will help.

Increasing your Gliding

1. Go right back to basics with normal Scooting practice but focus on your regrouping leg (the pushing one) coming back in after each push more SLOWLY than you want it to, therefore enticing your skate to Glide for longer. This will help you get more stable and comfortable on a centre edge.
2. Try over a certain training distance e.g. 50m to count your Scoots and then return with LESS of them than the previous run.
3. Then progress onto Scooting in circles in order to build your Outside Edge Glide capacities, again focussing on a slower Regroup than you’d like, so elongating your Glide phase.
Your timing with this question is brilliant because I have just released a new Series of Free Training Tutorials all about How to Skate Faster and Video 1 (which went out yesterday talks about Edge Control and there are a couple more exercises in that Lesson you could try especially the harder exercise.

Video 2 in this Series will also address your issue of taking smaller strides because I suspect you have a slight “V-ing” Setdown/Regroup position when you change feet in your Stride. This V-ing Regroup will rob you of Outside edges and a slower cadence, so do make sure you watch that second video in the series when it’s out next week.

Here’s a video which goes some way to elaborate on your points.

Oh and finally, you should check your support leg knee bend and make sure it is properly kneecap covering your toes. I bet you it isn’t quite that bent. More knee bend will create an easier glide every time.

Hope this helps you all skate more smoothly and reduce your cadence so you look more profesh…..