I see some skaters and their stride is a thing of beauty. Now some coaches and parents see their kid as a choppy skater and figure that is just the way it is.
If that was true, great skaters would be no where to be found.
Go to a beginners skating class and you will see what I mean. It is just a bunch of kids learning to get up and walk on their skates.
What can you do to lengthen out that stride? I got good news and bad news.
Good News - All you have to do is increase leg strength.
Bad News - All you have to do in increase leg strength.
The stride length is directly related to how deep your crouch is, look at any powerful skater in the NHL, Olympics, and even speed skaters. You will see 90 degree knee flex with knees out in front of the ankles. One easy was to work on this is to to build you leg muscles by building strength in the crouch position. Sitting in the crouch position, squats and lunges are a great way to start. When you go to take a stride, going down into this deep crouch will give you power and length in your stride. Ever watch the fastest skater competition and you will see it plain as day.
Increasing leg strength is pretty limited in kids, until after puberty. So unless you are feeding your kids steroids, just work on good technique for skating and they can do some leg exercises without weight to increase their strength. Work on balance and making the stride more efficient rather than working on something that is easy to work on with testosterone on your side.
So next time you see a choppy skater, take a closer look, are they just in a grow spurt? Are they a skinny kid who does not have the strength to support a deep crouch.
Moral of this article: If you want a longer stride increase leg strength for a deeper crouch. If you have not hit puberty, work more on technique and balance.