The other day I saw a poster for a local powerskating school and it said"Your arms move forward (push and pull) and no side to side movement." I have not been to this power skating school, but it made me think of how we take to many concepts and ideas based on the resume's of some teachers base on how good of hockey player they were or where they coached before. While most are very knowledgeable, some are just rehashing the things that they were taught.
Since I have not been to this power skating school, I will not say they are doing it wrong, since they may be teaching the correct way. However, the wording is a bit confusing.
Here is my take on this whole arm swing:
Arm Swing. A lot skating power skating teachers are telling kids to push pull with the arms, but that is wrong. They are not 100 meter sprinters, they are skating. The key is the alignment of the arms and the legs, this may be the way they teach it but it sounds wrong from the description. The hand in front of the skater should be palm up and out in line with the center of gravity. The other arm aligns with the skating leg.
You can see how the force/power would be applied best in the diagrams below.
These are some notes from a study of NHL players.
· The correct shoulder (arm) movement for high performance skating is "side to side.", not forward-backward like a sprinter. When the leg pushes to the side the equal and opposite reaction is the shoulder (arm) moving to the side. This motion is confirmed by observation of high performance hockey players - clearly revealing that a side to side shoulder (arm) movement is used during straight skating/striding.
· Observation of forward and back (sprinter pump) shoulder movement shows that it causes a narrow stride. A narrow stride is characteristic of low performance skating.
Watch the video of the 2009 NHL fastest skater competition and you will spot what I mean right away, especially when they show the front back views.
Moral of this post:
When learning or being taught anything, think critically. The source is not always the best indicator of knowledge. Many NHLer's succeed in spite or their parenting or coaching, I am not saying many hockey schools teach the wrong things, most are terrific. Just remember to not be afraid to ask for explanations as to why things are done a specific way.