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10-07-2011, 08:05 PM
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In addition to what has already been said, I think a HUGE part of in game speed comes from maintaining and gaining speed in turns, and to a certain extent from cardio. Skaters tend to be much more similar speed wise than you'd expect when going in a straight line (from a stop, when both are not tired). Seriously, try races from a stop at practice/stick and puck/whatever, there's not a big difference between guys who seem somewhat slow in game and guys who seem really fast in game (assuming the "slow" guys are still experienced skaters/hockey players, not noobs). You'll be surprised by how close you can stick with guys who seem like speed demons (again, when skating from a stop, in a straight line), and/or by how close slow skaters can stick with you. However, the slow guys generally make wide turns, lose a lot of speed during turns, and also tire easily, while the fast guys make tight turns, pick up a lot of speed during turns, and stay fresh longer (partly because they're more efficient skaters). Because you're constantly turning in hockey this makes them way faster in games, and they even SEEM way faster in a straight line because they come out of turns with speed before skating straight, while the worse skaters are often starting from a much slower speed.

Moral of the story, while you definitely want to get your forward stride right, you'll see much bigger speed gains by working on your turning/edges, that's really what makes a fast skater. Also, cardio is key, because a tired skater is a slow skater.

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