Over-speed training simply means pushing yourself beyond a speed where you are “comfortable.” Going through the motions at a comfortable pace won’t help you progress as a skater. Many of the coaches I talk to seem a bit overwhelmed by the subject of over-speed training, thinking it is a grandiose topic that’s over their heads. While there are great depths you can take the topic, you can begin to incorporate over-speed training into your practices with just a good grasp on the fundamentals of skating.
If you are asking an athlete to perform over-speed training, there are a couple key components to keep in mind when you’re designing your drills:
- Player safety – I can’t over-emphasize this one enough. Over-speed drills put athletes in a position where they should be close-to falling – which means often times they will. If possible, create drills that turn toward the middle of the ice to avoid nasty impacts into the boards when a skater falls. If you’re doing a drill that turns toward the boards (as you’ll see in the download below), use rink dividers against the wall to help cushion the impact.
- Keep the drills short – if you’re asking an athlete to go at top speed, do not have the duration of the drill last more than about 10 seconds. Much more than that (especially early in the season) will just lead to degraded performance. Conversely, allow skaters sufficient rest between sets. If your drill lasts 5-10 seconds, make sure they’re getting close to a minute of rest before going again.
- Keep it simple – especially in the beginning, make the drills easy to comprehend and quick to execute. You want to allow the skaters to focus on the movement and mechanics, rather than remembering the pattern of the drill.
- Re-enforce proper skating technique – this is where your knowledge of proper technique is extremely important. Players moving quickly but executing with bad habits can be counter-productive. If your group isn’t ready to perform a particular skating maneuver at a high-tempo, make sure you hammer the basics into them first. Two great resources for skating technique are Laura Stamm’s Power Skating DVD or Laura Stamm’s Power Skating Book – 4th Edition. Laura Stamm is one of the authorities on power skating – a great investment for any coach.
- Push for constant (properly executed) movement – don’t let players slow down the entire drill. If they’re uncomfortable without slowing down, you’re on the right path – assuming they’re using proper form. Force them to keep their feet moving at all times.
Here are three quick over-speed training drills. As you will see, the drills themselves are not complicated – however, if execute at top-speed, the drills will help push your players to a whole new level.