Training for Starts – The First Push
By Sue Ellis, Olympic Medallist & US National Head Coach
Ah, the elusive fast start! You want it, you practice and practice, but it just isn’t getting better. Yes, there is hope!
The three main components of a fast start are:
3) SPEED OF MOVEMENT
Having good speed of movement without power and technique means you’ll be spinning your wheels on the line. You may be the strongest person on the line, and that won’t guarantee you get there first if the movements aren’t efficient enough to use your power. You may have great technique, but if you don’t move through the sequence of motion fast enough, you’ll be left behind too. To develop a great start you need all 3 components – Technique, Power, and Speed of Movement – training the Technique first, then introducing Power, and then finally Speed of Movement.
Training starting technique and power is often very difficult to do on the ice because it is hard to slow down the movements enough to make technical changes and recruit the proper muscles groups in the correct sequence of motion. Training with TECHNI-CORDSTM , however, allows you to work all 3 components, both on ice and off ice. Using the adjustable resistance of the TECHNI-CORDS, you can perform each movement of the start slowly and precisely, recruiting the proper muscle groups, and executing the movement in the proper sequence of motion to create lasting muscle memory for the movement. Once the movement is learned and muscle memory has been established, you can start to perform the movements more quickly, adding the power component, and finally adding the speed component.
It’s best to begin your technical training off ice, using the TECHNI-CORDS, as the ground is a much more stable surface and you won’t have to worry about slipping. Once you have mastered the movements off ice, you can then take the TECHNI-CORDS on ice. For both on and off ice training, start with single movements by fixing the TECHNI-CORDS to a solid non-moveable object and learn the movements first before doing partner assisted starts.
To begin your off ice training you will need a level non-slip surface to work on, a solid place to attach the TECHNI-CORDS at about nose height, and a chair that will slide easily across the surface you are working on.
The start, as with all movements, can be broken down in to 3 components – Set-Up, Load, and Execution. To perfect your technique you must master each component separately, and then put it all together to create an efficient, powerful movement.