Short Track Corner Technique


(What skaters are being taught)

The technique of speed skating is really simple in so many ways.  Bend your legs, push to the side.  To do it very well you have to feel so many things, not the least of which is pressure into the ice.  Our skaters are learning many things about technique.  Doing them well means they will come closer to reaching their potential.  Doing them poorly means they may get more fit, but will not be able to use their physical ability to the fullest.  Worse yet, as often is the case in short track, they will fall and become a sponsor (thanks Eric Bedard!).

Have a look at the photo below of Apollo Anton Ohno.  See if you can pick out the things he is doing well.  I have assigned letters to body parts to help you.  A legend to key technical points is given below the photo.  Keep in mind that there are many components to good technique.  These are the ones we spend the most time on in practices. 

See you at the track!



(not as easy as it looks!)


A. right hip Push it down, as close to level with left hip as possible.  Push it forward to be as far forward as the left hip. This causes there to be pressure on the right skate and the glut to be used to initiate the push.  The skate blade will not perform properly (bend around the corner) if there is little pressure on the blade.  Push right hip forward so that you can push to the side and have pressure on the ball of the foot.
B. right shoulder Keep it low throughout the corner, as near as level with the left shoulder as possible. This also causes there to be pressure on the right skate and glut, enabling greater power and proper direction of push.  If the right shoulder comes up, there will be less pressure throughout the right foot push and the skate blade will not work effectively to carve around the turn.
C. head, shoulders and trunk Head, shoulders and trunk should be tangent to the arc of the corner throughout the entire corner and into the sraightwaway. Keeping the trunk tangent to the curve enables the skater to push to the side, in opposition to the forces pushing them out of the corner.  Turning your body into the turn results in the hips moving out away from the turn.  This causes the skater to have their weight too far forward on their skate and to push back instead of to the side.
D. left shoulder The left shoulder should not be significantly lower than the right shoulder and should not twist into the turn.  Dropping the left shoulder too much causes a lack of pressure on primarily the right skate.  The result will be a lack of power, poor direction of push and the skate not carving as it should.  It also causes difficulty with placing the left skate in a position where there is pressure into the ice immediately.  It is desireable at extreme speeds to touch the ice with the left hand, but it should not cause the left shoulder to drop.
E. left hip Skaters need to push the left hip forward to be in line with the right and to lift it level with the right hip prior to putting the left skate on the ice.  The left hip should be inside of the left knee.  There should be a straight line between the skate, knee and left hip consistent with the lean required to negotiate the turn. If the left hip drops after pushing through the result will be a poor push and poor pressure on the left skate as the left will not be in a position to utilise the gluts.  As well, it will be difficult to push to the side.
F. right arm Right arm should swing in a controlled manner, close to the body.  Swinging the right arm improperly or too vigorously can cause twisting of the trunk into the turn and result in less pressure and poor direction of push.
G. right skate Knees should be pushed forward so that the skater's weight is toward the front cup.  This is a balanced position and allows pressure on the part of the blade that is bent and rockered to carve around the turn.  It also allows the push to be initiated with the glut muscles.  As the push comes through, pressure moves more to the middle of the skate so that the push is not off the toes.
H. right knee Right knee should be placed close to under the zipper of your suit.  The recovery of the right leg involves bringing your right knee towards your left shoulder, while manintaining a good tangent body position. If the right knee is not placed under the torso (zipper), there is little pressure on the right skate, the gluts can not be used effectively to initiate the push and body weight will be towards the back of the skate instead of the ball of the foot.
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