A new kind of hockey skating? Well, that’s what I initially thought when an email arrived in my inbox titled “What is Hybrid Power Skating?” Ya, what is “hybrid” skating, I wondered.
Ironically, that email got opened, because a lot of them don’t. I mean, I must get close to a hundred each day, with most of them bordering between important and not so very. I base most of my decisions on an email’s subject line, although a lot of marketers are getting kinda cute about that. This thing about a new kind of skating, though… Again, well…
— Dennis Chighisola
A New Kind of Hockey Skating
It wasn’t even a minute into that email when I started wishing I could talk to the guys running that program. For, you see, what they were talking about was a hybrid mix of speed skating, figure skating and hockey skating techniques.
Could I appreciate that sort of mixing various sport training ideas? Of course; you know it. I’ve been espousing that kind of outside the box approach to hockey training for a kzillion years. I’ve borrowed from the other skating disciplines, as well as from gymnastics, sprint training, and even from the other transition sports.
That out of the way, what I was wishing I could ask the guys in charge of that new kind of skating program is exactly what it is they’re borrowing — from speed skating, and from figure skating. There are a lot of things that trouble me about this type of borrowing, but I’ll refer members to a long ago post I did on “Comparing Hockey, Figure Skating and Speed Skating“. The point I make in that article (and in several other pieces) is that the three sports can be drastically different — I mean drastically. And, even though all such athletes might wear skates as they complete, the demands they face out on the ice are mostly far different from each other. So again, with my readers understanding what I know about the three sports, we ought to wonder exactly what parts of speed and figure skating they’re incorporating into their new kind of skating.
If something bothered me even more than their borrowing from other skating sports, it’s their use of the term “power skating”. Ugh. If you haven’t already read my piece on “Down with So-called ‘Powerskating’“, please do so. For a shortcut, however, one problem is that it suggests that skating “power” is some super-important quality, which in turn sends poor players and their parents off on a search for a way to become more powerful.
Some other things bothered me as I ran through some terms they used to describe their new kind of skating program. However, the little things didn’t catch my attention as much as did the credentials of the guy who created this new kind of skating program. Hmmmmmm… “Harvard educated” would grab anyone’s attention — right? And it would certainly grab my attention if that coach’s Harvard education had to do with science — of any sort. Not the case, though… No, his degree studies from that impressive institution were towards a Master of Fine Arts ( – ), In his defense, the coach’s undergraduate degree studies were for a Bachelor of Science ( –
Oh, ya… I happened to extend my online search to YouTube.com, and I ran across a number videos featuring the coach in question. And, man can he fly. Unfortunately, the thing that jumped out at me was the fact that his skating was more towards the flashy side and a lot less towards the really effective. In particular, he constantly kicked his skates up high, to the point where he was spending more time suspended on one skate and not able to do anything from there.
Okay, after all I’ve said, or after all the seeming bashing, I’m not saying that some hockey players couldn’t be helped by these guys. Probably a number of skaters could be helped, especially within the intermediate level.
What I am saying, though, is that intelligent coaches, parents and players shouldn’t be dragged down every rabbit hole that espouses a new kind of (super-duper?) skating program.