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No ice? Guide to off-season training


For ice skating enthusiasts, summer is always a bit critical: most of the skating rinks close, so skating becomes quite difficult and hype sligthly decreases. But is it really necessary to resign until the autumn reopening? Today we will try to understand how the summer period can actually prove to be an excellent ally for our performance on ice. Let’s start!

Ice skating is considered a “skill based” activity: what does it mean? In skill based activities, what matters is to perform difficult, beautiful, varied elements. Our physical abilities (strength, endurance, speed, flexibility, coordination), are not the most important and evident aspect: they are only when they allow us to perform a jump, a spin, a lift, or even just some clean edges. In elite skaters, the physical aspect is more relevant, as in the case of particularly twisted spins, overhead lifts, triple and quadruple jumps, but in amateur skating this is not the case. For children and adults who approach skating, the first years are certainly marked by a limit that is not physical, but technical: the skate and the skating technique. Learning to manage the edges, the blades, the balance, the fear of falling is the greatest difficulty, therefore the physical component tends to slip into the background. But does it really work that way?

Even if it is clear that in the first years of skating the focus should remain on the skating technique, it is also true that an adequate physical preparation can greatly facilitate the learning of the technique itself. Let’s take some examples: if I’m learning the sit spin, but I don’t have the strength to stay in position, trying it on ice will be a bit of a waste of ice time, as the limit is physical, not just technical, and it is better to work on it outside first. Same thing can be true for the flexibility in the camel spiral or in the spread eagle: it is better to know how to do them off-ice first before trying them on ice.

The more advanced the elements are and, usually, the more physical preparation is needed. There are, however, some exceptions: to perform some difficult steps, such as twizzles or loops, the technical component of skating is prevalent, while the physical one is secondary but, vice versa, there are also opposite examples. Even for the very first basics of skating, a correct physical preparation can help a lot to progress, especially for those who do not have a solid sporting past. A few examples: to fall without getting hurt you need to know how to lower yourself well on your legs, which is not alwys easy and requires a certain amount of strength and flexibility. Even just to do edges on one foot, you must be able to support the side of the body that does not touch the ice, and this also requires a certain strength and mastery of the abdominal and hip muscles. Backward skating safely is almost impossible without more than good flexibility in torsion, even just to watch where we are going.

The skating technique, therefore, is strongly influenced by physical abilities.

With off-ice training we have the opportunity to ensure that our body does not obstruct the learning of the technique, in this way when we go on ice we will already have the conditions suitable for learning skating technique , and we’ll just have to deal with that.
In the summer months, without the constant commitment of skating, we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves for the coming season, in order to arrive ready and in the right physical condition. In addition to this, leaving aside the aspect of sports preparation, we could keep our body fit and healthy. Fortunately, skating training is particularly varied and stimulates most of the physical and coordination skills, resulting well balanced and suitable for everyone.
Off-ice training, therefore, is definetly healthier and more stimulating alternative to just lean on your sofa, don’t you think?

Let us know what do you think about this topic joining our Telegram group! If you want to join off-ice activities organized in the various locations by the Skating Diaries trainers, take a look at the off-ice courses by clicking on the button below!

Happy summer training!