|Stroking is not a branch of skating, it is a series of drills that combine crosscuts, edges and turns into repetitive patterns designed to improve efficiency. To be effective drills must:
• Be suitable for the age, skill level and physical maturity of the skaters
• Be applicable to the skills used in the sport
• Be done correctly
Stroking classes that engage all the skaters on the session provide skaters with an opportunity to execute drills without obstruction making it easier to focus on technique. Conditioning is derived from improved technique that leads to improved efficiency. Although speed is important, a good stroking class will not sacrifice technique for speed.
Types of Stroking
Cardio: near continuous movement for the entire class. Cardio classes are appropriate for all levels. In the lower sessions the exercises will be simple- mostly crosscuts and edges. As skaters progress the skills will become more complex, will include a wider variety of turns and edges and will be executed quicker. Cardio classes can comprise any other type of stroking provided the exercises are performed in fairly rapid succession and are executed with speed.
Crosscut Technique: power acquisition, flow & posture. Proper crosscut execution is important at all levels. In crosscut technique classes skaters train the components of basic crosscuts.
Edge-Turn Stroking: edges and turns as the foundation for exercises. Edge-Turn exercises require skaters to change their weight on the blade quickly. These classes assume skaters already know the edges and turns appropriate to their level. The purpose of the class is not to teach new edges and turns but to repeatedly execute known ones within set patterns at speed. The turns and the exercises will become more complex and quicker as skaters advance.
Field Movement Stroking: field moves as the foundation for exercises. This class assumes that skaters already know various field moves. The purpose of the class is not to teach field moves but to combine them with simple turns and crosscuts into exercises that train extended gliding at speed.
Dance Stroking: compulsory dance movement as the foundation for the exercises. Dance stroking is dance-technique-based and designed to improve Compulsory Dance performance.
Creative Stroking: stroking in which the skaters themselves create portions of the exercises. Skaters are provided with a structure that defines the type of movement to be used. Within that structure skaters are free to improvise certain portions. Creative Stroking requires skaters to focus on body movement and allows for personal expression.
A well-run class promotes the achievement of goals in a supportive and positive environment. This is only possible when skaters try. Skaters should participate willingly and put forth their best effort. This includes:
• Attending regularly
• Being punctual
• Not talking
• Not chewing gum etc.
• Try ing one's best
The opinions expressed on these pages are those of Cheryl Richardson, author of, Skating Ahead of the Curve. Every effort has been made to properly credit sources for other materials. You may link to my pages but please do not reprint or otherwise distribute without my permission.
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