Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise understands the importance of speed in the NHL. His ability to turn on the jets and beat defenders is a big reason why he's racked up 661 career points.
STACK recently spoke with Parise, and the topic turned to how he builds skating speed. He revealed that his favorite drill for on-ice speed is Overspeed Crossovers. If you don't know what Crossovers are, they're essentially a skating technique used to build speed through turns. Crossovers allow the skater to push off the inside edge of one skate and the outside edge of the other. The more ground force you can produce with these pushes, the faster you'll skate. This video does a nice job of explaining the technique:
You'll notice that practicing Crossovers will have you skating in a circular pattern. Overspeed Crossovers are like normal Crossovers, but they're performed as fast as possible. So fast, even, that there's a chance you'll fall over. Overspeed Crossovers became a huge part of Parise's routine last summer, and though it took him some time to get the hang of them, he found them hugely effective.
"Honestly, you're going to fall. It's just moving while doing your best to keep good form," Parise says. "But crossing over just as absolutely fast as you can. It's amazing how it gets a little easier, little easier, little easier. It's really hard, really frustrating at first, but you see the results. You see that it's working. It was a big thing for me last summer, and it's going to be one of the big things I do this summer, the Overspeed Crossover."
Even Parise is still mastering them, so don't expect to be zooming all over the ice on your first rep.
"I'm still working on it and trying to get better at it," he says. "It's gotten so different from how it was when I first came into the league—all these younger guys, their feet are incredible. They're so quick, the way they can crossover and skate. But that's my thing, a lot of overspeed training on the ice. I think that helps a ton."
While there is a chance you might fall, you shouldn't allow yourself to get so out of control that you risk serious injury.
One key to remember while practicing Overspeed Crossovers? Stay low.
By bending your knees, you put yourself at a biomechanical advantage that should allow you to produce more ground force. A study conducted at Queen's and McGill Universities examined the differences in skating strides between elite and lower level hockey players. Elite players demonstrated more knee abduction (outward turn of knee), which allowed them to turn their foot out farther, make their skate blade remain on the ice longer and lengthen their stride. Better knee flex translates into better energy transfer to the quadriceps, which promotes faster skating.
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