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Thread: Power skating?

  1. #1
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    Power skating?

    I've heard this term a lot. At first I thought skating with a lot of power meant the skater skated with a lot of stregnth and emotion. Now, I know that power skating is also a technical attribute, and is one of the criteria for the COP-Power and Speed.

    But my question is, how exactly can you tell if a skater has a lot of power in their skating?

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Good question Lulu - Yuka Sato is one of the speediest skaters on figure skates but you would never know it. She doesn't flaunt it.

    Joe

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    Re: Power skating?

    Originally posted by lulu

    But my question is, how exactly can you tell if a skater has a lot of power in their skating?
    One example I can think of is Irina S. She used to be refered as powerful. Good ice coverage, fast in speed, higher in jump. But not as gracefully.

    I'm also wondering if one can generating speed on ice gracefully. Yuka? Fummie? or Michelle? Are they as fast as Irina when you watch them in person?

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    Thanks for your answers guys.

    I agree, Irina S. does seem to be a very powerful skater.

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    Re: Re: Power skating?

    Originally posted by mzheng
    I'm also wondering if one can generating speed on ice gracefully. Yuka? Fummie? or Michelle? Are they as fast as Irina when you watch them in person?
    Comparing Slutskaya at 03 Euros to Kwan and Suguri at 03 Worlds, Kwan was not as fast as Slutskaya, but she had more speed than I expected. Suguri's first minute and a half of her LP and last 30-45 seconds of her SP (circular footwork into final spin) were comparable to Slutskaya, but she varied speed greatly throughout her programs, and her stroking was louder than I expected. You couldn't hear Kwan's blades. Volchkova and Kostner for the first 2/3 of their LP's, and their SP's at '03 Euros were comparable in speed, but you don't see the work involved. Sebestyen was nearly as fast as Slutskaya throughout both the SP and LP at Euros '03 (and Worlds '03).

    Volchkova, for example, can cover the ice in about four, seemingly effortless strokes, compared to Slutskaya, who needs many more strokes, mostly "in your face." Kostner flies across the surface at full speed when she has energy, but she died at about the 2/3 mark in her Euros LP and both her quali and LP programs at Worlds '03. (She had a full Junior season last year as well as Senior Euros and Worlds; this year, she's skating in Seniors only.) Volchkova was much stronger at Worlds; she had had pneumonia in December, and didn't have much practice time before Euros. Sebestyen shows a lot of power throughout, but doesn't "pump;" she also has more subtle variations in speed that reflect the music.

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    Stroking

    As several people have suggested here, for power skating look for power stroking first. Without that, the possibilities are very limited. The Russian approch to teaching stroking is clearly the gold standard here. Although I don't want to borrow their whole methodology, I would love it if US instructors (the people who teach children their basics) would use the Russian approach to stroking and give our young skaters a stronger start. Ilia Kulik answered a question of mine about this a year or two ago and did say that the Russian approach to teaching this basic skill was a bit different that ours. While he praised much that we did here, he did say that their approach to stroking (longer, stronger) was better for the developing skater.

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    Rooting for the Kerrs!
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    A powerful skater isn't just someone fast, although that's definitely an element. They would also have strong movements and edges, big jumps and flying spins, and probably fast spins too, I reckon. Irina is a good example of a powerful skater, while someone like Sasha Cohen or Kristi Yamaguchi is a lighter skater (not lighter as in weight, but not as powerful in the same way).

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    Re: Re: Re: Power skating?

    Originally posted by hockeyfan228

    Suguri's first minute and a half of her LP and last 30-45 seconds of her SP (circular footwork into final spin) were comparable to Slutskaya, but she varied speed greatly throughout her programs, and her stroking was louder than I expected. You couldn't hear Kwan's blades. Volchkova and Kostner for the first 2/3 of their LP's, and their SP's at '03 Euros were comparable in speed, but you don't see the work involved. Sebestyen was nearly as fast as Slutskaya throughout both the SP and LP at Euros '03 (and Worlds '03).

    Volchkova, for example, can cover the ice in about four, seemingly effortless strokes, compared to Slutskaya, who needs many more strokes, mostly "in your face." Kostner flies across the surface at full speed when she has energy, but she died at about the 2/3 mark in her Euros LP and both her quali and LP programs at Worlds '03. (She had a full Junior season last year as well as Senior Euros and Worlds; this year, she's skating in Seniors only.) Volchkova was much stronger at Worlds; she had had pneumonia in December, and didn't have much practice time before Euros. Sebestyen shows a lot of power throughout, but doesn't "pump;" she also has more subtle variations in speed that reflect the music.
    Thanks for the answer. I never attend the actual competetion only couple of COI. And in this year's COI, I've seen Michelle, Fummie, Irina, Elena in COI in person. But the backgroud and musical was too loud. Can't really hear any blades sound. How about the blades sound of Irina? Dose the 'quiete' counted as the 'cleaness of the edge', one of the basic skating element in OVERALL cat of new CoP?
    Last edited by mzheng; 09-07-2003 at 11:53 AM.

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Power skating?

    Originally posted by mzheng
    How about the blades sound of Irina? Dose the 'quiete' counted as the 'cleaness of the edge', one of the basic skating element in OVERALL cat of new CoP?
    There are only a few references to blade noise in the CoP documentation, but the telling one is "quiet skating except for appropriate deep edge noise" in #7. I heard Slutskaya's blades pretty consistently at Euros, especially during cross-overs. (Suguri's got louder as the program went on. By contrast Volchkova's were very quiet.) Whether the judges call that "appropriate deep edge noise" is to be seen.

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    "Power" is technically the ability to accelerate, ie, force x time. A skater with high power can accelerate quickly; a skater with low power takes a longer time to accelerate or does not accelerate to as high a speed.

    IMO, some of the top Russian skaters have been among the best "power" skaters I've seen, though of course not all of them. My list of top power skaters:
    Ilia Kulik
    G&G
    Bechke & Petrov
    Irina
    Berezhnaya & Sikharluridze
    Mishkutenok & Dmitriev
    Sasha Abt
    Plushenko
    Oksana Baiul (in her day)
    (The time I saw Yagudin live was during his "problem" period with COI. He skated his program at half-energy, so I can't make an assessment, other than I was disappointed.)

    Other skaters that come to mind (not limited to):
    --Shen & Zhao became great power skaters during their last two or three years as eligibles. --Fumie Suguri starts out with great power in her LP but tends to fade in the last third. I think this is just a problem with training, though.
    --Brian Boitano. Amazing power skater. Like Kulik, so strong and so technically over the "sweet spot" of the blade that the acceleration looks effortless.

    Power ice dancers include, but are not limited to, IMO:
    Grishuk & Platov
    Anissina & Peizerat
    Gorsha Sur (can't say Renee Roca, but she does have beautiful line, and skating with Gorsha certainly improved her power)

    Anyway, those are just some examples. In order to get power you need several things. One is great strength in the hip extensors (gluteals, hamstrings) and knee extensors (quadicreps) to get a lot of force into the PUSH in back stroking. Another thing is the ability to get the center of gravity of the body over the relative center of the blade, what I call the "sweet spot" of the blade. You can be on an 80-degree angle on your blade and still have your center of gravity over its center if you've had the right technical training, especially if you've had it from a young age and you're also genetically endowed so that figure skating "applies" easily to your body. "Sweet spot" skaters are the ones who make little or no noise even when they skate at high speeds. G&G were masters of the sweet spot. I was lucky enough to see them live in '94 with COI and it was SO clear why they won over Mishkutenok & Dmitriev, whom I love as well. G&G had absolutely breathtaking speed, so much so that it clearly separated them from all but a couple of the other skaters. Plus their blades made absolutely no noise. It was almost eery. M&D were gorgeous, but you could see the effort.

    Anyway, other things you need for great power is great endurance. It's not enough just to be able to lift five times your body weight with your quadriceps. You need to be able to generate that kind of strength over and over again. This is what I think really separates the gold from the silver. The biochemical system that provides the energy for strength, and for the most part for figure skating in general, is the anaerobic system or the lactic acid system as some know it. This system is not designed to put out a maximal effort for a very long time. Three minutes is about all it's meant for. Of course it overlaps with the ATP-PC and aerobic systems for producing energy, but the ATP-PC system lasts seconds and the aerobic system cannot sustain a maximal effort. So those skaters who can train their bodies to ENDURE that last minute or 90 seconds of a LP are the ones who are going to have an edge, if they have everything else, over other skaters in terms of power and maintaining the necessary energy output.

    To use an example from track and field, the 400 meter race is known as one of the most grueling races in track because the runners have to sprint to their absolute physiologic limits. Runners who do the 400 meters talk about their legs going "dead" during the last 20 to 30 meters of the race. This is not because lactic acid is "burning" up the muscles. It doesn't work that way. Rather, it's because there isn't enough lactic acid left to run the anaerobic cycle. Anaerobic means without oxygen, btw, and anaerobic cycle refers the biochemical way in which energy is produced for short term, high intensity activities.

    So for me, "power skating" refers to those skaters who with their stroking, especially their back stroking (a) can accelerate quickly; (b) can accelerate to a high speed; and (c) maintain that ability to accelerate throughout the length of the program. If they can do it on the "sweet spot" of the blade they not only will make little noise with their blades, but it will also be easier for them to accelerate. The best skaters for me have an underlying "power" ability, quiet blades, and all the artistic stuff on top. "Power" is kind of like a great chassis and engine on a car. If you have a great chassis and engine you can put a lot of not-so-good designs on top of it and it will still be a good car. But if you put an aesthetically beautiful and aerodynamic design on top of it, you've got yourself a Jaguar or a Porsche.

    A lot of skaters are top of the line Chevys or Hondas (no reference to Takeshi), but you KNOW when you see a Porsche start skating on the ice.
    Rgirl

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    Thanks for your post Rgirl, it explained a lot.

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    Power skating?

    Elvis Stojko comes to mind. If you watch him stroke you will see how quickly he covers the ice using very few strokes - that's what "power" skating means. Actually power skating is taught here in Canada to hockey players to improve their skating abilities. Some figure skating coaches like Karen Magnussen teach it.

    Of course, figure skaters and hockey players skate differently.

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    Thanks for reading it, Lulu. Glad it helped.
    Rgirl

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    Power skaters-Plush,Yags,Artur D and Mishkutenov,Elvis and Brian Boitano. women definitely Irina.

  15. #15
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    Thanks Rgirl! I'm really going to pay attention to stroking this season as I watch the competitions.

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