"An organization committed to growing the sport of Inline Speed Skating"

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Training Drills

 

 

 

Drills provide a structure for training: Coaches, skaters, and parents know what to expect.  Drills can make training more fun, a game, a focus that can help hide the sometimes tedious and exhausting nature of training.  But drills aren't an end in themselves; coaches should explain a drill's purpose, the particular skill which skaters should focus on learning, and how that skill will help skaters meet their goals.  Always remember that the winners of drills aren't the fastest or best, they are the skaters who improve the most.

Some of the following explanations are in interest to beginning coaches, some to more experienced. Don't miss the last drill listed, which includes a link to a video to view.

We'll appreciate any explanations of drills you are willing to share with the world.  Email them to us, ideally with a video demonstration.  Also please email us any suggestions for improvements to the following, or any questions, or if you are looking for a drill for a specific purpose.

WARM-UP Skaters line up, so each skater is ahead of the next fastest skater ("fast to fastest").  The first skater leads the pace line pack, with all others following, for the time specified in advance by the Drill Leader (typically 3 laps).  The first laps should be at a fast but comfortable speed, the last lap almost as fast as possible.  When the first skater has completed the assigned laps, they move towards the outside of the track and let all other skaters pass them to their left.  As the last skater passes, they skate as close to the back of the pack as they can, for as long as they can, moving out so the pack can pass on their left if they are lapped.  Each skater, in turn, does the assigned number of laps, then drops to the back. The result is that each skater increases speed gradually.  Fastest skaters skate the most laps.

Skaters doing this drill the first time may argue who is faster.  But a skater who claims to be faster than he/she actually is will not be able to keep up with the faster skater they have chosen to be behind.  If a skater can't keep up, the drill leader asks them to move to the back (although experienced skaters may do this on their own).  The next time the drill is done, skaters usually pick their place correctly, although the Drill Leader needs to be sensitive to the occasional lazy, faster skater who wants to line up with skaters much slower than him/her.

CIRCLES Mark a circle about 10 m or 30-50 feet in diameter.  The most simple form of the drill is to skate around the circle normally.  Emphasize technique, especially body position and edge control, not speed.

Another version is to keep the left foot on the floor, riding in a smooth circle on the outside edge, and to push with the right foot.  The Drill Leader can specify that the right foot also stay on the floor, or that the return be in the air, and can specify a position for hands (front or back), all these depending on the skill level and training needs of the skaters.

Yet another version is to keep the right foot on the floor, riding a smooth circle,  and to push with the left foot, crossing it behind the right.

Circle drills can be skated on concentric circles. Start skating the largest circle for a specified number of laps, such as 5.  Then skate to the next smaller circle for the specified number of laps, and so on until the smallest circle has been skated.

PASSING Form a pace line, fastest to fast.  The skater in front maintains a speed appropriate for the slowest skaters to pass at.  The skater in back passes one person each straight, until he/she becomes the skater in front. When the next slower skater reaches the front, the slowest skater goes to the right so the pack can pass, and skates at the back as long as they can.  As faster skaters progressively reach the front, the pack speed gradually increases.

Another type of passing drill is appropriate for a pace line with all skaters being of similar ability. As the pack skates at a  moderate speed, the Leader calls a skater's name.  That skater then passes to the front of the pack, passing one skater at a time, or the number of skaters which the Leader has specified.

Drill Leaders may allow each skater to use whatever type of pass they prefer, or may specify that a certain type of pass be used.

STARTS Skaters are divided into groups of similar start speed.  The standard race start is done repeatedly, using standard commands. The drill leader should enforce penalties for movements before the starting signal, just as in a race.  Sometimes starts are continued as a one or two lap race; sometimes skaters only go the the finish line or a specified part of one lap.

SALAMI Set up two concentric skating tracks, one the normal, and one a short distance inside or outside it. Skaters line up, on the outer track,  fastest to fast, with the Drill Leader (not necessarily one of the faster skaters) skating in front at a moderate speed. At the Leader's command, the next skater in line (i.e., the fastest skater of the group) moves to the inner track and sprints to lap the pack.  When he/she comes close to the back of the pack, the Leader commands the next fastest skater to move to the inner track and lap the pack.  The fastest skater, who has just completed lapping the pack, drafts the next fastest skater.  This process continues, with skaters moving to the inner pack one by one until everyone except the Leader is on the inner track.

FALLING Best for younger and newer skaters, they are told to skate in a circle or line.  At the Leader's command, everyone "hits the deck".  On the next command, they start skating again, as quickly as possible.  One purpose of this drill is so skaters learn that falling isn't the end of the world. Another is to train quick recovery from falls.

TRAINS Line up several teams at the start line, with each team side-by-side, and each team member (except the front) ready to push the person in front. On the Leader's command, the last person in line for each team pushes the entire team; skaters in front just coast, with teams circling the normal track.  When the team has completed one lap, the skater who has been pushing leaves the team and moves to the inside of the track; the skater who was next to last pushes the remaining team for a lap, and so on, until the skater who had been in front skates the last lap alone.

To the extent that skater abilities allow, the drill can be repeated with skaters in different positions until each skater has done the drill in each position (first, second, last, etc.)

GO  This is a speed drill from the starting line.  This drill works on reaction time and quickness on the start.   4 - 6 skaters line up in the "ready" position, facing the finish lineThe Drill Leader then goes behind the skaters, tapping each on the back.  One skater is tapped twice;  that's the "GO" person.  The Leader then gives the commands - "Skaters to your mark - Set", then the everyone waits for the GO person to start.  They chase to GO person to the first cone.  This is a FUN drill, and can be altered to suit your needs.  Give it a try! Click here to see how it looks.

DOUBLEBACK (AND OTHERS)
Click here for description (in post by "Emily", towards the middle of the discussion).
Click here to see how it looks.
Click here to see a diagram of the track skated during this drill.