Over the weekend I took the Robby Glantz Power Skating Clinic and wow what a clinic it was! Glantz is the power skating coach with the L.A. Kings. We also had Mark Ciaccio, power skating coach for the Phoenix Coyotes, Brock Ballard, director of power skating for the De Raaf Hockey School in Bad Tolz, Germany, as well as some other coaches. But you can certainly see that we had pros teaching our motley crew of 30 or so how to skate better.

The three days included forward skating, forward crossovers, backwards, backwards crossovers, with an focus on proper technique and how to get the most power out of the stride. There was also some puck handling around moving the puck forward while skating fast, which is especially handy on breakouts.

The course was invaluable. The first day, working to clean up my stride was great, especially seeing the video playback, which showed everything I’ve been hearing from Ronnie over the past couple years. I don’t bend enough, which I’ve also known… but I’m also my upper body is too tense. I really just need to relax a bit to get my stride moving better. And I need to keep strengthening my quads so I can stay lower longer.

The clinic also helped me find backwards crossovers for the first time ever. I went to the group initially that couldn’t do them all, and Brock broke down the movement and I was able to pick it up and go back over to the larger group to work on their drills.

I’m looking forward to getting to Ronnie’s on Saturday morning to work on all these various strides to get them integrated into my skating habits. That’s especially key for the backwards crossovers, to get to the point where I feel comfortable enough to use them in a game.

Speaking of games, I did use some of these techniques Saturday night in the Tigers game, which came about 90 minutes after that day’s session. I was playing D for the Tigers and actually came off the bench and immediately had to go diagonally across the ice to cut off a Rockets breakout and did so by using some of the stuff I’d learned… even better is that I did so against a Rocket who was taking the class with me. Later in the game I had my own breakout and, again, tried to use what I’d learned… Unfortunately I was forechecked and backchecked by other Rockets from the class (I was the only Tiger to go, while there were four Rockets). Still, it was great to immediately put some of the forward skating techniques in to use.

I will definitely be focusing on these elements as prep for Montreal.