Are you concerned that the child in your life may not have adequate first step quickness? If so, you’ll be glad to know that there are actually some tried and true strategies to help determine if your child has this ability, and, if not, there are things you can do to help make developing it possible.
Try the Deep Squat Test
One simple thing you can do to test first step quickness is to ask your player to do a deep squat, and we do mean DEEP. This should be the kind of squat where the glutes actually touch or nearly touch the ground.
If your player cannot perform a proper deep squat, then the player is likely impaired in terms of speed due to limited range of motion and/or a lack of flexibility. These things can inhibit skating speed and cause other problems on the ice.
The best way to fix these issues is to see a sports expert who is familiar with active release technique, a technique that has been proven to improve overall mobility, strength, and speed, thereby improving first step quickness.
Engage in Strength Training
If your child isn’t already involved in some kind of strength training, then it’s time to start! Strength training is absolutely necessary to improving first step quickness.
Through proper strength training, players learn how to protect themselves from impact, build lower body strength that, in turn, builds power and speed, and also increase flexibility and mobility.
Strength training, of course, isn’t the kind of thing that is going to provide overnight results, but if your player sticks to it, the results will eventually come and will benefit the child throughout the rest of his or her life.
As you can see, first step quickness can be built in any player; it’s just a matter of figuring out how to make it happen for each individual player.