Whether you take lessons or not, you must get thousands of repetitions on your own, just as golfers practice by the hour after each lesson. Add dryland skating workouts when you come off the ice.
Every year some players dominate in the regular season but not in the playoffs when the pace is faster. The difference is efficient high-end speed, and it’s highly trainable.
1. Longer skating strides = wider strides. At high speeds, you cannot lengthen your stride straight backward because your feet would have to be impossibly quick. Instead, push hard to the side (hip abduction). This is the major source of skating power and efficiency at high speed, yet it is ignored in most weight rooms. Because your skate blade is not perpendicular to the angle of force, this propels you forward, in the same way a sailboat tacks crosswind much faster than the wind. At the end of each stride, you are pushing backward (hip extension) because you’re moving past the ice.