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Speed skaters look good
Debby Fisher Clinic teaches developmental skills

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Speed skaters got a treat last weekend with a three-day developmental camp run by coach Debby Fisher.

NNSL photo/graphic

Dalton McLeod, left, prepares to receive a push from Colin Mitchener. - Stewart Burnett/NNSL photos

She was working with speed skaters and coaches to give them good skills, drills and activities to make speed skating fun but also to teach the finer technical aspects of how to skate well.

"Low positioning in speed skating is very important, so we've been working on keeping down nice and low so they can get good, long strides with lots of power," said Fisher after one of the final practices wound up.

Two groups participated, one for the older skaters and one for the children, plus Fisher worked with the coaches to polish their practice style.

Skaters also worked on leg recovery, ensuring they had equally good strides on the left and right side, transferring their weight efficiently, crossing over through the turns and getting off to strong starts.

"Because short track speed skating requires a lot of agility, coordination and balance, we do a fair number of those type of exercises," said Fisher, who has been teaching speed skating for more than 40 years and started a club in the Maritimes that helped develop Olympians and other top performers in the sport.

"(It's) so that when they get in a race and when they have to get around somebody really quick or jump over somebody, they have that ability to do that."

Positioning is key, she added. Skaters were practising their edges and being able to maneuver on the inside and outsides of their blades to get the proper timing for executing their strides.

The younger class worked mainly on balance, learning how best to push off, while the older students focused on getting low to the ice and increasing their acceleration.

"They're all working on similar types of things but the older kids are more doing advanced drills and  the younger ones are having fun doing the skills and playing games and incorporating their skills and drills in the games they play," said Fisher.

For a small club, Inuvik's short track speed skaters are doing very well, she added.

"This club has got as good equipment as any club I've seen," she said, adding that coaches have done a great job preparing skaters for success.

Speed skating is a family affair that fosters a good attitude, she said.

"Speed skating is a sport where you can bring both your kids at the same time," said Fisher.

"The parents have as much fun as the kids do once they get going. It's a very fun, very respectful fraternity. Speed skating parents, kids and everybody are taught to be very respectful. We have a lot of fun together, we socialize together, we work very hard on the ice and we work as a team. Both boys and girls can do it equally."

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