Report by an Athletic TherapistI am writing this letter in regards to the use of the “Launch” suspension skate and the benefits a hockey player would have in wearing this type of skate. Hockey is a very fast game as players have to be able to perform at a high rate of speed and change direction with split second reaction time. The three elements that make a player perform well are speed, power and balance. Having these three functions and being able to perform them well is what separates the great skaters from the average ones. The muscles of the quadriceps (front of leg) and hamstrings (back of leg), along with the plantar flexors (lower leg) and hip flexors enable a skater to develop power and speed. With the use of the “Launch” skate, the player is able to perform better as a skater and develop more powerful strides because he is able to add extra plantar flexion during the push-off. This gives the player the ability to stop and change direction faster in turning, or from a complete stop and start. With the normal hockey skate, players are unable to perform this task as they cannot reach full extension of the plantar muscle or knee extensors as they would have to be almost on their toes to do this, thus throwing off their balance completely. In closing I would like to say that not only would the “Launch” skate improve a player’s performance, but it would also reduce the injuries that players often complain about such as groin, knee, hip flexors and extensor injuries that are often caused by overuse or extension.
“I like this idea! I found myself skating faster out of turns and from a dead start.” Michael Austin, Athletic Therapist