Susanne – Diagonal Stride

It’s interesting to watch Susanne’s video and Maurice’s V2 One Skate video together as it shows how similar principles apply across skate and classic techniques.


Susanne has good glide, indicating her excellent balance, which is especially challenging in this technique. In the side shot, Chris describes some of the body angle markers he looks for in diagonal stride.

The suggestion for Susanne is to shorten her kick and make it quicker at the start. In diagonal stride you want to rapidly drop your weight onto the wax pocket and have a short, sharp kick.

On this day, Susanne is keeping her foot in contact with the ground longer than necessary. Pushing the foot against the ground for longer causes the hips to fall too far back. Technically, this is known as a “Late Kick”.

Susanne should keep her poles closer to her face at the front, initiate her kick more quickly and have a bent leg behind her at the end of her kick. That will allow her to be more dynamic and powerful which will help her when she moves to more challenging terrain.


(Scroll to bottom for a downloadable PDF of the transcript.)

Kim: This is Susanne and the technique, of course, is Diagonal Stride. She just sent us one question with this video. She says, “Even though I feel like I’m brining the hips forward at the end of the stride, I’m guessing from seeing myself that my weight is still too far back. Is that right?”

Chris: Well, I think the easiest way to determine that, Susanne, is: we’ll actually stop it and get a nice side view here. [Let’s] see which one we can use. This one right here.

So, you’re coming onto your right leg. We look at the angles. That’s there. That’s there. I’d say that’s pretty good. We’ll go forward a little bit further. And, as you get closer to the kicking phase, the hip comes even more on top of the foot. And that’s also quite good.

And then when you go to kick it – another angle that we always look for is this spot here where we’re looking to see where the hip is in relation to the heel. That’s quite good. Then is the torso angle matching the shin angle? And those are really good.

Kim: And you can see some clearance under her boot.

Chris: Yeah and I also look to see, this is the hand that’s swinging through. Has it started to swing to at least the same height, if not further, than the hand on the other side? And that’s also the case.

So I actually think that your hip position is quite good. There’s a lot of things, actually, that you’re doing really well. For one, you have a really nice glide phase, which means good balance and for a lot of people in diagonal stride that’s probably not always the case. One of the hardest things to do is have good balance on diagonal stride.

Good forward position through the upper body, which I really like. When that foot comes in you do a good job of – well first of all, having some clearance here. But then being able to bring that foot back underneath you here is really nice.

So all those things are really good.

What I would draw your attention to is the far extreme end of your stride. We can look at this arm angle here and this leg angle here. You’re really stretched out. In order to be able to have more power to put into your stride which is always important, but it’s more important as you get into a steep hill. Here you’re on a fairly gradual flat stage [Kim: She’s on a flat.] That makes for an easier kick-gliding phase.

But if you want to be able to move your stride length more easily and more efficiently over to a steeper hill, then you need to be able to create some power with your stride and glide phase. And where that’s going to come from is having a really good impulse at the start.

Remember what I talked about with diagonal stride? The kick phase is super important from – so we’re looking at her right foot – from here to about here. And everything else ends up being a lot more follow through from that first initial force.

Even though you put yourself into a good position to maximize that front end of the kick, it’s still a little bit too relaxed [at the start] and then there’s still quite a bit of push off from here to here.

As you can see because the arm’s right here and in order for you to be able to get your hips fully back to the start position where you want to, which is maybe what you where referencing when you talked about your hips. It’s this last little push off that’s allowing you to drive the hips from here back up to the front.

And we want that  – we want those hips to come forward again from this kick [at the start] so that when you get to here your hips are now already starting to move this way versus moving this way as you finish the kick backwards. Does that make sense, Kim?

Kim: Yeah. That makes total sense. That’s a really good explanation.

Chris: A lot of the key things are in place. You usually see people lose position in their upper body when they do this. But, like I said, it’s just being able to take the kick from – and the easier way to be able to do it is to just really shorten up the stride for the first little bit, so you’re focussing on getting from here to here.

So that when you’re actually kicking, which you kick off that leg, you want to be able to see always a bit of a bent leg at the back end when you’re gliding, versus getting this this, where it’s a very straight leg. And that will help with that first part, evolving the kick.

Bringing the hand in tighter is also going to help because that’s going to make this foot – remember, if you think about…I’m trying to think of the best way to describe it. Like plank. If you’re doing a plank in a gym, or a single leg deadlift, or something that needs leverage on both ends in order to be able to maintain equilibrium.

In order for you to able to have a really – because this foot is really far behind your centreline, in oder to be able to maintain balance you also need to have this hand quite a long ways in front. So, in order to be able to bring the hand in a little bit tighter here, this foots going to have to come a little closer in to be able to maintain that balance point. You don’t need to have that fully extended rear leg.

Kim: Right. It’s good. It’s interesting that you can really see that little bit of extra contact at the end of the kick and all the ramifications that has.

Chris: And you can see – its hard to see, I find, here. But once she goes past us, then it’s easier to see. Like, the next view’s the one where you really – you can see it in that arm at the very end. It kind of accelerated at the very end up. And you want to accelerate the hand at the start of the recovery, not at the end.

So where you’re going to focus the hand recovery acceleration is – so you finish the left hand. Nice finish. Let it pause there for a second. And then that part has to be fast, because this part is timed with the kick of this leg and this foot coming back underneath you.

But if you have a sharp push of your pole back up right there, which is causing that pole to get thrown forward, like this. That’s going to cause the impulse to be stronger at the back end of that kick.

Kim: So is this technically what you would call a late kick, then?

Chris: Yup. If someone was referencing a “late kick”, that’s for sure what they’d be talking about.

So, you have a lot of really great things going on, like I mentioned before. Just work on the timing of that kick and using the hand recovery and the arm angles can also really help with that.

Kim: Excellent.

Chris: Really good. And even though I lived in Calgary last year, it’s the first time I’ve seen the tracks in Calgary since they moved away from COP, so that’s kind of cool.

Kim: All right, thanks Susanne!

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