XC Skiing: Scooter Drills Teach Push-Off & Glide Skills

D. Moss, Editor

The push-off, or kick, is the propulsive portion of the ski stride. To push off, skiers apply weight to one ski to grip the snow, then push backward while simultaneously gliding forward on the other ski.

You can develop the push-off and the glide using the Scooters drill and its variations.

Scooter Drill
Scooter Drill
One-Legged Scooters
This drill is best performed where the snow is thin or packed down. Your students remove one ski—this leg becomes the push-off leg. Then, without using poles, they practice pushing off this foot and gliding on the other.

Have them experiment with both big and little pushes, noticing the difference in stride length and tempo that occurs. This drill will also force them to develop balance on their gliding ski. Have them change skis and repeat.

Tandem Scooters
Tandem Scooters is similar to the One- Legged Scooters, but with a partner.

Pair your students and have them remove their inside ski while standing side-by-side. Holding each other's shoulder, waist or hand, the partners propel themselves by coordinating their push-off leg. They switch the gliding ski to their inside leg and repeat.

Tandem Scooter Drill
Tandem Scooter Drill

Team Scooters
Try Scooters in groups of three or more, skiing side- by-side or in a large “conga line.”

Scooter Races
You can organize Scooter races for single, tandem or groups in which: 

• Participants race each other for speed.

• Participants cover a distance and count their strides. They then repeat, attempting to use fewer strides, which develops a better stride length; or more strides, which develops a faster tempo.

Reference: Laurie Gullion, Ski Games, Leisure Press, 1990.

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