One way people judge how fast you are is by how quickly you maneuver. Your speed is based on how quick you are on the puck, and how quickly you change directions with sharp turns, quick stops and explosive starts. Being quick in these areas is the difference between being a fast or a slow skater in the coach's eyes.
By far, the fastest way to start from a dead stop is with a Toe-Start. This is done by taking the first two or three strides with only the inside edge of the toes of your skates. Your first two or three strides come out extremely fast which gives you the explosive acceleration and quickness that is inherent in fast skaters.
Think about all the times in a game where two players are in a race for the puck, or when the puck suddenly pops out in front of the net. If you can get a quicker start than the other player, that can lead to an easy goal scoring opportunity.
Not only will this make you faster, but it will make you stand out as being faster than other skaters. Coaches want to see skaters who are quick on the puck. They look for them when they are selecting their teams and when choosing short handed and power play lines. When you master Toe-Starts, you'll see a lot more ice time.
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by Alan Noble, Instructor.