Alternative names: --
Objective: Endurance, sprinting, and to practice maintaining a tight wall with a partner
Typical length of drill: 15 mins
Materials needed: A full track or just four cones to mark the inside track line
Skill level required: None
Description: In this drill the skaters race against each other around a line of other skaters. Start with a double pace-line* of skaters going around the track; everyone is paired up with someone of the opposite speed, the faster skater is on the outside and the slower skater is on the inside. The line should stay in the very middle of the track, leaving a path open on both the inside and outside. The skaters are all working on staying as a tight wall with their partner while keeping a medium pace the whole time, and staying one arm’s distance from the pair in front of and behind them. Once the pace-line is going at a comfortable speed the pair in the back begins the drill: On the whistle the two skaters let go of their wall and they begin to race to the front of the pace-line. The outside skater is racing on the outside of the pace-line and the inside skater is racing on the inside of the pace-line. When both the skaters get to the front they pair back up and make a tight wall. The next pair in the back of the line begin to race each other to the front and this cycle repeats for 15 minutes or however long you choose to run this drill. To spice it up you can slowly but surely increase the pace-line's speed during this drill so that it starts out easy and ends much more difficult.
*A pace-line is a simple line of skaters following each other around the track in one straight line; the skaters are to always maintain a one arm's length -distance from each other (or sometimes less). A pace-line can have many different speeds, depending on what the drill requires but no matter if it's fast or slow, the skaters should always be able to touch the person in front of them at the coach's call. A double pace-line is exactly the same as a regular pace-line except that the skaters are skating in the line in pairs, standing next to one another and thus making the line twice as fat as usual.
Additional notes: This drill can be really good for large leagues in smallish spaces because it uses the double pace-line. It's also a great drill for freshmeat because it gives them endurance training while they also get to practice walling and skating really close to another skater. In addition, because this drill pairs up skaters of the opposite speed it gives skaters who might not normally pair up during drills a chance to get to know each other and work together. I'd also like to add that this is a good drill to do in the opposite direction.