Short track vs long track speed skating is a frequent query because they are totally two different skating games. If you go by the records of the famous speed skating events, you will hardly notice a common player winning both. That is enough to prove that they are two extremely different games. Actually, these two are more different than they seem or you think. The differences to focus on include the size of the track, events, equipment, technique, strategy, and training.
Let’s examine every point where they stand apart.
Short track vs long track speed skating
Difference in Size of the track
The titles are self-explanatory enough to make you guess that the two tracks will differ in length. Yes, short-track speed skating needs shorter ovals measuring 111 meters, and the long-track one measures 400 meters in length.
There are more to take note of if you want to complete the difference in the tracks. The short track skating requires different kinds of skating and the equipment to deal with the turns to make up in a shorter form of skating.
The short track events are many and the races include 500m, 1000m, and a 1500m along with a men relay of 5000m and a 3000m women relay. In 2022, the skating enthusiast will enjoy a new event that includes men and women of the same race. The first-ever mixed gender relay.
Short-track races differ in the way they are contested. Adjusting with the distance to cover in a race, the competitors in a short track heat maybe 4 to 6. While four or six are the common number of competitors, they may be seven or eight due to extra players impeded in the previous heat.
The long track events feature almost the same races with an addition of 10,000m for men and 5000m race for women. Another significant difference lies in the number of competitors. Unlike the multi-player short track skating round, the long track race is a fight between the two skaters.
But the long has its crowded competition and the pack-style and mass start race is held among 24 competitors. It looks like the field is taken by the skaters landing on the ice altogether. To your utter surprise, this form of long track skating event made its debut in 2018. PyeongChang Olympic. Beyond doubt, this is the most chaotic of all speed skating events and popular too.
Beyond doubt, one of the most crucial differences between the two forms of speed skating games lies in the equipment used. To be specific, the boots to run the race on must be specialized to provide extra convenience while speed skating.
While shopping for the short track boots, you must prefer the ones that feel stiffer along with a higher cut. The higher cut feature helps racers in dealing with ultimate cornering forces. To your utter astonishment, skaters featured with the mentioned design and construction enjoys a g-force at the turn. That likens the force under three Gs as of the force of the space shuttle when lifting off. Whereas the long track boots come with a low cut and are way more flexible to bend in hands.
Moreover, the blades used in the two types of boots differ pretty significantly. And the long track boots wear clap skates featured with a hinging mechanism. So, you need exclusive inline speed skates. The blades stay attached at the front end of the skates while remain detached from the heel. This is to keep the blade in longer contact with the ice ground while the ankle keeps free to extend at will in each stride. As a result, a longer and efficient stride makes long track racing faster, convenient, and funny. Being a straightaway skating game, a longer stride is crucial to go ahead of the rivals.
Other than fittings and blade technology, the long track and short skaters differ in length of the blades. The long track skate use 16-22 inches blades while the short track boots use 12-18 inches blade. Not to skip any significance difference, head gears used in these skating games are way different.
Given they are two different forms of the same type, the techniques applied or practiced while playing must show that.
And you will notice that short track competitors can touch the ground while taking turns. This is a signature technique with the short track skaters known to be hand-on-the-ice technique and is highly crucial to fly around tighter corners.
In comparison, long track skaters lack that aforesaid cornering efficiency and are speedsters to cover 65 kilometers in an hour. While the short track skaters touch the ice at tight corners, the long distance skaters keep one of the arms tucked on their back for aerodynamics.
As for strategy, long track skaters do not bother that much as it is about going fast and merely energy conservation serves the purpose pretty well. But the mass start events merit application of strategy to make it or break it.
It the short track speed skating where strategy is as important as other factors. It is the skill and planning that can make it or break it. Therefore, on top of conserving energy; you have to plan ahead how to avoid falls and collisions. To keep energetic to the last and finish the game well is the challenge for short track skate racers. This is the most significant part deserving precise calculation.
For all the differences covered above, the coaching of these games must be different. Short-track skaters go through more mental pressure than it’s long-track counterpart. Especially, the turns while passing tighter corners put a skater under much pressure. On the other hand, the long-track skaters get a flexible time in terms of mental pressure. But they must be prepared to cope with high speed and store energy for longer track racing. As for game-specific training, you have to get ready to race several rounds a day whenever you prefer to play short-track speed skating.
Better to be aware of the reality, long-track skaters won’t have the ovals to practice all year round or anywhere in the world. Given the length of the long track speed skating course, it is really tough to organize tracks other than the scheduled events. Therefore, long track skaters train them in a different way whereas short-track skating courses are available all year-round.
While long track and short track events look and sound similar, they are fundamentally different. It is the acute technical divergence of the games that doesn’t encourage the players to get prepared or take part in both sports. With all your knowledge now, you can properly answer short track vs long track speed skating and the differences.