With our Summer Power Skating Schools having come and gone, my Instructors and I have tried to reconstruct for you the three most common mistakes our students made (with respect to their overall skating techniques) while they were attending our camps. These include: not enough kneebend, using two hands on the stick, and poor edge-control. Correcting one or all of these common errors will automatically improve your skating ability.
We often remind our students that if they can remember only one aspect of our camps that will definitely make them better skaters, that fundamental would be to bend the knees more than what feels comfortable. You will find that your balance immediately improves, as well as your stride length, mobility and speed.
- Lean forward so that the back of your helmet is out in front of your knees… and crunch your stomach muscles.
- Bend your knees deeply so that they are covering or about 2″ out in front of the toes of your skates.
- The Knee should always be out in front of the toes of your skates (except for in the tight turn, where the outside edge skate should lead you into the turn).
- If your legs are not burning (especially the thigh area) after a shift or at the end of practice, than you know you are not bending the knees to the optimal position.
Obviously, when you shoot, pass, catch a pass, etc. you should use two hands on the stick. However, when you are attempting to gain top speed in open ice you should have one hand (your top hand) on the stick (even with the puck). Be sure to stretch your arms fully to the front, rather than side to side, so that you are able to keep all your momentum and speed going in the direction you are traveling.
- Use one hand on the stick whenever you are in open ice situations.
- Keeping one hand on the stick will dramatically improve your balance, especially when skating backwards.
- Remember to turn the palm of your stickhand up once the arm has fully extended to the front, this will flatten your stick out on the ice, allowing you to maintain top speed while pushing the puck on your backhand side.
You have to be able to grip the ice with the edges of your skates in order for you to get maximum power and control. The proper angle of an edge rolling to the ice should be maintained at 45( ( halfway to the ice. Too many players we see never roll the ankles of their skates which means they are standing mostly on the flats of the blades. This causes your grip against the ice to be lessened. In other words, shoddy edgework causes you to slide on top of the ice, rather than digging into it. This mistake will severely hamper your power, turns, starts, etc.
- Make sure your edges roll at least halfway to the ice.
- Be sure to center all of your bodyweight directly over your edge to create a Counterbalancing effect.
- Try loosening the top two iylids on your skates, which will immediately give you more ankle flexibility and allow you to roll your edges further to the ice.
By Robby Glantz