In the 2004 Disney film, “Miracle”, Herb Brooks tells the USA hockey team, “the legs feed the wolf,” when explaining the importance of being properly trained and conditioned. Stick handling, puck handling, strategy - all of these are important aspects of successful hockey play. But without skating, none of them matter.
Knowing how to skate is obviously essential to playing hockey. But there’s one aspect that can give you an edge over your competition - Power Skating. Power skating is a series of techniques used by hockey players and figure skaters alike that enable them to maximize every aspect of their stride to push each step to its fullest potential.
To Name a Few
- Arm Swing - When you skate straight forward or backward, your arm swing should also be forward and backward. It helps maintain balance and propel your momentum accordingly.
- Riding Your Edges - Your blade edges account for ALL of your maneuverability. When standing straight up, you ride on the "flat" of the blade (inside and outside edges simultaneously). The flat of the blade is designed to travel a straight line on the ice - not to curve or to grip the ice. Thus, when on the flat it is impossible to curve or push. Ironically, beginners are hell-bent on keeping their skates directly under them in order to maintain balance. Little do they know this act is precisely why they can’t properly grip the ice.
- Tight Turns - When performing a tight turn, your shoulders should stay level with the ice. Players often drop the inside shoulder, probably because it just feels natural to do so. However, this can often create too much lean, which may cause a loss of balance.
- Kick It - When skating forward, the beginning of the push comes from the heel - the back third of the blade. The second third of the push comes from the middle of the blade, and the final third of the push comes from the toe. Hockey players call this final push the "kick". Properly “rocking” your skates so you can feel each of these stages will dramatically increase your push-off power.
Barely Scratched the Surface
Moving your feet quickly doesn’t necessarily mean you’re skating with power. The above notes are just a few of the techniques that will help you get the most out of your stride, no matter how quickly or slowly you’re moving your feet.
At my local rink, Reisterstown Sportsplex, they’re offering Power Skating Classes through the end of July. I highly recommend attending. Visit rtownsports.com now for more information.
Posted on Thu, July 21, 2011
by Hockey Rob filed under