How to Skate (for Hockey Players)

how to ice skate

by Ken on November 6, 2013

I am happy to present our newest video series that will teach you how to skate. These videos are specifically for hockey players. Hockey players will skate differently than figure skaters and public skaters. In hockey we want speed, power and agility. I will be posting new videos every week until the series is finished.

Learn to Skate Playlist 10 Videos

For a detailed article and a quick beginner video you can read our previously published post below

How to Ice Skate

To be a great hockey player you first have to learn to be a great skater, this article will give you the building blocks necessary to become an amazing skater.

When you are first learning to skate it seems like a very daunting task, you are given two shoes with blades attached to them and asked to go onto a surface of ice, like it is no big deal. A lot of the trouble with learning how to skate is to get over the emotional and mental barriers first. Don’t feel embarrassed to use a chair or any other tool. In fact using a chair or pylon is the best way to learn to skate as it will allow you to gradually add weight to your skates and feel more comfortable.  After learning to push off with your skates, then you just need to learn muscle memory and practice a lot.

When you lace up those skates for the first time practice standing on them in the dressing room. Get used to the feel of the blades and the way it will affect your balance.  Also practice using each edge of your blade. Remember when your skates are flat, you are standing on two edges.

Skate blade on icePractice leaning your skates so you are only on one of the edges, inside or outside. Now practice leaining on both of your inside edges and both your outside edges.

Remember these key positions as they will be needed later.

Now for stepping on the ice there are a few key points you must remember:

Stay low: I have seen it a 1000 times at rinks new skaters out on the ice standing like pencils and falling like dominoes. Make sure you have your knees bent and your skates shoulder width apart. This positon is known in a majority of sports as the ready position, it allows  you to greatly improve your  balance and it loads  muscles  which allows for better reaction times.

Know your edges: When you first step on the ice you should use the ready position. If you do this you will feel weight on your legs that will want to push your legs apart. This may feel like you are about to do the splits, to stop this you must use your edges. If you have practiced moving from edge to edge off the ice as I have stated before it should not be to hard to do. Stay low and lean your skates to their inside edges. When you feel them digging in start applying more weight, this will be hard the first few times as your body will be telling you the opposite. Trust your skates, the edges will stop your legs from splitting.

Never give up: No matter how many times you fall you have to get back up and go again, mental barriers are half the obstacle but are never talked about. You have to be ready to get a few bruises if you want to improve yourself. So don’t give up on learning, and do not give up on yourself. A desire to learn and self confidence will be the greatest tools you can have when learning something new.

I find many people learn easier by seeing, rather than reading. We have put together this video that should help you learn how to ice skate. Watch this video, it will give you all these tips and hopefully make the learning process  a whole lot easier

How to Skate like a hockey player

Hockey players skate differently than speed skaters and figure skaters. With hockey the most important aspect is explosive power. Right now we will just focus on the fundamentals of skating.

Step 1 – Bend the knees and get low – Your power and speed comes from your legs, and you can’t get much power if you don’t bend your knees first. A good hockey player will have their butt dropped as if they are about to sit in a chair. Remember to keep your head and chest up to remain balanced.

Step 2 – Push out with one leg, while gliding on the other leg – When you are pushing start by pushing back at a 45 degree angle. If you push straight back you will not get very much power because you will be “running on the ice”. In order to get speed and power from your push you need to dig in with your edges and to do this you need to push at at least a 45 degree angle.

Step 3 – Recover and repeat on the other side – After finishing your push, get your leg back under your body and then push with the other leg. Repeat this motion over and over and you are skating!

Quick tips

  • Remember to stay low and maintain a good knee bend
  • Do not bob up and down, many beginner players get in the habit of standing up while pushing. You need to stay low to get full power from each push
  • Remember to keep your glide leg bent as well, this keeps it prepared to push when the other leg recovers

Next you will want to learn how to stop

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments just leave them in the comment section  below.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

nethra June 8, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Good

Reply

paul November 17, 2013 at 5:57 am

How to I fit ice skates properly? What size do I need for size 9 shoe size? Is there a general ‘rule of thumb?’

Reply

Mike December 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Paul, a good place to start is 1.5 sizes smaller than your shoe size. For example, I have a size 13 foot and wear a 11.5 skate. Your best bet would be to go and get fitted as things like foot with come in to play as well. I have a very wide foot and cannot comfortably wear a standard “D” width skate, so I wear a 11.5 EE… The important things is to get a skate that is not too small and not too big. If it is too small you will not be comfortable, if it is too big you will lose power in your stride and your form will suffer. I highly suggest going to your LHS and getting fitted by someone with some knowledge on the subject, you will be glad you did.

Ali January 5, 2013 at 9:34 am

Hi

35 years old male. Just took two lessons. Having really hard time learning the push with one foot and glide with other.
Instructor says keep weight on the leg that will give a push and after the push transfer weight to the gliding leg.
I saw video that showed keep all weight on gliding leg before push.
I’m sorta confused and need some help
Also any other advice, guidance, suggestions will be very much appreciated.

Regards

Thanks
Ali

Reply

Frank Tovar April 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I noticed that you do not have any instructions on how to skate backwards for beginners. Do you have that on this website? I did a search and could not find it.

Thank you

Reply

Jeremy May 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Shoot, we did a video but I guess I never added an article about it. Here is the video How to skate backwards

Muhammad H. September 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Hey Jeremy this is my second year of playing high school hockey and i always have trouble skating without my skates wobbling, when going fast. I learned how to skate on roller blades. The ankle support locks my ankle so it doesn’t move. But ice skates only have the laces.Is there a way to have good ankle support with tying laces. or is there a product that helps with this.

Reply

Zach P November 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Hi, Muhammad there is a product that will help with that. The Rebok Pump skates have pumps in the ankle that pump up the sides of the skate and push against your ankle. They are great, they help me a ton.

Richard August 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Is ice skating any different than sating with roller hockey skates?

Reply

Jeremy K April 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I can inline skate, how different is skating on ice?

Reply

skater 1 December 26, 2010 at 1:11 pm

thank you so much !! :)

Reply

Redwings October 9, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Great article, very helpful when your starting to ice skate. Thanks.

Reply

justin dalton October 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

you should do a video on how to improve backwards skating.

Reply

Jeremy October 3, 2010 at 8:00 am

We have one on how to skate backwards. It is a basic video and article showing your what to do.

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