A big complaint among hockey players in the more remote areas is that there is no place to skate over the summer months. This was certainly a problem for me growing up. I grew up in a small farm town and every arena within 100 kilometers took the ice out from March – September. So what does a die-hard hockey fanatic do when there is no ice?… Rollerblades!
The only problem with rollerblades is the slight difference from ice skates. The movements are not quite the same – the biggest differences being in stopping and turning – and it is possible to develop bad skating habits if you are rollerblading.
Do I recommend rollerblading to hockey players?
Absolutely, especially for the less experienced skaters. Yes you could develop a few bad habits, but if you’re having trouble with skating on ice I believe rollerblading will help you develop a better feel for being on skates.
How rollerblading helps ice hockey players
- Improves balance
- Improves single leg control and agility
- Help players develop a better sense of movement (more confidence on skates)
- Can help develop leg power (and better control and balance usually results in more power)
How rollerblading may hurt ice hockey players
- Rollerblades don’t have edges like hockey skates do
- Rollerblades do not slide during stopping and turning like hockey skates do
- It is easy to stand too straight on blades and not get a good full stride, rollerblading for long distances might shorten a hockey players stride
(pictured to the right is my favourite player growing up in rollerblades, although it’s probably one of the cheesiest hockey cards of all time)
Rollerblade drills to help hockey players
Below is a video with 3 skating drills you can do on roller blades that will help you with your skating on the ice.
Covered in this video
- Inside edges
- You will learn an exercise that will work on your agility, balance, single leg power, and help you become more comfortable on your skates
- Transitions from forwards to backwards and backwards to forwards
- You will learn the foot work involved in transitions. I teach you how to transition without losing speed
- Leg Power
- The last exercise will help generate leg power and it is a good workout on and off the ice. I got the last exercise from Jim Vitale from Vital Hockey while helping out at his hockey camp.
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