So far in our skating series we have covered the basic hockey stance, the forward stride, stopping, turning, edges, and balance. You should have a pretty good grasp on skating by now but what about transitions?
This is when you are skating forwards and need to switch to skating backwards, or you are skating backwards and need to turn and go forwards. This happens a lot in hockey (especially if you play defense) so you want to make sure you are doing it properly.
Two methods for each transition
There are actually ways to do each transition (or turn). The first method is fine for beginners because it helps them stay balanced and get used to the motion, however once they get better they will need to learn the more advanced transitions. In the video below we outline both ways to turn from forwards to backwards and turn from backwards to forwards.
Transition Techniques for Hockey Players
The Beginner Method
When you first start out, we just want to get you used to turning around from forwards to backwards or backwards to forwards while moving. To do this you can keep both feet on the ice. Essentially all you need to do is rotate the hips a bit, push one foot around in front and bring the other foot around behind you.
The only problem with this method is that your blades are on the ice the entire time, which means at some point they will be perpendicular to the direction you want to go, and that will cause a lot of resistance on the ice (you will momentarily be in the hockey stop position while turning this way)
The Advanced and Preferred Method
In this method the blade that is on the ice is ALWAYS pointing in the direction you want to go. You basically point one foot down the ice, lift the other and turn it around nearly backwards and plant it, then lift and rotate the other foot and rotate it around so now both are planted on the ice and you should now be facing in the opposite direction (or flat on your face if you didn’t do it right)
Forwards to Backwards Transitions
- Weight is first placed on my right leg
- I glide momentarily on my right skate while lifting my left leg and rotating it around, almost going heel to heel
- Now I place my weight on my left leg (which is now going backwards) and rotate my right leg around so now both feet are facing backwards (and so am I)
- To do this in the other direction you just start with the weight on your left leg and rotate in the other direction.
Backwards to forward Transition
The backwards to forwards transition is a little easier then the forwards to backwards. It follows a similar system of transferring weight. In this example I am rotating / opening up to my right. Remember to always turn towards the play (chest is always facing the puck)
- While skating backwards transfer your weight to your left leg (right leg if you are rotating the other way)
- Take the weight off your right leg and rotate it around (open up the hips) you will almost be in a heel to heel position
- Now plant your weight on the right foot and bring your left leg around so you are now going forwards.
To see this move in action you can watch our forwards to backwards transition video embedded above.