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.
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.
Practice 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!
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
We asked the fans of our hockey page on Facebook what skating skill they needed the most help with and most of them asked for help with the backwards crossovers. The backwards crossover can be a tricky skill to learn, especially when someone tries to explain it to you, or even show you everything all at once. There is a lot going on so in the video below we show you everything step-by-step so you can better understand what you should be doing.
Backwards Crossover Video
What we cover in the backwards crossovers video
First learn the basics – Before you start attempting to crossover while skating backwards you first need to learn a few of the “building blocks”. The two skills that you should be comfortable with are crossovers while standing still, and backwards c-cuts. If you can’t do these keep on working on them, once you feel comfortable with both of the above skills then you can try the more advanced backwards crossover.
To practice crossovers just stand still and practice moving laterally and putting one foot over the other. This will help you feel comfortable shifting your weight from your inside edge to your outside edge, and getting one leg underneath your body while the other crosses over. You need to be comfortable on your edges and shifting your weight so work on this a lot remember to bend your knees while practicing!
To practice the backwards c-cuts just get in your hockey stance and have your weight centered over your blades evenly. Put your stick on the ice for a bit of extra balance. Now just push out with your heel and with the blade of your skate still on the ice pull your foot back to the gliding position, now repeat with the other foot. We cover all of this in the Backwards crossovers video embedded above and our how to skate backwards video
After you know the basics try using both – Now that you are comfortable crossing over while standing still and doing backwards c-cuts you can try both at the same time. Take a few backwards strides and glide for a few seconds to get your balance, now try crossing over just like you did when you were standing still. Remember to bend your knees and don’t lean too far forwards or backwards. After getting comfortable crossing over backwards practice using the same motion to get a bit of speed. Instead of just crossing over, try pushing off while crossing over to gain speed.
Now try going around the circles – If you are comfortable with the backwards crossovers you can try doing them over and over while going around a circle. Get on any of the circles and follow the steps below All steps below are shown in the video above.
First only focus on the inside leg (leg closest to the circle) and let the outside leg glide. Do a few backwards c-cuts first to get comfortable and then try to over-extend the backwards c-cut and bring your inside leg right under your body. Your inside leg will start on it’s inside edge, you will pull it under your body and transfer to your outside edge, and then get a final push by fully extending your leg and driving off with the toe. Repeat this over and over, now move on to step 2
Now try to focus on your outside leg. Do a few backwards c-cuts with only the outside leg, once you get comfortable cross the outside leg over the inside leg. By crossing over with your outside leg you will be forced to bring the inside leg under just like you were practicing in step 1
Now work on getting your legs working together. While practicing work on extending your reach as much as you can, this way you will be very comfortable on your edges. You should also try to get a push from both legs to gain more speed. Remember to keep your balance centered, don’t lean too far forwards or backwards.
Remember to also practice the quick crossovers (shown in the video). You will use these the most while transitioning from forwards to backwards and backwards to forwards.
When you use the backwards crossovers
Defensemen will use these a lot when they are trying to pace a forward who has the puck. When the forward moves across the ice trying to beat the defencemen a few good crossovers will keep the skating speed up and also help close the gap a bit. Good lateral movement is vital for defensemen.
Forwards will use these quite a bit when transitioning from forwards to backwards or backwards to forwards. Using a few quick backwards crossovers will help you pick up (or maintain) speed while changing directions.
I hope these tips will help you improve your skating. You can share this article with the buttons below, and you can also join us on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube!
When you are in a game one of the biggest advantages that you can have over your opponent is quick acceleration. Your ability to quickly go from coasting to full speed will help you win foot races, out-skate your opponent, get more loose pucks and get more opportunities to shoot and score. Speed is a very important factor in today’s game and acceleration is a huge part of speed. In this article and video I give you a number of ways to improve your acceleration and improve your technique. I also share a few drills in the video that you can practice on the ice. See the video below for some on-ice drills and check below the video for some off ice drills and exercises
How to Improve Acceleration in Hockey
Important points in this video
There are a few things that you should remember when you are trying to accelerate quickly, I go over a number of points in the video and I will also share them here
Turn your feet
Some hockey players start skating by walking, and then running on the ice. They never learn to turn their feet and they will never get full power this way. In order to get all the power from each stride you need to turn your blades to a 45 angle. This ensures your blades don’t slip on the ice, if you don’t turn your feet you are basically just spinning your tires. Don’t spin your tires
Dig those toes in!
This point is VERY important for acceleration, but not quite as important once you get to full speed. When you accelerate your first three steps are basically all toes, you are essentially sprinting on the ice. You want three quick steps and try to dig the toe in, push hard, and then get the next toe dug in. You don’t want to coast at all. When you get to full speed you are using more of the blades and coasting with each stride, but the acceleration needs to be all power, all thrust and no coasting!
Push hard with both legs
Remember to EXPLODE with power from both legs. Some players push hard with the first leg to get themselves going and then go half power for the next few steps. Push hard with both legs, and practice using the right technique with both legs.
Bend the knees and extend your legs
This is very important, if you don’t bend your knees enough you wont get 100% of the power you could be getting. The less you bend your knees the less power you will get, imagine riding a bike without bending your knees, you wouldn’t get anywhere.
You also want to extend your legs to get full power, you don’t want to be like the clown on the mini bicycle. Extend you leg, and then quickly get it underneath you to take another stride.
You want to keep that energy moving forwards, so lean forwards. Some players extend their legs, but stand up while they are doing it. Make sure you are leaning forwards so all your energy pushes you forwards, you don’t want to lose power by pushing UP instead of out.
Off Ice Hockey Drills to improve acceleration
Here are a few simple drills that you can do at home to help you build your acceleration
When you are training for hockey, you need to train as if you are in a game. Wind sprints are great because you go hard, and then take a break. All you need to do here is sprint as hard as you can for about 20 strides and then take a quick break, then do it again. Push as hard as you can and try to get to full speed in as few steps as possible. For added resistance you can sprint up a small hill and walk down it.
Stair climbs are fairly straight forward, run quickly up a set of stairs and walk down. This will force you to bend your knees and get a full extension, it will also build your leg muscles and give you a great leg workout.
You can also treat the stairs like pylo boxes and do two foot jumps up the stairs, one foot jumps, and lateral jumps up the stairs.
Lunges are a very easy way to work your leg muscles, the important part is doing them right to help maximize the results and get the most out of the workouts. You can do them with, or without weights. Here is a good video from Gary Roberts showing dumbell lunges
This workout is very easy to do at home, all you do is start balancing on one leg, bend your knee and jump to the side, then land on your other leg and repeat. Move your arms as well as if you are skating. The purpose of this drills is to explode with power off each leg, and get a deep knee bend and full extension.
Hockey Acceleration drills with equipment
If you want an even better workout you can add some resistance, here are a few drills that require equipment but will give you an even better workout
Angled Plyo box jumps
Russian hockey players love to use the angled boxes, these are great for building power in both legs and learning to really push off and explode. There are a few drills that you can do with an angled box, they are expensive to buy so if you want to use them think about building your own set. One drill is to basically perform the skater jumps as described above, except you are pushing off an angled box. Jump back and forth and remember to get a good knee bend, and full extension with each jump.
For another drill with the angled box check out the video to the right
Wind sprints with a tire (or sled)
You can do this drill with almost anything that adds resistance but tires seem to work well and you can add more weight to them if you’d like. Just get a rope and a tire and rig up a way to anchor it to your body. Get the rope tight and then sprint as hard as you can for about 20 strides. Repeat until your legs feel like rubber. Remember to turn your feet and lean forwards to get the most power
These things are great for training your legs for explosive power, there are too many drills to list here. If you are serious about training for speed you can buy some plyo boxes but personally I would just build my own. Below is a good video from Weiss Tech hockey explaining a good plyo box workout for hockey
Well that’s it, thanks a lot for reading and checking out my video. I hope these tips will help you improve your acceleration. Remember when you are training to explode and put all your power into it right off the start. You want to train your muscles to react quickly so every drill and workout should be done with maximum effort.
Note: HUGE thanks to Jarod for writing this article for How To Hockey. This article is a detailed account of how he got his speed up to NHL standards. If you want to say thanks you can tweet this article and mention him https://twitter.com/#!/palmfisher
I have always been a hockey player with average speed. As a professional athlete, I am always looking to improve my skill set, especially in finding my way “in” to the NHL. Last season, my coach sat me down and asked me what I thought was keeping me from playing in the NHL. After a few wrong guesses, he told me that my speed, or lack there of, was not at the NHL level. Despite the amount of training I had done the summer before my rookie year, I had to agree with my coach; I was not fast. There was only one answer…I must have been training wrong. I began my quest to successfully build speed in the following summer. I changed my training technique and became stronger, faster, and sturdier on my feet than ever before. Here is how I did it.
Changing Your Mind Set
In order to work your muscles “smarter” rather than “harder,” you must:
Switch the focus from your quadriceps to the “back of the leg” muscles. These muscles include your gluteals, hamstrings and calves.
Shift from two-leg training to single leg training. By doing this you are able to recruit more stabilizer muscles.
Train with little or no weight and focus more on speed than strength.
I’m happy to say that my new techniques paid off. The very next season, I was noticeably faster and did get my shot in the NHL with the very same coach that gave me the great advice.
Back of the Legs
Focus your mind on working the gluteals and hamstrings during all of your hockey exercises, especially sprinting and jumping.
One way to practice flexing the right muscles is by doing a wall set (sit in a chair-like squat with your back against the wall and hold). Most likely your quadriceps muscles will begin to burn. Without changing position, you can relieve the strain on the quads by tightening up your gluteals and hamstrings.
Think about sitting in that squat position with someone in front of you trying to pull your feet out from underneath you. You would automatically flex your hamstring and glute muscles in order to keep your feet beneath you. This is what you want to flex during the exercise.
Make sure your weight is not on your toes but rather on your heels. Try to lift your toes off the ground. You might feel your lower back begin to pull away from the wall. Counter this tendency by flexing your core and keep your back flat against the wall.
Your hamstrings and glutes should be tight during the entire motion of a squat. Try tapping your fingers against your hamstrings. This will help tell your brain to work those muscles.
When you are doing it right, your hamstrings will be hard. Believe me, this is as much of a mental work out as a physical one. It takes practice to get it right.
Wall Sit Video
Having troubles? Try standing tall. Now drop into a squat position as fast as you can and hold. Your body weight should drop faster than gravity can pull you down because your hamstrings flex to pull your body downward. Continue to flex the hamstrings and fire the glutes on your way up finishing with a slight forward hip thrust – thus forcing the glutes to flex as much as possible. Getting the right muscles to fire during the squat motion took me several workouts. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you some time. Unless you are an Olympic sprinter, you are quad dominant. You have to retrain your muscles to become “back of the leg dominant” and this takes practice.
Every time you take a stride you balance on one blade until your other foot recovers. Thus, single leg balance is key to becoming more stable on skates. Stand with one foot on the ground and do a four to five inch squat.
Your free leg should be bent with your foot slightly behind you. Remember the “back of leg” principals learned above.
Your body weight should be over your heel. To maintain balance, tighten up your core, keep your chest and head up with your arms loose.
Try to breath in on your way down and out on your way up. Now try to do the same squat with no shoes on.
Progress in difficulty by squatting deeper each time.
Don’t worry about going fast. Focus on controlling your balance with core body strength. Use your arms as little as possible.
Want More? Try kneeling on an exercise ball. The pros can stand on the ball and do squats.
Speed and Quickness
When attempting to develop strength, movements should be slow and controlled. When trying to develop speed, all movements should be done with speed and grace. Do every exercise as fast as you can while maintaining control. When you do a squat, try to go down quickly. When you reach 90 degrees (more or less) change direction as fast as you can. Doing squats in this motion works both deceleration and acceleration strength. The muscle fibers work one way to stop your body from moving and another way to get it moving again. You need power through both movements in order to be able to change direction quickly on the ice. When doing jumps or lunges focus on landing soft, using your hamstrings to pull your body down quickly with your hamstrings and exploding upward with your glutes. Again, this is very challenging and takes time to get right.
Changing the way I worked my muscles was not easy. My body wanted to revert back to over using the quadriceps. My workouts were as challenging mentally as they were physically. What kept me going were the results. My hamstrings and glutes grew in size and strength. I began to spring off the ground rather than push. I felt lighter and more stable on the ice, which is exactly what I wanted. Without a doubt, training this way improved my speed and stability on the ice.
I hope this information helps you as much as it helped me. Good luck!
We have had a lot of requests for more skating videos and articles so here is one for forward skating, we have some basic articles already for how to skate and how to stop, so this one seemed like the net logical video / article to publish. In this video we show you the basics to the crossovers and a few easy drills you can do to improve your crossovers and turning. I have also embedded a video that goes into a lot more detail on different types of crossovers / drills you can do to improve.
Forward Crossovers Video
Forward Crossovers Tips
Keep your knees bent and remember to use your edges
While doing crossovers around the circle your OUTSIDE leg will be pushing and giving you speed / power
While doing the forwards crossovers (zig-zag drill in first video) your INSIDE leg is pushing and giving you power
While doing the circle crossovers try to always keep your stick inside the circle, you can lean on your stick a bit to get lower to the ice
Detailed Hockey Crossover Video
Here is a good video from Hockey Canada that goes into good detail on the crossover and shows a bunch of drills you can practice.
We have had a number of requests for a video on how to shoot while skating. Ken and I went out the other day and shot a few videos, so far we have two up on youtube with another one coming soon. So far we have the slapshot, and the snapshot so that is what I will cover in this article
How to take a Slapshot While Skating
The slapshot is a tricky shot to master, before you learn how to take a slapshot while skating I would recommend learning how to take a slapshot while standing still. A lot of people when they are first learning develop some bad habits, so it is important to learn the proper technique. Another important aspect is using your ENTIRE body to get power, not just the arms. For more on that read our article on how to take a slapshot and the follow up articles at the bottom with more info.
Prep the puck – One issue that some players might have is prepping the puck. When shooting while standing still the player will set the puck up, and then shoot. If the player sets the puck up in the same spot while skating the puck could end up a few inches behind by the time you are ready to take the slapshot.
When you are setting up for the slapshot while skating, you have two options. You can either push the puck a little bit ahead and then really skate into it, or just make sure the puck is going the same speed as you, and get a nice quick shot off.
Tips for take a slapshot while skating
Prep the puck by pushing it a bit in front of you, or ensuring it is going the same speed as you are before you wind up
Use the entire body to get power, use your arms, core muscles and legs
Really push into the shot with your back leg
Slapshot While Skating Video
How to Take a Snapshot While Skating
The snapshot is a tricky shot so I encourage you to practice it at home. We have an article on how to take a snapshot if you need any tips. On the ice there are a few things to consider, positioning, weight transfer and technique.
Positioning – I find that I have a pretty good shot to goal ration from certain areas of the ice. I always opt for a snapshot when I am in close because it gives the goalie less time to set up (get the puck to the net quicker). I also find I have a more powerful snapshot while on my wing. I’m right handed, and I like to take snapshots while on the right side of the net. When I am on the left I like to cut to the center and take a full wrist shot.
Weight Transfer – Your weight transfer is very important, you want to transfer all your weight onto your front foot, or the foot closest to the blade of your stick. This is the opposite of the leg you transfer weight onto for a wrist shot. You can also take a snapshot from the other leg, it just takes a bit longer to get the shot off.
Technique – The technique to taking a snapshot while skating is a bit tricky
Skate in and have the puck on your shooting side, on your side
Push off with the leg furthest from the blade of your stick, and sort of lunge onto the other leg
While pushing off with your back leg and transferring the weight onto your front leg, pull the puck in towards your body and towards the net
Now use a quick snap from your wrists to elevate the puck and put power on it
Increasing hockey speed is a never-ending pursuit for most hockey players… or at least it should be!!
Today’s game is much different than it used to be. The crack-down on “clutch-and-grab” hockey has really opened up the ice for the skilled athlete. We are seeing an exciting shift toward a high-speed, quick-paced game of skill and finesse… one in which slower athletes are being left behind… LITERALLY!
Any smart hockey player should recognize this change in the game, and should be constantly striving to increase his or her hockey speed. But in order to do that, you must first understand what makes a fast hockey player.
Hockey speed is composed of Technical Elements, and Physical Elements. Or in other words: On-ice Components, and Off-ice Components.
The on-ice components are things your skating instructor should be able to help you with such as utilizing a proper knee bend, obtaining a full extension on each stride, eliminating “head-bobbing,” striding at the proper angle, using your edges properly, etc…
The on-ice elements MUST be perfected in order to achieve optimal speed. However, there are three main off-ice components every player should develop that will GREATLY ENHANCE his or her ability to generate speed on the ice.
The three main off-ice components are as follows:
Agility & Footspeed
Increasing leg strength will allow for deeper knee bends, which make for longer and more efficient strides. It will also help to improve balance and stability in battling and checking situations.
Becoming more explosive will improve that quick burst of speed, and allow you to win more races to loose pucks. Races are won or lost in those first three strides!
Improving Agility and footspeed will allow you to take more strides in a shorter period of time. This, combined with an increased stride length, will complete your speed equation––allowing you to take a greater number of longer strides.
There are many ways to improve on these three main off-ice components. Here are three exercises that I think should be included in any solid hockey training program:
SQUAT FOR LEG STRENGTH: This video shows the main key points for executing a proper squat. Squats are a great exercise to increase overall leg strength!
PLYO BOX ROUTINE (AND VARIATION) FOR EXPLOSIVENESS: The first video explains what plyometrics are, how plyometric training can contribute to increased hockey speed, and shows a sample exercise routine using plyometric boxes. The second video shows what to do if you don’t have plyometric boxes available to you.
DOT DRILL FOR AGILITY AND FOOTSPEED: This video shows my favorite off-ice agility drill. This drill is cheap to set up, and only takes about a minute to perform, so there’s no excuse not to do it each day!
Increasing hockey speed is a complex task, with on-ice and off-ice variables. Go to a well-qualified skating instructor to help you nail down your on-ice components, and participate in a hockey specific strength and conditioning program to improve your off ice components by increasing your leg strength, explosiveness, and agility––starting with squats, plyometrics, and the dot drill. Combining on ice and off ice development will help you to improve your speed quickly and effectively this summer!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jeremy Weiss owns and operates a hockey drills and skills blog. He has a degree in Exercise Science and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Jeremy recently combined his fitness knowledge with his hockey background to develop a hockey-specific, strength and conditioning program called the S3 Formula. More info on this state-of-the-art hockey training system can be found on Jeremy’s Hockey Development page
A common problem that many new hockey players have is learning how to stop. I don’t mean stopping by dragging your foot, doing a 360 or running into the boards, I mean doing a proper hockey stop!
In this article we have four videos to help explain the hockey stop.
I have written this article to help you learn how to stop in hockey, I have also made a how to stop in hockey video that I have added below. You can watch the video if you prefer a visual lesson, I will include key points below the video.
The first video shows the basics of stopping on skates. The biggest part of stopping on skates is getting over the mental barrier. Here is the first video
How to Stop on Hockey Skates Video
This video covers the basics of stopping and helps you understand what is happening.
As you can see in the video the main concept to grasp is that you have to peel the ice, and you will be sliding sideways for a brief second. The most important point to take away from this video is that you MUST keep your momentum moving in the direction you are skating, otherwise you will just turn around. Now you can watch the how to hockey stop video
The Hockey Stop for Absolute Beginners
We made the video below this one first, but we still had a lot of questions so we decided to address all those questions in this video, and offer some very simple solutions to some common problems that beginner hockey players were having.
Learning how to hockey stop can be tough, but by learning the proper technique, taking it slow, and practicing a lot you should be able to learn in no time! Here is the process of stopping in hockey
A player starts by skating forwards, when the player is ready to stop they will lift one leg slightly to take weight off of it (this can become the back leg or front leg but for the purposes of this example this will become the back leg). With a bit of weight taken off of one skate, the player will start to lean back, rotate their hips and shoulders and begin to turn with their other leg (this leg becomes the front leg). When the player has turned their front leg approximately 90 degrees they will now plant their back leg about 1 foot behind their front leg. At this point the player will be leaning back, and keeping the momentum moving in the direction they were skating. With both feet planted the player will slide for a brief second before coming to a full stop. This sounds like a lot to learn and a long process, but it happens in less than a second. You can see this process in action in the video above if you would like. I have also added pictures of how the hockey stop happens below.
Hockey Stop – Start
You can see here that I am just finishing my last stride from skating, and now preparing to stop. I am pushing off with my back leg (left leg) and getting ready to land with my front leg (my right leg).
Hockey Stop – Rotate Hips
You can see that I have pushed off with my back leg (my left leg), landed with my front leg, and now I am beginning the hockey stop. I am starting to rotate my hips, and turning my front foot. At the same time I will be leaning back, and bringing my back leg behind my front leg.
Hockey Stop – Planting Your Feet
I have now rotated my hips a bit, turned my front foot enough to begin stopping, and just starting to plant my back leg. the back leg is used for balance, and also a bit for stopping. Most of the weight will be placed on the front leg. The key here is to lean back (so you don’t topple over) and peel ice. To stop you will be using the inside edge of the blade on your front skate, and outside edge of the blade on your back skate. I will pivot both of my skates just a little more, then really lean into the stop.
How To Hockey Stop
Here you can see the stop in action. I have peeled a lot of ice with my front leg and a bit with my back leg as well (hard to see though in this picture) The key is to keep moving in the direction that you are skating. If you have trouble stopping like this (you keep spinning or going in circles) try some of the drills I mention in the video, or in the article below.
Now that you know how a hockey stop happens I will teach you how to do it.
Learning To Stop in Hockey
The biggest obstacle in learning to stop on skates is the mental barrier that people put up. In the video and in this article I show you how you can overcome the mental barrier of stopping on ice. As you become more comfortable with the concept of how to stop on skates you will get better and better.
Start slow – Start skating slowly, and stopping slowly, in fact at first you will only be using one leg to stop, not both. If you are just starting, try holding onto the boards and just pushing off with your leg and get the feeling of your skate sliding sideways. Then move onto the next point
For your first hockey stop, take a few strides to get moving, glide for a second and make sure your balance is right. Now Lift a bit of weight off of the skate of your strong leg, rotate your hip a bit, turn your skate (of the leg that you just lifted) about 90 degrees (so it is almost perpendicular to your other skate) and plant your skate in front of you. Your strong leg should now slow you down and then stop you. You should use your other leg for balance. Practice doing this until you get used to using the inside edge of your strong leg to stop. If you feel comfortable at stopping like this then increase your speed a bit, practice doing it faster and faster until you have it down. Remember to practice stopping with both legs, in hockey you need to be able to stop with your body facing in both directions, so start practicing it now. If you can stop like this you are halfway there.
You now know how to use one foot to stop, and the other for balance, with a hockey stop you should be using both feet to stop, but you are not ready to do that just yet, first you should practice stopping with only one foot! That’s right one foot and it is not as hard as you think. Earlier we were using one foot for balance, but your front leg was doing all of the work. Now we need to build your balance even more by taking away that leg you were using for balance. Perform the same motion as we talked about before, but take a bit of weight, or all of your weight off of your balance foot, try just using your front leg (your strong leg) to stop (as shown in the hockey stop video). Once you are comfortable taking weight off of your balancing leg, try lifting it right up. This will build your confidence in using your inside edge to stop, and the motion of sliding a bit, and keeping the momentum moving in the direction you were skating. That is pretty much it, now you can use both feet and do a full hockey stop!
To do the full hockey stop, skate forwards, lift your strong leg, rotate your hips a bit, lean back, and turn your body to the side so that both skates are now sideways (compared to how they were pointing before). Plant your back foot and dig in until you stop. Congratulations, you have just learned how to hockey stop. The only thing you need to do now is put that knowledge into action.
Understanding Your Edges
As requested by Jacky – If you have read our How to Ice Skate article you will know that when you are skating, each skate blade actually rests on two thin edges. When you skate, turn, and stop you need to use your edges. When you are playing this comes as second nature, but can be hard for some beginners to understand, and may help you learn to stop and skate if you learn about your edges. I have included some pictures that may help you understand how to use your edges to stop.
This shows a front view of what a hockey stop would look like. This would be the front foot, in this case the left leg is leading the stop. On this skate you are using your inside edge, on the other foot you will be using your outside edge.
This show’s a close-up of the hockey skate blade. You can see what I mean by the inside edge doing most of the work. The outside edge barely touches the ice.
You can see the inside edge of the left skate at work, while the outside edge of the right skate is being used. If a player were to stop in the other direction, the opposite would apply
This shot shows what the skates would look like if they were coming at you. You need to lean back in order to slide, and then stop. Remember, like in the video, practice with one foot, then try with both.
I hope this article has helped you learn how to stop in hockey. If you would like more hockey tips like this then you can subscribe to the articles with the box to the left.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you think (or add some tips of your own)
If you know anyone who is learning how to stop on ice skates these videos are a must watch! We have done two videos on how to stop in hockey so far. The first video just show’s the basics, and in the second I do a step by step guide on how to stop on skates. These videos compliment our how to hockey stop article, which has all the information you need to learn how to stop!
How to Stop on Skates Video – For Beginners
This video shows the basics of how stopping on skates actually works. The main problem most people have with stopping in hockey is getting over the mental barriers. The tips in these videos help people slowly overcome the mental barrier. After you do it once, you will learn how to stop on skates in no time!
When dealing with a 2 on 1 a defensemen must remember several key points.
Your goalies skill and preference
As a player you should know your goalies ability. If your goalie is confident and easily stops shots coming from an angle, this will help you know how to play to 2 on 1 . You should work with your goaltender by watching and talking with them to form a good relationship with them. Remember the goalie is your best friend.
Hand of the player coming down on you
If you have a 2 on 1 then chances are you will have a few seconds to take a breath and prepare. Always watch what hand (which way they shoot) the two players are that are coming down on you- if a right handed players is coming on the left side he will be trying to cut in or make a pass 90 percent of the time. Vice versa if a right handed is coming in on his forehand then there is a lower probability for a pass. And if a pass comes it will be crisp and off the ice.
Always keep yourself between the players and never commit early
The biggest mistake a defensemen can make is to commit to a 2 on 1 at the blue line or even top of the circle. You have to draw the opposing players as close as you can before attempting any play. If the offensive players get a shot from above the hash marks they have a better chance to score. You want to try to make them play or shoot within 8 feet of the net. This creates a sense of panic and urgency in both the passing plays and the shooting, usually causing more mistakes.
Now to deal with most two on ones…
The main focus will be the most common two on one. A break out by the other team and a messy pinch by your defensive partner, this leaves you in the middle of the ice at the red line facing a breaking winger and center. At this point you must take several seconds and assess the players coming down. Check which way they shoot, an easy way is to use your peripherals. You will have a few seconds before the offensive players start to connect so do a quick glance at the player without the puck. Do this carefully and quickly as it only takes a few seconds for a good forward to notice and they will blitz by you or pass it off. Keep yourself between the two players and keep your attention on the puck carrier use quick glances and your peripherals to always have a eye on the person without the puck but make sure to focus on the puck carrier.
Now this is where we branch off. Some coaches will teach you to take the person without the puck every time and allow your goalie to take the shot this effectively gives them a breakaway if done improperly, but if executed perfectly it creates an easy away to dissolve any two on one.
When doing this it is important to remember the key points. NEVER do it to early and know which way the offensive player shoots. If a right winger is coming down on the left side he will try to get a pass or attempt to stay as far out as he can to get a better angle for a shot.. This is because his shot angles are greatly reduced if he is not hugging the boards. Use this to your advantage the farther out he goes the greater the distance for a pass. Start pressing him to stay out near the boards until you are 10 to 15ft form the net then you take the passer and if your goalie is properly positioned scoring from that angle will be difficult.
Another way and one I always will recommend is to stay between the players till the end. You will see a demonstration in the video sections and I recommend watching it before proceeding. This is extremely difficult as you must have a high hand eye coordination as well as the ability to use your feet but if you can do it properly it is a great tool.
This play only works if you believe a pass will be coming. Stay between the two players as you normally would now at the 15ft mark drop to a knee keeping you stick about an inch above the ice and cutting off almost the entire passing area. This is where it gets tricky and sounds silly. Make sure you leave your back leg that is on the ice tucked in ever so slightly; this will leave what looks like an easy passing lane. Most forwards will take the bait as they will want to make it look pretty.
Now that the trap is set you only have to close it. As your leg is dropped and you are heading to the net start angling towards the puck carrier this will increase the likely hood of him using the pass. Now all that’s left is to time your strike. When you see him about to pass stick your back leg out and use a sweeping motion. This will stop any puck up to 5 inches off the ice and if done properly will cause the puck to be completely removed from harms way. Another neat part of this is that if the passer cuts in and the puck carrier tries to drop a pass back you can attempt to stop the puck with you stick and if that doesn’t work you are in perfect position to sprawl down and go for a block shot. Now it sounds like a lot but once you get the perfect angles you will love it.
Also this play can be preformed skating forwards. If you had to pivot to keep up with the offensive rush then simply do the same play, drop the knee and leave the back bass wide open. When the forward bites sweep the leg and close the pass. Just remember this is risky and you should try perfecting it in practice before attempting it in a game.
The flat bottom v sharpening method is the newest craze to hit the hockey world. The flat bottom v was created and first introducted in early February 2009 by Blackstone sports in Kingsville, Ont. The unique skate sharpening method promises better gliding ability, and increased “bite” when turning, everything a hockey player could ask for. While many were skeptical (and many still are) when the new technique was introduced it did not take long for the flat bottom v method to take off, all the way to the NHL
One of the first NHL teams to be using the flat bottom v skate sharpening method was the St. Louis blues, now over 20 NHL teams are using this method, quite a bold statement for a technique that just took off at the beginning of the year! Many players, minor league and NHL alike are claiming that the flat bottom V feels like your are gliding on top of the ice, allows you to glide longer, allows you to turn easier, and skaters will not fatigue as fast because it takes less energy to skate. These are strong recommendations considering the Flat Bottom V is just a minor adjustment in the way the metal is shaped on a thin piece of metal on the bottom of your skate. Some say it is simply a placebo effect, others are disciples of the new cut.
The flat bottom v changes the normal half moon cut of a blade to be a flat bottom with “fangs” on each edge, supposedly allowing you to glide easier, further and faster than the normal cut and turn better. See the diagrams below of the normal skate sharpening and the flat bottom v skate sharpening
This diagram shows the normal cut vs the flat bottom v. (in the diagram it appeared that the v goes all the way up, however see the diagram below these ones for the actual shape of the flat bottom v.
Flat Bottom V Skate Sharpening Options
You can see from this diagram that there are different options to choose from when you get your flat bottom v sharpening done. According to Johnny Macs (a skate sharpening shop that uses the FBV skate sharpening) Most skaters should start with a 100/50 FBV and then adjust their cut accordingly as the best cut in the end will come down to player preference (and who knows, maybe you will prefer the regular method of skate sharpening)
Some people may ask does the flat bottom v wear the blade down quicker? According to No Icing sports (a custom radius shop) Getting a Flat bottom v on your skates will not alter your rocker radius at all and a flat bottom v does not take off any more steel than a regular sharpening would.
We are still waiting on official flat bottom v stats and test results from the skating labs, which will be posted here when they come out (a good reason to subscribe in the box to the left!) Below I have list of possible pro’s and con’s of the flat bottom v
Flat Bottom V Pros and Cons
Flat bottom V Pro’s
Better gliding ability
Better turning (more bite)
“For pushing and gliding and being on top of the ice, there’s a huge difference” Cory Stillman, Florida Panthers
“The concept for the V scientifically makes a lot of sense” Dr. Kelly Lockwood, president and lead scientist at The Skating Lab at Brock University
From many reviews and posts on forums parents of minor hockey players notice an improvement in skating
Flat bottom V Cons
Reports from some minor hockey forums state the when you lose an edge you lose it all at once, which could mean missing the rest of the game until you can get the skate sharpened
If it is easier to lose an edge with this grind it could result in injuries
If the edge comes off easily then this would require frequent sharpening to keep the edge
It seems like the pro’s far out weigh the con’s, and the con’s all rely on speculation that the edge comes off easily (which has not been proven just yet)
So I leave the debate up to you, how is your experience with the flat bottom v? Post your comments below
If you would like to visit the official website of the people who created the FBV skate sharpening method, or buy a FBV machine for your arena or business then visit Blackstone Sport
Power skating is very important if you want to build your strength, acceleration and technique. If you are serious about playing hockey then you should implement many power skating drills into your practice. All of the power skating techniques shown in these videos are for on ice development, however this does not mean you have to rent a rink to practice! Shovel your pond off, find an out door rink, shovel off the ice on the lake, or build a rink in your backyard! (for us in the northern climates) Power skating is crucial to improving your game, after all the easiest way to get past the defense is to skate right past them. Stickhandling is great when you need it, but why stick handle around 3 players and risk losing the puck when you could possibly skate past them for a one on one with the goalie?
I will save the rants for some of my stickhandling articles. This is the 3rd video of 3 about power skating
You should try to power skate anytime you can. If your hockey team is leaving the ice after a practice, or the guys are getting off the ice after shinny and the zamboni is not coming on the ice yet, grab the net and push it as hard as you can around the ice a few times. Power skating is a great way to improve your game!
I hope you enjoyed the 3 power skating videos, and feel free to share this site with friends. Also thanks to CoachWalt on youtube for putting these videos up.
This power skating video is part 2 in the series of 3. This video show’s power skating drills that incorporate stick handling and puck control. Incorporating stick handling into power skating drills is a good way to build a players ability to control the puck in many situations. While most power skating drills should focus on skating, technique and power, it is important to also include some puck control in order to help the player become more rounded.
This series of videos show’s helpful power skating techniques, these drills are important for elite hockey players to help bring them to the next level. To see more power skating drills for hockey you can view the next, or previous posts.
The bands that the hockey player is wearing help keep the stride even, and build power. This is a common resistance training technique.
Here is a power skating drill video. This is part 1, these hockey videos outline some advanced power skating drills. This is a great power skating video for players who would like to raise their game. Utilizing these power skating techniques will improve your skating, speed and acceleration.
POWER SKATING VIDEO – PART 1
This is a great video if you are looking for adult power skating, young and old hockey players will benefit from these hockey drills.