Turning is one of the fundamental skills that every hockey player needs to learn. Sure you might be able to turn, but how well can you do it? There is a big difference in a slow gradual and off balance turn VS a quick, tight, sharp turn. In this video and article we are giving you the information you need to start performing better turns.
How to Turn in Hockey
The Basics of a good turn
For a good turn you want to use both skates. Sure you can still turn with only one skate on the ice, but with two blades on the ice you will be more balanced, and be able to turn at higher speeds. Below is a breakdown of the turn
If you are turning left, lead with your left foot. If you are turning right, lead with your right foot
With a staggered stance, most of the weight will be on the outside leg, and your inside skate will be there for extra balance and to help you get lower (and a tighter turn)
With both feet on the ice you can use both edges, rather than just one
When you are coming out of the turn, use a few crossovers to accelerate out and keep your speed.
Throughout the turn you should maintain balance, you can do this by staying low, and having a good base (feet are not too close together)
Matt Duchene is performing a nice tight turn, he has a good base and a staggered stance. This staggered stance helps Duchene get a better turn, but also protect the puck from the defender!
Here is Pavel Datsyuk in the NHL Skills Competition. Notice how the hands are away from the body, the stick leads Datsyuk through the turn, and he is nice and low with both blades on the ice. As Datsyuk completes this turn he can execute crossovers from this position and keep his speed.
Here is a tight turn with the puck on the forehand. Notice the nice wide base for balance and strength (hard to knock off the puck). Karlsson has his hands away from his body so that he can cup the puck even more and perform a tighter turn. With his feet like this he can keep on pushing with the outside leg and drive wide while pushing on the opponent.
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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
With the forward to backward transition there are three simple steps. Remember to always pivot towards the play. In this scenario I am rotating to my left
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.
Skating backwards is a challenging skill for anyone to learn. The feeling of moving backwards is not natural at first, but with some practice and determination you will get the hang of it. In this article we have two videos for you to help you learn how to skate backwards.
This video is a part of our how to skate series that we have put together to help anyone learn how to skate for hockey!
How to Skate Backwards for Beginners
In this video we give you a simple lesson on how to start skating backwards. We also share a good drill to get used to your balance and the feeling of moving backwards.
How to Skate Backwards, tips, common mistakes, and Backwards starts
In this video we have guest instructor Scott Grover teaching you how to skate backwards. Scott gives you some simple tips to get used to the feeling, and then we go into more detail, we talk about common mistakes, and also cover how to get speed with backwards crossover starts. After you master this you will probably want to move on to backwards crossovers
Quick Tips for skating backwards
Start with getting used to the feeling. Get comfortable and balanced against the boards and give yourself a push backwards, then glide to get the feeling.
Now start by getting in a good balanced stance and take some baby steps backwards. Little steps are fine to start to help you get your balance
To work on your stride start with C-cuts, but remember the C should be actually like a tear drop, you want the heel of your skates to always be pointing down the ice. If you do an actual C it can negatively effect your backwards stride
Don’t worry if you fall over, just get up and keep trying!
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The Mohawk turn (some people call it the Eagle turn) is a fairly simple skating maneuver to perfect if you are already comfortable on your edges. One player who seems to use this move quite a bit is Sidney Crosby (when he’s not getting hit in the face with pucks). In order to perform the move the skater simply puts their heels together and points the toes out, this almost aligns the skate blades in-line allowing the player to carve or turn in a circular motion.
How to do the Mohawk Turn
First practice while standing still, you can even practice off the ice. Bend your knees a bit and point one toe out, now lift the other leg and point the other toe out, then step down (heel to heel). With your legs you should be making a “fat diamond” shape.
Now try the same thing on the ice (with skates on). It may be a bit harder because you are on your blades, but work on getting comfortable in that position and balancing.
When doing this move while moving you will be on both inside edges of the skates.
Mohawk Turn Video Lesson
In this video I show you how to do the Mohawk turn, a few drills you can use to get better at doing it, and a few game situations when you might want to use it.
When and Why you need the Mohawk
The move allows you to open up and see the entire ice while still moving
You can also use it to protect the puck while moving to an area you need to be
The move gives you more options while skating, with a push, or turn of a foot you can stop, keep going, or go forwards in a fraction of a second
Great to use when coming from behind the net
Use it when skating towards the net and calling for a one-timer (on your off wing)
Transitioning from skating backwards to going forwards
The Mohawk in Action Sidney Crosby
You can see Crosby using this move a few times in the clip below.
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