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Three Common Mistakes

October 24, 2011 General No Comments

Three common mistakes
By Robby Glantz
Nov 5, 2001, 20:09

 

Summer is a season for learning, both for aspiring players and their teachers. My instructors and I have zeroed in on the three most common mistakes our students made with respect to their overall skating techniques while attending our camps. They were: not maintaining enough knee bend; using two hands on the stick too often; and poor edge-control.

Correcting one or all of these common errors will automatically improve your skating ability and, therefore, your game.

 

Knee bend

The basics:

We often remind our students that if they can remember only one aspect of our camps that will definitely make them better skaters, that single fundamental would be to bend the kneesmore than what feels comfortable. You will find that your balance immediately improves, as well as your stride length, mobility and speed.

 

Tips:

• Bend your knees deeply so that they are covering, or are about 2” out in front of, the toes of your skates.

• The knee should always be out in front of the toes of your skates (except for in the tight turn, where the outside edge skate should lead you into the turn).

• If your legs are not burning (especially the thigh area) after a shift or at the and of practice, than you know you are not bending the knees to the optimal position.

Push yourself to bend the knees even more than you think is necessary. This will not only make the optimal position easier to maintain, it will strengthen your legs and improve your “instinctive” skating style.

 

Stick Control

The basics:

Obviously, when you shoot, pass, catch a pass, etc., you should keep two hands on the stick. However, when you are attempting to gain top speed in open ice you should have only one hand—your top hand—on the stick, even when skating with the puck.

Be sure to stretch your arms fully to the front, rather than side to side, so that you are able to keep all your momentum and speed going in the direction you are traveling.

 

Tips:

• Use one hand on the stick whenever you are in open ice situations.

• Keeping one hand on the stick will dramatically improve your balance, especially when skating backwards.

• Remember to turn the palm of your stick hand up once the arm has fully extended to the front, this will flatten your stick out on the ice, allowing you to maintain top speed while pushing the puck on your backhand side.

A side benefit of effectively working your stick with one hand is to extend your reach at both ends of the ice. On offense, you’ll find it easier to corral that slightly over-lead pass. On defense, you’ll have a stronger, more effective pokecheck and cover a wider area of the ice.

 

Edge work

The basics:

You have to be able to grip the ice with the edges of your skates in order for you to get maximum power and control. The proper angle of an edge rolling to the ice should be maintained at 45°—halfway to the ice. Too many players we see never roll the ankles of their skates which means they are standing mostly on the flats of the blades. This causes your grip against the ice to be lessened.

In other words, shoddy edge work causes you to slide on top of the ice, rather than digging into it. This mistake will severely hamper your power, turns, starts, and almost all aspects of your game.

 

Tips:

• Make sure your edges roll at least halfway to the ice.

• Be sure to center all of your body weight directly over your edge to create a counterbalancing effect.

• Try loosening the top two eyelets on your skates, which will immediately give you more ankle flexibility and allow you to roll your edges further to the ice.

When working on edge control—as with knee bend—exaggerate the edge roll in practice. Soon you’ll feel comfortable working your edges and the gain will pay off in tighter turns, more explosive starts and more powerful strides.

Let’s hope that if I see you at one of my Summer camps next year, you’ll already have mastered these three common mistakes!

Robby Glantz, power skating coach for the Los Angeles Kings, Swedish champions Malmö, and the German National Teams, conducts skating programs throughout North America and Europe.

This first appeared in the 11/1995 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2001 Hockey Player® and Hockey Player Magazine®

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