There is a lot to learn when it comes to ice skating for hockey. You’ll need to get a good coach and do your research taking advantage of online tutorials and videos. But for starters, we’ve listed a few tips to keep in mind as you beginning your training in this action-filled sport.
1. Find the right skate:
You need the perfect fitting skates to skate well on the ice. One way to measure for proper size is to take the sole out of the skate and match it up to your bare foot. So long as the edge of the sole is just under a half an inch, you are good to go. Your toes will be cramped if your skate is too short, which will cause your heel to lift by the arch that is created in your foot. You don’t want skates that are too big either. Loose skates will cause you to trip over your own feet and leave the heel wobbly causing you to lose control on the ice. You need your heel to be snug in the skate and strapped tightly around the ankle to give you support as you increase your speed on the ice.
Don’t spend too little time picking out a pair of skates. Do your research, then go to a specialty store and speak to a professional who will offer you the right brand for what you’re attempting to achieve.
2. Push yourself to new limits
Often when skating, we get accustomed to having fun without pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone. We usually will let the weight of our body lead us, rather than choosing to mentally take the lead, and training your body to follow. You have to fight the urge to get lazy by aggressively thrusting yourself in a controlled and deliberate manner across the ice. It’s crucial that you are conscious of each part of your body and its movements instead of skating without thinking relying on old beginner habits.
3. Keep your knees bent
You have better balance on the ice when your knees are approximately two inches out over your skates, at about a 90-degree bend. Your belly at this angle is the center of gravity helping you to stay on your feet. You need one dramatically bent knee to allow you to push off with your other leg enabling you to gain a decent speed while covering a great distance.
4. Practice your speed while holding your stick
During the game, you’ll always have your hockey stick, so it’s a good idea to practice your speed skating with your stick as well. You’ll have to get used to switching hands routinely and keeping your balance without losing speed. Also, you’ll want to practice speed skating while moving your arms forward and back rather than side to side so you can propel yourself forward and keep momentum.
5. Keep your hips in line with your skates
Every beginner is tempted to keep their eyes attached to their feet as they skate. Routinely looking down is a mistake, though, a very natural tendency. This habit will not help you better your performance, so keep your eyes straight ahead to maintain your balance and accuracy.
6. Wear proper gear and don’t be afraid to fall.
It’s ok to fall! The best skaters are those who wear durable protective gear and aren’t afraid to give it their all, even when they fall repeatedly. Every slip-up or mistake that you make will only improve your skating skills.
So, here are a few tips to get you going. Remember, practice makes perfect. You’d be wise to set aside large blocks of time for practice and most of all, be patient with yourself as achieving a professional level of ice hockey skills will take years.