Hi Hockey Fans,

We have made reference to the 5 core skills of hockey in previous newsletters but just in case you forgot, they are:

  1. Skating
  2. Passing
  3. Shooting
  4. Stick Handling
  5. Checking

Now, in my view, that is the order in which you want to develop them.  Today, I want to point out for anyone that wants to take their game to the next level, notice that #1 is SKATING!  If you can get around the ice better than anyone else out there, you WILL stand out.  So, for those of you looking to make a jump this year, let’s look at the areas of skating that you should focus on:

  • Forward edges and crossovers – with the exception of defense, the majority of skating in hockey is done forwards.  Thus, you need to have a great forward stride, good edge control (inside and outside edges), and be able to crossover both ways to build speed.
  • Backward edges and crossovers – this isn’t just for defense.  Everyone benefits by learning to skate backwards better.  The game calls for you to switch for offense to defense every time you lose possession of the puck so you better be able to transition to backwards to take on your opponent.  Similar to forwards, you should be able to C-Cut as fast as you skate forwards, use your edges, and crossover both directions to build speed.
  • Starts and stops – hockey constantly changes directions.  There are times when you can turn to change directions, but when the game gets faster, you have to be able to stop on a dime and accelerate in the other direction.  We all hate doing ‘suicides’ in hockey, but if you compress this drill to a smaller area and practice until you can explode from one direction to the other, you’ll never get caught out of the play.
  • Agility skating – like I said, the game changes directions CONSTANTLY!  You need to be able to pivot, spin, fake, and much more in order to stay with or get around your opponent.  Practice small area ‘freestyle’ drills where you change your speed, directions, and stop and start constantly to become more agile on your skates.  This is a great way to fake better as well!

If you commit to getting drastically better in all those areas, you will definitely notice an improvement in your game.  Be sure to also think about dryland training to add to your skating development in both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

If you need any further tips, drop me a line!