Every ice hockey player — yes, even the goalie who doesn’t seem to have to skate all that much — must be very proficient at skating to play the game. In fact, some coaches say the goalie has to be the best skater on the team.
Here are a few tips that hockey coaches have about improving your skating:
- Start with your skates forming a V with your knees turned outward.
- Skate one foot at a time.
- Keep your body square to the direction of travel.
- Keep your back straight, head in the center of your shoulders and eyes looking forward.
- Avoid leaning too far forward.
- Keep your feet hip wide apart.
- Lean your body forward enough to give you fully extended strides.
- Always bend your knees beyond the level of comfort for more power and balance. You should not be able to see your toes.
- Fully extend each stride with a quick recovery.
- As you become a better skater, focus on taking wider strides for more speed.
- Skate with a proper arm swinging movement (arm and leg movements work in rhythm with their opposites).
- Always keep your stick on the ice, except when you are looking to gain top speed.
- Reach a full extension on each stride with your driving leg and with your ankle.
Skating backward is a tough thing to do, and it takes a lot of patience. But, it’s a great skill for a hockey player because in a game you can spend nearly half the time skating backwards.