Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Figure Skating Makes Better Hockey Players

March 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

By Jo Ann Schneider Farris

It has been said that the hockey players who have participated in figure skating or have worked with power hockey coaches from figure skating backgrounds may be the most outstanding players on a team.  Laura Stamm, an ice dancer, has become well known for her book Laura Stamm’s Power Skating and her power skating clinics.  As a Professional Skaters Association certified Hockey coach, I have also developed my own power skating drills.  I have taught many, many hockey players to skate and have also helped accomplished players improve their skating skills and power.

Hockey players must be able to move forward, start, stop, and turn on the ice with ease.  The best players also turn and skate in all directions.  Figure skating experience definitely helps with those skills.

Figure skating helps with many hockey skating skills such as edging techniques, starting, stopping, and turning.  Players who have experience with figure skating can also skate backward just as well as they skate forward which gives them a definite advantage.

Hockey players don’t have to wear figure skates in order to master figure skating skills, and there are many drills that can be practiced on public skating sessions and without a hockey stick.  When players practice those drills on open skating sessions, they can begin each drill from behind an arena’s goal line and then skate most of the drills around the entire ice surface using both lengths of the arena.  An exception will be made when a player uses the hockey circles to practice crossover drills.

Suggested forward striding drills include one foot t-pushes, alternating t-pushes, forward striding at various tempos with and without swinging the arms, lunges with toe drag, two foot and one foot c-cuts, and edge pulls.  When practicing these drills, players should work hard at keeping their skating knees bent.

Knowing how to make the most of every push and stride is the key to forward power skating.  If the above drills are practiced on a regular basis, players will definitely see an improvement in their forward skating skills.

Many players are “self taught” skaters, so they usually have no idea how to get the most power when they do forward crossvers.  Some players can only curve on two feet which can really be a handicap during a game.  Taking the time to work with a figure skating coach on forward and backward crossovers will also help a player’s game improve.

Starting and stopping drills, and turning drills, are also a must.  Many players can only stop using one foot.  Figure skaters would never get by if they only could stop on one foot or on one side.  Players need to force themselves to do starts and stops over and over again and to practice their “bad side” when they stop and turn.  Snowplow stops, hockey stops, and t-stops should be included in a player’s skating skills workout.

Did you know that 2013 US Men’s Figure Skating Champion, Max Aaron, was an elite AAA hockey player?  When Aaron does get a chance to put on his hockey skates, use his hockey stick, and play hockey, no one can “touch him.”  He has figure skating to thank for that!

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