Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Skating Tips: Upper Body Control

A lot of ice hockey players are oblivious as to what their upper body is doing while they're skating fast. I've seen all kinds of different skating styles with various stick and arm positions. My favorite is the arms swinging side to side with each stride causing the stick blade to fly up towards my head. Annoying, and dangerous.

So what are you supposed to do?

Here's a few skating tips on upper body positioning from Barry Smith, head coach with the SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia.

  • Loosen Up your shoulders.
    They should be relaxed, not tense.

  • Keep your elbows out wide.
    Only your elbows should be visible by anyone watching your skating from directly behind you.

  • Keep your hands within the width of your body, pumping straight forward and straight back.

  • Keep your stick straight out in front of you, with the blade on the ice, sliding it forwards and back in a straight line along the ice.

  • Keep the blade of your stick flat on the ice, and in line with your body. If someone feeds you a pass way out in front of you, your stick is in the best position possible to reach ahead, and get as much of the puck as possible.

  • If you rotate your wrists while skating, your stick blade will flop back and forth on the ice, and you may miss an unexpected pass.

To view the video on this, check out at The Ice Hockey Learning Centre
(Hit 'More' at the bottom right of the chalkboard, then select 'Skating-Forward Skat.' , then click on Play Lesson.)

Bonus Skating Tip!

Your skating power comes from the hips down. By keeping the sway in your upper body to a minimum, you direct more power to your lower body. Improve your skating, and you'll be a far better hockey player.

More Skating Tips

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