Friday, April 16, 2010

How to Hockey Stop

How to Hockey Stop

Learning how to to a hard, fast hockey stop feels great and looks great - especially when you want to spray some ice. Hockey stops are one of the trickier skating fundamentals to learn, so best take it one step at a time.

Before your learn how to do a hockey stop, you'll first need to get the feel of your skates sliding sideways along the ice. To do this, hang on to the boards at the players bench where there's no glass to get in the way. Bend your knees and push one skate away from you, while keeping most of your weight on the other foot. If your skate is getting caught on the ice during the push, you will have to put even less weight on it to get a smooth push. Be sure to work on both skates.

Once you get a feel for it, push your skate out more abruptly so it ends in a hard stop. Try to spray some ice chips!

The next step is to stop using a snow plow. Take a few strides, glide a little, bend your ankles and knees, and point your toes together. Try not to bend at the waist, or it will be harder to keep your balance. Pretend like your sitting on a chair with your back straight.

Once you've got the basic snow plow down, twist your hips as you stop so that you turn and stop at the same time. Keep practicing this until you can stop at a moderate speed.

The next step is the tricky part. You've now got to get your back foot to stop parallel to your front foot. To do this, you've got to 'unweight' yourself by first bending your knees deep, then straightening your legs just before you turn to stop. This raises your center of gravity and makes it easier to rotate your skates 90 degrees. Place your weight on the balls of your feet, so that your heel edges don't catch as you turn. Return to your deep knee bend to come to a complete stop.

When practicing your first instinct might be to skate towards the boards, hoping to hang on to the boards in case you fall. It's actually safer to skate towards open ice so. If you're wearing your hockey equipment, you won't get hurt.

Here's a Hockey Stop drill you can try from Eileen Peerles:

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