Improving Your Skating: Forward Skating

Improving Your Skating: Forward Skating
As Herb Brooks said during the 1980 Miracle on Ice, “the legs feed the wolf!!” This is
so true, if you’re not a good skater and develop a solid foundation early, you’ll never
be able to reach the highest levels. The two NHL young guns I love watching skate
are Jonny Gaudreau with the Calgary Flames, and his near by rival, Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid.
Watch their team’s nightly highlights, and you’ll regularly see the two of them
making spectacular plays and score goals that you think just aren’t possible. Though
the game looks so effortless for these guys, but don’t be fooled, there were
thousands of hours of power skating drills executed for years to get them to where
they are today.
If you have a son or daughter new to the sport of hockey, know that the first couple
years are the most important from a hockey strides perspective. I’d like to share
some hockey skating tips I’ve learned the last 15 years of coaching youth hockey
that you may find useful.
Hockey is a unique sport, because you have to learn a skill before you can actually
play the game, and that skill is skating. You need to change your mindset as a
parent. If you want to introduce hockey child to your child, you first have to
introduce skating and over time they earn the opportunity try hockey down the
road.
Most communities have a learn to skate program at the local rink. Before your
peanut ever holds a hockey stick on the ice, they need to get their legs under them
while navigating around on 2 pieces of thin steel. When they can move around the
ice surface forward, doing crossovers and have a rough version of stopping, you’re
getting close.
This is where you have to be strong as a parent and not rush things. You see, most
parents will sign up their son or daughter for hockey at this point and it’s a big
mistake. They forget the fact that hockey is not only played while skating forward,
but backwards as well. When you introduce the stick too early, the youngest players
will use it as crutch to balance or lean on.
What you’re trying to do is get your child comfortable on their skates, so they don’t
think about moving around the ice any longer. Then it’s time to introduce the stick
and a puck. Having 10 years of coaching the initiation levels, players are exposed to
all kinds of technical skating drills. They first learn the maneuver without a puck
and then it’s like they have to relearn it when the puck is introduced.
It’s been said that hockey is a marathon, not a sprint. Give your hockey hopeful the
ability to feed like a wolf and develop those hockey skating legs first. You won’t

regret it. Thanks for stopping by and Remember to Work Hard and Dream Bigger
than Everyone Else!!

Leave a comment