One of the most prevalent problems that a beginner faces during the game of Hockey is learning how and when to stop. It is a very critical skill that a player needs to develop. Balancing yourself becomes crucial when you are trying to keep the puck in your possession and tackle the opponents at the same time.
Most of the accidents happen when players from the opposite teams are in an attack mode over the puck.
In this guide, we tell you all about hockey stop. We also give you a step by step guide to incorporate the instructions in your practice sessions. Additionally, we also point out some of the common mistakes that a player makes, which leads to their fall.
What is Hockey Stop?
A hockey stop is a stopping technique while you are skating on the ice rink while playing the game. It involves managing your body’s weight and balance when you are gliding at various speeds. It also takes into account the angles at which you are sliding your blades. Most beginners, due to lack of proper guidance, end up spraying ice all around. It looks cool but can be very damaging to your skate blades.
A hockey stop is essential in helping you tackle the puck from your opponents. Often you have to stop suddenly to aim. If you do not have your momentum aligned with your weight, you will lose the crucial game points.
We are presenting you will all the necessary pointers to focus upon to enhance your Hockey skills.
Step by Step Guide
During skating, the main motive is to peel the ice without splattering it everywhere when you turn or rotate.
Your momentum should be in the direction of your skating. We have broken the entire stopping process into small steps for you to follow and practice. Theoretically, the whole process may seem lengthy, but it all happens within a few seconds in practicality.
Step 1 – The first step is that you start turning at a slow speed. Get your weight more on the front of your blade. It will help the skate blade to slide without any flickering.
Step 2 – once you are skating forward and have plans to stop, lift one of your legs (assume this leg as your back leg) slightly to take a bit of your weight off.
Step 3 – When a portion of your weight is taken off, you need to lean slightly backward, rotate your shoulders and hips, and start turning with your other leg (assume this leg as your front leg)
Step 4 – when your front leg is turned at an approximate angle of 90 degrees, place your back leg behind your front leg at a distance of 12 inches.
Step 5 – Slightly lean back and keep your momentum in your skating direction.
Step 6 – with both your feet planted, you slide for a brief moment before coming to a complete halt.
Step 7 – Practice all of the above steps at different speeds and at different parts of the rink to balance motion.
How to Practice Hockey Stop?
Firstly, you need to be comfortable in your skates. Even the best hockey skate can be stiff and you’ll need to break it in. The Ensure that it is not too stiff to wear. Analyze your core strength determine your dominant leg (for compatibility of the leg placement) to learn your balance.
Start your practice at a slower speed first. One of the most effective yet underrated pieces of advice is to practice as much as you can. It will improve your muscle memory. Learn to distribute your weight evenly. When you apply all your pressure on one side, you are bound to fall.
You can also practice with an experienced peer or coach. Hold your peer’s or your coach’s hand and channel your weight. Try studying his/her weight management, then apply those tactics to yourself.
You should wear all your protective gear like a helmet, knee guard, wrist guard, etc. It will help you avoid significant injuries.
One of the most common mistakes that a player makes while learning to Hockey stop is putting a lot of weight either backward or forward during skating. You need to apply your weight slightly towards your skate blade’s front. When you concentrate all of your body’s weight towards your center of mass, you put yourself to a risk of gliding too far on either of your sides.
When your feet are in parallel position during skating, and you let more pressure on the front portion of your skate blades, you will overbalance and fall. You will not only injure yourself but any other player or goalie who is in front of you.
Similarly, if you apply enormous pressure on your blades’ rear side, it will cause your skates to twist instead of shaving on the ice rink. You will end up hurting your feet and the player behind you very severely.
To avoid the above mistakes, start by learning to balance your weight on the inside edges of your blades, and then as you slide, slowly suspend a part of your body weight to the front side of your skate blades. Keep in mind not to put all pressure at once either on your front or rear side.
Hockey is not about aimless skating on the rink. Your goal is to score the game point for your team. Learning to skate is more manageable than learning to stop. If you lose your balance, you end up injuring yourself. You can also harm others in your way, which can unintentionally lead to foul play.
It takes a lot of practice and an equal amount of determination to upgrade your hockey stop skill. Have your right skates and other equipment with you, wear all your safety guards on your body and start learning. With constant practice, you can become a pro-level player in no time. We hope you find our guide helpful.