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Leif

Skating lessons from a figure skater

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I’ve been learning to play for 18 months, and regularly learning to skate for two years, though I had very basic skating skills before. I skate at least six hours a week. I can do forwards cross rolls, hockey stops, left and right, forwards and backwards, one foot outside edge hockey stops, left and right, crossovers, left and right, forwards and backwards, backwards one foot stops, left and right, and tight turns, left and right. I’m currently learning a forwards one foot slalom.

Someone suggested I take lessons from a figure skating coach to improve my edge control. We don’t have any hockey skating coaches here. Would this be a good idea, or not? I’m 55 and very fit if that makes any difference. 

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Taking figure skating lessons will not translate to hockey as well as taking good hockey skills/skating lessons. Where do you live?  there are no hockey skating instructors? 

Edited by clarkiestooth

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Yes.  There's a reason why many skating coaches in the NHL are former professional figure skaters.  Figure skaters, in broad terms, are very good at controlled mechanics and skating efficiency. (you have to be if you're going to skate for 3-5 plus minutes at full speed, meanwhile doing jumps, spins, etc)  A lot of kids, growing up playing hockey only learn to get from point A to point B; who cares how you get there as long as you get there as fast as you can.  Figure skaters get from point A to point B as fast as they can, with a great amount of control and efficiency.  That's the big difference.

I find the biggest issue with learning to figure skate with boys/men is the social stigma, but I see it less in hockey circles now with all these former figure skaters being hockey coaches.  But still, there's many who are embarrassed to have themselves or their sons take figure lessons, and sadly a lot of hockey players would greatly benefit from them.

There's some great videos on the web that showcase figures skaters dealing with hockey skating mechanics.

 

Here's one with Barbara Underhill improving the efficiency of Brian Boyle's stride:

 

Another of Barbara Underhill doing a demo for hockey coaches:

 

And for fun, here's one with Bret Hedican (who was an excellent skater) and his wife Kristi Yamaguchi, and compared to Yamaguchi, you'd think Hedican couldn't skate. (I know...they're doing moves he's probably never done before and with practice, he'd probably be pretty good at them)

 

Edited by shoot_the_goalie
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Thanks all. Yes, obviously I’m not going to learn to do a triple Salchow etc, but learn better edge control, better mechanics of skating. 

Regarding hockey skating coaches, here in England hockey is a minority sport, and we don’t really have hockey skating coaches. And yes there is some stigma to taking lessons, one friend said “man up”. 🙂 But I’ve seen how quickly some figure skaters learn when they take lessons. 

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2 hours ago, IPv6Freely said:

To be clear, there is a big difference between taking figure skating lessons, and taking skating lessons from a figure skating instructor.

Obviously my point.  Although, it worked in the Mighty Ducks movies!

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On top of the edge control and balance, the amount of power that figure skaters can generate is impressive. And they're doing it all with a much softer boot in the ankle than a hockey skate.

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I have seen so many Olympic gold medal figure skaters train and coach at my rink since 2001. The best skaters in the world can teach hockey players a lot about edge control, balance, power skating(figure skaters keep their skates on the ice through most of their program) and skating efficiency of motion. Elite figure skating coaches can recognize the tiniest flaw in their skater's technique. A friend of mine is a former NHL linesman that used to work with a figure skating coach every summer deep into his career just to maintain his edge control and remain at that top level. The best skaters in any rink are the figure skaters, not the hockey players.

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Power skating lessons from a figure skater really helped me. I am actually thinking of learning honest to goodness figure skating. 

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Talk to the figure skater/coach and make sure they can address your needs and how you want to improve on the ice from a hockey perspective.

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I did this for a few summers as a kid, not necessarily learning how to figure skate per se, but learning crossovers and edge control specifically. I was chirped copiously at the time, yet I'd say I benefited massively from doing so. Edge control is everything in a game, I find my ability to crossover as a fundamental base of my entire game as a puck mover. 

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