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hockeydad3

Stiffness of skates

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Another thread is leading me to the question of the ideal stiffness of a hockey skate. 

Is the ideal stiffnes of a skate only a subjective feeling or are there objective parameters to determine the right stiffnes?

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Ideal stiffness is dependent upon the skater. It depends on the players ability (generally, more powerful skaters like a stiffer boot). The player needs to be able to flex forward and bend the knees for proper stride. For example, a Bauer Supreme 2S would be too much skate for a weak/intermediate skater, while a Bauer Supreme 180 would probably enable him to have a better stride. That's the short version.

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As @clarkiestooth says, the stiffness of the boot has a lot to do with whether a player will feel undersupported (I think this is what people mean by sloppy when they’re talking about stiffness), adequately supported or restricted (oversupported). Different strokes for different players, though, literally. The stride length, as a function of the player’s natural body frame, of say Grabner versus Toews will have a large influence on where these over and undersupported lines get individually drawn. In my personal experience, a significantly overlooked component in this equation is tongue stiffness. If there’s room to go down in tongue stiffness, a stiffer boot can still allow for adequate forward flex.

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3 hours ago, hockeydad3 said:

Another thread is leading me to the question of the ideal stiffness of a hockey skate. 

Is the ideal stiffnes of a skate only a subjective feeling or are there objective parameters to determine the right stiffnes?

Who's to say there is an ideal stiffness? Sure there are some basic guidelines as to who should be in what. Mostly it's what the player prefers. 

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Is it just try and error or are there predicting factors for someone to buy the right skate?

A typical statement is that beginners should use a softer skate. 

Are there beginners who need an advanced skate? 

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16 minutes ago, hockeydad3 said:

Is it just try and error or are there predicting factors for someone to buy the right skate?

A typical statement is that beginners should use a softer skate. 

Are there beginners who need an advanced skate? 

Yes, if you are a bigger guy a softer skate may not support your weight properly. 

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32 minutes ago, hockeydad3 said:

Is it just try and error or are there predicting factors for someone to buy the right skate?

A typical statement is that beginners should use a softer skate. 

Are there beginners who need an advanced skate? 

That's kind of the best I know of at this point. I've wondered about ways to try skates out before you buy them, but I'm not sure of a good way to do it yet. I guess that's why CCM has their forgiving trial return policy.

Maybe if you could try skates on without the holders and do a set of jumping exercises in them you could get a sense of if they hinder your forward flex or not. I doubt this would work well for testing their lateral support for turns though.

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I personally think the majority of skates on the market are too stiff for the vast majority of skaters.  I'm surprised that none of the manufacturers have taken a modular approach similar to Bauer's adjustable tendon guard.  No idea if the engineering is feasible, but some sort of adjustable inserts in the ankle area is what I envision.

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8 hours ago, hockeydad3 said:

A typical statement is that beginners should use a softer skate. 

If you had asked me this 3 years ago I'd have said this is true. But today imho it's all opinionated bs, just like my comments following.

Let me put this out there - IT'S NOT THE SKATE. It's you and your bio mechanics. It's as simple as this even though bio mechanics in skates is a complex issue. If your bio mechanics are correct you can skate in anything - even clods with a frame bolted to them. Stiffness, heel lock, volume, length, forefoot width, profile, hollow etc are all secondary, you don't need this to be anywhere near perfect to skate well. What you need is good body alignment over the skate blade. Yes, stiffer skates will generally help you to skate a little better but they will not TEACH you to skate better. 

If you want to skate better fix your bio mechanics first, make sure the holder is aligned central to your foot / ankle / knee / hip alignment. Then shim for ankle / knee / hip deviation. This is the quick fix but it comes with some issues, especially for beginning skaters and how their body adapts to skating over time.

Or learn to skate with your laces undone, stop using the boot as a crutch / excuse and teach yourself how to balance over the blade. Even holder alignment becomes less important. Add in strength work for legs and core and then you wont care what skate you are in as long as it is comfortable on your foot. Age, sex, size, weight, skating experience and equipment are irrelevant, anyone can learn to do this. Downside is you have to put in the time and effort and it is a long term development, upside is that over time you create the base to become the best skater you can possibly be.

Edited by Vet88
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50 minutes ago, Vet88 said:

Or learn to skate with your laces undone, stop using the boot as a crutch / excuse and teach yourself how to balance over the blade. Even holder alignment becomes less important. Add in strength work for legs and core and then you wont care what skate you are in as long as it is comfortable on your foot. Age, sex, size, weight, skating experience and equipment are irrelevant, anyone can learn to do this. Downside is you have to put in the time and effort and it is a long term development, upside is that over time you create the base to become the best skater you can possibly be.

I'd have to disagree with this thought. No one who is learning to skate does so with the laces undone. That makes things worse. I've never heard of any ice skating teacher, hockey, figure skating or speed skating, telling all the students to undo their laces so as not to use it as a crutch.

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1 hour ago, caveman27 said:

I'd have to disagree with this thought. No one who is learning to skate does so with the laces undone. That makes things worse. I've never heard of any ice skating teacher, hockey, figure skating or speed skating, telling all the students to undo their laces so as not to use it as a crutch.

I put it like this - when are you making the most mistakes? When you are learning. Training, regardless of the frequency, is pointless if all you are doing is repeating the same mistakes over and over again. If the skater is unbalanced at the start, extra stiff skates, more training etc does not address this, at least in a quick time frame. Sure, skate for 10 years and you will slowly improve. Or you can fix your alignment issues and start to skate better from the beginning. As to figure and speed and any half decent skating teacher, they should haul your ass of the ice immediately and start fixing your alignment with holder movement / shimming if they look at you and see you aren't aligned over your skates. Both figure and speed worked this out years ago, hockey tried with MLX then it got buried.

And from many other posts in this forum and others, skaters have commented about going to camps run by ex NHL players and other qualified trainers and them asking players to undo their laces. It doesn't make things worse, it just makes it harder until you learn to control your muscles. Ironically those who pronate really badly get the most benefit instantly because of the feedback they start to get from their feet with laces undone as opposed to the quasi ski boot approach and lace up as tight as you can. Been there, done that, coached and seen dozens of skaters instantly improve with it.

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OK. 

But for me it's important to go the quick and dirty way to skating. I'm 52 and want to have some fun playing basic hockey. I will never become a decent skater as my boys are. I didn't do any sports for more than 30 years and had never been on skates. So my biomechanics are not existant. 

Edited by hockeydad3

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1 minute ago, hockeydad3 said:

OK. 

But for me it's important to go the quick and dirty way to skating. I'm 52 and want to have some fun playing basic hockey. I will never become a decent skater as my boys are. I didn't do any sports for more than 30 years and had never been on skates. So my biomechanics are not there. 

You can become a good skater. Once you’ve got the basics down, you should find that one on one lessons will help a lot. The coach will correct poor technique, allowing you to be more stable and skate faster for less effort. I’ve been learning for three years, I started at 53, and I’m making good progress. Sure some youngsters learn faster, but many don’t. 

One thing that is often ignored is the importance of off ice exercises, such as yoga, gym or a martial art. You can do exercises at home, using inexpensive aids such as large elastic bands, a roller, a gym ball and a hockey stick. Without wanting to be rude, at your age you should be doing exercises each day, not only do you become more flexible, but they will cure any longstanding issues, such as back ache and sore knees.  These sorts of exercises are also known to slow or reverse the effects of aging, and reduce the risk of dementia in later years. I do 15-20 minutes a day, I started out aiming to do 10 minutes, but they are quite enjoyable and leave my body feeling much better afterwards. 

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8 hours ago, hockeydad3 said:

OK. 

But for me it's important to go the quick and dirty way to skating. I'm 52 and want to have some fun playing basic hockey. I will never become a decent skater as my boys are. I didn't do any sports for more than 30 years and had never been on skates. So my biomechanics are not existant. 

No, you have biomechanics, can’t be avoided.  They are either contributing to or detracting from your skating.  We all have dominant sides, habits that we have developed over the years.  My right foot pronates AND i am left leg dominant.  Even off the ice if I am standing I tend to default to weight on my left foot.

I skate unlaced at public skate now.  If you pay attention to whats going on when you do this you will make quick improvements.  I am 45 and have been skating since I was about 10 and was able to ID several issues right off the bat.  You get feedback that a tight, stiff skate laced up will hide.  I have seen improvement after only doing this only a handful of times, can’t imagine what I could do if I did it once or twice a week.

I am still in an old Bauer Supreme 7000 which by this point is probably a fraction of the stiffness of these new skates and don’t feel it is holding me back, although I will be forced into new skates soon since they are literally starting to fall apart.

Just because everyone doesn't teach a certain thing doesn’t it is or isnt valid.  Laces undone has been done for a very long time.

Edited by BenBreeg
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7 hours ago, Vet88 said:

I put it like this - when are you making the most mistakes? When you are learning. Training, regardless of the frequency, is pointless if all you are doing is repeating the same mistakes over and over again. If the skater is unbalanced at the start, extra stiff skates, more training etc does not address this, at least in a quick time frame. Sure, skate for 10 years and you will slowly improve. Or you can fix your alignment issues and start to skate better from the beginning. As to figure and speed and any half decent skating teacher, they should haul your ass of the ice immediately and start fixing your alignment with holder movement / shimming if they look at you and see you aren't aligned over your skates. Both figure and speed worked this out years ago, hockey tried with MLX then it got buried.

And from many other posts in this forum and others, skaters have commented about going to camps run by ex NHL players and other qualified trainers and them asking players to undo their laces. It doesn't make things worse, it just makes it harder until you learn to control your muscles. Ironically those who pronate really badly get the most benefit instantly because of the feedback they start to get from their feet with laces undone as opposed to the quasi ski boot approach and lace up as tight as you can. Been there, done that, coached and seen dozens of skaters instantly improve with it.

Well, that's an odd approach. What skating or hockey school are you associated with?

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1 hour ago, caveman27 said:

Well, that's an odd approach. What skating or hockey school are you associated with?

What is odd about addressing things fundamentally first?

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6 hours ago, hockeydad3 said:

OK. 

But for me it's important to go the quick and dirty way to skating. I'm 52 and want to have some fun playing basic hockey. I will never become a decent skater as my boys are. I didn't do any sports for more than 30 years and had never been on skates. So my biomechanics are not existant. 

I'm 59, and around a year ago, after reading posts from Vet88, I started skating unlaced at public skating like BenBreeg does, and also for the first half hour of each stick and puck. After a short while a light bulb went on in my head, and skating unlaced felt so natural that I was practicing all the skating techniques unlaced, albeit at a slower deliberate pace. As a result, I'm now playing hockey with the top 2 pairs of eyelets unlaced. So if an old dog like myself can learn a new trick, there's no reason a young whippersnapper like yourself can't do the same. 😁

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Look, biomechanics, off ice training, no laces...all that stuff is great. It's definitely something I would steer my young son or daughter to. However, those learning the game at an older age don't have time for that. Frankly, it's all a bit extreme for an older player who just want to lace em up and go for a rip.

For a player in the OP's position, a proper fitting skate that won't hinder his stride should be priority #1.

And while I don't wish to go into here. To say that skate fit and all that is irrelevant is pretty short sighted. Correct your form on crap skates is like racing slicks on a Pirus...

Edited by stick9

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53 minutes ago, stick9 said:

Look, biomechanics, off ice training, no laces...all that stuff is great. It's definitely something I would steer my young son or daughter to. However, those learning the game at an older age don't have time for that. Frankly, it's all a bit extreme for an older player who just want to lace em up and go for a rip.

For a player in the OP's position, a proper fitting skate that won't hinder his stride should be priority #1.

And while I don't wish to go into here. To say that skate fit and all that is irrelevant is pretty short sighted. Correct your form on crap skates is like racing slicks on a Pirus...

I never said irrelevant, I said it is secondary. Bio mechanics should be the first and most important consideration because if you don't get that correct you will never be able to control the skate correctly. And laces undone is hard, I won't deny it. But getting your holder alignment correct isn't a physically hard thing to do and any age can do it, it's skate related not age. This is the problem with hockey and attitudes like this, bio mechanics don't really matter / are something I might fix later. This is just bs.

Racing slicks on a prius is like your hollow on a skate, driving a prius blindfolded is more akin to not addressing your bio mechanics. 

Edited by Vet88
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10 hours ago, caveman27 said:

Well, that's an odd approach. What skating or hockey school are you associated with?

I'm a level 2 certified coach, been coaching ice and inline for 15 years. But I didn't invent this, other much better qualified coaches than me have done this. For example look at this 

. Wally Kozak is one of the most respected coaches out there.

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11 minutes ago, Vet88 said:

I never said irrelevant, I said it is secondary. Bio mechanics should be the first and most important consideration because if you don't get that correct you will never be able to control the skate correctly. And laces undone is hard, I won't deny it. But getting your holder alignment correct isn't a physically hard thing to do and any age can do it, it's skate related not age. This is the problem with hockey and attitudes like this, bio mechanics don't really matter / are something I might fix later. This is just bs.

Racing slicks on a prius is like your hollow on a skate, driving a prius blindfolded is more akin to not addressing your bio mechanics. 

There are plenty of us out there who never payed a lick of attention to that stuff and get along just fine. Again, I'm not dismissing it. Just doesn't seem all that practical for an older player who's probably only on the ice once or twice a week.

It's fair to interpret my analogy anyway you like, that's wasn't how I intended it. 

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2 hours ago, stick9 said:

There are plenty of us out there who never payed a lick of attention to that stuff and get along just fine.

And you touch on a valid point. Ask someone who has never had a problem in their skates about pronation or feet that don't feel right in the skates or why I can't stop on one side etc etc and 99% of the time they just look at you blankly. They can't understand why you have issues. As the saying goes, "what you don't know you don't know".It's just your skates, you need to skate more, you need a deeper hollow and so it goes  Lets look at a another sport, running. There is a huge industry built around addressing your bio mechanics as you run, even for the casual runner of once or twice a week. Most decent shops that sell running shoes will offer a gait analysis process in store and suggest fixes such as orthotics or different shoes to what you were looking at / using. Ice skates are much more complex yet what does the ice hockey world do about this? Zilch. Except those who actually know it is problem (@OldTrainerGuy and the work he does to make sure the skates you have purchased will work for you). It's a general industry problem and if it doesn't get addressed when you purchase the skates you carry on blissfully unaware of the issue until it begins to bite you in the ass with lace bite, sore feet, bunions, bumps, etc and why you still suck at skating 2 years later yet the guy next to you who started at the same time is light years ahead of you.....

Edited by Vet88

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2 hours ago, Vet88 said:

I'm a level 2 certified coach, been coaching ice and inline for 15 years. But I didn't invent this, other much better qualified coaches than me have done this. For example look at this 

. Wally Kozak is one of the most respected coaches out there.

Interesting video. I watched it all.

So, skating with laces loose appears to be an edge work type of exercise for an advanced skater, not for a beginner learning new skating skills.

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11 hours ago, BenBreeg said:

What is odd about addressing things fundamentally first?

Well, ice skating involves fundamentals like bending your knees and keeping your posture up. But I've never seen completely new skaters being told to keep their laces loose while learning to skate. My children go to Learn To Skate classes, which is a US Figure Skating Association program for children learning to skate and figure skate. In every case where a student is seen with loose skates, an instructor ties them to be tight.

 

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I get the benefit of skating with no laces and I already feel the benefits of my edges from recently dropping my top eyelet, but the thing i would be concerned about is my skates falling off lol.

And I'm assuming this is more of a training technique? Couldn't imagine playing a game like that and not risking skates flying off the feet. 

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