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Amazinmets73

Finding the right hollow

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I'm 5'11.5" 170lbs. I've been skating a little over 4 months and have been having trouble with my edges. I've sharpened to the recommend 1/2 hollow but it's not sufficient for me. Whenever I skate at near full intensity I have very poor grip on the ice and my feet are sliding backwards throwing me off balance. I'm assuming this can be partially attributed to poor skating skill, but I'm certain deeper hollows will help.

Should I try 3/8 next sharpen?

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If your skates have been sharpened properly, a 1/2 inch is plenty deep. The issue isn't the hollow - its your skating. You need to learn to use your edges. Practice using inside and outside edges and over time you will get better and the grip will come. As you develop your skills you should experiment with shallower hollows 9/16, 5/8, 3/4, as these will give you more glide without sacrificing agility. 3/8th is insanely deep.

Weight impacts glide - deeper hollows slow heavier skaters more than lighter skaters. Grip in turns is a balance between bite and centripetal force which in my opinion is a wash. That said, as you improve, try shallower hollows, not deeper, until you find the one that gives you the bite and glide that is optimal for your skills.

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I agree to an extent - especially for someone who has only been skating 4 months; the issue is more likely your skating.

Having said that I would say go ahead and try 3/8 if you think it will help. I'm a light skater and I sharpen mine to 5/16. This is much deeper than insanely deep but ultimately your hollow depends in large part on your preference. I'd gladly sacrifice some glide for grip. When you're trying to move a body for example, a little extra grip is much more valuable than a little extra glide. It's preference, position, style of game, softness of ice, all these things factor in.

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As many of those above have said, it doesn't hurt to try 3/8, as you can always change it. The likely solution is continued practice of your skating. Taking a clinic could greatly assist in your development and skating overall.

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If you feel that your feet are "sliding backwards", it's definitely a technique issue and I don't think a deeper hollow will solve it. It sounds like you are leaning your upper body too far forward, throwing off your center of gravity. Since your skates are what is actually propelling you across the ice and you are moving forward "at near full intensity", they aren't going backwards. The only way that they can feel that way is if your upper body is not staying centered over your lower body. I would bet that if you kept your shoulders more upright, the problem would go away. Going to a deeper hollow will only slow your skating, likely making the problem worse.

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I didn't follow conventional wisdom but when I first started playing ice after inline, I started with a very shallow hollow and moved deeper as I learned how to use the edges properly. I preferred the shallower hollow and went back.

On one hand, I wasn't losing holding power in turns because I really had no business skating in my upper gears until I could actually turn and stop with proper edgework anyway. On the other hand, less bite allowed me to very quickly develop the coordination and feel for transitioning to a stop in any position.

I weigh about 140, started at 5/8'', then after stepping down all the way down to 3/8'' ended back up at a 5/8'' over the course of a year. I also play on very soft ice in a subtropical southern state.

Personally I think going to a deeper cut as you become a stronger skater will nurture better edge habits, but that's just my experience.

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It sounds like you are using more of a running stride instead of a skating stride. You see this a lot with new skaters. Work on getting your skates out at about a 45 degree angle and flicking your toe at the end of the stride. The best way to practice is stand in good skating position (knees over toes, shoulders over knees) and just practice pushing out and getting full extension. Work on one leg at a time and then do both legs. Don't worry about going fast. Just concentrate on doing it the best you can and the speed will come.

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I'm 5'11.5" 170lbs. I've been skating a little over 4 months and have been having trouble with my edges. I've sharpened to the recommend 1/2 hollow but it's not sufficient for me. Whenever I skate at near full intensity I have very poor grip on the ice and my feet are sliding backwards throwing me off balance. I'm assuming this can be partially attributed to poor skating skill, but I'm certain deeper hollows will help.

Should I try 3/8 next sharpen?

Hey Amazin. I've watched some of your videos that you've posted on MSH. First off, you've made tremendous improvement on your skating from the earlier videos. Kudos to you. Keep up the great work! Looks like you're working hard and practicing a lot, and that's the best way to keep improving.

With regards to this topic, and looking at your videos, I can see that you're actually not engaging your edges, so it's definitely a technique problem, not a hollow problem. In your latest videos, when you turn, you're "gliding" your turn, instead of making a sharp cut and using your edges. You need to lean more and engage those edges. A good way to know that you're really engaging the edges is 1) you feel as if your edges are leading/guiding you as if you're on rails - hard to describe, but when you do it, you'll know the feeling and 2) the sound. When you really ride your edges, you hear the edges carving through the ice in a very distinct manner.

How to solve that problem in your case... Read Chad's post. What he described and what I see in your videos; that's your biggest problem in terms of properly making turns where you are engaging the edges. Your upper body is not centered when you skate, and thus you're pitching your whole body forward. It's throwing off your balance, and that's why you get that "sliding backwards" feeling on your skates, cause you are indeed sliding backwards while your upper body moves forward. I noticed that you actually fell forward onto the ice when doing a hockey stop because of your upper body not being centered - you literally fell forward as you skates slid backwards. Centering your upper body will improve all aspects of your skating, not just your turns. Work on that first, and then other things will come from there.

Have you ever thought about taking figure skating lessons? Some people may scoff at it, but figure skating highly emphasizes using your edges while keeping your upper body centered, all the while finding and maintaining your balance in a very compact and efficient manner. It's not a surprise someone like Barbara Underhill is a highly sought after hockey skating coach (to the NHL level), as are some other former professional figure skaters. Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes was a former Canadian junior figure skating champ and he is an extremely solid and agile skater who's great at using his edges. Just a suggestion.

Keep up the great work. Sincerely, your skating has improved quite significantly in 4 months. Keep at it!

Cheers

Edited by shoot_the_goalie
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Thanks so much for the detailed write-up. I just looked at a video where I view my stride from the side rather than behind and it's clear that it's a stride issue; I do look like I'm running on the ice.

http://www.acfigureskating.org/coaches/

I'd definitely take figure skating lessons as long as they're not cost prohibitive. I'll give a call to the figure skating club I linked

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Hey Amazin. I've watched some of your videos that you've posted on MSH. First off, you've made tremendous improvement on your skating from the earlier videos. Kudos to you. Keep up the great work! Looks like you're working hard and practicing a lot, and that's the best way to keep improving.

With regards to this topic, and looking at your videos, I can see that you're actually not engaging your edges, so it's definitely a technique problem, not a hollow problem. In your latest videos, when you turn, you're "gliding" your turn, instead of making a sharp cut and using your edges. You need to lean more and engage those edges. A good way to know that you're really engaging the edges is 1) you feel as if your edges are leading/guiding you as if you're on rails - hard to describe, but when you do it, you'll know the feeling and 2) the sound. When you really ride your edges, you hear the edges carving through the ice in a very distinct manner.

How to solve that problem in your case... Read Chad's post. What he described and what I see in your videos; that's your biggest problem in terms of properly making turns where you are engaging the edges. Your upper body is not centered when you skate, and thus you're pitching your whole body forward. It's throwing off your balance, and that's why you get that "sliding backwards" feeling on your skates, cause you are indeed sliding backwards while your upper body moves forward. I noticed that you actually fell forward onto the ice when doing a hockey stop because of your upper body not being centered - you literally fell forward as you skates slid backwards. Centering your upper body will improve all aspects of your skating, not just your turns. Work on that first, and then other things will come from there.

Have you ever thought about taking figure skating lessons? Some people may scoff at it, but figure skating highly emphasizes using your edges while keeping your upper body centered, all the while finding and maintaining your balance in a very compact and efficient manner. It's not a surprise someone like Barbara Underhill is a highly sought after hockey skating coach (to the NHL level), as are some other former professional figure skaters. Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes was a former Canadian junior figure skating champ and he is an extremely solid and agile skater who's great at using his edges. Just a suggestion.

Keep up the great work. Sincerely, your skating has improved quite significantly in 4 months. Keep at it!

Cheers

This guy for the win!

Thank you for keeping it positive and well structured. You nailed it.

My mum made me take figure skating and power skating when I was a kid despite me being a goalie. I see this in many rooms-- guys are using hollows that are significantly less deep than most beer leaguers'. Why? Because they know how to weight their edges properly.

It's been said that people that lose their pinky toe lose most of their balance. I believe it-- You really need those toes to keep your balance / help weight your edges. You need to use your toes and muscles to gain edge control. All a deep hollow is good for is scrubbing off speed. Sure you might THINK it is helping you; however, it's a band aid on a broken bone.

Edited by Zac911

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Hanging out with competitive figure skaters in college is what really put my edge work over the top. A good figure skating course that can teach you edge transitions, combined with a power skating course, will give you a very solid base to practice and get better.

Disagree with zac's blanket statement of "all a deep hollow is good for is scrubbing speed." Sure it's a slower hollow but speed is not the only consideration. For example I am a light player and the ice I skate on is hard and fast so the tradeoff is not severe for me. I'd gladly give up some speed for more bite. But as I have said before it's a matter of personal preference and the conditions of the ice.

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My understanding is that a deeper hollow could impede the learning process for newer skaters. When I transitioned from inline to ice, I had a deep hollow and it was almost too much grip. I couldn't Stop at all and nearly killed myself a few times trying. Then I went to 1/2 on my next sharpen and it made a world of difference. I'm able to stop aggressively and tight turns aren't an issue.

You really just need to use and trust your edges. 1/2 is fine for even newer skaters.

There's some really good YouTube videos on using edges and skating drills. This guy has a bunch:

http://youtu.be/ubJzSM5Iy2w

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I prefer a shallow hollow and I am not a big guy by any stretch of the imagination. I am 5'7 and about 150 pounds. I use a 90/50 FBV hollow now and love it.

I had a sharpener one time tell me, "you like your skates dull like that, with a dirty look". I simply told him," An edge is an edge" and I now avoid him.

It all comes down to personal preference, I play hockey with a guy around the same height and weight, he uses 3/8. He is a very strong skater and player.

Reading some of these posts have an elitist type of attitude and assuming that a deep hollow is for beginners. It's all a matter of preference, and I myself experienced that condescending attitude from that sharpener who said my skates were dull.

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Some pros skate with a 1" hollow... again, it's personal preference (and to a certain extent, ice conditions) that should dictate your hollow preference, not skill level.

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Some pros skate with a 1" hollow... again, it's personal preference (and to a certain extent, ice conditions) that should dictate your hollow preference, not skill level.

I agree with you that it is personal preference. I know lots of players around my height and weight using deeper hollows, and, they are strong players even the beer leaguers.

I see this in many rooms-- guys are using hollows that are significantly less deep than most beer leaguers'. Why? Because they know how to weight their edges properly.

It's been said that people that lose their pinky toe lose most of their balance. I believe it-- You really need those toes to keep your balance / help weight your edges. You need to use your toes and muscles to gain edge control. All a deep hollow is good for is scrubbing off speed. Sure you might THINK it is helping you; however, it's a band aid on a broken bone.

This is the statement I disagree with, telling somebody learning hockey that shallow hollows equates to people knowing how to weight their edges properly. I know lots of bigger guys with shallow hollows and their skating is abysmal. The other statement of a ' band aid on a broken bone' could be referring to the OP though.

To the OP, there is a lot of good advice of people who saw your video and gave you tips on your technique. Good luck

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Hanging out with competitive figure skaters in college is what really put my edge work over the top. A good figure skating course that can teach you edge transitions, combined with a power skating course, will give you a very solid base to practice and get better.

Disagree with zac's blanket statement of "all a deep hollow is good for is scrubbing speed." Sure it's a slower hollow but speed is not the only consideration. For example I am a light player and the ice I skate on is hard and fast so the tradeoff is not severe for me. I'd gladly give up some speed for more bite. But as I have said before it's a matter of personal preference and the conditions of the ice.

My apologies... Perhaps I chose my words poorly. I didn't mean that it is ALL it is good for. More times than not; however, that is what I see. As you said... Some are happy with the trade off and that is fine.

And yes... Figure Skating will do wonders for your edge control. My mom made me take FS for a couple years when I was 8. I hated her for it at the time, but it absolutely makes a difference.

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Amazin:

Good advice for a beginning skater...

"the issue is more likely your skating"

"The likely solution is continued practice of your skating"

"it's definitely a technique issue and I don't think a deeper hollow will solve it"

"Going to a deeper hollow will only slow your skating"

"less bite allowed me to very quickly develop the coordination and feel for transitioning to a stop in any position"

"a deep hollow is good for is scrubbing off speed" (note the word "all" is omitted as some proficient skaters may ultimately find a deep hollow overall works best for them)

"ice I skate on is hard and fast so the tradeoff is not severe" - In other words...optimal hollow for a person will change dependent on ice condition - softer=shallower, harder=deeper

"deeper hollow could impede the learning process for newer skaters"

Bad advice...

"Having said that I would say go ahead and try 3/8 if you think it will help"

"it doesn't hurt to try 3/8"

"going to a deeper cut as you become a stronger skater will nurture better edge habits" - this is just plain wrong

"it's personal preference" - for a proficient skater, yes, but not for a beginner, a beginner can't skate well enough to evaluate, 1/2" is a good place to learn to skate

The most popular hollow in the NHL is a 1/2" followed by 5/8". The majority skate greater than a 1/2". Its not your hollow, its your skill. Learn to skate on the 1/2". Learn good technique on this hollow and then, when you are proficient, experiment with other hollows. With more bite comes less speed, the majority of the best skaters use hollows greater than a 1/2", alternatively, a deep hollow may ultimately be optimal for your skill level, technique, and way you play hockey.

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"going to a deeper cut as you become a stronger skater will nurture better edge habits" - this is just plain wrong

If you assume I mean to say that that stronger skaters skate with a smaller ROH, then sure. You'd assume incorrectly though; In context to my comment that's not at all what it means.

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Another thing about deeper hollows, with less glide it takes a lot more effort to skate. That increased effort will fatigue your legs which will lead to bad skating form. Watch any level of player who gets stuck on an extra long shift, the legs start to burn and the natural tendency is to start standing upright. For a proper skating form you need good knee bend. Muscle fatigue like that also comes into play towards the end of a season. Even NHL'ers will talk about how by the end of the year their skating form has gone to junk due to the fatigue of the season and what they do in the off-season is get some rest and then get back to work with a skating instructor working on their power skating. For experienced skaters who possess good leg and ankle strength the lack of glide from a deeper hollow might not be an issue as it is something they are used to. For new skaters who do not have those years of muscle conditioning and command of their edges a deeper hollow will more than likely lead to increased muscle fatigue and you will feel like you are skating in mud. I echo much of the other advice here and would recommend you learn to skate with a 1/2 or 5/8 inch hollow, depending on your ice conditions, and concentrate on learning proper skating form and command of your edges.

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Howdy,

As someone new to this and just as a side note...

I'm pretty blown away that such minor differences in radius make differences in skating effort that even I can feel.

According to the chart here: http://www.pro-filer.com/hdi/

... the difference in the depth of the hollow between 1/2" and 3/4" is 0.001". One _thousandth_ of an inch. That's small enough that its reasonably difficult to measure accurately.

Craziness.

Mark

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I'm 5'11.5" 170lbs. I've been skating a little over 4 months and have been having trouble with my edges. I've sharpened to the recommend 1/2 hollow but it's not sufficient for me. Whenever I skate at near full intensity I have very poor grip on the ice and my feet are sliding backwards throwing me off balance. I'm assuming this can be partially attributed to poor skating skill, but I'm certain deeper hollows will help.

Should I try 3/8 next sharpen?

I haven't watched you skate but your description sound like the problem is something every new skater has when they first start. Two things The angle of your skate, your skates should make a V shape when you look down angled outward at least 45 degrees they can't slide backwards like you described if they are in the V shape if there straight forward like I I thats the running on ice. Two is knee bend which is something even people who have been skating for years still don't do enough. I'm 155lbs and skate on a 1" hollow with decently hard ice indoors during the winter in NY and I never lose an edge because over the last year i decided to really try to always have good knee bend and when you do no matter what hollow you use you will be a much more powerful skater.

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Howdy,

As someone new to this and just as a side note...

I'm pretty blown away that such minor differences in radius make differences in skating effort that even I can feel.

According to the chart here: http://www.pro-filer.com/hdi/

... the difference in the depth of the hollow between 1/2" and 3/4" is 0.001". One _thousandth_ of an inch. That's small enough that its reasonably difficult to measure accurately.

Craziness.

Mark

It's not just the depth, but also the angle of the edges that contributes to the feel.

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I've been in a similar situation when i first started and blamed the hollow in the beggining too. Also not a heavy skater 62kg/170cm, tried different hollows, currently 5/8.

In my case it was more a technique than equipment problem. My edge work was terrible and upper body wasn't synchronizing with the legs. Trying to do a shit ton of edge drills, filming myself and getting feedback from better skaters helped a lot. Try some c-cuts, figure 8, crossunders, etc, there are really many skating drills on youtube. You could also do some exercises off the ice. I like squats, lateral lunges, single leg romanian deadlifts, core stability exercises like the deadbug and rows - getting stronger helps a lot with hockey and you will look better too! :)

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Thanks so much for the detailed write-up. I just looked at a video where I view my stride from the side rather than behind and it's clear that it's a stride issue; I do look like I'm running on the ice.

http://www.acfigureskating.org/coaches/

I'd definitely take figure skating lessons as long as they're not cost prohibitive. I'll give a call to the figure skating club I linked

https://www.facebook.com/NHL/videos/10153229009577466/?theater

Figure skating drills to improve ice hockey skating are really good but.... my personal preference when doing figure training is to primarily train with a stick in hand (80/20 mix). Your balance points change as soon as you pick up a stick. I currently coach around 10 figure skaters who are learning to play ice hockey, a couple of them are exceptionally good figure skaters (represented our country at international levels) but put a stick in their hands and their technique and skating turns to crap. Basically they have to relearn how to skate again. Admittedly teaching them is really easy and they learn sooo quick but for those first 18 months or so they really struggle when skating with stick in hand.

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