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SoftwareDev

How often should I skate

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Hi all, 

I am 29 years old, turn 30 in two months, and am just now picking up ice skating in prep to join a beginner league eventually. I signed up for adult skating lessons that meet once a week for 30 minutes. 

How often do you recommend I skate per week? Currently I had two lessons on Sunday, practiced alone on Monday, and will be going this afternoon (Wednesday) to get in some more work. I feel like if you "fake it til you make it"  and not be overly fearful for eating it, and try to mimick how skaters skate, you learn much quickly. I can do crossovers right over left, can do both leg "lemon drops" backwards (still have a hard time using my left leg for backwards C cuts). The hardest thing for me is hockey stopping, I feel like I'm leaning my upper body back instead of staying straight and just angling my skates, and applying too much pressure which has a tendency to kick me over forwards when the skates dig in, how long did it take to learn hockey stops for you? Additionally, are there any drills I can do to practice hockey stopping?

I was considering getting hockey roller skates to practice striding and maybe hockey stops but since there is way more friction with roller skating, I decided it was probably a bad idea while trying to learn on the ice. 

Thoughts?

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Welcome!  I'm 41 and started skating/hockey this past December.  I immediately enrolled in a novice hockey league which alternates practice and games.  After my first practice I asked the coach the same types of things you are asking and he recommended getting as much ice time as possible.  Every moment spent on the ice increases your comfort level and little by little you'll build up the confidence to push a little harder or work on something new.  I spend somewhere between 4-6 hours on the ice each week (lessons, games, practice, drop-ins, public skate) and have received numerous comments about how far I've come in a short amount of time.  Of the time I spend on the ice I try to get as much coaching/instruction as possible so I do both skating lessons and am fortunate to be part of 2 novice leagues that include coaching/practice.  

There are several different approaches to learning to hockey stop.  What worked for me was to go from a two foot snowplow, to a one foot snowplow with a turn at the end, and then repeat the one foot snowplow with the turn over and over until it clicked.  The one foot snowplow forces you to shift your weight more on your glide foot which allows for the other foot to scrape the ice and then turn to a stop.  

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Thanks for the reply! That is awesome to hear your story. 

I was a bit skeptical of the Novice hockey leagues here since I can't stop yet, so I figured I would reassess after my lessons finish in another 5 weeks. I do have a pretty cool instructor willing to work with me whenever I am free, he plays hockey in the AAU league team here. 

After today, I will have 4 hours on the ice this week, with another 1-2 on Friday I hope (if my wife doesn't kill me for constantly being gone).

I'll look up some videos here soon to see if I can put together what you just said, and then hit the ice at 130 to practice it. 

How is your skating coming along? Does your skating ability match well with others in the league?

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I learned to skate and then play in my thirties when my kid got into hockey.

Get on the ice as often as you can. Public skate is good but, personally, I'm much more cautious when not in pads so it's harder to push myself to work on a particular skating skill since I don't like falling on the ice. Games, drop ins, etc. help identify my shortcomings and stick and puck is where I work to improve them.

Working with an instructor is something I wish I'd done. I didn't have an experienced skater/player helping me so some skills took longer to develop than they probably should've.

Good luck and have fun!

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Ironically enough, my wife is one of my biggest supporters as she took up figure skating at the same time I took up hockey.  This also helped me tremendously as I would go and watch her figure skating lesson, than we would immediately work on the drills she had learned, in the public skate that followed her lesson.  This forced me to practice the basics over and over as I helped her.  She's now at a point where she's progressed to drills that don't apply to me.

I'm ecstatic where I'm at now as when I started I could barely skate, much less play hockey, and now I consider myself in the "intermediate" to "upper intermediate" portion of my various novice leagues.  Am I Sidney Crosby?  No, but I'm now able to focus more on the hockey side of things rather than just the skating.  I still have a long way to go for stickhandling, passing, and shooting, but being a somewhat competent skater allows me to disrupt the other team and puts me in good position.

Probably the best piece of advice everyone gives is to bend your knees and get low.  This gives you a lot of stability and gives you a longer leg stroke for acceleration.  When I first started I was amazed out how some rather large dudes (with big beer bellies) were able to accelerate as fast, if not faster, than people half their size/age who clearly had more "athletic" builds.  It was all about how they got low and made efficient use of their stride.  If you look at a lot of people that are just learning to skate or struggling with accelerating it's probably because they are standing more upright.  Check out the guys who really skate well and note just how far their knees are bent and how low they get.

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2 hours ago, kesamj said:

I learned to skate and then play in my thirties when my kid got into hockey.

Get on the ice as often as you can. Public skate is good but, personally, I'm much more cautious when not in pads so it's harder to push myself to work on a particular skating skill since I don't like falling on the ice. Games, drop ins, etc. help identify my shortcomings and stick and puck is where I work to improve them.

Working with an instructor is something I wish I'd done. I didn't have an experienced skater/player helping me so some skills took longer to develop than they probably should've.

Good luck and have fun!

I fell the left side of my left knee on Monday night and it got swollen and bruised, and then it had been healing over Tuesday and earlier today... at the end of my afternoon skate today, I ate it .... of course, on the same bruise from Monday. 

I'm with you, I'm probably not going to try anything again until I get some knee and elbow pads. Falling on ice sucks. 

With that said, are there knee and elbow pad brands/types that I SHOULD AVOID? Going to have to get some very soon.

Edited by SoftwareDev

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1 hour ago, SoftwareDev said:

I fell the left side of my left knee on Monday night and it got swollen and bruised, and then it had been healing over Tuesday and earlier today... at the end of my afternoon skate today, I ate it .... of course, on the same bruise from Monday. 

I'm with you, I'm probably not going to try anything again until I get some knee and elbow pads. Falling on ice sucks. 

With that said, are there knee and elbow pad brands/types that I SHOULD AVOID? Going to have to get some very soon.

I'm not the most qualified person to tell you what to avoid since I've only ever used CCM shins & elbows but I feel like it's probably hard to go wrong with Bauer, CCM, Warrior, etc. provided that it's sized appropriately. You can shop marked down/clearance stuff and find good deals on "last season's" product.

I wouldn't buy top-tier equipment at first because it'll be overkill for a novice/I-league and your preferences may change. I've replaced most of my protective equipment over the few years I've been playing as I've become more experienced and learned what I do/don't like.

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I disagree about what level of gear you need as a novice. This is when you fall the most and these falls are often really hard as they are an off balance / trip fall as opposed to a good skater who loses an edge then slides (unless you are hitting the boards flat out). But don't buy new, aim to buy top of the range (or near to it) from 2 to 4 years ago. If new or near new you should get this at a price around brand new mid level gear yet the protection will be a much much better.

As to practice, you can never skate enough. Every day if you can and roller does help. It's not about what you are on, it's about been on something, anything, learning balance and stride mechanics. For off ice get yourself some hard outdoor wheels, a soft sided recreational skate like the K2, a green biscuit, an ABS blade on a shaft and then get down to your local park, carpark, driveway, wherever and skate and puck handle to your hearts content.

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4 hours ago, Vet88 said:

I disagree about what level of gear you need as a novice. This is when you fall the most and these falls are often really hard as they are an off balance / trip fall as opposed to a good skater who loses an edge then slides (unless you are hitting the boards flat out). But don't buy new, aim to buy top of the range (or near to it) from 2 to 4 years ago. If new or near new you should get this at a price around brand new mid level gear yet the protection will be a much much better.

As to practice, you can never skate enough. Every day if you can and roller does help. It's not about what you are on, it's about been on something, anything, learning balance and stride mechanics. For off ice get yourself some hard outdoor wheels, a soft sided recreational skate like the K2, a green biscuit, an ABS blade on a shaft and then get down to your local park, carpark, driveway, wherever and skate and puck handle to your hearts content.

Thanks! Especially about the roller skating piece. That does help. 

What about sizing for protective equipment, I am 5'5'' and some of the junior sizing like 13' is sized from 5'5''-5'9'' while some of the smaller sized senior products start at like 5'7'' (if I can remember right), is there a difference other that size chart between youth and senior equipment, like, strength of material or anything? 

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4 minutes ago, SoftwareDev said:

Thanks! Especially about the roller skating piece. That does help. 

What about sizing for protective equipment, I am 5'5'' and some of the junior sizing like 13' is sized from 5'5''-5'9'' while some of the smaller sized senior products start at like 5'7'' (if I can remember right), is there a difference other that size chart between youth and senior equipment, like, strength of material or anything? 

Do you have a local hockey store nearby to try stuff on?  When I first geared up I tried on all sorts of brands and sizes and was surprised at just how differently everything fits.

While I don't necessarily agree with statements to buy all mid or high end gear, the fact that you are new does mean you will take some awkward falls and you don't know what you do and don't like until after you've tried something for a while.  For me, I struggled with falling on my tailbone to the point I was seeing stars.  I had bought mid level CCM pants which didn't have enough padding in the rear for me (I had to insert a figure skating pad in my compression shorts).  The high level CCM and Bauer pants didn't have much more padding so I ended up buying the highest level Warrior pants which have a lot of padding and was worth every penny.

Maybe this is naive but I just don't see how high level shoulder pads, elbow pads, and shin guards offer much more protection for my level of play.  I've fallen many many many times, taken puck shots, hit the boards, etc, and never thought I needed more protection in these areas than my mid level stuff.  If I was in a full contact league than I might think different...  

The point is I went all new mid level gear and the only item I had to re-purchase for added protection was the high level Warrior pants (high level CCM and Bauer didn't appear to have the added protection in the right area).  If you can find high level gear at a mid level price than by all means, go for it.  My preference is to buy all new but to each their own...

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10 hours ago, SoftwareDev said:

Thanks! Especially about the roller skating piece. That does help. 

What about sizing for protective equipment, I am 5'5'' and some of the junior sizing like 13' is sized from 5'5''-5'9'' while some of the smaller sized senior products start at like 5'7'' (if I can remember right), is there a difference other that size chart between youth and senior equipment, like, strength of material or anything? 

Similar to my daughters height. I suspect you are a junior large in most stuff but may also get into senior small in some brands, the decider will be how solidly built you are (my daughter is slim so junior sizing). You do need to try stuff on to get a general guide as to what fits and what doesn't, then you hunt ebay, craigslist etc looking for gear. It won't turn up immediately but over time you can kit yourself out with excellent gear for a fraction of the cost.

I have sold a lot of gear to people I coach and not one them has ever regretted buying top end models from a few years ago. Last week I sold some 20k shins, they replaced the nearly brand new Bauer 190's she was wearing, her comment was "night and day difference". It's not about your level of play, it's about how hard you can fall at any level. You already know what it's like to fall on your knees, add a hard impact on the top of your elbows and you are in a lot pain. If you want some basic protection to wear at public skates look at some skateboard knee and elbow pads, not the best but they do help.

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14 hours ago, Vet88 said:

Similar to my daughters height. I suspect you are a junior large in most stuff but may also get into senior small in some brands, the decider will be how solidly built you are (my daughter is slim so junior sizing). You do need to try stuff on to get a general guide as to what fits and what doesn't, then you hunt ebay, craigslist etc looking for gear. It won't turn up immediately but over time you can kit yourself out with excellent gear for a fraction of the cost.

I have sold a lot of gear to people I coach and not one them has ever regretted buying top end models from a few years ago. Last week I sold some 20k shins, they replaced the nearly brand new Bauer 190's she was wearing, her comment was "night and day difference". It's not about your level of play, it's about how hard you can fall at any level. You already know what it's like to fall on your knees, add a hard impact on the top of your elbows and you are in a lot pain. If you want some basic protection to wear at public skates look at some skateboard knee and elbow pads, not the best but they do help.

Thanks for the response. 

What size and flex of a stick should I be looking for? Why are blades taped? 

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It's good advice above. I do 5-7 hours on ice a week, including 1 hour hockey practice. I wear inline skating pads on public sessions including padded shorts and helmet. It makes a massive difference as falling hurts, but I know I won't injure myself, and a bit of short lived pain is not a problem. Consequently I practice tricky moves without fear. 

Hockey stops are quite hard. In addition to the advice given, do practice edges. They are crucial to everything, especially outside edges which are hard. But given time, it starts to click into place. I have a long way to go, but I have learnt a lot in one year. You Tube is excellent. Critical comments from friends help too. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, SoftwareDev said:

Thanks for the response. 

What size and flex of a stick should I be looking for? Why are blades taped? 

Generally your stick should come up to your chin when on skates, and the flex of the stick should be roughly half your weight. The stick blade is taped because if you try to stick handle or shoot with a non taped blade there is no grip on it and the puck won’t stay on your stick when you’re skating.

 

The length and flex can be changed some once you learn what your preference is.

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At 5' 5" I'd say you are looking to start with a junior stick and I'd recommend a 50 flex. You may need to add a 1" extension. It's not your weigh that counts, its how good your technique is and how well you can load the stick up. Learn to use the flex of the stick to pass and shoot with, if the stick is too stiff (higher flex) you will never learn this. 

Length that is up to the chin is debatable, the shorter the stick the easier it is to puck handle, pass etc. You are learning, a stick that comes up to your collar bone or throat is what I try to get beginners to use, you can then up length and or flex as you improve until you find the mix that suits you. Everyone is different, don't listen to anyone who says "it must be this" (and that includes me!), weigh up what others say and decide how it may best work for you.

Edited by Vet88
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On 6/24/2017 at 4:24 AM, Vet88 said:

At 5' 5" I'd say you are looking to start with a junior stick and I'd recommend a 50 flex. You may need to add a 1" extension. It's not your weigh that counts, its how good your technique is and how well you can load the stick up. Learn to use the flex of the stick to pass and shoot with, if the stick is too stiff (higher flex) you will never learn this. 

Length that is up to the chin is debatable, the shorter the stick the easier it is to puck handle, pass etc. You are learning, a stick that comes up to your collar bone or throat is what I try to get beginners to use, you can then up length and or flex as you improve until you find the mix that suits you. Everyone is different, don't listen to anyone who says "it must be this" (and that includes me!), weigh up what others say and decide how it may best work for you.

Awesome, thank you so much.

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