If you must learn anything during hockey practice the first thing should be how to stop on hockey skates. Learning how to skate effectively is all about learning to control your movements on the ice and stopping is one of the most important aspects of control. To learn how to stop on hockey skates practice the following moves.
- Skate forward at a medium to slow speed. When you are learning to stop, do not try to stop from a full speed.
- Bend at the knees. Bending at your knees helps with balance and posture on the ice. In this part of the maneuver you will bend deeply almost like you are going to sit down.
- Turn into the stop. At this point you want to turn your waist so that the edges of the skates are almost 90 degrees from the direction you are going.
- Lean away from the direction you are going. As you are turning your waist and feet it is important to put the weight on the foot that is farthest from the direction you are moving.
- Dig in. Dig the edge of your skate slowly into the ice creating a snowplow movement. This is where the name snowplow stop comes from. This will create a small wave of ice flowing forward like a snowplow.
Tips: Work on the snowplow after learning to do the slide portion of the stop. Steps two through four are done almost simultaneously in one fluid motion. This takes practice and it will probably help to watch others and see how they do this. Stand by the boards and practice sliding the edge of your skates against the ice. This will help you get a feel for the amount of pressure needed. If your skates are digging in, that is too much pressure. You will fall while learning to stop and it will hurt. That’s the nature of the game when learning to stop.
Learning to skate is essential to playing hockey. Learning how to stop on hockey skates is as important as learning to properly stop a car or land an airplane. Without learning to properly stop in many situations you open yourself up for serious injury. Practice stopping at all speeds and situations, and learn to become an expert at hockey stops.