This is our first video in a series of skating videos. In the series we will be teaching the fundamentals of skating.
Our goal is to help new hockey players understand the basics of skating for hockey, and help experienced players tweak their technique for maximum effectiveness. In this video and article we are covering the importance of proper knee bend.
Why Does Everyone Tell me to Bend my Knees?
This is likely the biggest piece of advice given to hockey players when it comes to skating, however many players still have trouble getting enough knee bend. In fact I have spoken with some trainers who skate pro players and they say the first drills they do during the off-season involves getting lower to break bad habits the pro’s have developed over the season. So why is knee bend so important?
- Your legs are like shock absorbers, having your knees bent gives you a smoother stride.
- When you bend your knees you get lower to the ice, a lower stance gives you more balance which means less falling over.
- In order to get power in each stride you need to bend your knees, the more your knees are bent the more power you can get from each push. A little knee bend means a little power in each push, more knee bend = more power.
- Bending your glide leg brings you lower to the ice which help you elongate your stride, a longer stride (at higher rates of speed) = more speed.
- To sum it up, more knee bend = smoother stride, more power, a longer stride, and better balance.
How do I know if I’m in a Good Hockey Stance?
- Feet about shoulder width apart, can be a little wider.
- Your weight should be over your feet, you can lean forward while accelerating.
- Ankles, knees, and hips should be bent, with most of the bend coming from the knees.
- Ankles, knees, and shoulders should line up for your starting stance. This puts everything over your feet, this is a good neutral hockey stance.
- Your chest and head should be up, don’t slouch.