When you are new to the world of hockey, one of the most important skills to learn is how to hokey stop.
You might have already found a method of stopping by dragging or spinning, but that is not the same as a hockey stop.
A hockey stop is a way to let you change directions quickly and efficiently during a game. It takes practice to get it right and to be able to do it both directions, but all players must learn it in order to be an effective player on the ice.
Why The Hockey Stop?
If you are still wondering why you would need to learn a proper hockey stop over the type of stop that you might be currently using, let us answer that question for you.
Beginning skaters can get away with less refined techniques, but once you learn how to skate faster and would like to be able to not only move around the ice smoothly, you will also want to be able to chase down a puck or dribble it down the ice.
Having the ability to stop well and efficiently will give you better overall control, giving you better overall gameplay. Also, you can bet that your opponents are also working on the hockey stop. If they can do it and you cannot, you are giving them the advantage.
Before You Work On Your Technique
Before you begin working on your hockey stop, you will need to make sure that you have a pair of hockey skates that fits you well. If your skates do not have a snug fit or cannot be laced properly, you will not be able to work on techniques, such as how to hockey stop, well.
You should also understand what we mean when we are talking about the edge of your skate. Each hockey skate has two edges: the inner and the outer edge. As you master moving, turning, and even stopping, you need to make sure that you know how to use your skates’ edges.
Learning proper skating is not just to make you faster, but it will make you a better hockey player. The more natural stopping, turning, and moving is, the less you will need to think about it. Instead, you can just worry about what is happening in a game rather than what your feet should be doing.
Performing The Hockey Stop
Keep in mind that while this might seem like a lot of steps for a stopping technique, in reality, the whole thing is over in a matter of seconds. These are just the quick steps that should happen in order for you to stop properly.
Step 1: With your knees slightly bent, get into a wide hockey stance, skating forward. When you are practicing this, just take a few strides forward and glide to make sure you are well-balanced.
Step 2: Move your weight slightly forward, off of your back skate.
Step 3: Slightly turn inward on the forward skate, rotating your hip and lightening the pressure as you do so. You will notice that the ice peels lightly as you do this.
Step 4: You should feel your body start to turn along with the skate you have turned.
Step 5: Once your skate glides on the ice, you will need to add more weight to its inside edge, causing it to bite into the ice. You should now be stopped.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The hockey stop is not something that you will be able to master the first try. Instead it is something that you will need to practice and you will be able to perfect it as time goes on. Repeat the hockey stop steps. As you get more control, make sure that you begin to gradually add speed, allowing you to stop more effectively.
After you have mastered the hockey stop with one skate turning inward, it will be time to turn the other skate parallel in order for the both of them to match. In this case, you will be on the inside edge of the front skate while you are on the outside edge of the back skate. Your weight should stay on the front of the blade.
Mistakes To Look Out For
As you are just getting the hang of the hockey stop, you might fall into one of the possible errors that many hockey players make at one point. Here are some of them.
- Putting your weight too far to the front or too far to the back. Your weight should be slightly on the front of the skate, but not too far. Having it centered will also put you at risk of rocking too far one way or another. You also do not want to put your weight to the back as you will wind up spinning rather than stopping.
- Shifting your weight can become a problem as well. Putting your weight too far over the tops of your skates sets you up to fall over. Falling means hurting yourself or other players. Likewise, if you shift your weight too far back, you can also fall backwards. Remember to wear a hockey helmet.
- Locking your knees is another common error. If you try to straighten your knees to the point of locking, you will not be able to move gracefully at all and you certainly will not be able to perform a hockey stop.
- Assuming that the hockey stop is easy is a large mistake. More experienced and professional skaters will make it look simple because they have put in hours of practicing it. You are unlikely to master it in a day.
- Do not lose your momentum as you head into a hockey stop. You will need to keep it going the same direction that you were going before you decided to stop. Once you have stopped, you can go again, but stopping momentum might ruin the hockey stop or again affect your balance and put you at risk of falling.
Don’t give up if you cannot do the hockey stop right away. Be patient and keep trying.