Whether you’re playing hockey, figure skating, or just skating recreationally, knowing how to stop properly and safely is of utmost importance. All skaters should learn how to do a 2 foot hockey stop regardless of ones skill level. Here is a general guide on how to stop properly. It should be noted that nothing can replace the act of practicing yourself on the ice.
Before learning how to stop:
- Have sharpened, properly fitting skates. Having dull edges will make stopping much more difficult.
- Make sure you have the balance required to stop. Falling is normal when you are first learning, but if you have some ability to skate around the ice without falling it will be much easier.
- Don’t be scared. Start off slow and progress to faster speeds. If you are too hesitant to use your edges or are too afraid of falling then you will never learn how to stop. Learn to trust your edges and your balance.
- Find ice time where you can practice pressure free and as often as possible.
- Know about the skate edges. Skate blades are curved, not flat. As can be seen in the diagram, each skate has 2 edges, an inside and outside edge. When you skate, you will always be on one (turning/stopping) or both (gliding) of those edges.
The Snowplow stop:
This kind of stop should only be utilized by beginners, and is primarily a tool to get new skaters comfortable with using their edges and being balanced. However, this method of stopping is not practical for anything beyond learning and, in my opinion, should not be promoted as more than just a beginner’s tool.
- Begin by gliding on two feet with your knees slightly bent. Bending your knees and keeping your center of gravity low and centered is vital for any stopping technique.
- Press both feet against/into the ice and let your legs slide slightly out to the sides, ending in an upside down V position. As can be seen in the picture below, the stop should be made using the outside edges of both skates.
- The progression is to increase the speed and digging the edges into the ice more, all while keeping your balance.
Stay tuned for advanced hockey stopping techniques as well as some new exercises to strengthen those important gluteal muscles.