The sideways hockey stop is the proper and most efficient way to stop on while skating. As mentioned in the previous article, the snowplow stop (the beginner’s stopping technique) uses the outside edge of both skates to slow down the skater.
In contrast, the sideways hockey stop uses inside edge of the leading (front) skate blade and the outside edge of the trailing (back) skate blade. For example when stopping to the right, you’ll need to use the inside edge of your left blade and the outside edge of your right blade.
One final and important point: stopping involves scraping across the top layer (s) of the ice, not digging directly into it. Even very quick stops have a small amount of slide across the top of the ice.
Balance and Momentum
The greatest obstacle to overcome with stopping is the mental aspect. Most people are worried about falling and therefore are hesitant to turn their feet 90 degrees while stopping. However by using a low centre of gravity and shifting weight, it is possible for anyone to learn how to stop. Bending the knees and spreading the feet further apart while stopping will lower one’s centre of gravity and gives the skater more stability and balance.
It may seem very difficult to turn the skated 90 degrees while digging into the ice but this can be overcome by leaning back together with bending your knees and ankles. Use the leverage from the knee bend to help turn your skates while remembering to lean back. The momentum from the stop will bring your body back to the upright position after stopping.
Remember to always practice stopping on both sides!
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.
I’m currently a 28 year old men’s league hockey player who plays twice a week in a fairly competitive division. For almost a year, my right hip was progressively getting more and more painful after every game. I had never had these issues before and I started wondering what was going on. I had heard through a friend that Dr. Weinberg had developed a screening system to help identify specific issues with hockey players, so I decided to give it a shot.
Do you want to avoid nagging hockey related injuries?
We can now assess where you are at and help you get there.
Dr. Adam Weinberg, The Urban Athlete’s hockey expert, has developed a physical assessment that is designed specifically for hockey players. The assessment’s purpose is to show players where their physical strengths and weaknesses lie so they can help prevent future injuries and maximize their potential on the ice. It was developed for all players over the age of 13 no matter if they are recreational or competitive.
The assessment consists of strength, flexibility and movements that are specifically related to hockey movements. It also takes into account the level of hockey you play, what position you are and what side of the puck you shoot from. The player will leave the assessment with specific recommendations of what they physically need to work on to perform better and avoid potential injuries.
Tips, exercises, and stretches for recreational and competitive hockey players to improve their skating:
Tip #1: Take long strides
Hockey players who skate the fastest take fewer strides, over a given period of time, than slower skaters. This may seem counterintuitive but the reason is simple; it is the contact with the ice that produces power. Longer strides leave the skate in contact with the ice longer thus propelling them further and faster. Many skaters leave out the gliding part of the stride and over- work, producing the short choppy strides that are both inefficient as well as tiring. Players should fully extend the leg (straightening the knee) and push off from the big toe or the front, inside ball of the foot at around a 45 degree angle from the body. Fully extending the leg also allows the player to get an additional force from the push-off (plantar flexion) of the ankle.
Hip flexor stretch- Kneel down with your back straight. Step forward with your right foot while keeping your left knee on the floor. Put your hands on top of your right thigh. Shift your weight down and forward. The stretch should be felt in the front part of the hip on your left side. Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat for the other leg.
Tips on how to minimize and prevent nagging injuries from playing hockey:
Never stretch cold:
Stretching without a proper warm-up can actually cause more muscle injuries than prevent them. Always take a good 5-10 minute warm-up before playing and stretching. A few hard laps are a good start.
After each ice session, try to cool down your body gradually. A few easy/medium paced laps will do fine, as will a good post game stretch focusing on large, global movements. A proper cool down will help your body get rid of any lactic acid build-up that causes muscle cramping and fatigue.