While there are all kinds of skills that children need to learn if they want to excel at hockey, few are more important than good skating skills. Skating really is at the heart of hockey, and without a good grasp on how to skate, young hockey players can’t possibly reach their full potential.
Even if you think your young player is already a pretty good skater, keep in mind that skating isn’t the kind of thing that can ever be “perfected” to the point where your child no longer needs practice. Skating is something that needs to be practiced and worked on regularly throughout your child’s hockey career.
Unfortunately, many parents don’t see it this way. They view skating as a very basic skill, one that their child just needs to learn early on to get to the harder stuff. However, good coaches know that they need to work on skating with their players regularly, ideally at every practice, so parents are encouraged not to get frustrated when they see coaches running skating drills again and again.
One of the most important things, for example, that a good coach will work on again and again is getting players to maintain strong outside edges; without these, good turns and crossovers are nearly impossible, as is supporting one’s own weight and maintaining speed, which is why coaches will often spend a lot of time working on this skill.
The bottom line is that if you see your child’s coach working on skating drills over and over, don’t think he’s doing a bad job; there’s a good chance that he is simply trying to teach and reinforce one of hockey’s most important skills- which is exactly what a great coach should do.