People often ask what the “secret” to good skating is. And, really, there is no simple answer to that question. Good skating requires a lot of different skills and a lot of practice. With that said, however, one of the most vital parts of being a good skater is edge control.
When a player lacks good edge control, it is basically impossible for him or her to be a good skater. Important skills like striding, stops and starts, turns, and more will all be difficult if not impossible because of the lack of edge control. For this reason, there is no more important skill to instill in your players.
As a coach, you will need to teach your players all three of the major edges, which include:
l Inside edge
l Outside edge
The inside edge is typically the easiest to teach first. Once players have mastered that, you can move into working on the outside edge and then flats.
A good way to start this process of learning edges is through a drill called “sculling.” With this drill, you have your players get into the ready position and place their skates in a “v” formation. From there, have them push their skates toward the outside and back to the middle, repeating this motion as they make their way further down the ice. Encourage your players to keep a consistent knee bend and consistent height as they complete the drill. Do this drill enough, and they should get quite good at inside edges.
When you’re ready to focus on outside edges, you can try a drill called “skiing.” With this drill, players put their skates together in a stationary stance. Then, they roll their ankles to help create momentum and skate like skiers. This will teach balance and the proper use of outside edges.
As you can see, teaching edges is very important. And, while it may take some time, it will be well worth it because this teaching and practice will help turn your players into strong, skilled skaters.