As a hockey player, there are few pieces of equipment more important than your skates. Without skates or without the proper skates, players couldn’t glide across the ice as gracefully as they do, nor could they move and shoot with accuracy or precision.
Because skates play such an important role in the game of hockey, it is imperative to be aware of the warning signs of skates that are getting dull. That way, you can have the skates sharpened before they have a chance to impair an athlete’s skating ability.
So, what are the warning signs of dull skates?
Visible Nicks and Grooves
Sometimes, the best way to find hints of dullness is to look at the skates themselves.
Take a good look at the actual blades of a pair of skates. If you notice nicks, grooves, or if the problem is really bad, visible chunks missing along the blade line, then it’s probably time to have the skates sharpened or to trade them in for a new pair.
Try the Nail Test
If you don’t spot any nicks in the blades, then you might think that they are fine. However, not having nicks doesn’t mean that blades are as sharp as they should be, and sharpness is important for the careful turns and pivots required of hockey players.
Thus, a good trick for testing sharpness is the “nail test.” Carefully run your fingernail along the blade. If it glides through smoothly with no resistance, it’s time to sharpen the skates. If you feel a pull or a slight dig- don’t press too hard- on your nail, then the skates are sharp and good to go.
Finally, players can often “feel” that their skates are losing sharpness when they’re out on the ice.
If your young player complains of feeling unstable or of not having enough grip on the ice, it’s probably due to dull blades.
The good news is that sharpening dull blades is not difficult or expensive, so don’t hesitate to get it done right away if you notice any of these warning signs of dullness.