I had a teammate who is first starting the game and is really working on his skating. He’s come a long way. It somehow came up that I was talking about how important balance is in hockey. On Wednesday, he asked me why balance is important. It took me a long time to come up with the right answer. The basic answer is so you don’t fall. When you’re trying to race for a puck, getting hit, changing directions, you’re doing it all on two thin blades. If you can’t master how to stay up on those blades, you’re going to be tentative, and falling on the ice more.
Some guys learn to skate with a stick in their hands. I hate this. You’re learning to stay balanced with an aid. If you learn to stay balanced without your stick, and then play with the aid, you’ll be better off – especially when you don’t have control of that aid because it is pinned up against the boards, being smacked around, etc.
I’ll have a post in a little bit with some dry land training that can be done to help with your balance.