I finally bit the bullet and put down the money for a few sessions at Puck Pros. My evaluation skate a few months ago was extremely helpful. The ability to ask questions, and have the individual attention with your coach is extremely beneficial to me. I got more out of that hour than I did with the entire beginner program at HNA.
I went on the small ice and just skated around it, reminding myself that I need to really bend my knees when I skate. I've been doing it more and it has helped, but I clearly haven't been doing it the right because again, I stumbled on that synthetic ice.
I worked with Jason and we focused on skating. It was clear to him immediately that I'm a poor skater (as is everyone at my level). Ultimately it would be my balance and strength in my legs that need a lot of work. Jason noticed that I do not do any weight transfer when I skate. When you push off with your left foot, all of your weight has to be on your right leg. You do that by keeping your head over your right leg. This is something I never do. My head stays in the middle of my body.
Transferring weight from leg to leg is difficult for me because my balance is so poor. I always knew my left leg was a lot weaker than my right, but I didn't realize how much weaker it was. If I add some strength to it, it will help my balance.
I also worked on my c-cuts, which I apparently have never done correctly. Again, weight all on one leg, knees bent as if you're about to sit down, and push off with your other leg. What was interesting to me was that it is acceptable to not go in a straight line when you do this. Your leg with all of the weight is supposed to be directing you, so if you do want to go straight, you can keep it straight. If you want to go at a slight angle, you just rotate your foot slightly. And that does make sense somewhat, but it contradicts what I thought in the past.
The session really wore me out, and we've got a lot to work on. I knew this going in, but I honestly thought I was going to do better based on my evaluation skate. I always try to take away three things to work on after any sort of practice. This time the three are:
- Balance - A core concept in any skill for hockey. If you can't balance yourself on one leg, you won't be able to transfer weight, and that is where power comes from with anything. The weight transfer is key in golf, as it is in hockey. This will be useful in skating, shooting, and stick handling.
- Strength - I skate standing straight up, and I always have. After my evaluation, I bent my knees more and I was tired more after games. It turns out that I'm still not bending my knees enough because I'm too tired. Additionally, my left leg is weak, which hurts my turning, and pushing off with it. Both legs need added strength
- Legs in hockey stance - So much of this session was about the basic hockey stance. The things I need to remember is to bend my knees as if I'm almost sitting, and stay on the balls of my feet. I was tired after a few seconds of doing just this. It'll help keep me stable when I'm skating, and help me push off with the proper angles.