Saturday, April 6, 2013

Lace Bite again

Lace Bite Isn't fun, and I've been battling it lately.

For me - this is what is happening. There is a tendon that runs from your shin to your foot. It may run further up than your shin but I only play a doctor on TV. My skate laces are so tight that they're digging into that tendon when I bend forward. It causes this huge bump where you tie your skates and makes it difficult to push off. While it is painful, when you walk in gym shoes, you don't notice it too much.

I've been trying to take it easy with it, as I had it last summer on the other side and rest really helped it. Since then I've bought gel pads to wear over the area, but that's only good for preventing. Once you have it, you can wear these pads but you're still in pain.

I've played a few games with it, and loosened my skates because of it. I believe that it is the reason, or a huge contributor, to my falling and lack of power lately. I feel so shaky on my skates, and I just don't like it.

What has helped me a lot is hot baths, and then ice right after that. I am looking forward though to a week or two off so it can heal properly, but until then, I'm stuck with it. It is a lot better now because I know how to handle it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Puck Pros Session - Wayne

I got there an hour early. Christian, who is the owner, mentioned how he saw the blog a few weeks ago. I was a little surprised as I hadn't mentioned them in a while. Either way, it was cool to hear it.

I hit the goalie rink by myself. It isn't intended for long stretches of skating as it is smaller, but for everything else, it is just fine. I had about 30-40 minutes by myself on there and I'm really glad I had it. It takes me a while to get used to the synthetic ice - a true sign that I don't skate correctly. I made some adjustments by myself, and I could feel myself moving better, and a lot quicker on the surface. From the recent Coyote pictures, I noticed that I bend my knees more, but I'm not bending at my hips. I corrected that, and was much better. I then focused on shooting and stick handling, as I didn't want to get tired for the lesson.

I got to work with Wayne. We started off looking at things in the mirror and that really helped me see what I was doing, what is the correct stride, and what I am currently doing. We talked about how the feet should make a V, and your legs should make a diamond. We talked about the different muscles being used, and a few exercises that I can do to strengthen them. And finally in the mirror we talked about how I should be snapping my toe to make sure that I'm getting full use of my skate blade on the ice.

We then hit the ice surface. We focused on the correct push offs. One area that I really had an issue with is my balance in terms of the skate blade. When I bring my foot back in to my body (the recovery part of the stride), first contact should be on the toe, and you drive the toe into the ice. This is because you want to keep your balance forward, and it sets you up for your next stride. Before this, I was rotating my foot to be straight, but that is incorrect.

We talked about how at times I will stomp down on the ice, and others, my skate will slip and just slide up really high, essentially doing me no good.  When I stomp down on the ice, it is me trying to run on the ice. I should not rotate my foot's angle so that I skate in a line, it should be in a V.

Working on these few things already made me feel quicker on my skates, like I had a ton of power. Next he talked about balance, and where the weight is when you play. It should be forward, as if you're falling forward almost. I have a tendency to be all over, but I've been trying to lean forward more, and I feel I've been falling a little bit more in games because of that, but that is part of learning.

Finally we worked on some stick handling. Mostly just focusing on using my weight transfer to move the puck and not my arms. This was much harder for me than it should have been. Keeping my hands in the right spot, skating correctly while staying balanced, keeping your head up, and hey- we're going to make you carry the puck. It became a little much for me. I couldn't tie all of these together at once, but I did see improvement as the drills went on.

Wayne did an excellent job. I would explain how I felt, and he'd give me a tip to try and correct that, or show why I felt that why. When I struggled with something, he made me continue until I got it right, adding on a little by little. The main thing for me is that communication, which he is really good with. He would say, "Pay attention to your recovery so that you can push off again right away." I would ask him to explain what he meant by that and he'd show me. I'm not afraid to admit when I don't know something or need help, but I may have a difficult time explaining what I need help with. Wayne got it.

I received a lot of useful information. Too much to remember to do all at once, but if I focus on the following things, I feel it'll all come together.

  • Recovery. I need to bring my recovery foot in at the same angle that I started in to make that V. This will make sure that I am in position to take my next stride.
  • Snapping my leg- When I push off, I need to make full use of all of the blade on the ice, giving me a full stride.
  • Balance on my toes almost. I'm going to stand on my toes to get my weight forward, and then slowly put my heels down to keep my weight forward when I skate. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Coyotes vs. Sharks

Ten Skaters again for the Coyotes. We had a solid set of guys though who could skate the whole time, and work hard. I got a nap in, got there early, took time getting ready. My lace bite didn't seem to bother me in the locker room, but I had my skates extremely loose.

The first few shifts were shaky but improved as the game went on. I again tried to keep my game simple, and just bang the puck off the glass.  I felt a lot slower than normal because of the lace bite, and it was difficult to adjust to. Many times tonight I thought I had plenty of time picking up the puck, but when I finally did, I heard yelling, so I would just get rid of it fast. Sometimes it was a good clear, often I gave it to a Shark at the point.

I think I did a good job in my own zone when the sharks had the puck. I tied up a lot of sticks, and was able to read a lot of plays. My defense partner though had an outstanding game. His patience was quite amazing, and was the reason we didn't have a lot of chances against while I was on the ice. He would stay down on the puck, power through someone, and make a great pass to the center to create a rush going the other way. He hit his winger with countless passes, while I just stood in the slot covering potential scoring chances.

In the beginning, trying to take my time, and not rush things, I dropped the puck. I battled the forward, and kept him from getting it. Once I could get the puck, I wanted to throw it behind the net, seeing that the other defense man was open, and could take care of things. I fanned on it, and it went right to the slot. I felt awful, but that same defense man was there to pick it up and clear it.

At one point the Coyotes were up 4-0 . I wasn't too worried, but we've lost to the Sharks 7-2. I was thrilled with the progress of the game. Then I started collapsing. I got too aggressive, and chased the puck carrier who looked weak behind the net. He made a simple move, and I over skated. Instead of trying to turn around, I swung way out in front of the net, leaving half of the ice open. The Sharks scored. The Coyotes took a penalty. The Sharks scored when I failed to pick up the puck in the slot and get rid of it. The Coyotes gave up four quick goals, and the game was now tied.

I decided to stay down on my stick more, and play stronger. The Sharks would dump the puck past me. I turned, picked it up, and heard, "Skate it around!" So I did just that. I couldn't lift my head up because I couldn't get the puck off the wall. I felt a stick, so I stayed down, lowered my center of gravity and made sure to get through it. I came up around the corner, saw someone coming at me and just launched it on the wall to get it out of the zone. The center picked it off the wall, went down and scored.

I've had my head down much too much lately, and I need to work on my stick handling. I need to get more comfortable on my skates again. I need to develop some sort of confidence, and learn when to be aggressive and when not to.  The Coyotes won 5-4, but I wasn't happy with my play at all.