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.