The sport of hockey is all about SPEED, SPEED, SPEED! Coaches, scouts, EVERYONE, is looking at your speed.
Skating, and the ability to control the puck and do magical things with it at high speeds, are common attributes of the great hockey players. These talents are developed naturally by only a few of them. Most players spend a grueling amount of time developing what appear to be inborn gifts. Skating technique is key to, and an integral part of, speed.
As we all know, top tennis players and golfers spend incredible amounts of time working on their technique, and throughout their careers keep looking for ways to improve, and to get rid of those little "hitches" that are so damaging.
The same thing is true of hockey. Contrary to much popular thinking, Skating is NOT a natural motion! It is, in fact, the furthest thing from natural. Every hockey skating move is made up of many parts. Each tiny part contributes to the outcome of the total maneuver.
Laura Stamm Power Skating teaches players to execute every hockey move correctly, then powerfully, then explosively, then quickly. Finally it teaches to execute all the above correctly, powerfully, explosively and quickly with the puck. This, progressive, building block approach makes for long term improvement, but it is not a quick fix. It takes a long time to learn and years of practice, to achieve permanent results. But ask those pros who put in their effort if it was worth it, and without exception, they'll tell you they couldn't have made it without those years of development.
These days, the emphasis is on games, tournaments, more games, more tournaments. Summers, which in years past were devoted to skill development, are now often spent traveling from one tournament to another. Time and energy (and money) left for skill development is minimal. Burnout is frequent. Skill levels are decreasing. The sport itself is suffering.
This year, think long and hard before deciding how to use the off season to your best advantage. As I have always said, "Power skating may not be the most fun part of hockey, but it is the part of hockey that makes hockey more fun!"
by Laura Stamm, © October, 2001
Catch or be Caught
How do you know if someone is a fast skater? The best way to find out is always by having a race. And the type of race that most often stands out in a game is the race between a skater on a break away and one back checking.
This is because a break away naturally stands out in a game. The crowd all starts to stand up to watch, the players on both teams lean over the boards to get a better view; it is the highlight of a players game.
We had a parent call us who took our Laura Stamm Power Skating clinic the year before and she said her child became known for always back checking. Now, someone who always catches people from behind is someone who is a fast skater.
by Alan Noble, Instructor trainer