Lacing Up Your Skates
When tying up your skates, make sure they are tight enough so your feet don’t move around inside. Still, the laces should not be so tight that they cause your feet to hurt.
A popular misconception is that tying the skate lace around the ankle will give added support. Lacing around the ankle may cause the skate’s boots to break down prematurely. Players who tie their laces around their ankles often do so because their skate laces are too long. Your local pro shop sells laces in various sizes.
Some players skate barefoot. Some skate with a thin or thick pair of socks. Do what feels best to you.
One thing, though, do not “stuff the toes” of skates to make them fit better. Buy skates that fit now and not something you’re going to grow into down the line.
Skates that are not properly fitted may cause problems, ranging from poor skating stride to foot problems, such as calcium deposits, corns and bunions.
IN THE CREASE | By Joe Exter
Finding The Right Stance
In order to develop the proper goaltending fundamentals and skating abilities, it starts with the proper stance. Still, with various styles displayed within the goaltending ranks, many may wonder what qualifies as a proper stance.
A proper stance maximizes net coverage and the ability to move while maintaining balance. A goaltender’s feet should be a little more than shoulder width apart, with a slight ankle bend and weight centered slightly on the inside edges of the balls of the goalie’s feet. This foot positioning, along with the proper knee bend and the chest up with stick/gloves in position, is a proper stance that will lead to the development of the correct save-and-movement techniques for the goaltender.
Why does this stance allow a goaltender to develop and succeed more than other stances? For starters, it puts a goaltender in an athletic position that allows him or her to be balanced and under control. Having proper balance limits excessive and/or wasted movement. Being under control leads to more efficiency in the goaltender’s movement and increases the save-selection options available to the goaltender.
While it is true that NHL goaltenders have varying stances and styles, they do share many of the same strengths. What separates one NHL goaltender from another is the individual identity each goaltender has established. These individual identities were formed after mastering the fundamentals of the position.
It is important for young goaltenders to realize that a proper stance helps develop the correct fundamentals of the position, which in turn enables a goaltender to develop a successful personal identity.
Achieving the proper stance, mastering the fundamentals of the position and establishing one’s identity is possible only through hard work and a daily commitment to self improvement.
To learn more about goaltending, go to USAHockeygoaltending.com.
Joe Exter is the goaltending coach for the National Team Development Program.
Volunteer of the Month
As any hockey volunteer will tell you, it’s never about the individual, but the group. And Dave Mead, president of the Newark Ice Hockey Association in Ohio, believes that with all his heart.
Mead grew up playing youth hockey and came back to the game when it was his son’s turn to play. After six years as a coach at various levels, Mead realized he could better serve the association on the board of directors.
“I excel in the detail of coordinating an association of this size,” Mead says, adding that if he can put people in positions they are passionate about, the group will benefit.
In doing so, the NIHA has gained to more than 300 members, and has a growing girls’ program as well as men’s and women’s adult programs. The association has a close relationship with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and has been awarded various grants to help area youth experience and develop in the game of hockey.
“What excites me is when you can help shape the leadership and sportsmanship skills of young adults, and help them develop into outstanding citizens,” Mead says.
The Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program supports volunteer coaches and parents. A proud sponsor of USA Hockey.