We are excited to bring you the first entry of Empower Hockey’s blog - THE EMPOWER LEDGER! The purpose of this blog is to share our mission and vision, as well as to educate our skaters, parents and coaches on the skills that we will be working on during class. Understanding the importance of these techniques will make their time on the ice more productive.
Many times I’ll ask my skaters questions just to see how much edge knowledge they have. One of my favorite questions is, “how many edges in total do you have?” The answer is EIGHT!
There are four edges on each foot: forward inside, forward outside, as well as back inside and outside. Multiply that by two feet and you get eight. Our long-term goal with our skaters is to make sure that they are strong and agile on ALL eight of their edges. This will make them strong overall skaters in the long run.
For today, we’d like to talk about forward edges and their main importance. I start my skaters off with a very basic exercise to target their forward inside edges. This exercise is a simple swizzle (or heel toe touch). This not only warms up the inside part of the blade, but also wakes up and activates the skater’s leg muscles and ankle flexion. To make it a bit more challenging for the skater, we’ll have them roll to the outside edge as their toes reconnect.
I find the outside is a very difficult edge for hockey players to master because from the start of their skating careers, it’s not used as much as their inside edges. The inside edge is their primary pushing edge and it is used all the time. Here’s a question for skaters - “what are two reasons your forward outside edge is so important?”
One reason is that it is the edge that leads you through any tight / power turn. If that outside edge is weak, you won’t have the proper command needed to carry you through any turning situation that may come up in a game. Being able to navigate and attack turns with confidence is not only important for the skater’s game, but also for their safety. Being able to maneuver and turn around other skaters allows you the ability to not get hit or checked into the boards. This is so important in keeping our skaters safe and concussion free.
The second reason is that it’s the second push of a forward crossover. Not having a strong outside edge as your foot crosses under the other one can cause the skater to lose balance, power and speed.
Thanks for reading and we hope you found this post notable and informative. Next time we will focus on the importance of the back inside and outside edge. We can’t wait to get back on the ice to work on these techniques! Until then, stay safe and healthy!