After running our students through some speed training on Sunday night I'll reconstruct for you the three most common mistakes our students made. Typically they were: not enough kneebend, using two hands on the stick, and poor edge-control. Correcting one or all of these common errors will automatically improve your skating ability.
I constantly remind kids to remember that if they only focus on one aspect of that will definitely make them better skaters, that fundamental would be to bend the knees more than what feels comfortable. You will find that your balance improves, as well as your stride length, mobility and speed.
* Bend your knees deep enough so that they are about 2" out in front of the toes of your skates.
* Except for in the tight turn, where the outside edge skate should lead you into the turn, the Knee should always be out in front of the toes of your skates.
* If your legs are not burning at the end of practice, than you know you are not bending the knees to the optimal position.
Obviously, when you shoot, pass, catch a pass, you should use two hands. However, when you are attempting to gain top speed in open ice you should have one hand, yout top hand, on the stick. This includes when you are controlling the puck. Be sure to stretch your arms fully to the front, rather than side to side, so that you are able to keep all your momentum and speed going in the direction you are traveling, not against or across it.
* Use one hand on the stick whenever you are in open ice situations.
* Remember to turn the palm of your stickhand up once the arm has fully extended to the front, this will flatten your stick out on the ice, allowing you to maintain top speed while pushing the puck on your backhand side.
* Keeping one hand on the stick will dramatically improve your balance, especially when skating backwards.
You have to be able to grip the ice with all 4 of your edges in order for you to get maximum power and control. The proper angle of an edge rolling to the ice should be maintained at 45 degrees, halfway to the ice. Too many players we see never roll the ankles of their skates which means they are standing mostly on the flats of the blades. This mistake will severely hamper your power, turns, starts, etc.
* Make sure your edges roll at least halfway to the ice.
* Be sure to center all of your bodyweight directly over your edge to create a Counterbalancing effect.