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I am having the damnedest time learning to "hockey stop" on ice. I used to play a lot of roller hockey when I was younger and started to learn to ice skate and played a very little bit when I was in college but due to certain factors, stopped. Now I am attempting to pick it up again but I cannot learn to stop for the life of me.

I have gone over the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIdr6KOX8uQ numerous times. While it really is the best beginner tutorial I've ever seen (and I've seen them all), I can't get my skate to shave ice like he says in basically step 1. Are my skates too sharp (they're brand-new)? Am I too heavy (I'm about 230lbs) for the depth of the skate sharpening I have? Is there some movement that's become so ingrained that he forgot to mention it? I can't even turn my foot the way it looks like he does in the video (though I can turn them enough to turn my body). Any help appreciated.

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What radius were your skates sharpened to? I suggest 5/8 inch radius for someone your weight. Did you ever have any luck? –  skypecakes Nov 14 '12 at 5:18

6 Answers 6

The only way to learn a hockey stop is practicing often.

Repetition is the only way for your muscles to improve its muscle memory. Learning proper form and technique will come with experience.

You could try to break down the technique into little pieces.

  • Start slow and then learn to turn to reduce your speed
  • Gradually turn quicker and quicker

You can also rehearse the motion at home while watching the youtube videos

Youtube videos related to learning to hockey stop:

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2  
Yes -- I've watched those videos, I linked to the second in my post... This may sound stupid, but I can do it just fine on quad roller skates on asphalt and that's basically how I stop on those (as does everyone else who ever played hockey on quad roller skates as often as I did, which was everyone I played with). On ice, it's totally different. My body knows the motions, there is some physical limitation as I said: I cannot even shave ice with my ice skates holding onto the boards and putting all my weight on the non-shaving foot. –  Robert C. Barth Feb 9 '12 at 21:28

I find it interesting you can slide/stop on quad roller skates. In fact, I think that might be the problem. If you tried a proper hockey stop in quad roller skates (lifting the angle of your foot to only engage the corners of the 2 inside wheels) I'd bet you'd fall. Which means you've learned to apply your weight in the exact wrong way... and worse, it's muscle memory, very difficult to break.

Keep trying to shave, but maybe think about it not as shaving, but as "pushing snow". Get your butt down and shoulders back. Also, something a little unorthodox to try: get a friend (preferably one who can skate) and have him/her pull you around at a steady pace (put sticks under both your arms like you're forming a train). Try "pushing the snow" while your friend pulls you.

Oh, and your weight is not an issue and your skates probably aren't too sharp either. They may contribute to making it more difficult to learn, but should not be debilitating.

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Don't forget cone work. A hockey stop is an exaggerated cut. Cone work helps build the fundamentals of cutting which then builds to a hockey stop.

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I'd recommend the following steps, which if you've ever skied before should sound familiar. This might sound stupid but stick with me here...

1) Skate forward at a slow-medium speed, then to slow yourself put your feet in the "pizza" configuration.

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/153300/thumper-the-super-cool-ski-instructor

2) After you are comfortable enough to slow down using the "pizza" shape for your feet, slowly transition to making your back foot closer to parallel ("French fry").

Do that enough and all of a sudden you will be doing full hockey stops.

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I've tried doing that, and all that happens is my skates slam into each other; they do not/cannot shave the ice, probably due to the sharpness of the blades and my inexperience in doing it so far. I tried hanging onto the boards and just shaving ice with one foot as the video suggests, and I can't do that, either. –  Robert C. Barth Feb 27 '12 at 18:15
    
When you stand on the boards and try to shave ice, how much weight do you have on the 'sliding' leg? You should start with as little weight as possible, just to get the feeling of having the skate move over the ice. Keep adding weight and you'll get the feel for it. If you are really stomping down at first your skate won't move. Keep at it! –  Reustonium Feb 27 '12 at 19:28
    
None... no weight whatsoever (I literally hold myself up with my arms on the boards). I've come to the conclusion I need to get the skates resharpened with a shallower radius. I am not exactly light, and I believe the deep radius they have now combined with my weight (> 200lbs) is not helping me. Other than that, I can skate OK and can stop when I have to by turning really tight. –  Robert C. Barth Feb 27 '12 at 19:40

I think you should check the blade sharpening. If the groove of the blade is too deep, they will feel really sharp and it could be hard to practise stops. Try lowering the groove as much as possible. After you learn how to stop go with deeper groove if the blades feels too dull.

You could also try grinding blades against wood to take off the sharperst edge.

Here is also something about this:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/480445-how-deep-should-the-grooves-be-in-hockey-skates/

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I'm 225 with a deep cut on my blades, and I can full speed stop on both legs no problem. Its all about weight transition and managing how much weight you put down on that stopping leg. Also you need to be mindful of your momentum, by that I mean you have to get the skates parallel to your direction of travel with little weight as possible, then you gradually apply weight and start shaving ice.

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