Trying to get started: learning to skate & equipment
Hey - I need some advice. I'm 22 years old, love hockey, and decided I wanna learn to play on ice. I got myself some skates: RBK 5k's. I've went to a couple of public skates, and can skate decently, but I can't stop properly, transition from skating forward to backward, or any of that good stuff.
First off, what should I do to become a better skater before I try to jump into a low level adult league? Group classes? Private Classes? Stick n Puck? Open Hockey? Any general advice/tips in this area?
As far as equipment, I found a sizing guide online,figuring that I can get most of it online and save some cash. I've determined these are my sizes:
Pants: Senior XL
Chest: Senior XL
Does this sound right for someone 6' 6" , 240 lbs? I used a tape measure for some of these, but do you guys think its important to try the stuff on first? Also, I looked at the clearance page on hockeymonkey.com and a lot of the stuff has "junior" or "senior" in the title - which ones should I get?
I know I'm asking a lot here, but any little bit of advice will be very much appreciated.
Best way to size yourself is to go to a LHS and get someone to help you out. But if thats not a possibility, then all your stuff should be Senior obviously.
Since you're just starting out and arent playing contact. None of your stuff needs to be high end. Just get whatever fits and is comfortable. No need to buy $100 shin pads if the hardest thing to hit them will prob be the benches by accident :P
The one thing you should go high end for is the helmet for obvious reasons. You only got one head and one brain. Then again, gets what fits/comfortable as well.
I started at 20 so was in a similar boat not too long ago...can prob use search to find similar threads but Ill give a lil basic response.
For gear, yes, try stuff on before purchasing if you can it is a great benefit and at your height dont even consider anything but senior.
As for starting out and learning, I spent alot of time at Stick n Pucks because atleast at my rink its a great time to just work on whatever you need to, but Ive heard some busier rinks end up in just scrimmages so youll have to see whats up in your area. Take classes if you can for adult beginners or whatever is offered if anything. Private lessons can be a bit pricey so hopefully there is just drop in classes which is much more affordable although might not be all that cheap, but its great to work on drills which force you to learn simple and more complex mechanics of hockey.
Stick n Pucks though is really where I learned to grasp all the basics of hockey like stopping, quick turns, shooting...etc etc and if you have a question Im sure there might be someone more than willing to give you a little advice.
Once you feel comfortable on your skates(which is the biggest part of hockey obviously) then you should try and go to open hockeys, if you are lucky there might be lower level opens. Once you feel you got all the basics down and know for the most part what you are doing try and join up in a beginner league and then as you progress just move up the ranks.
Thats pretty much how I went about it and all of that has helped me greatly. The big thing is obviously just getting ice time and experience. Do not get frustrated, everyone has to start at some point and if you work hard at it in no time you should have everything down to the point where you will feel comfortable playing in a league.
I'm going through the same thing as you right now, except I've known how to skate since I was very young. I haven't ever handled a puck on the ice before though. Funny thing is, I've also been skating with a guy who is in your exact same boat, he's a member of the boards here as well. I'm trying to give him tips and pointers on doing exactly what you are.
First thing, as far as your sizes. Those seem about right for somebody your size and weight. You won't truly know until you try the equipment on though. I bought my skates at my LHS but the rest of the equipment I am ordered online from www.hockeymonkey.com (just a couple of days ago). I don't know if they are any good or not but, their website presentation we excellent. One warning about them though is that they don't have a lot of outdated equipment left, and what they do, it's odd sizes.
I'm no pro by any means, but I'd probably go to some sort of hockey clinic if you've never played before. I'm signed up for one this session. Like I said, I can skate well but I've never handled a puck so I want to learn about that before I just join a league.
Now as far as pointers on your skating:
Stopping: You want the inside edge of your leading skate and the outside edge of your trailing skate to grip the ice when you stop. It takes a bit of balance and you have to know the point at which your skate will really shave the ice (vs. biting the ice and wiping out). When you turn your skates to stop, try to keep the leading skate out in front of you a little and lean back with your body. You want to transfer your energy to the blades at enough of an angle so that you stop (with out falling down). Leaning too far back will cause you to fall backwards, leaning too far forward (such as standing upright) will cause you to fall forwards.
You want your leading foot to stop behind the trailing foot (if looking straight down). This is more of a technique thing though as it allows to turn and go the other direction better. Getting stopping down is the first step, worry about technique once you feel comfortable stopping.
If I stated anything wrong about stopping, somebody please correct me.
Transition from front to back: I'll tell you how I do it, but I think my technique is incorrect. Anyone, please feel free to correct me if I'm teaching the wrong way. I learned when I was real young, so my way is very comfortable to me.
When skating forward, with both skates horizontal, start to turn one skate to a 90 degree angle of the other. This will make you start to turn around. Once you start turning around, cut the other skate (that was forward) in the same direction you pointed the first skate 90 degrees. Now you have to follow through by continuing to turn both skates to face backwards. All of this is done very quickly when on the fly.
Hope that helps you. Welcome to the world of hockey. :)
The nice thing about buying used equipment when you are just starting out is that the gear is already broken in for you. That helps with your flexibility while wearing all the gear.
You should work on skating and stopping a lot as you will be doing that the most :D
I believe SpringfieldSkins was referring to me in his post - I'm pretty much in the same boat as you are. (Sadly I'm about 3 years older than you)
I've been doing a ton of skating lately but I feel like I've hit a wall where I'm not improving as much as I was a week or so ago. I start skating classes in about two weeks so I'm hoping that will help me learn some new skills and refine the few skills I already do possess. Stopping has been my biggest hurdle. (SS I managed to have a rink to myself for about an hour and a half today and proceeded to fall on my back elbow again - I'm determined to break my arm I guess LOL)
I'm planning on picking up some gear in the next month or so and start hitting the SNP's or whatever. My hope is to take as many skating/hockey classes as I can afford before the fall rolls around and then hopefully I feel comfortable enough to join a beginner's league.
Also, to the howtohockey.com guy - I was checking out your videos a week or two ago and they helped a ton with stopping. I can't do a good hockey stop yet but the way your video broke it down at least helped me understand the basic concept and get it right at least a small percentage of the time - so thanks a lot.
Thanks for all the tips. I'm sure I'll be back asking more questions sometime soon.
Check out your Local Hockey Shop, as most have great deals right now as they close out last year's gear and get ready for the new stuff. That way you can get stuff that you're sure fits, it makes a big difference.
Also, get your equipment and skate it in as often as you can. Who cares if you're the only one wearing gear at an open skate? 1) you get used to wearing the gear, 2) You break in the gear 3) you get rid of a lot of the fear of falling, so are willing to try moves that you wouldn't do without gear, and trying new things is how your learn 4) From personal experience, trips to the ER because you're trying to learn a hockey stop and catch an edge aren't fun.
I'm 33 and just started skating last summer. Been going to an adult hockey camp since the first of the year, and have my first game tomorrow night. It's been so rewarding to do and I've been having a blast. Hope you do too!
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