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"Opening" your hips

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02-22-2010, 09:28 AM
  #1
Skraut
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"Opening" your hips

I've been skating now for about 9 months, and am doing pretty well with the basic stuff, forwards, backwards, crossovers, back crossovers etc, but have been really struggling with pivots, (or mohawks) backwards to forwards transitions, T-Stops etc, anything that involves opening up your hips and putting your skates not parallel.

I'm a bigger guy, and skating has already helped me lose over 40 lbs, and while I still have a ways to go, it's frustrating feeling the strength aspects of skating coming to me, but not having the flexibility to go with it.

I just started out on an adult beginner hockey team, and as one of the few guys who can actually skate backwards, and the only guy that can do back crossovers, I assume I'm going to end up playing D (kind of where I want to be too) I just have the hardest time in transition from forwards to backwards and vice versa because it's a fight to get my feet at a 90 degree angle to each other let alone at the much bigger angles I see even upper level house guys doing.

I can go beyond 90 in shoes, and almost make 180, but I feel a lot of that twist is in the ankles. Is that where a lot of the rotation comes from and I just have my skates too tight? Or is it more from the hips? Any stretches, exercises or drills to do to try and work on getting my feet in the right position to pull off these maneuvers?

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02-22-2010, 09:50 AM
  #2
nystromshairstylist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skraut View Post
I've been skating now for about 9 months, and am doing pretty well with the basic stuff, forwards, backwards, crossovers, back crossovers etc, but have been really struggling with pivots, (or mohawks) backwards to forwards transitions, T-Stops etc, anything that involves opening up your hips and putting your skates not parallel.

I'm a bigger guy, and skating has already helped me lose over 40 lbs, and while I still have a ways to go, it's frustrating feeling the strength aspects of skating coming to me, but not having the flexibility to go with it.

I just started out on an adult beginner hockey team, and as one of the few guys who can actually skate backwards, and the only guy that can do back crossovers, I assume I'm going to end up playing D (kind of where I want to be too) I just have the hardest time in transition from forwards to backwards and vice versa because it's a fight to get my feet at a 90 degree angle to each other let alone at the much bigger angles I see even upper level house guys doing.

I can go beyond 90 in shoes, and almost make 180, but I feel a lot of that twist is in the ankles. Is that where a lot of the rotation comes from and I just have my skates too tight? Or is it more from the hips? Any stretches, exercises or drills to do to try and work on getting my feet in the right position to pull off these maneuvers?
I've been working on trying to hockey stop facing left for a month, while I was able to learn how to do it facing right in about 2-3 hours, very frustrating

I've been told that there are 2 constants to remember for skating: keep your knees bent, and rotate your hips, not your shoulders, regardless of the move.

In addition to the hockey class, have you thought about private lessons?


Last edited by nystromshairstylist: 02-22-2010 at 10:01 AM.
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02-22-2010, 10:27 AM
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Are you familiar with how skate blades work?

If so, try to think of your skating movements from the perspective of what your blades are doing, as opposed to what your body is doing. This simple trick has improved my skating by leaps and bounds... in addition to lots of practice, of course.

For example, don't think of a forward to backward pivot as your body changing direction. Try to think of it in terms of the footwork. You already have it partially right in that you have to turn both feet pointing outwards.

Do you know what you're doing with your blades though? You're gliding on the inside edge of your front foot's skate, then shifting your weight and balance to the inside edge of the other foot.

When learning a new technique I try to go through this process:
1) What do my edges need to do?
2) What does my lower body need to do to manipulate my edges properly?
3) What does my upper body need to do to maintain balance while leaving myself open to receive a pass or take a shot?

Usually #2 falls into place once #1 is sorted out.



As far as exercises go for this... you'll need a strong and flexible groin, plus quadricep strength and good single-leg balance

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02-22-2010, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noobman View Post
Are you familiar with how skate blades work?

If so, try to think of your skating movements from the perspective of what your blades are doing, as opposed to what your body is doing. This simple trick has improved my skating by leaps and bounds... in addition to lots of practice, of course.

For example, don't think of a forward to backward pivot as your body changing direction. Try to think of it in terms of the footwork. You already have it partially right in that you have to turn both feet pointing outwards.

Do you know what you're doing with your blades though? You're gliding on the inside edge of your front foot's skate, then shifting your weight and balance to the inside edge of the other foot.

When learning a new technique I try to go through this process:
1) What do my edges need to do?
2) What does my lower body need to do to manipulate my edges properly?
3) What does my upper body need to do to maintain balance while leaving myself open to receive a pass or take a shot?

Usually #2 falls into place once #1 is sorted out.

As far as exercises go for this... you'll need a strong and flexible groin, plus quadricep strength and good single-leg balance
I am soaking this all in like a sponge, good tips...Noob, do you have any suggested:

1) drills to to improve one-legged balance
2) exercises to increase leg strength?

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02-22-2010, 11:06 AM
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Some good one leg balance drills that I've used are
-Off ice stickhandling while standing on one leg. Try and bring the puck/ball/whatever you're using all the way around your body without bouncing around. Just build up over time and try not to get frustrated if you fall over!
-On ice go to public skate or something and just practice gliding from blue line to red line on one leg then red line to blue line on the other. Its a little harder than it sounds but once you start to get the hang of it you'll see the improvement.

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02-22-2010, 11:16 AM
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Steelhead16
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Try skating in a straight line, coast, lift one foot and make small turns from outside edge to inside edge to outside edge to inside edge. In order to do this you will have to seperate your body in half and you will get used to your hips working independently. In order to maintain a straight line your shoulders will need to stay square to the front but your hips will be working your lower body.
Start off by just doing small turns, maybe in a 2' wide path or skate across the rink and pick one of the blue lines to do this on. Cross over the line and back on one foot. The line will let you know that you are still going straight and that your shoulders are in the right spot.
This is kind of hard to explain so I hope it makes sense. If you need more let me know and I'll see if I can make it easier.
Good luck.

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02-22-2010, 11:18 AM
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Skraut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post

In addition to the hockey class, have you thought about private lessons?
While not private lessons, I also take both an adult skating class, taught by figure skaters, and a full pads adult hockey skating class at my local rink in addition to the beginning hockey school I'm attending. I started last summer, and was the only adult for the first 3 or so sessions. In the fall a few other adults joined but it was still very individualized. Now though it's tough with the Olympics with classes of 12 and your very own telephone booth sized piece of ice to work with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noobman View Post
For example, don't think of a forward to backward pivot as your body changing direction. Try to think of it in terms of the footwork. You already have it partially right in that you have to turn both feet pointing outwards.

Do you know what you're doing with your blades though? You're gliding on the inside edge of your front foot's skate, then shifting your weight and balance to the inside edge of the other foot.

When learning a new technique I try to go through this process:
1) What do my edges need to do?
2) What does my lower body need to do to manipulate my edges properly?
3) What does my upper body need to do to maintain balance while leaving myself open to receive a pass or take a shot?

Usually #2 falls into place once #1 is sorted out.
Incredible tips thanks. For you to put it in that perspective helps me see where my weaknesses are. My outside edges I can hold forever going forwards, and going backwards it is almost as good. My inside edges however are always a fight to keep from falling inwards. I think I may lean a bit forwards as well. So when I hit my inside edge, I start to fall in, it gets compounded by my forward lean which pulls me even further as my body rotates around and I put the other foot down early to save myself. Unfortunately that hits the ice, does a one footed stop because it's 90 degrees to travel, and down I go.

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02-22-2010, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
2) exercises to increase leg strength?
On ice:
a) Sprints
b) Sprints
c) Sprints

Off ice:
a) Soccer

If you have access to a gym (in order of personal preference):
a) (Walking) lunges
b) Squats
c) Jumps
d) Stairmaster
e) Leg press (machine)
f) Not a big fan of but you can do: leg extension (machine) / hamstring curl (machine)

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02-22-2010, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hfboards2010 View Post
On ice:
a) Sprints
b) Sprints
c) Sprints
Ok, I've been trying to do this, the challenge has been trying to go as fast as possible without falling, and if I'm at a public skate, its even harder as I'm not wearing equipment.

Quote:
Off ice:
a) Soccer
Don't play it, but I cycle 3-4x per week, about 20 miles each time, so I'll assume that that's a reasonable substitute.

Quote:
If you have access to a gym (in order of personal preference):
a) (Walking) lunges
b) Squats
c) Jumps
d) Stairmaster
e) Leg press (machine)
f) Not a big fan of but you can do: leg extension (machine) / hamstring curl (machine)
No gym, and no exercise equipment in the apartment except for a few hand weights...my wife runs the building stairs, so that might be an option.

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02-22-2010, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
Ok, I've been trying to do this, the challenge has been trying to go as fast as possible without falling, and if I'm at a public skate, its even harder as I'm not wearing equipment.
If you want to work on strength and avoid falling, focus on the first 5 to 10 strides (e.g. blue line to blue line, in straight line). Your ability to be first out of the (starting) blocks is what gives you an edge in hockey. Doing a full lap is more endurance work / gliding.

So what you can do is:
Reach blue line #1
5-10 powerful strides (until you reach blue line #2)
Glide between blue line #2 and blue line #3 (on the other side of the ice)
Reach blue line #3
5-10 powerful strides (until you reach blue line #4)
Glide between blue line #4 and blue line #1

Repeat for 2-5 minutes. Relax 2-5 minutes


Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
Don't play it, but I cycle 3-4x per week, about 20 miles each time, so I'll assume that that's a reasonable substitute.
Any leg exercise is good, I assume you like to cycle so I would say keep cycling.

Soccer, however, is like hockey without ice: lateral movement, direction changes, control of the "puck", opponents, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
No gym, and no exercise equipment in the apartment except for a few hand weights...my wife runs the building stairs, so that might be an option.
You could still do:
Walking lunges (with hand weights)
Prisoner squat (no weight)
Jumps
Building stairs

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02-22-2010, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
I am soaking this all in like a
1) drills to to improve one-legged balance
2) exercises to increase leg strength?
Skate on one leg, knees bent, back straight, head up with your arms straight out and your stick in your hands.

Here:
http://www.sportskool.com/videos/balance

The drill I was explaining is right around the 2min mark.

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02-22-2010, 02:41 PM
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Jarick
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Watch all these videos

There are a couple focusing on skating and opening up the hips, as well as balance. Just a few drills that are easy to learn but difficult to execute cleanly.

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02-22-2010, 03:11 PM
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Figure 8 is a good way to practice balance and control on outside edges.

All you basically need to do is draw a ten feet number 8 on the ice using one foot (outer edge) for the first part and then the other foot (outer edge) for the second part. The rounder your figure is, the better balance/control you have. The tricky part is that you can only do one stride per circle (at the beginning).

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02-22-2010, 08:58 PM
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butterfly stretch

I use the butterfly stretch before suiting up each and every time I hit the ice, and before jogging. If you do it regularly you'll notice how your hips will gradually open up. Also, if you take a moment to place your elbows on your inner thighs/knees and lean in, using your leg muscles to push back against the arms as hard possible, and then release, you'll see you can get those hips to open up even further.

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02-23-2010, 03:51 PM
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My guess is that the turning to put yourself in a backwards position won't be your problem as you practice. I think the more important thing is to feel balanced once you turn. I suggest running in a straight line and then turning to "jog" backwards. You'll start to get a sense of your body position and balance. Once your on the ice, it will be a similar feel, except skating demands more of a crouched (i.e. knees bent position). The turning backwards is the easy part once you have confidence that you can hold a balanced position on your heels.

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02-23-2010, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
I am soaking this all in like a sponge, good tips...Noob, do you have any suggested:

1) drills to to improve one-legged balance
2) exercises to increase leg strength?
1) drills to to improve one-legged balance
While standing lift one leg until you thigh is parallel with the floor. You knee should bent at a 90 degree angle. Hold that for 30 seconds, then switch legs. It's harder than it sounds. This is something I've done in physical therapy as well as martial arts training. I like to do them barefoot so it works the ankle too.

2) exercises to increase leg strength?
I have two good ones for this, both given to me by a doctor during ACL re-hab to target strength and balance.

First one - Feet are shoulder width apart and your back is against the wall. Position you feet a few feet away from the wall, far enough so that you shins are parallel with the wall when you are in a squatting position. Squat down until you thighs are almost parallel with the floor and hold that for 10 seconds...remember back against the wall at all times. Push yourself about 3/4's of the way up and hold for 20 seconds. That is one.

Second one - This is a one legged lunge. Put your foot up on a small table or chair...doesn't need to be very high, a coffee table works great. Now your other leg should be sort of out in front of you. Lower yourself keeping your torso straight without extending your body out over your knee. If you extend outward your standing leg is too close. This is great for strength and balance. Start with 10 then switch legs.

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