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Questions from and old(ish) newb at hockey

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Old
10-06-2012, 06:13 PM
  #1
ss53mech
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Questions from and old(ish) newb at hockey

Hello all. I am a long time fan of the game and I want to start playing. Looking at joining a rec league on the base I am stationed at and wanted to start putting myself in a position to be less embaressed. There is an outdoor roller hockey rink that I can use any time it's daylight so I plan on putting that to good use. I am 30 years old, been in the Corp for a dozen years so I'm not in too bad of shape but not as good as I'd like to be. As I'm currently deployed (at sea no less) I can't go skate which I understand is going to be the thing I need to learn the most and first.

With that in mind is there any particular excersizes that are good for preparing my body for skating/playing. I currently run 5 miles every other day, averaging about an 8 minute pace, and body weight excersizes (pull ups, dips, push ups). Obviously I need to work more on my lower body and I know running won't do enough so what excersizes should I look at?

Also I plan on ordering the needed equipment so it's waiting on me when I get home. Any suggestions on skates or equipment for a new guy?

I understand that I am probably gonna get laughed off the rink a few times but I plan on working on it till I get it. So any tips related to the above questions or otherwise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Gary.

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10-06-2012, 10:14 PM
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Can't really speak on what workouts you should do as I don't do them myself but I imagine things like squats would help out. Also I imagine sprints would help with the quick bursts that are crucial in hockey.

As for the equipment I would advise, if you can wait that long and have the means, that you go get fitted properly at a hockey shop. Hockey gear, especially skates, all fit differently and it's a crapshoot when ordering online. Your body will appreciate a properly fitted outfit. Check the sticky threads here in The Rink for more info on gear.

Lastly, hockey players in general seem to be extremely nice and shouldn't give you a hard time for just starting up. Don't worry about that. I guarantee you they all remember when they first started so they aren't hard on noobs.

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10-06-2012, 10:19 PM
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You didn't indicate your skating skill level. If it's really remedial, I wouldn't join a rec league straight away. It's wasted time and money and you won't actually get a tremendous amount of ice time.

Instead, try to find beginner hockey classes where you live. Classes are invaluable and a lot of fun, much more so than rec league games.

Meanwhile, go to every public skate that you can make. You need to skate as much as you can. Inline skating helps too, but ice time is critical. And "stick and puck" sessions are great too if they are available.

From there, I would look to jump into some pickups rather than joining a league. More low-key and considerate to beginners.

Personally, I gave up on rec league games in favor of some good quality pickups. The league games can get stupidly competitive / chippy and I enjoy the pickup games much more. Having said that, I'm been missing some of that competitive edge.

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10-07-2012, 02:30 PM
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I took some off ice workout classes at my local rink and we did a lot of plyometrics. We did warm up with a very dense foal roller to help stretch out the groin, back, glutes, hips, et... Here's a youtube video that I found that may help visually: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJLxruO3su0

I also found some workout videos on nhl.com; here's one with Jeff Skinner: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/con...vid=nhl-search

Sounds like you are in better shape than a number of many beer league players.

As far as equipment goes, it might be best to get stateside so that you can try on a variety of skates as well as safety equipment. If you don't have any shops in your area, then I might suggest ordering skates from www.icewarehouse.com; they have free shipping on skates, 365 day return policy and if you become a IWin member, you will receive a discount on your purchases.

The only guys that will laugh at you are going to be your team mates (in a friendly manner of course) and the occasional ****** bag that has some personal issues.

Best of luck with your return stateside and with you playing some ice hockey!

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10-07-2012, 02:43 PM
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Speed Bounce's are good for the hips...

Try and go for some agility exercises too...

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10-07-2012, 04:36 PM
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As already stated, try and get at least skates at a pro shop so you have the best chance at getting them fit and also get them baked if the money is there. Don't worry about getting laughed off the ice, I doubt that will happen, usually it's the opposite. Just remember to skate as hard as you can and get off the ice, keep shifts short. Nothing will make you an outcast faster than standing on the ice and taking long shifts. Enjoy.

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10-07-2012, 05:40 PM
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tarheelhockey
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Stickchecked's post above is full of good advice. Don't attempt to jump straight into league play. Start with basic skills and work your way up to some friendly competition. It takes time to get your skating up to even low-level league quality. Speaking from experience, a learn-to-skate program followed by a learn-to-play program will be worth every bit of time and money; trying to skip a step is a waste of time and money. The sooner you get lessons, the less discouraged you'll be.

That said, you're not too old to become a good player. Start with the basics and commit to skating 2-3 times a week for as long as it takes. Skate, skate, skate. Then skate some more. You're in good enough shape already. You just need to get out there and use that unique set of hockey muscles in the ankles, legs and back.

(PS - those muscles will KILL for the first few weeks. If you're going to work on anything new, I'd make it your back. You probably already use your legs a lot, but your back takes some time to adjust to hockey.)

One last thing -- if you start with roller, be prepared to re-learn some critical skills like stopping when you get to ice.

Good luck getting started. It really is a lot of fun and worth it.

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10-07-2012, 05:58 PM
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I remember I took some time off from hockey (10 years) and came back to playing again. I would recommend get use to skating at different speeds and different directions. Once you have that down then I would work on learning to control the puck and shoot it. Usually people are really helpful when you ask in pickups. Everyone can relate to someone starting out because we have been there before. If you put some time into the game you will see the benefits. If and when you do join a hockey league just remember to hustle as much as possible. It makes a huge difference playing at the low levels. It will always be notice and praises by your teammates.

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10-07-2012, 07:14 PM
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Hmmm, I don't mean to cause controversy, but I'd like to reply to the comments of "skate as hard as you can" and "make sure to hustle". On the one hand, no question, no one wants to play with a lazy skater.

In hindsight, though, I spent a lot of time "hustling" my way into ineffectiveness because I was essentially chasing the puck or madly forechecking into someone who was just waiting to easily pass around me.

Eventually I realized my mistake and stopped trying to skate full bore all game long and tried to play smarter. My game would improve when I made a concerted effort to be aware of everyone on the ice and try to anticipate the play, support my teammates who had the puck and play smart defensive hockey. 90% of the time this resulted in less "hustle", especially as judged by my heart rate or physical exertion.

Obviously, it's a long road for these things to click, and one would argue you never stop working on the whole "hockey IQ" part of the game. (Personally, I find this the most fascinating and appealing aspect of the game.) But maybe it's worth presenting this as a priority for a newbie: From day 1, realize that being effective does not mean speed / effort. Being effective means smarts. And there is a truckload to learn.

As far as "hustling" goes, I would rephrase it by saying don't be lazy. No one wants a lazy teammate. Be willing to empty yourself on a shift when it's called for.

But emptying yourself on every shift is not proof that you're playing good hockey.

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10-07-2012, 07:21 PM
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Check the big sticky thread up top for advice on equipment, sticks, and skates.

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10-08-2012, 03:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss53mech View Post
With that in mind is there any particular excersizes that are good for preparing my body for skating/playing. I currently run 5 miles every other day, averaging about an 8 minute pace, and body weight excersizes (pull ups, dips, push ups). Obviously I need to work more on my lower body and I know running won't do enough so what excersizes should I look at?
Welcome to the greatest game on Earth.

I believe you're pretty fit, certainly fitter than most guys I play with. At 30 you have plenty of time to be a good hockey player.

For legs I would add pistols (one legged squats), cause it trains not just strength but also balance and focus. For anaerob capacity try to add some sprints to your running or you can add a tabata stationery bike session, which will train the legs and your anaerob system pretty good.

If you have access to kettlebells I would also add one session of snatches (either 200 or 10-15 mins) per week. Adds explosive power, coordination, focus and anaerob training.

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10-08-2012, 05:59 AM
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ss53mech
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Thanks for the info all around. I went ahead and ordered a bunch of stuff to get me started. Luckily enough I have the funds available to re-purchase any items that I didn't get right so I'll get if figured out. I'm not trying to put words in anyone's mouth here but it really sounds like a crossfit type workout would really be effective based on the excersizes suggested.

My current treadmill workout isn't just a straight mile run. I do a half mile warm up at 7.5, run to 2.75 miles at 8mph then bump to 10.2 for .25, walk for 60 seconds, 8.0 till 4.75, 10.2 till 4.0 miles, walk for 60 seconds, 8.0 till 4.75, 10.2 to finish. I've been steadily working up to that for a couple months. Hoping to be running at 8.5 by the time I get back and sprinting at 10.8. I'm doing 50 pullups each workout 25 prior 25 after the run. I'm planning on integrating the core training by doing 5 sets of: 5 pullups, 8 cobras, 8 leg lift/core extensions, 10, 10 (5 each) one legged squats. I want to do this prior to and after the run.

As an aside to all this I am going to participate in a tough mudder event in April with a couple of my Marine buddies. Should be a good time and I'm hoping this will get me in decent enough shape so as not to be embarresed by my performance.

Follow up question. I have easy access to a roller rink and planning on skating there often. Is there such a thing as skating too much? I plan on maintaining my running when I get back maybe dropping it to 3 times a week and skating the other two days and maybe on weekends. I figure around a 40-60 minute skating session would be about right running some simple drills. Is that a good target time or should I maybe start with less and work up to it? Or could skating too long (ie skating tired) "train" me to skate poorly? Just kind of throwing stuff at the wall with this but I'm just trying to get edumacted.

Thanks all.

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10-08-2012, 09:25 AM
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Your fitness seems like it's great, I would just keep doing what you're doing.

As far as skating goes, you can't skate too much. Unless you end up fatiguing/injuring your groin. Just be hyper aware of that: An injured groin is hockey hell and can forever to properly heal up.

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10-08-2012, 09:39 AM
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One last thing: You want to start working on stick handling now. Get yourself a green biscuit and a smart hockey training ball and work with them as often as you can.

All the fitness in the world is no good if you can't handle the puck. (Or conversely, you can compensate for lack of fitness if you can handle the puck.)

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10-08-2012, 10:17 AM
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Okay now that I've read your post for real...

Again, check out the sticky threads up top. There are good beginners equipment guides and stick guides and check out AIR's big skate thread. Solid stuff.

Also check out Beth's "hockey newb chronicles", good reading about what to expect and others' experiences.

Now for your fitness, you are in outstanding cardio shape, which is a hell of a start. You're probably fitter than some pro hockey players.

But hockey is really a big muscle sport, and you want to work on the legs, both pushing exercises and pulling. Things you can do in a confined area are bodyweight squats, jump squats (if you have the vertical room), lunges or split squats, box jumps, single leg deadlifts with a dumbbell, kettlebell swings, etc. I'm fat and have no cardio endurance but just focusing on those exercises for a month made me much quicker on the ice.

Also you can get a stick and and a stickhandling ball on work on the USA stickhandling drills to get your hand eye coordination. I liked doing it with gloves on to get the feel. Get a Smart Hockey ball, a wooden stickhandling ball, and a golf ball (or many since they bounce and get lost). I didn't like the green biscuit but you could try one of those too.

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10-08-2012, 11:25 AM
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Get a Smart Hockey ball, a wooden stickhandling ball, and a golf ball (or many since they bounce and get lost). I didn't like the green biscuit but you could try one of those too.
I think the benefit of the green biscuit is largely determined by how smooth a surface you have to practice on. I have a basement storage room with a kind of tiled flooring and it slides great. But I don't think I would enjoy it much on the street or on the concrete floor of a garage.

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10-08-2012, 11:53 AM
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I have a smooth concrete floor and the biscuit flies just fine across it if you're snapping passes hard.

I had a HUGE improvement this year by getting a balance board - I just used some PVC and a plank - started with smaller PVC and worked my way up in size, just stick handle while balancing. It is good for simulating your height when on skates (so that you get used to your stick at the right distance) and just gives you overall better hands, you'll find that you're stickhandling in odd spaces quite often.

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10-08-2012, 11:59 AM
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I had a HUGE improvement this year by getting a balance board - I just used some PVC and a plank - started with smaller PVC and worked my way up in size, just stick handle while balancing. It is good for simulating your height when on skates (so that you get used to your stick at the right distance) and just gives you overall better hands, you'll find that you're stickhandling in odd spaces quite often.
Good to know. I just sprained my MCL playing volleyball and have read that balance boards are good for strengthening one's knees. I can kill two birds with one stone.

Out of curiosity, has anyone tried stickhandling while balancing on a wobble board which has a ball on the bottom instead of a linear plank? I'm curious how insanely difficult it would be to stickhandle while on one of those things.

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10-08-2012, 12:25 PM
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Another Marine here, congrats and welcome to the coolest game on earth! I too was a long time fan, and played street hockey as a kid, but just started playing last year. I was bit by the hockey bug and bought some roller hockey skates, started skating on a small outdoor rink and its grown from there. Unfortunately, I too am on a MEU at the moment (out of Camp Pen), so no hockey for the next few months for me. The lockout is killing me! Cant wait to get back to Cali and start playing some orginized hockey for the first time.

Im sure you are in very good shape. 12 years in the Marines will do that to you weather you want to or not. I really wouldnt worry much about that. You'll be fine. The advice given in this thread seems more than adequet to get ou on your way as far as legs are conscerned.

For gear, I would definatly suggest a Play It Again sports store. Thats where I got all of my equipment starting out, minus my skates which I bought new. I am planning on replacing a few of the pieces when I get back. Its a good option if you dont know what you like, and dont want to spend a ton of money on new gear. The only drawback is that you re limited by the popularity of hockey in your area. I was able to buy all of my stuff back home in Minnesota so I had a very wide selection to choose from.

Keep us updated when you get back!

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10-09-2012, 11:08 AM
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To all. Thanks for all the advice. Unfortuneatly I'm a little to impatient/compulsive so I went ahead and ordered the vast majority of my gear. Gonna wait till I get home to order a helmet but almost everything else is on the way. Everything on the ship is also covered in non-skid so practicing with a puck/stick out here is pretty much impossible. I'll have to work double hard on that when I get home.

As far as the workout is concerned I gave it hell today. Started with 6 sets of:pullups (5), single leg squats (5 each), core extension thingies (5), cobras (5), side touches (10). No rest between excersizes, 60 seconds rest between each set. Knocked out my 5 mile run with 3 (.25 mile) sprints in the middle of it and then attempted to do 4 more sets of the original circuit. I was so wiped out that I didn't even finish. I only made it to the 3rd set and then I called it for the day. I'm not gonna quit, planning on trying again in 2 days. Once I can acutally complete it I'm gonna start working the reps up. Ultimate goal is to have the reps doubled, but we'll see how that goes. Side note the one legged squats are borderline impossible for me to do without holding on to something. My natural balance isn't the greatest, plus being aboard a ship that's making about 20 knots which induces roughly a 4-5 degree roll back and forth. I'm gonna keep doing them but I don't expect I'll get much out of it until I get on solid ground again.

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Another Marine here, congrats and welcome to the coolest game on earth! I too was a long time fan, and played street hockey as a kid, but just started playing last year. I was bit by the hockey bug and bought some roller hockey skates, started skating on a small outdoor rink and its grown from there. Unfortunately, I too am on a MEU at the moment (out of Camp Pen), so no hockey for the next few months for me. The lockout is killing me! Cant wait to get back to Cali and start playing some orginized hockey for the first time.

Im sure you are in very good shape. 12 years in the Marines will do that to you weather you want to or not. I really wouldnt worry much about that. You'll be fine. The advice given in this thread seems more than adequet to get ou on your way as far as legs are conscerned.

For gear, I would definatly suggest a Play It Again sports store. Thats where I got all of my equipment starting out, minus my skates which I bought new. I am planning on replacing a few of the pieces when I get back. Its a good option if you dont know what you like, and dont want to spend a ton of money on new gear. The only drawback is that you re limited by the popularity of hockey in your area. I was able to buy all of my stuff back home in Minnesota so I had a very wide selection to choose from.


Keep us updated when you get back!
Sorry to hear that (that you're attached to the MEU). This is my 6th deployment and 4th boat ride and I am so over being aboard ship. If you're attached to the MEU that just recently left then I think you are coming to relieve us. Any way, stay safe and try not to get too bored out there. Tell the H-53 guys aboard your ship I said hello from SSgt Coakley, depending on who it is they might know me. We'll all be pulling for you.

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12-20-2012, 07:21 PM
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Bringing this back from the dead.

Had a pretty good knee injury while afloat so my workout program kind of got shot in the ass. finally got home last on sunday. I was like a little kid at christmas opening all my gear up. Happily it all seems to fit pretty good. Went with a couple of friends and just kind of skated and shot the puck around for a bit. My puck and ball handling is atrocious, but according to my buddy I have a pretty decent shot for a guy who has never held a hockey stick. Was fun but I was definately falling all over myself out there. No shame in my game I'll be back for more.

Question though. The muscles in the bottom of my foot started to hurt pretty bad after only about 15 minutes of off and on skating. I don't remember that ever happening to me before and couldn't figure out why it was happening. It almost seemed like I was putting a bunch of pressure on my toes due to the natural forward lean of the skate boot but I'm not entirely sure. Anyone know if this is related to the way I'm skating or maybe if my skate isn't fitting correctly even though I think it feels pretty decent. The skates are mission Axiom T10's which had pretty good reviews and I'm found them on clearance so I just bought them. I was skating with just skates, shorts, shirt, stick and puck this time. I plan on gearing up pretty much the whole way next time so I'm not really afraid to fall down. Any advice is still appreciated.

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12-20-2012, 08:00 PM
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Bringing this back from the dead.

Had a pretty good knee injury while afloat so my workout program kind of got shot in the ass. finally got home last on sunday. I was like a little kid at christmas opening all my gear up. Happily it all seems to fit pretty good. Went with a couple of friends and just kind of skated and shot the puck around for a bit. My puck and ball handling is atrocious, but according to my buddy I have a pretty decent shot for a guy who has never held a hockey stick. Was fun but I was definately falling all over myself out there. No shame in my game I'll be back for more.

Question though. The muscles in the bottom of my foot started to hurt pretty bad after only about 15 minutes of off and on skating. I don't remember that ever happening to me before and couldn't figure out why it was happening. It almost seemed like I was putting a bunch of pressure on my toes due to the natural forward lean of the skate boot but I'm not entirely sure. Anyone know if this is related to the way I'm skating or maybe if my skate isn't fitting correctly even though I think it feels pretty decent. The skates are mission Axiom T10's which had pretty good reviews and I'm found them on clearance so I just bought them. I was skating with just skates, shorts, shirt, stick and puck this time. I plan on gearing up pretty much the whole way next time so I'm not really afraid to fall down. Any advice is still appreciated.
Sounds like you're in very good shape, at this point almost all of your improvement will come from ice time. The more you get out there, the better. Wearing full gear is a great idea, you'll progress much faster if you aren't afraid of falling.

As for pain on the bottom of your foot, that's very common. There could be any number of causes. Your arch could need more support, in which case you'll want some insoles (like yellow Superfeet). You might be tying your skates too tight, if you have skates that fit well you really shouldn't have to go that tight, "snug" should be fine. You could simply be tensing up your foot when you skate, because you aren't yet comfortable on the ice. Try lacing up a bit looser, and concentrate on keeping your feet relaxed, see if that helps. For a lot of people, there will always be some level of foot pain when skating, but you want it to be a low level that doesn't bug you much, not unbearable pain that forces you off the ice.

However, another cause of pain on the bottom of your foot is poorly fitting skates (often skates that are too narrow, or that lack volume). A good fit for skates means that when your skates are tied up:

1) Your toes should be as close as possible to the ends of the toe cap without touching. Light touching is fine, no touching is also fine, but you shouldn't have more than about 1/4" of extra space beyond your toes. A rule of thumb is that your skates should be ~2 sizes lower than your shoes (i.e. size 11 shoes = size 9 skates), but it varies widely from person to person

2) The fit should be snug throughout your entire foot. Not overly tight so you're being squished, but snug, light pressure everywhere and no negative space. The only exception is by the toes, where most skates are built to be roomy. Also, when trying on skates, err on the side of too little space vs. too much. When you bake the skates, and wear them in, they'll get a bit more volume, you don't want them to become loose when this happens

3) The heel lock should be great. You shouldn't be able to lift your heel off the footbed in your skates, it should be totally locked in

4) With the skates unlaced, the top of your foot should more or less follow the top of the skate (by the eyelets). Your foot sticking way out means you need a skate with more volume, your foot sinking far into the skate means you need a skate with less volume


The chance that your current skates fit well is pretty low. Even if you happen to have chosen the right size (i.e. 8, 8.5, 9, etc.) and the right width (generally D/normal or E/EE/wide), chances are that the specific brand/model you have chosen isn't a great fit for your feet. I could easily try on 10+ brands/lines of skates in the right size/width, and only have 1-2 brands/lines fit me well. If you ordered your skates online somewhat blindly, you probably ended up with skates that aren't a very good fit. You're unlikely to get a good fit without going into a shop and trying a bunch of skates on to really see which specific brand, model, size and width works best for you.

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12-20-2012, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ponder View Post
The chance that your current skates fit well is pretty low. Even if you happen to have chosen the right size (i.e. 8, 8.5, 9, etc.) and the right width (generally D/normal or E/EE/wide), chances are that the specific brand/model you have chosen isn't a great fit for your feet. I could easily try on 10+ brands/lines of skates in the right size/width, and only have 1-2 brands/lines fit me well. If you ordered your skates online somewhat blindly, you probably ended up with skates that aren't a very good fit. You're unlikely to get a good fit without going into a shop and trying a bunch of skates on to really see which specific brand, model, size and width works best for you.
I'm not calling anybody wrong as I am obviously the new guy here for advice. However, I think they fit pretty good. The heel definately locks in with no vertical movement. The pressure on the top and sides of my foot is very even when laced, and my foot doesn't slide inside the skate when moving. My toes don't touch when standing/gliding but when I push off hard or stomp they just touch the tip of the boot. I figure if the skate volume goes up a bit with break in I should get to a point where there is no contact. the only place I don't feel it has a real good fit is right on the sides of my ankle. the skate has pads built in on either side of the bone that sticks out of the ankle and either my bone is really protruding from my ankle a lot or those pads need to break in. they seem really tight right in that area. Odly enough the pain was considerably worse in my right foot than the left but lessened as I kept skating. I'll get them baked and see if that takes care of the pad problem. gonna grab the last of my equipment while I'm down there as well. I'll update this once I get it all on and try it again.

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12-21-2012, 10:30 AM
  #24
Jarick
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Where is the pain on your foot specifically?

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12-21-2012, 11:06 AM
  #25
Rocko604
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I had really bad foot pain with my skates, and it was solved with a pair of Superfeet insoles. Colour may vary by arch type. Like Ponder said, it's pretty common, so as long as the skates fit properly, try the insoles first and go from there.

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