I just picked up ice hockey 6 months ago and to tell you the truth I was blown away by the level of compete, effort and skill that this game requires... I love it! The most experienced I had with the game before this discovery was playing street hockey back in my old neighborhood when I was like 8-12yr old, I'm 22 now but I've got a ton of energy!
At the beginning I was very sloppy and considered terrible at skating, but after lots of practice and playing garage hockey leagues I've improved heaps! To say the least, my skating speed/acceleration/fluidity is apparently on par to a midget double AA according to 2 of my acquaintances (an Ahl and a QMJHL player). The only problem they highlight all the time is my problem in stopping on my left side (this is because I learned to stop with only my right leg.... bad decision).
So here are my questions:
1. Do you guys have any tips on helping me stop on my left side.. (i've grown a habit in stopping only with my right and whenever I try to stop on my left I end up doing a full turn or semi-circle). My left leg also feels alot weaker than my right when pivoting on one leg on the ice.
2. I need some serious tips on stickhandling, I thought I was good.. but when I watched some of my friends stickhandle (they play in competitive leagues) I jsut can't keep up.
3. I don't understand how people can do such fast changes after extended shifts.. It's like they never run out of stamina. When I play hockey we're usually 10 on each team (not including goalies) and everyone subs with their respective positions, meaning each player is on the ice for 1hour in total as the rink we rent out last for 2 hours. Can I get some tips on helping me conserve my energy whilst skating (wasted efforts/moves/plays) and also augment my overall stamina (training).
I currently do the cardio videos for p90x, I'm a righty 6'1 178pds and play my best as a 2-way player; therefore I backcheck like a crazy ******. Since rinks don't come cheap I'd hope for any suggestions on training off the ice for things like stickhandling.
I'm gonna suggest going to public skates or stick time if it's available at your rink. At a public skate just work on stopping on your weak side. Try to stop over and over until you start to get it.
Stick time can help with stopping and stickhandling as well. Just set aside chunks of time dedicated to improving each of those. Stickhandling comes with practice. Skate around as much as you can with the puck.
As for stamina, just do your best to skate your hardest at all times and you'll notice you're not so tired at the end of games after awhile. At least that worked for me. I busted my butt every time out there and I don't really feel tired at the end of games anymore.
Currently, I'm trying to stop on my left side, but one problem that surfaces alot is that my body just plainly refuses to do so even after countless attempts... is there anything off-ice I can practice as well? (someone suggested that I dash and slide on a flat surface to get a feel for the movement)
These days I'm not really tired after the games I play, but the issue lies mostly during the game where I use up all my energy during my short shifts and then need to gather it all back in time for my next shift. Maybe I just need to up my cardio haha