Search
  • Jason Yee

How To Improve Your Edges In Hockey

Updated: Aug 1, 2019



Some of you may wonder why this is important. Some of you might notice that I stopped using technical vocabulary. And others might wonder what words have to do with edges.


The truth is that words are powerful.


“I’m happy.” vs “I’m fucking ecstatic.” – that’s a big difference. And it comes from words.


The term “Linear Crossover” is a horrible set of words. It’s good for Darryl Belfry because it caused a ton of conversation – and that conversation leads to attention. But it’s bad for players in three ways:


It is not simpleIt is not visualIt does not “sound” good


Perhaps it is Belfry’s intention to make his terms confusing so that others can’t steal or copy. I don’t claim to read his mind.



You might notice that at Train 2.0 – we use particular words. And sometimes, you might notice that the words evolve over time.


The Hip Scissor, The Soft Hip, The Inner Spring, The Top Hand Pivot.


None of these were terms until we started breaking down NHL Mechanics.


Even the word “Mechanic” is now popularized.


The key to these words is that they are simple, visual, and sound good.


Words seem insignificant. But consider that before the “Inner Spring”, no one had any idea about the difference between Inner Spring and non-Inner Spring. The words made it an idea. And then we evaluate against that idea.


Some of you may point out that the term Inner Spring is still sort of unclear. It is. Some of you get it right away. And for others it takes time.


That takes me to my second point: A/B testing.


We introduce words and ideas at a rapid rate. Then we see which ones stick. Which ones get peoples attention. Which ones people ask about. Then we double down on those words. Using them often. This causes an evolution of our words over time.


We take the same approach with our instructions for those terms. We test different ways of explaining those concepts. Find which ones work and stick – then double down on them. This causes an improvement in our instructions over time.


This is the exact same process companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook use to make users happy. We do our best to adopt these principles to make players happy.


Getting to my point, and I promise that I have one: Edges.


I don’t think there are good words to describe edgework in hockey. So I introduce 3 new words to you:


  • Gliding

  • Sliding

  • Stomping

  • Holding


Gliding (Still Point)


The best players spend most of their game “gliding”. Even when they stride, they glide. And they can glide on both inside and outside edges.



Sliding (Skidding)


This is like a car skidding around a corner. Edge sliding tends to scrape snow off the ice when you’d do it. Edge sliding is commonly used for stops. But also for Anchors, Dahlins, Gaudreaus, and Jab Steps. Elite players use sliding as a way to decelerate or change direction quickly.




Stomping


When you lift your foot off the ice and plant the edge in a way that generates force directly into the ground.


Holding


Holding an edge occurs when you hold your balance on an edge by tensing the muscles of your feet, legs, hips, and core.


Beginner Skaters


Stationary: Holding


Striding: Holding


Transition Tricks: Holding


Inside Edge: Holding


Outside Edge: Holding


Bad Skaters

Stationary: Gliding (Still Point)


Striding: Holding/Stomping


Transition Tricks: Holding


Inside Edge: Holding


Outside Edge: Holding


OK Skaters


Stationary: Gliding (Still Point)


Striding: Stomping


Transition Tricks: Holding/Stomping


Inside Edge: Holding/Gliding


Outside Edge: Holding


Moderate Skaters (Midget and Below)


Stationary: Gliding (Still Point)


Striding: Stomping/Gliding


Transition Tricks: Holding/Stomping/Gliding


Inside Edge: Gliding


Outside Edge: Holding/Stomping


Good Skaters (Junior, College, Minor Pro)


Stationary: Gliding (Still Point)


Striding: Stomping/Gliding


Transition Tricks: Stomping/Gliding


Inside Edge: Gliding


Outside Edge: Stomping


Great Skaters (Most NHLers)


Stationary: Gliding (Still Point)


Striding: Gliding


Transition Tricks: Gliding


Inside Edge: Gliding


Outside Edge: Stomping/Gliding


McJesus, Crosby, Barzal


Stationary: Gliding (Still Point)


Striding: Gliding


Transition Tricks: Gliding


Inside Edge: Gliding


Outside Edge: Gliding


Gliding Deep Dive


Let’s look closer at the Mechanics of Gliding.


The Rocker Effect: Skates have a profiled rocker. So when you are on an edge, the resulting movement of the blade is like a C in the ice. This might be why Boris Dorozhenko focuses so much of his drills on a heel to toe action.



The Edging Effect: Skates have two edges. When you make contact with the ice with one edge instead of two, you increase your speed due to less friction.


The “Lean” Effect (Skating Downhill): When you glide on an edge, your center of mass is not oriented over your feet. Instead, you are leaned over like a bike turning a corner. If you glide on an edge as you lean, the lean (shifting your center of mass) generates your movement.



Here is how the Rocker Effect, The Edging Effect, and The Lean Effect work together to give McJesus-like skaters more speed, control, and power in everyone hockey movement:


The Rocker Effect creates a C.The C-creates centripetal force.The centripetal force allows you to lean (shift your centre of mass).Leaning allows you to be on one edge.Being on one edge reduces friction.It all works together for MORE SPEED


Your ability to glide in all movements: stationary, striding, Transition Tricks, inside edge, outside edge determines your mastery of skating.



Comparing Glide Mechanics to Holding Mechanics


Holders hold tension in their legs to keep their feet under them. Then they push with their legs muscles in straight lines to change direction and accelerate. They are stiff like oak trees.



Gliders have very little tension. Then they shift their center of mass to change direction and accelerate. Their legs bend underneath them like bamboo, and their hips swivel and tilt to ensure they are on their edges and leaning.


Comparing Glide Mechanics to Stomping Mechanics


The best way to tell if a player is stomping or gliding is if their leg movement generates downward force into the ice. From now on, you’ll notice stompers when you see lot’s of leg movement – without much body translation. Meaning: the body doesn’t actually move in space. The legs just do a lot of work.



How To Improve Your Skating By Improving Your Edges


At first, your biggest improvements will come from standard edgework drills. Hold your inside edge. Hold your outside edge. Switch. That kind of thing.


At that point, most players’ progress either takes off or plateaus. The players who take off understand gliding and apply it to all of their movements. A good percentage of these gliders are bow-legged. My hypothesis is that it makes them “Drone Coach Proof”.


The ones who plateau – are ironically the ones who go to the most power skating. (I call them Push Power Skating Instructors). Their improvements come from increases in strength and power. Meanwhile, gliders improvements come from the ever-increasing dynamism of their gliding mechanics (just watch McDavid and Crosby’s evolution – watch Barzal’s soon to be evolution).



You might notice that my differentiator between Great Skaters and McJesus, Crosby, Barzal is one thing: Gliding on the outside edge. We call this the Hidden Gas Pedal. If you compare Barzal to Lucic – Lucic is a very strong skater, but look at his outside edge on this set of crossovers. Then compare to Barzal. Lucic can handle a puck at speed with great heel contact, and he’s strong and powerful – but the Hidden Gas Pedal separates the Barzals, McDavids and Crosbys.




If you’re at a plateau and want to get past it – or maybe you’re already a glider and want to turbo-boost it – you may want to check out the Downhill Skating System. We give players step by step instructions to master these mechanics and implement more gliding in their game – in all 5 use cases. You can check that out here.


As mentioned, we evolve our approach, our words, and our instructions over time. With feedback, we refine what we do. So if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please email me at jason@train2point0.com to talk hockey!

219 views