Download Tom's Tips!
1. Skating is the most important skill in hockey, therefore pay particular attention to the playersí skates. Buy the best skates you can afford! Never buy used skates!
2. Have the skates professionally fitted. Purchase from a reputable sports store with knowledgeable staff, not a department store or mass retailer.
3. Better quality skates can now be heat formed to the playersí foot, this is an excellent method of getting the best fit possible.
4. Tie skates snug at the ankle but not too tight over the top of the foot (there is a large vein and artery that runs across the top of the foot and you could reduce circulation by over tightening).
5. Never tie laces around the ankle since this reduces movement at this joint and hinders development of a powerful and efficient stride.
6. New skates must be checked for proper balance and contour of the blades since this is not done at the factory. Insist that this be done before the player uses them. If necessary have the blades contoured and/or body balanced (approx. $35.00) and make sure skates are sharpened after every 3-4 hours of use.
7. All hockey equipment should fit properly, not too bulky or too snug since these conditions will make movement difficult.
8. The hockey stick is almost as important as the skates and requires special attention. Be sure that the stick is the correct length (between the chin and the collar bone) while on skates.
9. Players 11 and under should use a ìjuniorî shaft, 11-14 an ìintermediate shaft and 14 and over a senior shaft. This is a guideline and will vary according to the size of the playersí hands. Please be sure they have the proper sized shaft since this will make a big difference in their ability to handle the puck.
10. The ìknobî at the top of the shaft should be as small as possible since this is where the player will grip the stick. If the knob is too big, manipulation will be difficult.
11. The blade of the stick should be taped completely from heel to toe. This is very important since the tape helps to cushion the puck while receiving a pass and stick handling.
12. If the blade of the stick becomes ìswollenî on the bottom from water it should be replaced. The eventual objective is for the player to be able to ìfeelî the puck on their stick without looking. This is done through a vibration that occurs when puck meets blade. If the blade is water logged this vibration is compromised.