In the video I show you 4 (ish) different ways of learning or teaching hockey stops.
If you or your skaters are struggling with one technique, try another. Learning a skill is not one-size-fits all so if something’s not working, don’t be afraid to try something different or to approach it with a different mindset.
First, what is a hockey stop? (It’s NOT a powerslide!)
With a hockey stop, your feet end up parallel to each other and perpendicular (at 90 degrees) to the direction of travel. Your wheels being perpendicular to the direction you’re traveling is what creates friction and helps you stop.
To execute a hockey stop you must embrace SLIDE! If you can’t slide because you have sticky wheels, hockey stops will be much harder for you to master. So try them with harder wheels and see if it helps. Oh, and bend your knees!
Rather than me repeating it here, read this detailed breakdown of hockey stops, then come back and watch the video!
Technique #1 – Weaving
As mentioned in the above article, hockey stops are just an aggressive slalom or weave!
Set up cones in a zig zag pattern around the edges of the track and practice weaving tightly around them. Make sure your leading leg is the one closest to the cone – it will not work if you’re leading with the wrong leg!
Aim to draw a C shape with your skates around the cone and as you add more speed and aggression to the weave, you will start to feel your edges catching and creating the hockey stop. As your stops get stronger, the shape you make will be more similar to an L than a C.
Technique #2 – The Reckless Rowly Method
In the video I skip through a few steps of the method (which you can watch in full here). Set up some cones around the apex with an in and out “gate” and make this curve tighter as you feel more confident.
Skate with some speed and hug the apex tight, staggering your stance so that your inside leg is leading. As you increase your speed and closeness to the apex, you will begin to feel the slide – EMBRACE IT because you can’t stop without it.
Decrease the size of the apex, increase the speed and keep close to the apex and you will begin to hockey stop! This is basically a C shape that starts big and gets smaller!
Be sure to practice both sides.
Technique #3 – Hard Stops
This technique is more about finding your edges rather than waiting for slide to happen and is useful for bringing your feet closer together and learning to stop in a small space.
Hard stops are more of a step/stomp into the hockey stop footwork and require you do flick your hips round as you step back foot then front into the perpendicular position. Do this from a slow roll. This looks more like an L shape rather than a C shape.
For some people this may make more sense with someone “jamming” against them – Facing forward, have your jammer push you and as you begin to roll, flick round and drop into the hard stop position, trying to keep contact with the jammer.
Technique #4 – Lateral Stops
All the previous methods have been focused on traveling forward and then coming to a stop but for blockers, we’re trying to give up as little vertical space as possible and so often use hockey stops in a lateral motion instead.
Imagine you are driving or guiding a jammer to an edge and you’ve just hit them off, you want to stay on track and be in an agile position while still covering your lane. That means facing forward and with your hips square. Hockey stops are great for this.
Use a t-push or any method of lateral movement that keeps your torso facing forward to skate towards the track boundary then flick your hips into the hockey stop. You can use this momentum to make sure the jammer is off!
Try using the C shape/sliding kind of hockey stops and the hard stops and see what works best.
Some more hockey stop tips and tricks: