Can Figure Skaters Really Teach Hockey Players?
The obvious answer is that I they can, but I think, for the most part there are severe limitations and I have to question relying on a figure skater for all of your skating instruction. Can they help a hockey player with skating? ….. yes. Will they hurt a hockey player’s skating? ….. probably not. Are they limited as to what they can teach a hockey player about skating for hockey? ….. absolutely is my belief.
I’ve been thinking about writing on this topic for a while and considered my approach for some time, but this is a topic that has to covered. First, the difficulties are to clearly make the distinctions in the physical movements involved in skating in written form. (That’s why golf instruction books are mostly useless. Trying to describe body movements and how they feel and communicate that so that the reader totally gets it is extremely difficult.)
Why I’m Writing This Now
I recently read some newspaper articles about a lady named Dawn Braid, Braid was hired earlier this summer by the Arizona Coyotes, making her the NHL’s first full-time female coach.
God bless her and I wish her and the Coyotes all of the best; and I mean that sincerely.
I would love to talk to her some time and have a serious discussion about the details of skating technique for hockey skaters and her background and overall experience. I would love to know if she thinks there were any significant differences between the skating techniques for figure skating and skating for hockey. Also, if she did in fact feel there were differences; how did she gain the expertise to instruct in this area. I’m always open to ideas and to expanding my knowledge.
In the article it mentions her having worked with John Tavares and there is some great words of endorsement quoted from John who she worked with from the age of seventeen. The article also quotes the following: “Dallas centre Jason Spezza and New Jersey left wing Mike Cammalleri are among her other disciples …..”.
Now I will tell you something; and that is that Tavares’ skating has improved a lot, but that has only come in the last couple of years. Therefor, if she’s been working with him since he was seventeen, then for some reason there was a big delayed reaction to his improvement.
If you’re sensing some skepticism, your right. Because while Jason Spezza is mentioned as a disciple of Braid, I happened to know who has worked with Spezza consistently on an ongoing basis since the age of ten and still works with him to this day. In fact I know that Spezza has flown this instructor in and rented private ice to get mid-season instruction. It’s hard to believe the claim that Spezza is a “disciple” of Braid. I think this is just some fluff that looks good for the article. Oh!, and by the way, I know that recently Tavares (just in the last couple of years) has had instruction from Spezza’s guy.
Lets Get Something Out Of The Way Right Away
I’ve never seen a figure skater do a routine of any kind with a stick and a puck; let alone a routine that involved stick handling, getting a pass, giving a pass or shooting a puck. Now if you could image a figure skating routine with all of these elements, would they have to do it with some other skaters on the ice trying to hit them and take their heads off? Good luck!
So if you ever go to a figure skater for instruction and they try to give a lot detailed instruction about working with a stick and a puck; you might want to seriously question their credentials. Where in heaven’s name would they have gotten any background into these skills to make them an expert?
What Figure Skaters Can Teach You?
The Common Elements
Just to let you know that when I was younger, I went to some female figure skating friends for instruction to try to become a better skater and it was a help. This was at time way before there was any kind of skating instruction for hockey players.
In Part 2, I’ll deal with what they can they teach you because there are some common elements to both figure skating and skating for hockey. I’ll also deal with the differences between figure skating; which is really to put on a show, and why there are elements they probably can’t teach you and why.
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