Advice for how to start?

Discussion in 'The Rink' started by goonx, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. goonx

    goonx Registered User

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    Hey,

    I'm really interested in getting into hockey but I never got the chance to play when I was younger. Now that i'm 22, I really want to start playing some shinny next year and some (safe) contact hockey two years down the road.

    Right now, I would call myself an decent skater but there's a lot of things i need to work on. Backward skating, backward cross overs and stops for the most part. I do see myself being able to skate pretty well and i'm a very agile kind of guy. I go to an outdoor drink 3times a week to work on my skating. The difference from when I started to now is day and night.

    As for stick handling, I have zerooo. I picked up a hockey stick twice in my life and I recently just got a stick and a ball for practice. Haven't practiced yet though.

    I think I want to model my game after P.Kane or St. Louis. I'm a small guy myself 5'8 but i feel like if I work hard enough, I can get the skating speed and skills I need to play at an amateur/rec level.

    Any tips and advice on where how i can start to bring myself to the next level? :help: I live in Toronto
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  2. R34

    R34 Registered User

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  3. Hockey Crazy

    Hockey Crazy Registered User

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  4. YNWA14

    YNWA14 You'll Never Walk Alone

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    Does anyone know if there is anything similar to this in Ottawa? It looks amazing and I'm in a similar boat to the OP (though I have a bit of stickhandling experience.)
     
  5. goonx

    goonx Registered User

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    Can you tell me more about the details and specifics about this program? Looks really good but it's also a bit of a commute. I live in Scarborough (probably one of the reasons why I never got to play :laugh:). What's the structure like and how much ice time/instruction do we get?

    Seems like I'm going to have to cough up the money to invest in a whole set of equipment.
     
  6. ponder

    ponder Registered User

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    Classes are obviously excellent, but can be expensive too. In terms of improving on your own:

    Skating:
    You're already going skating 3 times a week, which is great. Work really hard on two foot stops in both directions, not only is it extremely important for hockey, but it'll help your edge control in general a lot. Also work on hard turns, crossovers in both directions, toe starts, and long powerful strides. Basically don't just skate around in circles, work on specific things, do drills. Watch power skating videos on youtube (the Laura Stamm ones are great) for ideas of what to practice specifically. Backwards skating is important too, but as a beginner you'll likely play on the wing, where it is necessary less often, something you can develop later as you continue to improve.

    Shooting/stick handling:
    Go to stick and puck sessions when you can. Instead of 3 free skates a week, maybe try 1-2 stick and pucks, 1-2 free skates. At these sessions work on stick handling and wrist/snap shots. Slap shots are nice too, but if you're playing wing you'll use wrist/snap shots WAY more. This video describes how to take snapshots pretty well:

    Also, if you have a decent sized backyard, a skill pad and a net (like in the above video) can be a great way to work on stick handling and shooting. You should be able to find these things pretty cheap on craigslist, and get some sort of net or tarp to catch stray shots too. I'd suggest ice hockey pucks for shooting, but street hockey pucks for stick handling.
     
  7. Thepandamancan

    Thepandamancan Registered User

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    Just go to pick up or whatever. I started a year ago (I'm 24 now) in a pick up game and I was absolutely terrible. The goalie had to teach me how to hold the stick during the game.

    A year later, I'm nothing special but I'm light years from when I started. Sounds like you're on the right track...just stay on it and work hard. You're gonna disappoint a lot of people with your growing pains, but just remember that if anyone is gonna be that mad at someone starting off...their a dick. Use it as motivation to improve and don't let it get you down.
     
  8. ponder

    ponder Registered User

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    One more thing:
    Full contact hockey adult rec leagues are extremely rare. Not to say that beer leagues don't get chippy and have a fair bit of low level contact, but adult rec league where full on hits are actually legal are close to non-existent. And honestly, as a newer player you should be grateful for this. It's one thing to learn to keep your head up as an 11 year old getting repeatedly hit by other 11 year olds, there's just not much power in those hits, but a full contact game between grown men who had never played contact hockey and grown men who grew up hitting would just be ugly, concussion city.
     
  9. Hockey Crazy

    Hockey Crazy Registered User

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    It does get expensive, but it's worth every penny... I'm absolutely addicted to playing and getting better now. :laugh:

    The program is $550, but it's not a bad deal for what you get. I paid $200 for my skates, and another $700 more for equipment when all was said and done. You can definitely do it cheaper though... just don't cheap out on skates.

    It's about a 20 min walk from Yorkdale station. You can do it if you have a roller bag or one of those back packs. The walk wont be too bad in the summer, although I like that I started in the winter because I've made use of the outdoor rinks a lot. Still... my team usually chips in for ice to practice on each week.

    In the winter program, there are 17 weeks and a playoff tournament. There are 4 teams, and 2 hit the ice at a time for an hour each on Sundays. The first 10 weeks are instructional. You start with some skating drills, then move to stick-handling, passing, shooting etc. By week 7 or 8, they start including scrimmages in the lessons and then the games start. The games are three 10 minute periods, and they keep your stats and everything! My team has 11 skaters and a goalie, so you get a good amount of ice (only 2 lines per team). Everyone plays in the tournament in the end and you end up playing against the Brampton program's teams.

    If you can already skate well you'll be one of the better players on your team...
     
  10. bauerguy88

    bauerguy88 Registered User

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  11. goonx

    goonx Registered User

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  12. goonx

    goonx Registered User

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    Sounds pretty awesome. How about the summer program? Is it the same thing but just stretched out over a longer period of time?

    I got nice skates this year :laugh: and that's what started the snowball effect. I have to invest in the protective stuff which you said is probably going to run around $500-$700.
     
  13. Hockey Crazy

    Hockey Crazy Registered User

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    Looks like it's 8 weeks of lessons and 8 games for $350 in the summer. That seems like a really good deal to me.
     
  14. Frankie Spankie

    Frankie Spankie Registered User

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    Just try to find some beginner pick up hours. Don't worry too much about trying to be perfect or learning how to do everything before you play. When I first started, I literally skated like 4x before in my life (although I did rollerblade a lot). I couldn't stop until like 7-8 games. I couldn't do crossovers or skate backwards or anything. I had a halfway decent wrist shot considering I never played ice hockey before and that was all I could do. You just learn these things by playing over and over. Practicing your stick handling could definitely help but just go find some beginner pick up time and enjoy yourself. Don't beat yourself up on stupid mistakes because we all made them when we started, just have fun and learn from them!
     
  15. Badger36

    Badger36 Registered User

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    Definetly get enrolled in a learn to skate class. I started skating a year ago and tried to teach myself by going to public skate 1-2 times a week.
    My girlfriend bought me skating lessons for Christmas and in the past 2 months of going to a 30 minute lesson once a week Im 10x better than I was when I started classes.
     
  16. CuteHockeyBunny

    CuteHockeyBunny Registered User

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    Spend your first year skating. Forget the stick, it doesn't exist. You'll use it as a crutch anyway.

    Buy Laura Stamm's power skating book. This is the only instructional purchase I advise you to get. Any other purchases (actual power skating lessons) aren't required. Most of skating is gotten through practice and proper technique. Laura will teach you that, no doubt about it. If you practice skating every other day, 1-2 hours a day, practicing the techniques and then ramping up to speed, in 2-3 years, people will think you've been skating for 6-7.

    Skate well first, skate hard second but above all, skate every chance you get.

    http://www.amazon.ca/Laura-Stamms-P...6204/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1297743907&sr=8-2
     
  17. Fleuryoutside29

    Fleuryoutside29 Registered User

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    Check your local rinks. Alot of rinks have beginner hockey classes. I know rinks around me have them all the time. Its usually a few weeks and will teach you the basics and give you some good drills to do.
     
  18. kr580

    kr580 Who knows.

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    IMO a year is a bit much. I started at age 20, having never skated before, and worked purely on learning to skate for the first 2 months or so before bothering with gear. By the time I got there I was already on par with the rest of the stick time people and probably most of the Bronze leaguers. I agree with taking time to learn to skate first but a year seems like a lot of wasted time to me. Not to mention you could be an amazing skater but when you put gear on for the first time your skating balance and posture is all out of whack for a good while. Learn to skate well, then do both together after that, skating and hockey activities. Just my opinion.

    Good luck goonx, have fun.
     
  19. CuteHockeyBunny

    CuteHockeyBunny Registered User

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    Whatever works, right?
     
  20. ponder

    ponder Registered User

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    If you're just starting out I'd suggest going with mostly used gear. Make sure you go to a good store with a wide selection of used gear. At first you won't really know what you want out of your gear, so it's good to buy cheap, later on you'll know exactly the type of fit and truly proper size for everything (though make sure to get an employee to help you get the right sized gear), instead of making expensive purchases from the start that will probably end up being a fit/style that you don't like.

    If I were you my shopping list would look something like this:

    New helmet/cage: $80
    http://www.sportchek.ca/product/index.jsp?productId=3722826
    (helmets lose protection after big impacts, so used is sketchy, go new)

    New gloves: $70
    http://www.sportchek.ca/product/index.jsp?productId=3722849
    (used gloves tend to be very smelly, and the palms wear out, so go new)

    New jock shorts: $30ish
    (obviously a used jock is kinda gross, but any loose style mesh jock shorts with velcro to hold your socks up should work fine)

    New socks + jersey: $25ish
    (just go with the cheap, traditional CCM stuff, the expensive Rbk edge stuff is unnecessary)

    Used shoulders, shins, pants, elbows: $100ish
    (all fine to get used, just make sure everything fits snugly while still allowing good mobility)


    So overall you shouldn't end up spending much more than $300-350 overall. Also, you can often find some of those new items on sale, further reducing the price. If you don't already have any under-armour type stuff, you may want to invest in that too (some people like it, some are fine with bare skin, personally I like to wear compression pants and a long sleeved compression shirt). And if you don't already have a stick, I'd just go with a wood stick while learning, something like a Sherwood 5030 is a good choice.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  21. kr580

    kr580 Who knows.

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    Yep. I should say if you have the patience to learn to skate for a year, do that. I don't have said patience. :P
     
  22. Seanconn*

    Seanconn* Guest

    go to as many free skates as possible...

    outdoor ice as much as possible, but avoid playing around with the puck. get used to bending your knees (NOT YOUR UPPER body) pushing into the ice, and worry about the power of each stride, rather than the quickness and succession of each stride... power beats quickness 9.9 times out of ten.

    first I'd say work on laps around the rink with your stick dangling out in front of you. work up to putting a puck on that stick.

    stopping on two feet first... skate fast.. glide on two feet .. bend your kneees even more.. push out each skate (your probably dominant with one foot... you you will need to work on your less dominant foot pushing out the same. / \ < ----- skates should essentially be like this when your making a two foot stop... and make sure when your gliding before the stop that your feet are fairly close together, otherwise, it makes a two foot stop very ineffective if your foot are already apart.

    work on backwards walking, and eventually skating... avoid the making c's method of backward skating, and be sure that skating backwards = backwards, and not sideways.... again where your dominant foot can come into account. keep your knees bent, upper body strong, and toes pointed together as much as you can feel comfortable with, and you should be properly backwards skating in no time.

    obviously forwards crosscuts FIRST, before you worry about backwards crosscuts. and in all likelihood, you're probably BARELY ready to do forward crosscuts... don't make the jump to crosscuts until your really comfortable on your skates, and your sure you're practicing them using proper technique, or you might practice the exact wrong way to do it.

    if you're okay with crosscuts though... work on some russian stroking. essentially: step towards center ice, cross cut, step-- step towards the boards, crosscut, step and repeat until your at the end of the rink, where you do crosscuts around the ends of the rink. you can do this same thing backwards, and if you're using good technique, you will be amazed at the speed you can generate in those three steps each way... kinda like a snake going around the rink.


    finally, go for a wood stick. They are harder for other players to lift off the ice if you put a fair amount of weight on it, coupled with the simply fact that they are heavier... and also for the most part more durable that composite sticks... + wayyyy cheaper... and I like them better for stick-handling... almost get a better feel for the puck on your blade.

    In a perfect world, Titan would still make wood sticks, and the huge selection of wood sticks present in the 80's and 90's would still be similar today, and wood sticks wouldn't look so freaking goofy. I swear companies make them look as undesirable as possible now a days in order for people to want more expensive sticks. Sherwood is the only company that has kept the classic style... but boy would I be happy to own the same type of Titan sticks I grew up watching Selanne and others play with.

    if you're in Canada, Sportcheck pretty much has a permanent special... buy one wood stick get second half off... which for a myself will probably last the rest of my life.. since I've only broken the blade off a stick once in my whole time playing ice hockey.
     
  23. Badger36

    Badger36 Registered User

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    What??? :shakehead
     
  24. Seanconn*

    Seanconn* Guest

    you've never seen a beginner essentially making ('s & )'s on the ice with their skates, basically wiggling their butt and going backwards on their inside edges exclusively?

    I've seen it enough to know it's the wrong way to skate backwards. :laugh:

    you gotta push off one foot and step back with the other foot, and make sure one foot isn't dominating which can cause some people to skate "sideways" instead of actually backwards.
     
  25. kr580

    kr580 Who knows.

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    C cuts are the best way to gain speed going backwards. If you're wiggling side to side with just your upper body you're doing it wrong, yeah, but if you use your legs and feet like you're supposed to it's the way to go.
     

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