How to Stop on Hockey Skates

stop on hockey skates

While hockey is a fast-paced sport, one of the most important aspects of being successful on the ice is being able to stop. It helps you keep your body in the right position, makes it much easier to change directions and can keep you safe on the ice.

Stopping might seem simple for people who watch hockey, but if you have never done it before, it certainly isn’t. I still remember learning to stop while skating and falling my fair share of times during the process before eventually getting comfortable with it.

So just how does one learn to stop on hockey skates? Well, it is certainly a process and one that can take some time and some effort. But don’t worry, I’m here to help. Keep reading to learn more about the best and proper way to stop on hockey skates.

Learning to Stop

The first part of successfully stopping is learning what it entails. NHL players and other players do it in an instant and make it look easy, but the process itself has a few different parts that combine to allow for a safe and effective stop.

To make this as simple and easy-to-follow as possible, I’m going to go through each step of the process to break down the act of stopping correctly on hockey skates.

1. Begin by skating forward in your desired direction.

2. As you are preparing to stop, bend your knees slightly.

3. Slightly shift your weight back away from the direction you are going. 

4. Start to rotate your hips and angle your skate blades.

5. Slowly dig the side of your skates into the ice, creating friction and eventually stopping you.

If you learn better from visuals, this video does a good job at showing the correct process to stop with hockey skates and goes over a little about why it is beneficial.

Be sure to start slowly and ensure you wear adequate safety equipment like a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and others. Trying to learn to stop from scratch without falling at least a couple of times can be very difficult, so always be safe, and fall where you have padding.

Practice, Practice and More Practice

However, my little lesson on stopping is not done yet. Once you know how you are supposed to stop, you won’t instantly be an expert. It can be difficult to master and you need to practice to ensure you can stop consistently to have any success during a hockey game.

Be sure to practice whenever you can, and start by working close to the boards so you have something to grab onto if you are going to fall.

When you first do learn the process, walk through each step individually and slowly. Think of each successful stop as having five parts: the initial skating, the slightly bent knees, the shifting of your weight, rotation of your hips and skates, and the digging in of your skates.

All of that combines into a full stop. As you become more comfortable, build up speed and practice stopping from higher and higher speeds. Over time, you will eventually be comfortable enough to stop from your full skating speed.

You should also work on your transition out of the stop, as well. This can help you change direction quickly and ensure you are comfortable going both left and right out of a turn. You may eventually need to be able to stop while being grabbed or pushed, so practice that, as well.

If you or your child want to play hockey at a relatively high level, you need to be able to stop while going pretty fast. So be sure to be persistent when learning, and working on your balance as a whole can also be great for stopping, too.

But no matter how much you practice, falls will still happen. It is easy to misjudge your balance, and imperfections in the ice can lead to spills, as well. That is one reason why it is always important to wear proper gear when skating, during a game, or even just practicing.

Mistakes to Watch Out For

When learning to stop, there are many mistakes people will make. While this is normal and completely fine, it is a good idea to try to minimize the mistakes and falls if at all possible. One of the major mistakes is to watch out for over-shifting your weight.

If you shift your weight too much forward because that feels most natural, you will likely tumble forward after catching an edge of your skate fully in the ice. If you shift too far back, you could lose the edge altogether and slip and fall as a result.

Rotating too much can also be a mistake many new skaters will make. If you rotate too much when trying to stop, you may end up doing a full-on turn or spinning out of control and falling.

Not being confident in your abilities can also be a problem many skaters suffer from. If you are nervous and not confident, it can stiffen you up, which will make it hard to effectively stop as best as you can.

I hope this guide has proven useful, whether you yourself are learning to stop on skates or you are assisting a friend or family member. Being able to stop makes skating a lot easier and safer. Be sure to let me know if there is anything else you think I should have included.

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey.

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