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    Take Flight: The Top Figure Skating Jumps to Master (2023)

    Take Flight: The Top Figure Skating Jumps to Master (2023)

    Figure skating jumps are an essential part of the sport, whether you’re a beginner, a hobbyist, or a seasoned pro.

    For the beginner, nailing the first jump is a thrilling experience you’ll be happy to repeat over and over again.

    And for the seasoned pro, jumps must be mastered to beat out the competition.

    Every element, from takeoff to landing and body position, is studied and practiced in painstaking detail.

    Jumps form an essential element of competitive figure skating, requiring great height and excellent length (along with other elements) to be acknowledged by judges.

    Figure skating jumps all look the same to the untrained eye.

    However, there are multiple jumps the competitive figure skater must master.

    These jumps are then incorporated into the skater’s routine, with revolutions (turns in the air) added to increase their difficulty.

    To become a fantastic figure skater, start by mastering the following figure skating jumps.

    explaining the jumps

    First, figure skating jumps explained

    With ice skating, you propel yourself across a smooth sheet of ice with metal skates.

    Over time, figure skaters pushed the boundaries of skating to incorporate jumps.

    These intricate jumps and turns you now see on TV during the Olympics are less than 80 years old but are what make the sport so enticing.

    Jumps are broken down into:

    • The setup (your body, feet, and arm positions)
    • The takeoff
    • The jump (the actual time in the air)
    • The spin
    • and the landing.

    Before executing a jump, you’ll have to learn the basics after becoming proficient at skating.

    Beginners first learn a bunny hop, a non-rotational jump that gets them accustomed to leaping off the ice from one leg and landing on the opposite one.

    Next comes the Waltz jump, which involves a half-rotation and is the gateway to all other jumps.

    From there, there are six recognized figure skating jumps to master:

    • The Toe Loop
    • The Salchow
    • The Loop
    • The Flip
    • The Lutz
    • The Axel

    Jumps are named after the figure skaters who invented or pioneered them. These are now expected in competitions and shows worldwide.

    After mastering these techniques, the skater increases the difficulty by adding revolutions in the jump phase ( for instance, a double, triple, or the rare and sometimes controversial quadruple jump).

    Along with spins, twists, and jump combinations, jumps help create a routine that a panel of judges will score based on technique, difficulty, and creativity.

    figure skate edge and toe

    Edge vs. toe jumps

    There are two different categories of jumps figure skaters will learn.

    Edge jumps

    Capitalize on the fact that the ice skating blade has two edges on each side of a tiny radius of hollow.

    The jumps generate power from the outside or inside edge of the skate to lift the skater off the ice to perform a rotation.

    Toe jumps

    The skater uses the toe pick - the serrated tip of the figure skate blade - to help them take flight and perform a rotation.

    The skater still uses an edge to take off, but by tapping the pick into the ice just before the jump, the skater creates a lever to transfer the body’s energy, which helps gain elevation.

    Except for an Axel, figure skaters start from a backward position using an inside or outside edge.

    Factors like the foot the skater land on and the edge determine the type of jump.

    How long does it take to learn figure skating jumps?

    It’s important to note that jumping is not for beginners.

    If done incorrectly, an ice skating jump causes falls and injury.

    It can take several years of consistent skating and training before you move on to jumps.

    Most Olympic skaters excel from pre-teen age, allowing them to learn advanced moves like loops, flips, and axels.

    When you do start to learn, however, jumps can take at least 6-12 months of consistent work to understand so it's important to be patient.

    jump rotation

    For many skaters, it can take several years to learn a jump before adding rotations.

    As the rotations increase, so does the difficulty.

    The timeline depends on several factors, including the skater’s age (older skaters tend to take longer to learn a jump), training regimen, natural ability, coaching, and willingness to fail until it sticks.

    The Toe Loop

    The toe loop is one of the easier jumps to learn, created in the early 1920s by Bruce Mapes.

    Most skaters learn this jump - along with the Salchow - after the Waltz.

    As the name implies, this is a toe jump, where you’ll use the pick to help you leap off the ice.

    You’ll start and land on the same back outside edge.

    The ease of this move makes it perfect to combine with other advanced jumps when in competition.

    How do you perform a toe loop?

    It helps to build momentum first so that this jump can be set up with an inside three-turn, outside three-turn, or mohawk.

    You can also perform this jump in a clockwise or counterclockwise position.

    To perform the toe loop:

    • Ge into your checked position, traveling backward on the right foot. The left foot is bent slightly but extended behind the left leg in a coss position (similar to Salchow).
    • You should be on your right back outside edge with the left toe pick pointed downward, ready to drive into the ice.
    • The left arm should be in front and the right arm behind in an ‘L’ position (this position will flip if you’re skating on the left foot).
    • The right foot then draws toward the back foot, which then crosses over (to the left side of the left foot) to create the energy necessary for the jump.
    • Take the hips, upper body, and arms with the draw to build that momentum. The back arm should draw to meet the other arm. As the body rotates, the arms should also be tucked into the torso.
    • Next, bend the skating knee and take off from the right toe pick using that momentum you’ve generated, making a full rotation.
    • Finally, land on the right foot on a back outside edge and checkout with the arms extended to maintain your balance.

    Mastering the jump

    Make sure to practice back outside edges, so you’re comfortable taking off and landing on the skate’s edge.

    Continue to work on improving your Waltz and Salchow jumps before moving on to the toe jump.

    Practice maintaining a strong core and moving your torso while training both on and off the ice.

    The Salchow

    The first men’s figure skating champion, Ulrich Salchow, invented this jump around 1909. It’s an edge jump and can be done clockwise or counterclockwise.

    Some coaches teach the Salchow after the skater is competent in the beginner Waltz jump.

    The Salchow takes off from the back inside edge of one foot and lands on the back outside edge of the other. It’s a ¾ rotation jump since ¼ of the rotation starts before lift-off.

    US and Olympic champion Nathan Chen once pulled off a quadruple Salchow, Lutz, flip jump, and toe jump in the same routine. He was 17 at the time.

    the salchow jump

    How do you do a Salchow?

    You have to enter the Salchow from a three-turn, mohawk, or even a backward crossover.

    A forward outside edge three-turn is one of the best setups, with long turns and a strong, tall torso. A forward inside-edge mohawk works too.

    • At the end of the turn in the checked position, swing the extended free leg around to the front, then away from the body. The arms should be extended to form a ‘T’ (left arm over the left knee and right arm extended away over the right leg.
    • It’s important that you lead with the heel and not the toe to help generate momentum. Leading with the heel also differentiates the Salchow from a Waltz.
    • Hooking that leg and bringing the arm over completes ¼ of the rotation on the ice.
    • Take off from the standing leg on the inside edge, rotate, then land on the outside edge of the opposite foot. You want to make sure to propel yourself forward, or you will land in the wrong direction.
    • Remember, the Salchow is an edge jump so try not to touch the ice.
    • Don’t forget to ‘checkout’ on the outside edge of the opposite foot.

    Mastering the jump

    The Salchow demands good control and enough speed to get high enough to perform a rotation.

    To master the jump, practice your arm placement and speed of your three-turns.

    From there, focus on landing without that back foot touching the ice unless you’re trying double or triple Salchow.

    Like all jumps, the goal is to master the mechanics of the jump, so it’s not confused with another.

    The Loop

    Another edge jump, the loop, is also called the Rittberger, named after its inventor, Werner Rittberger.

    The toe loop consists of using the toe pick of the opposite leg to help you take off.

    With the loop, however, there’s no toe assist.

    However, like the toe loop, you’ll take off and land with the same foot using the back outside edge of the skate.

    the loop jump

    How do you perform a loop?

    You can set up the loop as you do most other jumps, with an inside three-turn or a mohawk with a left-back-inside edge.

    This sets you up to perform a loop from a backward outside edge.

    From there, you’ll do the following:

    • If you’re rotating clockwise, use your left-outside edge. For counterclockwise, use your right outside edge.
    • Build your momentum to set up the jump using either a three-turn or a mohawk.
    • After the three-turn, adopt a slight lean on the right outside edge. Cross the left foot in front of the right, which should still be on the ice (counterclockwise setup).
    • Since you don’t have the toe pick assist, adopt a slightly deeper knee bend to generate more energy in the jump. With the body leaning slightly, along with the knee bent, it almost looks like a seated position.
    • With the knee bent, lift the left leg while taking off from the right. Generate as much power from the right leg as possible. The right leg makes a sharp, sweeping motion of about 90 degrees to help with takeoff.
    • The right shoulders and arms should swing in the direction of the jump. Draw the arms in to help with the rotation.
    • In the air, the legs are crossed, which can help with the number of rotations (double or triple loop, for instance).
    • Land on the same back outside edge and check out with the arms spread and the left leg extended.

    Mastering the loop

    Practice performing the sweeping motion with the leg, shoulders, and arms. That’s synonymous with the loop.

    This is especially important if you’re aiming for double or triple loops.

    More importantly, practice the sweeping motion of the standing leg between 90-120 degrees.

    As you don’t have the toe pick assist, this motion generates the power necessary for the jump.

    Your arms and shoulders aren’t enough.

    Going beyond this angle can also limit your ability to cross your legs in the jump.

    Toe loops also require great knee and hip strength, so focus on strength and plyometric exercises that target these areas.

    the flip jump

    The flip

    The flip has been around for decades, but its origin has been hard to pinpoint.

    However, it’s a versatile jump - with moderate difficulty - that you can add to your routine.

    Flips take off from a backward inside edge and land on the outside edge of the opposite foot.

    It’s also toe-pick assisted and sometimes confused with the Salchow.

    How do you do a flip?

    You can try the flip once you have a handle on the single Loop and Salchow.

    Like almost all other turns, the flip requires momentum and happens from a backward position.

    Therefore, you can build up to the flip using an outside three-turn or a mohawk.

    Advanced skaters sometimes do a backward three-turn into a mohawk before going into the flip.

    Here are some steps to perform the move:

    • As you’re moving backward, extend your dominant leg behind you. This is your toe pick assist leg. (for instance, your right leg), and leave your skating leg slightly bent. The goal is to make as straight a line as possible and not cross the legs as in other jumps. Bend your back forward slightly.
    • Your dominant arm should be in front of you and the other arm behind you, almost in an ‘L’ position.
    • Reaching your extended leg as far back as possible, gently drive the toe pick into the ice. Keep your back bent forward slightly to not transfer all the energy to your back foot.
    • Glide the standing foot around using an inside edge, then flick it up.
    • Take off with that foot with the knee bent.
    • Pull your arms down, and as you’re turning. When you’re jumping, the arms switch positions in one fluid movement. At full speed, the change in arms provides the initial momentum. While you’re in the air, tuck in your arms during the full rotation.
    • Land on the opposite foot in the checkout position with your arms and trailing leg extended.

    How to master the flip

    It helps to practice the leg movements holding onto the rink walls.

    Make sure you have the front and back legs in the right position, and practice gliding that standing leg around and flicking it up, using the toe-pick to help you off the ice.

    You can also try the flip, landing on two feet before you move on to one foot.

    The Lutz

    Austrian figure skater Alois Lutz first performed the Lutz in a competition in 1913.

    This jump is a toe pick-assisted jump similar to the flip, which we will get to later. It uses the outside edge from a backward position, landing on the outside edge of the opposite foot.

    The Lutz is considered the second most difficult jump to perform, requiring constant practice.

    As you master the single Lutz, you can add rotations which will increase the score in the competition.

    American Brandon Mroz performed the first recorded quadruple Lutz in 2011.

    How do you do the Lutz?

    It’s crucial that you master taking off and landing on the correct edge.

    While the untrained eye cannot tell the difference, in competition, it will be considered an edge change, or you may be heavily penalized.

    You’ll need to build some momentum heading backward with your hands spread wide with palms facing inside.

    Some skaters use crossovers, but a glide may work as well.

    Now it’s time for the jump:

    • To get into position, drop your hands, then switch to form a ‘T’ with the body. The left arm should be in front of you with the right hand behind you.
    • Tuck your right leg behind you with the toe pick into the ice, knee slightly bent while looking over your shoulder.
    • Lean the left skate to the outside edge. Do so by keeping a strong core and an upright, tall posture. Try to avoid leaning too far forward or backward. Lean slightly to the outside edge
    • Now stretch the right leg back to form a cross with the left leg. Tap that right toe pick to give the body leverage, then take off from the outside edge of the left leg while rotating the upper half of the body.
    • The upper body and arms play a crucial role in the jump. Lifting the upper torso and head in an upward diagonal position provides more energy and control. The left arm is quickly tucked into the chest while the right arm is thrust forward and into the body to generate the rotation.
    • When you make the rotation, you land and ‘checkout’ on the outside edge of the right foot.

    Mastering the jump

    Note that some skaters prefer to do this jump from their dominant left foot.

    The instructions are the same, but the legs and positioning are reversed.

    The goal is to master achieving a proper outside edge first.

    Elite coaches will spend time practicing the outside edge before learning the Lutz.

    Additionally, extend your leg as far back as possible before tapping the toe to prevent dispersing the energy into the ice.

    The Axel

    The Axel jump is arguably the most popular jump because of its high level of difficulty.

    This jump dates as far back as 1882, when first performed by figure skater Axel Paulsen.

    It’s also the most noticeable jump as it uses a forward takeoff - the only jump to do so.

    A quadruple axel was avoided in competition until recently achieved by 17-year-old Ilia Manilin.

    Mastering the axel and adding multiple rotations unlocks the peak of a skater’s powers.

    learn the axel jump

    How do you do an axel?

    You’ll need to jump forward and rotate about 1 ½ times (between the ground and air), which can be scary for some.

    As a requirement, you should already have a grasp of the other five jumps mentioned here.

    The axel is an edge jump, so you must have your forward outside and back outside edge mastered.

    Here are some of the steps for your axel:

    • If you’re taking off clockwise, the axel starts from the left outside edge and lands on the right outside edge and a backward position. Do the opposite for a counterclockwise jump.
    • Build your momentum by skating forward to get into position. Approach the jump with your right outside edge. Bend your knee and extend your trailing leg back as far as possible.
    • Extend your arms as far back as possible, then swing the trailing leg, arms and shoulders forward as you explode off the skating leg.
    • In the air, quickly draw in your arms, almost like wings, cross the legs and rotate 1 ½ times in the air.
    • Land in a backward position on the opposite foot, using the outside edge.
    • Perform a check out extending the arms and the opposite leg. It can take some time to stick your landing but keep trying until you can do it. Over time, you’ll be able to generate more power so you can perform a double or triple axel.

    Mastering your jump

    What makes the axle so difficult is that it requires an equal amount of speed uncontrol.

    Too much speed leads to falls, and insufficient speed means you will not complete your rotation.

    Combining the Waltz and loop jumps can help you get accustomed to mechanics.

    Most coaches recommend learning the steps from a standstill position first before adding speed.

    You’ll need to work on the Waltz/loop combo, your outside edge work, and your back scratch spin, as each of these moves plays a role in the final result.

    Mastering the axel also requires a strong mindset.

    You have to believe you can land it, as you’ll have lots of falls and failures.

    Why do you need to master these figure skating jumps?

    If you’re figure skating for fun, jumps are not a requirement.

    However, mastering at least one jump increases your skill level.

    It’s through trying, failing, learning, and finally succeeding that you also build strength, resilience, and confidence.

    If being a competitive or professional figure skater is your goal, mastering these jumps is non-negotiable.

    Figure skating is a fierce, competitive sport, with new skaters pushing the boundaries every year so mastering these jumps is essential.

    You can then add doubles and triples to your jumps to create a solid routine and get an edge on the competition.

    improvement

    How can you improve your jumps?

    Learning your jumps is just the start.

    The feeling you get when you land one for the first time is indescribable, yet that’s just the beginning.

    The hard part is to constantly improve your technique, which can take years.

    You can do a few things to narrow the gap and improve your jumps in a shorter window.

    1. Don’t forget those arms.

    It’s common to think that all you need to pull off jumps are powerful legs.

    However, mastering figure skating jumps requires your entire body, and the arms are no exception.

    Spreading your arms wide and making tucking them in at the right moment helps you to turn in the right direction and generate more energy.

    It’s not uncommon for skaters to use resistance bands to strengthen their arms, which helps execute double and triple jumps in the future.

    1. Practice your posture and rotations (on and off the ice)

    Figure skating jumps can be broken down into multiple stages.

    Nailing your jumps requires you to adopt the right position at every stage.

    Spend time practicing just one part of the jump, both on and off the ice.

    This includes upper body positioning, knee and leg position inside and outside edges, and arms.

    Record yourself at home using your smartphone so you can break down the film with your coach.

    Recording yourself also helps you identify and correct mistakes.

    There are also tools you can use, like slide boards, spinners, and balance bills which can help you master your posture without applying pressure or force to your joints.

    1. Try these off-ice exercises

    Strength and conditioning take your jumps to the next level.

    This is why figure skaters have a detailed exercise program off the ice.

    Even if you don’t have a strength coach, here are some helpful off-ice exercises:

    • Plyometric jumping exercises will be your best friend. Depth jumps, broad jumps, and box jumps lengthen the muscles and help you generate more power by training you to press through your ankles and feet when taking off for a jump.
    • Weighted squats, calf raises, leg raises, and leg lifts build muscle, helping you get airborne while protecting your ligaments and bones when landing.
    • Don’t skip your rope work. Jump rope is excellent for figure skating as it improves stamina, jump height and power. Furthermore, incorporating moves like double-unders can significantly enhance your double moves like Double Axels.
    • Stretching, especially before and after exercise, helps improve your flexibility and reduces the chances of injury. Stretching also helps you with nailing your technique. Invest in training or equipment to help you

    figure skating on synthetic ice

    1. Consider at-home synthetic ice

    Sometimes you need to practice your figure skating jumps on ice, but you can’t get to a practice rink.

    In that case, you can try a synthetic ice rink.

    PolyGlide Ice is made of a special infused polyethylene you can skate on with your metal blades.

    Each panel can connect like puzzle pieces, making the rink scalable and, in some cases, portable.

    Here are a few to choose from:

    With synthetic ice, you can create your own mini-rink in your backyard, driveway, garage, or spare room.

    You can then spend time practicing specific jumps or turns in the off-season, making you much more prepared for the real ice.

    1. Practice, practice, practice (followed by rest)

    Jumps are difficult to master as they often go against what your body naturally wants to do.

    Therefore, only through practice can you achieve mastery.

    There should be time scheduled to practice your jumps, especially if you’re doing combinations or advanced jumps with multiple rotations.

    While practice is key, rest is equally important.

    Proper rest helps you avoid injury and takes the stress off of nailing every jump.

    Conclusion

    Learning jumps is an exciting part of figure skating that allows you to compete at a high level.

    You can create combinations or add rotations once you master the basics in a single jump.

    Becoming a pro almost feels like a full-time job and you’ll need time with coaches to correct your mechanics as you continue to train.

    You'll need to allocate some time to work on the routines and get in some off-ice conditioning exercises as well.

    As an up-and-coming competitive skater, the six jumps mentioned above are your priority.

    Try your best to learn them in order of difficulty, and you'll start to notice one builds on the other.

    Above all, be patient, yet have fun!

    Never lose that joy!

    As we all know..... ice skating is an exhilarating experience.

    In due time, you’ll take flight, mastering the figure skating jumps and becoming the competitive skater you’ve always dreamed of becoming!

     So keep on Skating! .....(and Jumping!! ;-)

     

     

    Learn to Play Hockey Like A Pro without Ice (2023)

    Learn to Play Hockey Like A Pro without Ice (2023)

    If you watch the NHL on TV or in person, you know how tactical, competitive, and exhilarating ice hockey can be. 

    From time to time, you may have thought to learn to play hockey yourself.

    Perhaps you have children who have expressed an interest in playing the sport, or you want to introduce them to a childhood pastime of yours.

    Whatever the reason, learning ice hockey is an exciting challenge. 

    For many present or future ice hockey enthusiasts, there is the problem of finding rink rinks to practice.  

    Some rinks take hours to get to, or in some cases, a rink may now be closed due to the pandemic.

    Yes, you need ice to compete and enjoy ice hockey. 

    But do you need it to learn the sport?

    Yes and no.

    To become a pro or even someone with high competence, you’ll need to spend your fair share of time competing on the ice.

    However, if you want to learn the basics, you can do so without a natural ice rink. 

    Let’s break down the steps you can take to get ice hockey ready and compete with friends or like-minded players quickly. 

    pond hockey

    Is it difficult to learn?

    Ice hockey is hard to learn and harder to master.

    On this ESPN list of difficult sports skills, hockey is only #2 to boxing.

    That’s fair.

    The guts it takes to step in a square and get your bell rung borders on insanity. 

    The skills, dexterity, and tenacity you build as a hockey player are unmatched. 

    No wonder it's #2.

    Hockey requires you to stay upright on hard skates while holding an extension of your limb to chase and shoot a small puck.

    All while trying not to get bodychecked in the process. 

    The game has become safer, but there’s still a high level of skill, tactics, and luck involved.

    It can take hundreds, even thousands of hours, to fully become a pro.

    However, with consistent effort, the sport becomes easier to understand, and you learn to play hockey in short order.

    old hockey player

    Are you too young/old to learn ice hockey?

    Age is just a number for many things. For instance, you can learn to play golf (way down at 52 on the list BTW) or bowling at just about any reasonable age.

    Kids commonly get introduced to the sport around 5 or 6 years old.

    However, as kids are evolving, they need to work on playing safely and efficiently. 

    Adults can pick up the sport at any time as long as they are a clean bill of health. 

    We won’t recommend 60 and over due to the physicality of the sport and the potential of triggering underlying issues like rheumatoid arthritis, hip replacement, and osteoporosis.

    If you or your kids are interested and you are physically healthy, why not go for it?

    8 Steps to learn to play hockey (like a pro) without ice

    If you have no ice, where should you start?

    You can still learn to play by improvising on exercises that do not require ice.

    Once you focus on the fundamentals and practices, you can become exceptional at hockey in a short time. 

    These are 8 steps you should take to learn to play with the pros without the need to go to the ice every day. 

    1. Earmark time to learn and play hockey

     Learning ice hockey is all about practice and consistency.

    If you’re learning without ice, you’re at a slight disadvantage from those learning at the rink. 

    They’ll get more experience skating, shooting, and drills on ice and in similar conditions to an actual game. 

    It’s essential, however, to get clear on when you’ll be practicing and what you’ll be practicing. 

    We recommend at least 4-6 hours a week or about 45 minutes to 1.5-hour sessions a few times each week.

    Building the habit is what will make the process and progress enjoyable. 

    If you have kids, you’ll want to schedule time for a coach or to do drills at home.

    Once they know that hockey happens on the weekends, for instance, they’ll be more interested and excited. 

    hockey coach

    1. Learn the rules of hockey

    Your next step is to understand the basics of the game. 

    The goal of ice hockey is to outscore your opponent before time expires (three 20-minute time frames and overtime, if necessary).

    There are 6 players on each side; Your goalie, defensemen, wings, and center. 

    You need to know several rules and jargon about where the puck can be, where players can be, and other nuances of the game.

    You can use YouTube channels to get you up to date with hockey rules. 

    Watch these videos for at least 10 sessions to fully understand the rules by heart. 

    Here are some suggestions:

    THE RULES OF ICE HOCKEY

      

     

    BASIC HOCKEY POSITIONING

     

    1. Gather your materials

    While you’re learning the basics and strategies on YouTube University, it’s time to get the items you’ll need to turn that practice into action.

    We’ll break this down into ‘off-ice' and ‘on-ice' equipment:

    hockey gear

    Off-ice equipment

    • Ice hockey stick (Size will determine by your height in skates and your future position). For now, look for a stick that’s 1-2 inches below or above the chin. Shorter sticks may be better for stick handling.
    • Hockey pucks (aka biscuits)
    • A pro goal and net. These are inexpensive on Amazon.
    • Hockey gloves
    • Shooting pad - These are small pads made of High-Density Polyethylene. The pads come infused with a slip agent to give you a feel like the actual ice. 

    On-ice equipment

    • Ice skates – Buying ice skates is an integral part of hockey. The skater must feel confident and comfortable in the boot. Read this guide to choose your skates, as these should be hockey skates, not recreational or figure skates.
    • Helmet
    • Pads – You'll need shin, shoulder, elbow, and eventually neck pads
    • Mouth guard – Prevent bad jibs from collisions and falls
    • Clothing - shorts and hockey t-shirt

    The off-ice equipment is enough to get started without ice. When your confidence and skills grow, you’ll want to have your on-ice equipment ready to go. 

    1. Get comfortable skating (without the stick)

    The best hockey players are the best ice skaters.

    If you can’t ice skate, you’ll need to spend the beginning of your journey getting up to speed.

    It would help to visit an ice rink weekly to learn how to skate. 

    There are also some ways you can learn how to ice skate without ice, like slide boards, so mix up on-ice with off-ice practice. 

    Your goal is to build balance, strength, and control with your skates. 

    If you don’t have access to ice skates or an ice rink, inline skates can help develop the fundamentals of ice skating. 

    1. Practice stick handling skills and shooting

    Between your skating practice and handling your stick is the next important step.

    Your hockey stick becomes an extension of your arms.

    An important part of learning hockey is using the stick to control the puck, 

    Set up cones and other obstacles to help you navigate the right spaces.

    The more you practice, the easier it gets. 

    Place the shooting pad near the goal pad and jump into handling the puck and shooting. 

    Here are some off-ice shooting and stick-handling drills

    15 HOCKEY SHOOTING DRILLS (PERFECT FOR AT HOME) 🏒

    How Connor McDavid Trains - Stickhandling Drills

    slide board squat

    1. Work on your strength and endurance

    Ice hockey is an intense game that requires intelligence but also strength and endurance.

    As part of learning, you’ll want to improve your body and skills. 

    Earmark some time to work on exercises like shuttles, squats, lunges, and burpees. 

    Spending time on an exercise bike, treadmill, or jogging improves your cardiovascular capacity, allowing you to skate faster for longer

    You don’t want to be gassed 10 minutes into a game!

    1. Find “pick up” games or join a club

    So you’ve spent some time on your shooting pad working on your stick skills.

    And you’ve spent time skating with your inline skates.

    Now it’s time to take things up a notch.

    Look for pickup games or a hockey club near you to test your skills.

    If you or your kid have been learning to skate and practicing your drills, everything will come together.  

    These games will provide a lot of information on your strengths and weaknesses and your preferred position. 

    You’ll also build community and get a gauge for if ice hockey is something you’d like to pursue long-term.

    1. Invest in a home synthetic ice rink

    After a few months of practice, if you want to continue on your trajectory, you’ll need a space to practice consistently.

    It’s an excellent time to think about creating an at-home ice rink.

    There are options around the winter.

    However, a synthetic ice rink is the easiest, most cost-effective way to set up a rink at home.

    Synthetic ice rinks are tiles or panels made of the same materials as the shooting pad.

    The ultra-dense, infused polyethylene material allows you to use your ice skates as you would on natural ice.

    These connect like puzzle pieces to cover a particular square foot, depending on how many you get.

    Measure a flat surface area, get the panels, and rink walls, install them, and keep practicing!

    Invite friends and neighbors for some friendly competition so you or your child can remain sharp. 

    Keep learning and investing in both off-ice and on-ice training. Hiring a coach or joining a club should be the next step.

    Conclusion

    Ice hockey is a difficult sport to learn, but it’s lots of fun.

    You can learn to play hockey without large ice rinks.

    Start with getting the basics right off the ice. 

    Then build strength and endurance while improving your skills on synthetic ice or shooting pads.

    When you’re ready, join pick-up games or start competing.

    Kids can also join leagues at their respective levels, fast-tracking their time to becoming pro.

    We’ve been a part of ice skating and hockey for years, and we always remember to enjoy the process and have fun.

    You should too!

     

     

    Best Ice Skating Gift You Can By for 2023

    Best Ice Skating Gift You Can By for 2023

    If you're looking for the ultimate gift for someone in your life who loves ice skating and haves everything, we have just the thing for you.

    It's been a crazy few years and what way to better celebrate the holidays than with something that will put a smile on that special someones face.

    If you know what to get someone, gift-giving is a breeze but when you have someone a bit picky, finding the perfect gift can be a bit of a hassle.

    Luckily, if you have an ice skater in your life, we have the perfect gift in mind.

    Millions around the country enjoy ice skating each year but getting access to ice time is not always the easiest, which doesn't make it a very spontaneous activity.

    So why not give them the gift of ice skating with PolyGlide Synthetic Ice?

    The Perfect Ice Skating Gift

    For the ice skater in your life, nothing feels better than gliding across the ice. That’s why we created PolyGlide Ice.

    Our proprietary product allows you to create your own ice rink by using specially designed panels.

    The panels connect like puzzle pieces and lay on a flat surface to skate with your actual metal blades.

    The tiles are self-lubricating, meaning they can perform without any enhancers. 

    Benefits of PolyGlide Synthetic Ice Panels:

    Ice skaters may be taken aback if they get these panels in a bow.

    But when they set it up and start skating, they will be pleasantly surprised at how fun skating on these tiles feel! Most customers and clients compare it to skating on natural ice.

    While there is a little friction compared to natural ice, our panels actually improve performance with continued use.

    There are even more benefits to gifting synthetic ice tiles:

    • Ice skating all year round: Hot or cold, your panels will be available in the space of your choice. Your friend or loved one will cherish a Christmas gift that lasts all through the year. 
    • It prepares you for the real ice: Ice skating and its activities like hockey or figure skating takes practice. With your personal space to skate, you’ll be that much more prepared when it’s time to hit natural ice.
    • Set up almost anywhere at home: Set up in a spare room, driveway, backyard, or deck. Since the pieces come together like a puzzle, you can install them almost anywhere. You can even follow Coach Michelle Hong and set up in your kitchen!
    • Low maintenance: After skating, the synthetic panels will produce shavings, which can be easily cleaned. You only need a few minutes to clean your synthetic ice with a damp cloth. This also makes it cost-effective when compared to setting up an actual rink in your backyard or home.
    • Durability: PolyGlide Ice panels last for at least ten years. That’s the gift that keeps on giving!

    These reasons make PolyGlide Ice panels an excellent gift this season.

    That’s not all.

    Whether your lucky recipient is a seasoned skater or new to the practice, there are some added benefits they will enjoy.

    Benefits Of Ice Skating

    With more than 10 million ice skating participants in the country, it’s a practice that’s showing no signs of slowing.

    Besides the fun and joy from skating, there are six great benefits to gain:

     1. A great way to stay active

    Jogging, walking, or biking can get boring after a while. Ice skating is a great way to get your heart pumping while pulling off some great moves.

    Whether you’re playing hockey or figure skating, it’s a great way to stay active. 

    2. Get the kids involved in a new sport.

    Why not gift the kids synthetic ice panels for Christmas?

    They can pick up an exciting new sport! Hockey and figure skating have great programs for all levels.

    They can get started at home (and safely during the pandemic) and take it up as a hobby or competitively with time.

    Even if kids got started with skating before, they could resume training in the comfort of home.

    3. Improve your balance

    Ice skating is a great way to get fast and light on your feet.

    You can improve your balance with practice on the ice or synthetic panels.

    That improved balance can translate into other sports or active parts of your life.

    4. Build leg muscles, cardio, and endurance.

    Ice skating does not only take balance but strength. It’s a great way to work out those legs and strengthen your calves and hamstrings.

    You can also build your endurance and improve your cardiovascular health with extended, active periods of skating.

     5. Relieve your stress and show your creativity.

    After a long day at work, we love to put on our skates and be free on the ice. With synthetic ice panels in the home, anyone can do it at any time.

    Ice skating is a great way to relieve stress and be creative as you perform moves at any skill level.

     6. Be part of a community.

    Best of all, getting the gift of ice panels introduces that person to the skating community.

    There is an ice skating community in every state.

    You can join a sport or recreational program and learn from the best with coaching.

    PolyGlide Ice Gift Recommendations

    Convinced that getting synthetic ice is a great Holiday gift?

    Then you can try one of our premium products.

    For instance, we created our Spin Station specifically for figure skating.

    The panels have a triangular design, which gives the user flexibility in setup while having a large surface area for spirals, crossovers, hops, and lunges.

    It’s self-lubricating, useable on both sides, and has no weight limit.

    We’ve even tested hockey on our Spin Station with great results!

    Our Home Start-Up Kit also works great for ice skating or hockey.

    With four panels in each kit, you can have a great space to practice simple drills.

    The panels are durable, non-infused (meaning no spraying or slip lubrication required), and are UV protected for the outdoors.

    The startup rink can also set up and break down in a few minutes.

    So if your loved one is pressed for space, they can easily convert the living area or garage for some fun. 

    Ice Skating Stocking Stuffers

    If Santa’s coming early, he’d want to add some items to make the gift of ice skating even better.

    These gifts are practical for the avid skater and will last for years. 

    1. Get Some Skates

    Of course, what’s skating on synthetic ice panels without skates! Your friend or loved one may have their own pair.

    Or they may have their eyes on a new set.

    Pick up a pair of Jackson, Riddell, or Botas.

    Buying figure skates is as much an art as it is a science.

    You have to consider comfort, stiffness, and skating level.

    Buying the wrong skates can damage feet and create a poor experience.

    Find out as much as you can about their fit and preference (without letting the cat out of the bag).

    And keep the receipt!

     2. Some fresh blades

    Your loved one may already have some skates that they cherish so that you can get them some blades instead.

    Like a kitchen knife, blades can eventually go dull, which no amount of sharpening can restore.

    Having a backup pair won’t hurt, so feel free to make them a great stocking stuffer.

     3. Tape for your synthetic panels

    It may sound weird to buy some tape, but it’s quite practical.

    Synthetic panels tend to slip or vibrate on slightly uneven surfaces.

    Some super-adhesive, double-sided tape can keep the panels secure.

    Our double-sided seam tape does just the trick, holding your rink in place on hardwood floors, concrete, or plastic. 

     4. Skate Guards and Soakers

    Walking on surfaces that aren’t made of ice is a death sentence for your blades.

    Unlike a local ice rink, you have the option of lacing up right next to your synthetic ice panels.

    But that does not mean they should not be protected—a pair of skate guards to keep blades from nicks and scratches.

    Soakers are also a great ice skating gift. These cover the blades and removes excess moisture after drying the skates.

    While they may not be necessary for home, they will come in handy when your loved one finally decides to head back to the local rink again.

    5. Figure Skating Training

    Here’s one that’s a little left field. How about getting some training lessons?

    There are coaches and trainers that have beginner to advanced classes.

    And with Covid-19 protocols affecting coaches, many have taken to online training, making the best more accessible. 

    Conclusion

    From Thanksgiving, all the way to the New Year, give the gift of ice skating!

    Our synthetic ice panels are ideal for skating at home and will last for years.

    You can even add some of our stocking stuffer recommendations.

    If you’re unsure of the type and size of panels, reach out to us for guidance based on your needs. 

    The Best Synthetic Ice for Training at Home

    The Best Synthetic Ice for Training at Home
    You can still practice basic to complex hockey drills, even with the current pandemic. With synthetic ice panels, you can get an amazing skating experience and come out better than ever. Here are some trips and drills for synthetic ice for hockey at home.

    Read more

    Best Winterfest Ice Rink for Your Holiday Event (2023)

    Best Winterfest Ice Rink for Your Holiday Event (2023)

    Winter brings cold temperatures and lots of snow. 

    But it also brings the Holidays, hot chocolate, and winter events, like Winterfest.

    If you've never been to Winterfest, you're missing out on days of fun ice and winter activities. 

    And if you're a part of a Winterfest committee, you know that ice skating is a must-have attraction.

    Planning and installing a rink that accommodates hundreds, if not thousands, of people is no small task. 

    It's all about choosing the best Winterfest ice rink for 2022 participants.

    So what rink will work best for a successful event?

    winterfest ice rink

    What is a Winterfest?

    Winterfest is a multi-day festival held in different cities across North America.

    Winter festivals aren't new.

    Some of the first events were held in Minnesota in 1886 and in places like Montreal, Canada.

    Despite the state's prosperity, people were still turned off by its harsh winters.

    The Saint Paul festival was an ingenious way to have fun events while marketing the state's beauty.

    Ice castles, sculptures, sledding, and ice skating evolved into one of the more popular events of that time.

    Soon, other states started winter events, eventually becoming 'Winterfests.' 

    Today, almost all Winterfests are held by Communities, Carnivals, and County Fairs.

    It's a way for them to stay open throughout the year, transforming the space into a Winter Wonderland that creates a lot of foot traffic.

    Some Winterfests run for select days during the entire season.

    Others are a few full days of fun. 

    Most focus on Holiday themes with competitions that combine ice with the things unique to that county, town, or state.

    Winterfest attracts thousands of visitors to many small towns and is a huge revenue source. 

    Some of the popular Winterfest programs include Oregon's Winterfest,

    Winterfest at Canada's Wonderland, Cedar Fair Amusement Parks, Winterfest in Pennsylvania, and much more.

    Now, you can find some form of Winterfest in almost every state and province in Canada and the US.

    curling rink

    What should you expect at a Winterfest?

    It's everything you love about the Holidays and winter all in one space. 

    • Fantastic music and live entertainment
    • Great food (Gingerbread, eggnog, and Christmas-themed funnel cakes, anyone?)
    • Holiday-themed games and attractions
    • Tree-lighting ceremonies
    • Competitions based on local traditions
    • Carnival rides (if weather permits)
    • Sledding, tobogganing, curling, and of course, ice skating

    Vendors, businesspeople, and other stakeholders set up shops and booths, all coordinated and managed by the owners of the county fair, amusement park, or community. 

    commercial ice rink

    The Best Winterfest Ice Rinks For 2022

    An ice skating rink in Winterfest is non-negotiable.

    It's often a centerpiece of the event, surrounded by tall, beautiful pine trees, lights, and holiday decorations.

    Ice rinks are in high demand during Winterfests, so skaters must book time in advance.

    They pay a cover charge for a short time on the rink (about 30 minutes) and extra for skate rentals.

    Hundreds of people may visit the rink each day during some Winterfests, with some staying for hours.

    Ice rinks should be large enough to accommodate multiple skaters at the same time.

    If you're in charge of setting up a rink for Winterfest, the type of rink is a vital step in the process. 

    Here are some of the surfaces you should consider.

    These are the best Winterfest ice rink surfaces for 2022:

    Natural ice rinks

    The original ice rinks in cold climates came from a body of frozen water thanks to the surrounding ambient temperature.

    The water remains frozen, and we can have our ice-skating fun on the surface.

    Today, this process can be duplicated in an outdoor space. 

    First, you'll need to prepare a flat surface to accommodate the liner.

    Once the liner and rink walls are set, you will need water – sometimes well over 5,000 gallons – to fill the space a couple of inches high.

    The cold weather that's common during Winterfest freezes the water, creating an ice rink.

    You will need to resurface the rink periodically to clear shavings and buildup from snow and rain. 

    refrigerated ice rink

    Refrigerated ice rinks

    Refrigerated ice rinks use water and a refrigeration process to keep water frozen in almost any climate.

    Refrigerated ice can be set up indoors and outdoors and can withstand most temperatures. 

    The rinks start with a flat surface made of concrete or compact sand.

    Pipes are placed on the surface, and a coolant or brine water flows through constantly being pumped through a large chiller.

    This keeps the base at a set temperature, freezing any water applied to the surface. 

    From there, you apply layers of water – sometimes over 10,000 gallons – to create the frozen surface.

    Refrigerated ice rinks use machines for the coolant and to keep the rink frozen at a consistent temperature. 

    Synthetic ice rinks

    If you're looking for a water-free way to ice skate, synthetic ice may be the answer.

    This option is growing in popularity, with more synthetic ice rinks popping up around the country. 

    Synthetic ice is made of polyethylene, a strong plastic designed for using metal blades for skating. 

    Each piece is called a tile or panel, cut at a specific square foot based on its size and weight. 

    Multiple pieces are connected like puzzle pieces to form a large, skateable surface.

    Synthetic ice is appealing because of its ease of installation, durability, cost, and use in any space or climate. 

    Some synthetic ice is infused with a unique slip agent to help with skating.

    Others need the agents to be sprayed and reapplied periodically.

    Both tend to have slightly more friction than natural and artificial ice.

    However, most skaters are recreational and just love the experience of skating on an artificial surface if they never tried it before.

    Synthetic ice rinks can come in multiple colors and shapes, making rink builders more creative.

    It's important for buyers to do their research prior to purchasing an artificial ice rink as some surfaces may not stand up to the skating traffic at Winterfest.

    Curling Rinks

    Synthetic ice curling rinks are the ideal interactive Winterfest attraction for people of all ages that like a little competitive fun.

    It provides a lower entry cost with regard to the overall budget and has been growing in popularity over the last few years.

    Winterfest planners can schedule league games if the event is planned for multiple weeks or months throughout the Holiday season.

    It's also a great add-on to attraction to event planners that are looking to add some new fun and excitement to their annual Winterfest activities.

    things to consider

    Which rink should you choose?

    You must consider location, budget, weather, and traffic for rink setup. 

    Some towns or states have perfect weather for natural ice rinks.

    They have a tradition of freezing a particular space, so natural ice rinks are the best bet. 

    Larger spaces that cannot depend on the weather have the option of refrigerated and synthetic ice.

    Refrigerated ice requires the set up of the location and several thousand gallons of water and along with the additional electrical cost of running the chillers.

    There are refrigerated ice rink rental companies that will help with setup. 

    Synthetic ice is cheaper, so the committee can focus on decorating and designing.

    Like refrigerated ice, you can rent or purchase these rinks, reducing the space's cost. 

    Synthetic ice rinks are trending more and more as an option for Holiday Events for both its affordability and for providing a green energy solution for ice skating

    value for money

    Here's how to maximize your investment

    Rinks aren't just at your local Winterfest for guests to enjoy.

    They are also opportunities to generate income for the organizers of the event.

    Thousands of people look forward to ice rinks, but there are still ways to maximize your investment.

    Here are some examples:

    • Set a day pass or season pass for your rink. Some groups want to skate at any time without the hassle of booking and paying every time.
    • Guests can bring their skates, but most have not been maintained for years. Charge for skate sharpening services.
    • Have a volunteer who can teach kids a 30-minute skating crash course. Charge for the service.
    • An ice show can bring extra income through merchandising.

    With an ice rink, the possibilities are endless. 

    Set up your next Winterfest ice rink

    Preparing for Winterfest can be stressful yet challenging.

    Adding an ice rink is one of the most significant projects but one of the most rewarding.

    The type of ice rink matters as it affects cost, performance, and durability.

    While natural ice rinks may be effective in some spaces, others that can't depend on weather will benefit from synthetic ice.

    Do you need help planning and building your rink?

    Are you thinking about a long-term rink rental?

    Or maybe it's time to invest in your rink to use year-round.

    If you are interested in a quick quote to get an overall idea of what a synthetic ice rink surface may cost to invest in for your event simply >CLICK HERE<

    Give us a call here at PolyGlide ice to make the next Winterfest one to remember.