Author Topic: Another hockey beginner  (Read 5398 times)

Leif

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Another hockey beginner
« on: March 30, 2017, 11:31:12 PM »
Encouraged by Swindon's Andy, I went along to the local beginners hockey session last Thursday. I borrowed (smelly) gloves, helmet and stick. It took ages to find a helmet big enough, make of that what you will. Anyway, it was great fun. We did some shooting practices, followed by scrimmage, which I think means mini games. So I bought the full kit, only low end stuff, and this evening had a second session kitted out. Call me Sir Lunchalot, now all I need is a horse and jousting pole. It was fun, I was useless, but they are tolerant and the coach was encouraging. And the people are really friendly too. We did some messing around, practising stick handling, then lots of mini games. I got knocked down many times, but felt nowt thanks to the suit of armour.

Not sure if I want a left or right handed stick.  :o I have a righty, but I will buy a lefty and try that next session.

It isn't half difficult, you need very good skating skills, and having to use the stick makes it so much more difficult. I didn't embarass myself, but I need to work on my skating. Unlike solo skating, you have to cope with so much unpredictable behaviour and think on your feet. I noticed some skaters were far more proficient, and could outplay most others with ease.

Anyway, the only way is up!

Andy: If you attend the Basingstoke session, let me know. I'm probably the oldest participant at 53, with a lean build, and grey hair, easy to spot.  :)

AndyinSwindon

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2017, 02:00:40 AM »
Hey Leif, glad you have taken the plunge!  I don't think I've ever inspired anyone before!

That hockey glove smell.....there's nothing quite like it is there!  I've just ordered a drying rack and bought some Febreze for mine and my sons gear.

I haven't played for a couple of weeks, having been on nights, and so have spent the lunchtime skate sessions working on my general skating skills (I can now do a rather cautious crossover, going anti-clockwise, but the hockey stops still elude me).  I also have had to take it easy due to an ankle injury from the scrimmage game (as you say, it's basically hockey with no goalies), but that is definitely on the mend now.

It's well worth getting the gear, as you have done.  I sometimes wear mine to the lunchtime skates as it gets me used to skating in it all, and gives me a little more confidence when trying new things.  The only things they don't permit on public sessions are hockey gloves and body armour (as in the chest protector).  With regards to sticks, I will add my experience in the next paragraph, but it's worth experimenting with different tape windings (I go heel to toe, with the toe also fully covered), and I also use wax, which despite some peoples opinions, I have found to help a great deal.  I also find skating without a stick to be quite odd when you're used to it - it almost acts in the same way as a tail does to an animal, an extra bit of balance and support.

The first time I played, I used a right hand stick, assuming that it'd be correct, as I am right handed.  Big mistake.  I was all over the place (even more so than usual).  Eventually one of the other players cottoned on as to why I was struggling exceptionally badly, and let me try his lefty stick - massive and positive difference instantly.  There are two schools of thought.  Some say to use your dominant hand to control the stick (which is done from the top of the stick), and some prefer to use the power of the dominant hand in the shot, so placing the dominant hand in the mid-stick position.  I approach it with how I would use a broom, right hand to drive, left hand to add a little power.  Apparently, a lot of Canadians, when right handed, use left sticks and vice-versa, whereas a lot of Americans go the other way around, and this is apparently because in the USA, baseball is the first sport generally learned, and so it follows that they hold their stick with the dominance that they would use on a baseball bat, whereas a lot of Canadians learn ice hockey first.

As you have said, there are some on the LTP's that skate circles around the rest of us, but again, I have found that a combination of ice hockey LTP sessions and NISA LTS lessons (now on level 4), really helps.

I was chatting to one of my LTP buddies the other day, and there were a couple of things he mentioned that felt pretty good.  He said he could remember how bad I was on my first session, back in January, and how far I have come since then.  I am now able to skate with much more confidence and stability, and fall over a lot less.  I still need to learn hockey stops, backwards crossovers etc, but it will all come in time.  I have given myself a target of a year to get good enough to join a rec team (which I have found out, costs about 55 a month to play for).

He also said, on that point, that he had attended some rec team training sessions, and was surprised by the level of ability of some of the skaters.  Apparently, there are several on the teams that are not much more advanced than I am, so it seems it's not as inaccessable as we may feel.

I probably wouldn't get to the LTP session in Basingstoke, as I attend Swindon, but am very tempted at some point in the future to try the stick and puck sessions in Basingstoke on, I believe, the Monday mornings at some point.

Would be good to meet up for a skate sometime, from your other posts, I think you are somewhat more advanced than I am at present, but I am finding that I am learning more and more each day. It's good to find a hobby in which you do actually see such a tangible improvement, and receive positive comments to that effect.

Finally, I have bought myself and my son a small practice net and shooting pad today, as we often disappear into the garden for a bit of a knock around, and wooden decking is not a great surface to take shots from.  Well worth considering for some stick handling practice.

Again, welcome to the hockey family :-) From the short, podgy 45yo with greying hair!
Started skating 07.01.17
Currently working through NISA LTS Levels.
Currently wobbling through hockey LTP sessions.

Leif

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2017, 01:34:38 PM »
Hello Andy

Thanks for the feedback. I forgot to mention that one of my issues was my glasses steaming up! I am getting contact lenses, for use only during ice hockey, 50p a pop, it's worth it. I'm buying a leftie stick today, and will give it a go.

It sounds like a great way for you to get to know your son better, and have fun too. Regarding Basingstoke, I am there every weekend, usually Saturday for a  few hours, sometimes sunday depending on whether or not I have chores to do e.g. spreading compost, sowing seeds, cutting lawn ... I am easy to spot, since I wear a black helmet, and elbow pads.

I am pleased with my progress. 9 months ago when I started skating again, the rink attendant had to show me the basic way to turn round i.e. a simple two foot rotation. He saw me jumping and was worried I would hurt myself. Now I can do crossovers, backwards and forwards, in both directions, forwards to backwards transitions, backwards hockey stops in both directions, and inside edge forward hockey stops in both directions, and I am nearly doing the forwards inside + outside edge hockey stop in one direction, but not the other. I still have huge amounts to learn though, and feel awkward in comparison to good skaters.

However, I do think I provide benfit for the more advanced players. When they practise technique, they either play a real game, or use orange cones. I am like an advanced orange cone, in that I move around but do not offer any threat, making for a more rewarding practise. I'm tempted to wear an orange jersey, and pointy orange cap.  :D

Something I found is that comments from others can help a lot. Last weekend a friend watched me do clockwise backwards crossovers, and noticed one foot was not doing the right moves. A short discussion later, and I tried again, this time with much improved technique. I am still not confident (clockwise is my hard direction), but it was better and with practise it will become good. And I have helped him learn the backwards snow plough and backwards one footed stops (feet forming an L shape). The weird thing is that he can do hockey stops and spread eagles, but not snow ploughs, go figure!

I am sure you will be up to scratch after a year, as long as you practise regularly. They do say that if you throw enough mud at a wall, some of it will stick.  :)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2017, 01:43:33 PM by Leif »

AndyinSwindon

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2017, 09:59:50 PM »
Hi Leif,

Are you wearing a cage or a visor?  It's unusual for a cage to allow glasses to steam up (it does happen to me from time to time, but nowhere near as I believe visors are prone to do).

Your comment on being an advanced cone had me in stitches, very vivid imagery! 

As you have said, a lot has been learnt from comments by fellow skaters, my crossovers and one footed snowploughs being a case in point.  I have found that with the frequency with which I visit the rink, I have made some good skate-buddies, and it very quickly develops a social aspect, which makes it much more pleasant and encouraging.

Going to need lots of mud thrown this way though!
Started skating 07.01.17
Currently working through NISA LTS Levels.
Currently wobbling through hockey LTP sessions.

Leif

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2017, 06:38:13 PM »
I wear a cage. My glasses are rimless and close to my eyes, which might be the issue. I find sweat drips onto the glasses as well as condensation. For a while at least I will be without glasses.

I was on the rink today, and frankly my skills need so much work to improve, hi ho, I guess that is the fun of ice skating, constantly learning, and improving. I wish I knew why I find backwards hockey stops so much easier than forwards ones.  :-\ That said, I can see improvements, so in a year or two, I imagine I will be much better.  :)

I was playing around with a leftie stick on the sitting room carpet - the neighbours must think I'm nuts - and I'm sure I'm a leftie. I think part of it is that when skating with no puck, it feels more natural to hold the stick with my right hand, and when controlling the puck, it is naturally to the left, out of the way of my dominant right foot. That said, I currently have the stick control of Mr. Bean. (But without the Mclaren F1 supercar and posh house in Oxfordshire.)

santa-maria

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2017, 09:55:03 PM »

However, I do think I provide benfit for the more advanced players. When they practise technique, they either play a real game, or use orange cones. I am like an advanced orange cone, in that I move around but do not offer any threat, making for a more rewarding practise. I'm tempted to wear an orange jersey, and pointy orange cap.  :D



That just made my day, in absolute stitches, same as Andy  ;D
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Leif

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 03:22:14 PM »
The third session was last night, and it was my second in full armour. This was the best as we did lots of drills, such as forming a circle and passing to each other, and dribbling in and out of cones. Then we had a sequence of very short scrimmages, a minute or two per go, with three pairs of teams, so a few minutes on ice, then off ice for two games, and then back on again. 

I used a lefty stick this time and like Andy, I'm definitely a lefty. Long live Jeremy Corbyn, for he is our saviour, or whatever the lefty chant is. Oddly most players seemed to be righties. I've spend quite a bit of time watching YouTube to learn the basics such as how to hold the stick.  :o Yes, that basic.

My skating is not so bad, without doubt there are many far better skaters, but equally I can hold my own against many, and it can only improve with practice.  :)

If anyone else is wondering whether to give ice hockey a try, I'd say go for it. It's brilliant.  :D

Oh, and I think I have glandular fever, the worst symptoms were 5 weeks ago. It is rather unpleasant. :( But I seem to be coping with ice skating okay. I don't have the long term fatique that some sufferers get, just extreme fatigue (and horrendous pain) in the first few weeks.

AndyinSwindon

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2017, 09:25:39 AM »
Hi Leif,

Glad you're enjoying the hockey - it's the most fun you can have with clothes on, in fact, so much so that we put even more clothes on!

My skating is coming along, still need to work on CW crossovers, and I have only just tried a short attempt at backwards crossovers, but I'm confident they'll come with time and practice.  I've only been skating for 3 whole months, and in that time have learned so much.

I'm now off of nights for a week or so, so hoping to get along to the Tuesday night session in Swindon.

Hope you shake the fever soon, it's funny how we manage to skate through our various injuries and ailments.  My ankle still hurts from my last incident in ice hockey 4 weeks ago, and am thinking maybe I should get an x-ray, but I don't want to hear 'give skating a rest for a month'!
Started skating 07.01.17
Currently working through NISA LTS Levels.
Currently wobbling through hockey LTP sessions.

Leif

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2017, 08:00:35 PM »
Session four was last night, lots of drills followed by scrimmages. The drills are very useful, but I think I need to slow down and focus on better stick control, which is poor. I put a lot more energy into the scrimmages and it paid off, I'm still pants, but the pants are a bit more stylish, and less M&S. Still, when climbing a mountain the place to start is the bottom. And it was really enjoyable, plus the people are really nice.  :)

Andy, nice comment about clothes, yes it is great fun, perhaps because it requires lots of hard work to develop skating skills, and the rewards are obvious. And I love going fast, then stopping suddenly, childish I know.  :D Backwards crossovers will, as you say, come with time. A few weeks ago I was struggling with clockwise backwards crossovers, I was unstable and slow, now I am much more confident and in control, albeit nothing like as good as when doing anti clockwise backwards crossovers. But the difference is huge. And with time and effort they will come. The main problem is getting clear ice. I was told off at Guildford for going the wrong way.  :-\

Carrie

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2017, 09:24:18 AM »
[size=0px]About skating clockwise at Guildford.  In term time, if you could go to the Monday afternoon session, which starts at 1.45 pm, after an hour the direction of skating is changed to clockwise.  I noticed this a few weeks ago when I stayed on for coffee and suddenly noticed everyone was going the "wrong" way.  I hadn't stayed until that late for a long time but did recall the change of direction being introduced some years back.[/size]
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[size=0px]I do skate clockwise some of the time but in the middle of the rink.  As it is not usually busy when I skate at the 12 - 1.30 session there isn't a steward on the rink! 
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Leif

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Re: Another hockey beginner
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2017, 09:22:03 AM »
Thanks Carrie. Unfortunately daytime is usually not convenient, although when I get my car serviced, I usually spend a few hours on ice while waiting. Guildford used to do ten minutes in reverse on Thursday evening, but that seems to have stopped. Fortunately Basingstoke gets fairly empty late on Tuesday and Sunday in the public sessions, and the 'hockey brats' seem to have been a one off.