How to Skate on Synthetic Ice
Skating on synthetic ice has it’s advantages. Sure there are folks out there who love it and there are those who don’t – like anything. What I will write about here is my own experiences with my kids – both who I (and more importantly all their coaches) always considered excellent skaters.
First I will say this: if a hockey player or figure skater can do something on real ice then they can do it on a high quality synthetic hockey ice surface. And don’t just take my opinion for it, here’s a quote from a customer of ours (who’s a brilliant figure skater) regarding our products:
“I am pleased with how well my blades maintain edges on my infused panels. I believe they are a tad softer than others I sampled (my blades cut in more). But they skate the best. That is paramount.”
– R. Strong, Synthetic Ice Figure Skater in Florida
You can read the full review here. For a figure skater, having a reliable surface is even more important because of the high risk maneuvers they perform.
Synthetic Ice “Negatives”
There are some industry “negatives” I often hear from people who either haven’t skated on the best synthetic ice surfaces, or simply aren’t familiar with current synthetic ice technology:
- “you can’t skate backwards on synthetic ice”
- “goalies can’t do lateral slides”
- “there is too much resistance to skate properly”
- “skating on synthetic ice negatively impacts your stride”
There is no doubt that skating on synthetic ice can be radically different than real ice – if the product is either of low quality or not well maintained. There are some products that are so bad that it is difficult to even skate backwards – heck with some products it’s hard enough to skate forwards!
What motivated me to get into this business was my own experience with low quality products. It amazed me that a business owner selling the synthetic ice would install a poor quality product but, that was my first experience with it. It was OK for shooting pucks but that was about it.
Since then, I’ve had my own SmartRink Synthetic Ice products installed at home, and here are some of things my own kids have worked on:
- stride mechanics (relationship of hip, knee, ankle, toe)
- posture (head up, back position, butt)
- stride starting position to recovery
- explosiveness (those first three quick strides)
- edge control (leaving your comfort zone on both edges)
- quick direction change
- agility, footwork, quick feet
And really this is just the tip of the iceberg. But, these are some basic fundamentals that all aspiring young hockey players need to pursue to get better. If a hockey player doesn’t learn these things they will struggle. Period.
Skating Development with Synthetic Ice
We’ve all seen that kid with the quirky stride. We used to call that “skating on railroad tracks” where they have that real choppy short stride. With proper instruction and consistent practice, skating on synthetic ice can absolutely fix that. A player might be filling the back of the net, but if they skate poorly they won’t get very far in hockey.
Free at Home Trial for Synthetic Ice
A high quality synthetic ice product is a great investment for your any aspiring figure skater or hockey player. Don’t listen to people who say you can’t do certain things on synthetic ice. They had a bad experience or knew someone else who did. At SmartRink we believe in our product and are confident once you test out our synthetic ice tiles, you’ll be a believer.
You can try a free at home trial of our products by clicking on the link here, filling out your contact information, and ticking the box that says ‘Tell Me More’. Depending on where you live there may be some shipping charges to get the free trial product to your home. But once the product is there it’s yours to use at home. If you decide that you like it enough to buy it then you just let us know!
Do all the dryland training you want – there is no substitute for being on your skates to get better. For more ideas and tips on how to train and skate on synthetic ice, check out these passing hockey drills and shooting hockey drills that are fantastic for those with a home synthetic ice rink.