Sharpen Your Skates… Sharpen Your Skills

Another guest post from Revolution Sport Conditioning coach (and former OHL/AHL’er) Tyler Doig.  Today he shares his insight into something I know nothing about – skate sharpening.  Since skates are the interface between your powerful legs and the ice, you better check this out and see what might work better for you.  Just remember that tryouts are not the time to experiment – make sure you take them for a test drive before you are competing for the puck.

Skate Sharpening Basics for Hockey Players

Many of you out there are probably still lost in the mystery of how to go about getting your skates sharpened. Growing up I didn’t know much about it, but always wondered. I would get my skates from my local sports store tie them up and be on the ice not giving it a second thought. Over time, players will develop a routine about when and how often to get their skates done. Together, we will explore the different options you have when it comes to sharpening your skates.

The radius you can get your skates sharpened at varies from 3/8” to +1”. General sports shops will sharpen skates at 1/2” or 5/8”. This simply means the closer you are to the 3/8” mark the more bite you will get on the ice. Skating at the 5/8” radius will leave you with less bite and carve thinner cuts into the ice.

You are probably thinking “so how do I decide which radius I should skate at?”. Skill, weight and position are all things to consider. For example, Wayne Gretzky skated at 1/2”, Paul Coffey at 1” and Joe Sakic at 5/8”.

I would tell young defencemen to skate at 1/2” or 1” and young forwards at 5/8” or 1/2”. From there it is merely a comfort thing. You will be able to tinker with your skates and find the radius that makes you feel the best on the ice. It is not something that will happen overnight; it took me 3-4 years until I found what radius really made me feel comfortable.

Every piece of equipment can be personalized in a way to make you feel like it’s your own and skates are just the base of finding your niche and making yourself feel and play better on the ice. Have your skates sharp, and your skills even sharper.

T