Andy & Diane Ness

Stops and starts


By Diane Ness

If you have had a chance to get back and watch some NHL hockey, you know how important it is to sustain a good forecheck. A good forecheck is set up executing good stops and starts. There are a few ways to do stops and starts but I will explain the two main ones that you will see in a game and more importantly should be worked on and practiced.


The first way, which may not be the quickest way but is the one that is often used during a game, is a crossover start (above photos). The skater should execute a stop, remembering that if you are able to stop quicker it will naturally help start you quicker.  This means the skater should not “slide” but rather to stop as quickly as possible.
Once the skater stops he/she should try to lean the direction the skater wants to go. It is important to remember to bring the stick and shoulders through, getting everything going the same direction. One common mistake is having younger skaters dragging their stick behind them. 

Once everything is heading the right direction, the skater should try to cover some distance on their crossover. I usually like to see only one crossover and then go as opposed to a couple shorter, choppier crossovers.

Another key is to try to keep the foot that is doing the crossover low to the ice. Think of going “out” rather than “up.”

The second way is doing a stop and a start without a crossover. If you notice from the photos below, the skater will stop and rather than crossing over, the skater will open up, load and push off the stopping foot.

The key is the stop skate. The skater needs to absorb that stop and explode off that same foot. This is where leg strength and power come into play. The stronger the skater is, the more powerful the start. This may be a more efficient way but does take more effort from the skater. 

Both skills should be practiced regularly. It takes a lot of effort and energy but stopping and starting are big part of the game no matter what level. 

Diane Ness has been a full-time professional skating coach for over 35 years. She has coached both figure skaters and hockey players alike and is a former U.S. gold medalist in figure skating. She is the Director for the Pro Edge Power hockey camps and the Learn to Skate program at Highland Park Arena. Ness is the skating coach for the New Jersey Devils, the University of Minnesota men’s and women’s hockey teams and the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey Team. She has trained players in the NHL, AHL, NCAA, USHL and NAHL.