Andy & Diane Ness

Giving yourself a wide base

By Diane Ness

Whether you are gliding, turning in traffic or standing in front of the net, a skater needs to give themselves a wide base. This means the skater’s feet should be about shoulder width apart, sometimes wider, with knees bent in a stable position.

This position is very important to help make the skater as solid as he/she can be on their skates. You will notice in the three photos of Kyle Okposo, Drew Stafford and Zach Parise that they all are ready to one-time the puck or catch a pass and each skater is in a powerful position. The skaters are slightly on their inside edges to help in this position. You will also notice the photo of Sidney Crosby how he is able to absorb a hit while staying on his skates; again the strong base and knee bend are the key factors.

Recently I have seen some skaters that are in what we call the “bowling pin” position. They are upright with feet together and every time he/she gets bumped, he/she seems to fall. Coaches should continue to remind their skaters to get their feet apart and their knees bent when the skater is gliding or not moving. Giving yourself a base will give you the support you need to stay on your feet, no matter what size the player is.

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.