Part 1: Skating Skills
This section of the coaching guide overviews relevant skating skills in ringette and how to properly progress an athlete from beginner to elite in these skills.
Ringette Skating Skills
Balance + Edges
Forwards + Backwards Skating/Stride
Forwards + Backwards Crossovers
Stops + Starts
Balance + Edges
Balance is the first skill that a skater must achieve. In order to gain initial balance, the fear of falling must be eliminated and the skater needs to explore to find a stable position on their skates (without assistance). This can be further developed by continually challenging this skill by increasing the complexity.
Edges on our skates help us gain and maintain speed/power. They can help a skater gain greater balance and control as well as more efficiency.
*Both of these skills can be progressed from simple to complex and are beneficial for skaters of any age/level*
The forward stride is comprised of 3 phases: stride/push, glide, and recovery. Each of these phases can be broken down further into specific elements. However, the ideal perfect forward stride mechanics are a myth. There are ideal characteristics that can be generalized (deep knee bend, full triple extension, recovery under shoulders) but these mechanics can differ greatly with different body types. As an athlete progresses it is better to focus on their strengths within their forward stride versus picking a part the small details.
The backward stride is when a player uses a push or cut to move in a backward direction. There are different techniques that can be useful depending on the goal/game situation. Overall it is a useful skill and is imperative for a defensive player to have this ability and continually build upon it.
Forwards crossovers are a vital skill in which the skater is moving in a forward direction and crosses one skate over the other. They are useful for gaining speed on slight changes of direction. They can also used for accelerating from a gliding or stationary position. This is a simple skill that builds into more complex skills. Having the ability of forward crossovers will ultimately increase your speed and agility on the ice.
Backward crossovers are a skill in which the skater is moving in a backward direction and crosses one skate over the other. They are useful to increase your speed when you need to accelerate quickly skating backwards. They can also be useful for slight changes in direction when skating backwards down the ice. This is a more complex skill that should be worked on after a skater has gotten comfortable skating backwards and can develop power without using a crossover.
Transitions are the ability to change direction (forwards to backwards OR backwards to forwards). Having this ability creates a more agile athlete. An athlete that can transition any direction at any moment, can modify their body position the fastest to have success in the task they are executing on the ice.
Stopping is how a skater stops moving on the ice, usually to avoid a collision or change direction. Having the ability to stop helps a skater feel more comfortable on the ice and push them in other areas, because they feel more in control. There are progressions of stopping that can be taught to help improve a skaters agility.
Quick starts are when an athlete accelerates from either a stationary or gliding position. To utilize this still most effectively skaters need to have a fast stride rate and recovery while utilizing the front 1/3 of their inside edge. The better a skater becomes at this ability, the faster they will be able to get to top speed and will be able to accelerate faster from a change of direction.
Lateral movement on skates is essentially the ability to move side to side either moving in a forward or backward direction. A critical component to lateral movement in most cases is having adequate hip mobility. Being able to move in lateral directions increases an athletes ability in all planes of motion, therefore increasing their ability change direction efficiently.
Hip Mobility drills are useful for increasing an athletes power production by increasing their ability to move in different directions.