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Jarret Reid’s Power Skating Means Comfort on Ice First and Foremost

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Like other sports, in order to become good in hockey, as in really good, enough to become a professional hockey player, talent, knowledge, experience, and many, many years of training are all required.

However, unlike most other sports, to state the obvious, hockey is a game that’s played on ice.  That means that hockey requires a very special set of skills for those athletes who want to compete in the sport, skills that start with being a good skater.  As the NFL linebacker, Junior Seau (, succinctly put it once, “You see a hockey player, you’d never know he’s a professional athlete. But you put the skates on him, and he becomes a beast.”

There are plenty of coaching philosophies and techniques to go around (, each emphasizing different aspects of the game of hockey and each purporting to develop young hockey players in their own ways.  For example, most of us who follow hockey, especially NHL hockey, know how important play strategies and systems are and know that they form a critical knowledge base for any professional hockey player, i.e. a player is not going to last long in the majors, let alone get close to the majors, if they can’t understand and execute play strategies brainstormed and ordered by their coaches.

But, should play strategies be a major part of coaching young and still-developing hockey players?

Many coaches would say, probably not.

“Being a strong hockey player and developing [individuals] into fundamentally strong hockey players starts and ends with their skating ability.”

This is from Jarret Reid, who provides an opinion that returns us back to Junior Seau’s poignant quote.  Jarret Reid is a former professional hockey player (he played in three consecutive Memorial Cups for the Sault Greyhounds, winning in the 1992-93 season) and is now a director at the HP power skating program at the Wave Sports Centre in Burlington, Ontario.

As a power skating instructor , Reid is instrumental in giving young players the skills and knowledge they need to develop their hockey games.

Yes, strategies and puck handling skills and being able to work effectively with one’s teammates are all incredibly important in developing students into better hockey players.  But, fundamental to Jarret Reid’s philosophy as a hockey coach, and a fundamental principle of his power skating program, is that players first and foremost must become strong skaters on the ice.

“Skating is the foundation for success in today’s game,” Jarret Reid adds.

Other hockey coaches and schools take a similar approach in emphasizing the importance a comfort on ice when it comes to molding students into strong players.

For example, Laura Stamm, also a prominent coach in Canada, has this to say about the importance of skating,  “The one skill that I have not mentioned is the one tends to be overlooked and too often underestimated. Yet it is in actuality the most fundamental skill in hockey – skating.”

What’s good to know is that becoming a comfortable skater is something that can be started when students are very young.  The important thing is that proper skating techniques are taught slowly, with an emphasis on muscle memory, something that Reid explains in detail:

When a player’s skating improves, they instantly become more comfortable on the ice. That comfort leads to confidence and then the sky is the limit … Power skating is teaching a player to skate in the most efficient way possible … proper skating technique should be first taught slowly with a major emphasis on skating technique. The ultimate goal is to teach muscle memory, have the brain and the body working together until all the quality skating technique becomes an unconscious competent.

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