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Chalk Talk

Change Direction without Losing Speed or Balance

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 02/22/18, 4:00PM EST


Chalk Talk | Age-appropriate skills, drills and progressions

There’s a difference between a slow, wide turn and a quick, tight turn. How well are you performing this crucial skill?

Turning is one of the most important skills for a skater to learn. With this drill, players should be able to change direction in a sharp manner without losing speed or balance. Let's break it down.

Using Tight Turns allows for players to change direction quickly while shielding the puck from your opponent with your body. It requires a deep knee bend with weight distributed as evenly as possible on both skates.

Here are some tips to help improve your tight turns:

  • Pressure should be kept on the outside edge of the lead foot and the inside edge of the following foot.
  • To turn tighter, open up the inside foot and put more pressure on the outside edge.
  • The exit phase allows the player to crossover with power after the turn and accelerate in a new direction.

Control and protect the puck to the outside of your body and keep your body between the puck and your opponent. Less is more when it comes to controlling the puck from a tight turn.

omha chalk talk tight turns

Photo Credit: Tim Bates/OJHL Images

Skaters can use previous Chalk Talk drills like the Two Foot Slalom to work on their balance and using speed while still controlling the puck. Being able to change direction can open up the game offensively for a skater with new opportunities presenting themselves to pass or shoot. Using tight turns effectively can help skaters move into open ice.

Some keys when performing a tight turn are staying low for balance and keeping both skates on the ice. This ensures that skaters don't waste energy when turning and get the most out of the maneuver.

The drills in the Chalk Talk series put players in situations that they will encounter in games – this presents the players with the opportunity to:

  • create
  • problem-solve
  • read and react
  • to use the technical skills, tactics and concepts they have learned in practice

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Ian Taylor is the Executive Director of the OMHA and former Director of Hockey Development. A proud hockey dad of two, Ian has over 25 years of instructional and coaching experience.

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