If you live in a state in which ice hockey is the leading sport for children, you may have a child enrolled in a minor hockey program. Playing minor hockey is a good way for youths to stay active, and the goal of eventually earning a college scholarship or even playing professionally can keep even young hockey players motivated to keep getting better. If you want to help your child improve, there are many hockey-centric ice skating classes to consider. One class that you might not immediately think about is figure skating, but enrolling your young hockey player in ice skating lessons can pay off in these ways.
Hockey players need to be able to turn quickly to react to opponents and loose pucks. Quick turns can help players get scoring chances and, when they're old enough to play in a league with body contact, evade checkers. Taking figure skating lessons can be an effective way to improve turning ability. Figure skating instructors will teach your child how to quickly shift his or her upper-body weight and pivot his or her hips to change the trajectory of travel. With practice, your child can then incorporate this skill on the hockey arena.
The best hockey players possess a high degree of balance, which comes in handy in a variety of ways during games. A player who has good balance can quickly outmaneuver opponents without falling and without losing speed. Throwing a body check with good balance allows you to make contact with the opponent and retain your footing, while a goaltender who possesses good balance can avoid getting out of position after making a save. Balance is integral to figure skating, especially as students learn to perform basic jumps and turns, and your child's balance will definitely improve through these lessons.
Figure skaters need to attain a quick rate of speed in order to perform certain jumps. If a skater is traveling too slowly at the point of takeoff, he or she may not be able to rotate fully, which can result in a fall. Figure skating instructors emphasize speed for their students, which your child can learn and then take into his or her hockey career. Speed, of course, is a valuable attribute for hockey players, and especially those who play the forward position. Perhaps above all else, speed creates scoring chances, which are integral to helping your child put up good statistics.