You may not be able to think of two more different sports than figure skating and ice hockey. While both sports obviously take place on the ice, the demographics that enjoy them are typically different, and the participants may have even less in common. Hockey players are often thought of as large, muscular men who may be missing a tooth or two while figure skaters are considered more acrobatic. However, several things can translate from one of these sports to the other. Ice skating drills can make you a better hockey player, even if you had never considered it.

Balance Drills

When you really think about it, the idea of moving across the ice on two blades that are less than an inch wide defies all logic and reason. You don’t just throw on a pair of skates and move effortlessly across the ice. Working on two-foot jumps, straight-line one-foot glides, and lunges can all improve your hockey skills. If you’re going to be able to navigate your way through angry defenders while directing a puck, you’ll have to be sure on your feet.

Backward Skating Drills

Being able to move backward in hockey is almost as important as being able to move frontwards. If you’re playing defense, you need to avoid turning your back on your opponent, so being able to be nimble on your feet while moving in reverse is paramount. Reverse slaloms, backward crossovers, and alternating straight line c-cuts can all work to improve your ability to move backward with confidence.

Stopping Drills

One of the most important parts about learning how to drive is knowing how to use the brakes. The same could be said about being on skates. To stop on the ice, you drag the flat part of the blade across the ice. That sounds simple enough, but when you’re trying to stop “on a dime” in a hockey game, you want to be sure that you don’t overrun the puck. To work on stopping, try snowplow stops, t-stops, and reverse snowplow stops.

If you love the idea of being a hockey player, you may not have considered watching ice skating. However, there’s a lot you can learn from the world of ice skating.