User Email: Tight Turns

I recently received the following email:

Hi Kevin

Love the site, a great resource for new coaches like myself!

I would like your advice on teaching tight turns to under 10’s?

Many Thanks

I get lots of emails like these, and I thought this would be an especially beneficial one to share with the community.  Here was my response:

Hi Lee,

Glad to hear you’re enjoying the site and content!

Tight turns are one of the most fun (in my opinion) skills to teach.  I like to use a three-phase approach when introducing tight turns:
1) Set Up
2) Execution
3) Exit
For the set up phase, you want your feet a little less than shoulder-width apart. Begin by gliding with your inside foot (the one closest to the cone you’re turning around) ahead of your outside foot (keep the same width distance).  The heel of your front skate should just overlap the toe of your back skate – you want to be sure you don’t let that front foot get too far ahead, or you will see the player all the way on the heel of that front skate, with the toe up in the air.
Once you’re properly set, I like to use a “head-to-toe” approach to the turn itself.  Begin by looking into your turn – but exaggerate it!  If you’re doing a turn around the cone, look back all the way to where you started.  From there, open you shoulders into the turn – keeping them parallel to the ice (don’t let them dip).  Next, open your hips – then finally allow your skates to come around.
The exit is where we regain the speed – you want to begin a single cross-over about 3/4 of the way through your tight turn.
A couple key points to watch for while players execute the turn:
1) Front foot not flat on the ice (I always call it “water skiing”)
2) Feet too wide
3) Don’t allow sliding in their turns – force them to get comfortable on their edges
4) Don’t let their head go down toward the ice and watch their feet
5) Skaters should stay at a consistent knee bend (the deeper the better – with u10’s, they may not yet be strong enough for a 90 degree leg bend, but that’s about the ideal bend)
6) Accelerate out of the turns – don’t let them just go through the mechanics of the cross over – make them regain some of the speed and momentum they have lost.

Hope this helps!  I might use this for a blog post 🙂

All the best,

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