Yes, I’d been planning to start back with the lessons in January, but I had several things that would have interfered with Monday nights and didn’t want to start if I couldn’t go every week right away.

Did the three months of exercise get me in better shape?  Well …

First drill: Line up on the blue-line, facing the side boards.  Now we’re going to skate to the red-line and stop, but we’re facing the side boards, so we have to turn.  The way I’m lined up, the red-line is to my right, so my first instinct is to turn my right foot and push off with my left … as in many cases, my first instinct is wrong.


I’m supposed to lift my left foot, cross it over, and push-off/jump off my right foot.  This feels very awkward. 

Stop at the red-line, then go back, this time lifting and crossing over the right foot, while pushing off with the left.

A few reps of this and I’m getting the hang of it – better pushing off with my right foot, but I’d expect that.  I’m feeling okay, not out of breath, so I start feeling confident that the exercise did some good.

Next drill is similar, but blue-line to blue-line and we start from our knees facing the far blue-line.  Oddly this feels more comfortable to me if I’m pushing off my left foot … from both knees, I get my left foot under me and push up and out, getting my right foot under me.

A few reps of this and I’m still feeling pretty good.  I get out of breath once we stop to get ready of for the next drill, but during it I was okay.  I was the slowest at both of these, but I haven’t been skating a lot, so I’m okay with that as I get better.

Next up is some puck-handling with our feet – trying to get us to kick the puck to our sticks along the boards or to control a pass that comes to our feet.

So four or five of us around each circle, and first it’s just feet.  Stop the puck with your feet and kick it to the next person.

imageAfter some time of doing this, we change it up and pass with the stick, but stop the puck with our feet – kick it out to our stick after stopping it.

This is harder work than it sounds like.  At least for me, it’s awkward and a lot of work to maneuver from a standing start, so when the pass is off it’s a lot of work move to stop it.

I was not the worst in my group at this, so that made me happy.

Last was a passing and shooting drill.  Two lines at the blue-line.  One player dumps the puck in along the boards while the other heads to the other side to stop it.


Once he has it, both head up ice, passing along the way, and take a shot on goal. 

Two things the coach was stressing in this drill:

1) Stay together.  If one of the pair is slow (me) the other (everyone else) needs to stay with him, not just blast up the ice.  We want to attackers in order to split the goalie’s attention.

2) Keep moving.  The faster skater shouldn’t just stop and wait for the slower – when he catches up he’ll just blow by, so keep skating.  Side to side or even skating back to the slower skater is preferable to just stopping and waiting.

This is where it fell apart for me.  I’m slow, so I’m skating all-out the length of the ice for this drill.  I made it through two reps and when I got back in line after the second one, I was out of breath, dizzy, and nauseated. 

So I headed to the bench for a rest and frustration.  The coach came over to talk to me while I was sitting there – he remembered me from the few times I was there last year.

I told him, “I’ve spent the last two months on the elliptical five times a week to get ready for this, I don’t understand.”

“That’s aerobic,” he said.

I gave him my best look of incomprehension.  It’s impressive, I get to use it a lot.

“This is anaerobic,” he explained.

Well … crap … so I’ve spent the last two months doing the wrong thing?

He explained that aerobic was still important so I’d have legs in the third period.

Great … I’ve prepared myself well for the third period, I just can’t get through the first shift.

His recommendation?  I can’t run, knees and shins won’t take the impact, so he suggested pushing myself in intervals at public skating. 

I should also be able to add some interval training to what I’m already doing on the elliptical, by just increasing the speed.  I’ll also be hitting the skate & shoots to skate hard with my gear on – I’m more comfortable on the ice when I have it on anyway.