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 Ice Skating... Getting the Competitive Advantage! 
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Post Ice Skating... Getting the Competitive Advantage!
Ice Skating... Getting the Competitive Advantage!
by: Patrick Francey

Speaking in general terms, if you play a sport, you are inclined to seek a competitive advantage. The desire to win, compete, excel, challenge, and improve are just a few of the underlying reasons that a sport is played. Golf is a great example of a sport that sparks the desire to seek a competitive advantage. Purchasing a bigger driver, a nicer putter, a set of custom built irons...the list seems endless. The reality is that all of these things can, and often do, in fact improve your golf game. If you have ever played golf with a set of clubs that are too short...long...wrong flex... etc. then you have likely experienced the frustrating difference it makes to your score when you compare it to the positive results of using a set of clubs that are the correct fit and style for you!

Not unlike golf, the world of skating is the same. Skaters are always looking for a competitive advantage, so... with another summer of hockey schools well underway, and hockey tryouts just around the corner, we wanted to give you some insights into a fundamental way of helping you to help gain a competitive advantage with your skating... all it takes is a little knowledge...

A common question that we get asked by parents of young skaters and, by skaters in general is.... "how are my skates supposed to fit?". This question is generally preceded with such comments and questions as "I hate my skates", "why do my feet always hurt when I skate?", "I'm just not as fast with these skates",or how much growing room is enough?...

Even though skate design and technology have changed dramatically over the past few years, the fundamentals of how a skate needs to fit to be comfortable and perform have not.

Basically, there are three issues to consider when purchasing skates. First and foremost, is the obvious issue of purchasing a pair of skates that are comfortable. Second to comfort, is that your skates must fit correctly to perform ...the correct size (length), and width. (Not unlike the 'right' golf club) The third consideration to the fit of the skates, but as important, is choosing the correct make and model of product. Far too often skaters focus on buying the same skates that they have seen their skating idol wearing or they look only to the most expensive skates, because obviously (to them) they are the best.

Clearly, what we know is... it doesn't matter how much you pay for your skates or what famous skater is wearing the product, if the skates you purchase don't fit properly your skating performace can be adversly affected.Read on for some insights in how to gain the competitive advantage by being certain your skates fit.

The fundamentals of how skates should fit

A skate does not fit the same as a shoe.

A hockey all cases will fit 1 to 1 ½ sizes smaller than your shoe

½ size growing room is all that is necassary and will generally get a growing foot through one full season of hockey

Allowing more growing room than ½ size can lead to blisters, premature breakdown of the skate and reduced performance of the skate for the skater. Widths in skates are not the same as in a shoe...for example A "EE" width in a shoe is similar to a "D" width

Don't just focus on one make and model!

Different models of skates are built to accommodate different levels of skater ability and physical size, different shapes of feet, and different price points. These are key points when considering what skates to buy. It is important to be honest about the level of skating that you or your skater is at. A skate that is too stiff is the one of the biggest contributors to poor skating performance.

Skate manufacturers skates all fit differently.

It's possible that although you think you would like to try Bauer skates, the skate may not work the best for you because the "last" (shape of the boot) is not appropriate for the shape of your foot. It is important to try on more than one manufacturer skate if you are uncertain. Comparison and a great skate technician is ultimately the best way to help make the correct decision for you.

Skates are meant to fit when they are laced up!

The number one reason skaters end up in skates that are too big is that they don't lace the skate all the way up. Because of the shape of a skate, the foot will only sit back in the boot properly when the skate is laced to the top of the boot. If you look at the profile of a skate boot, it is easy to see the "sweep" up to the top. As the skate is laced up it draws the foot back into the heel. A new pair of skates that fit will almost alway feel short when they are first put on the foot prior to lacing.

Did you know that...

for a non growing foot. When standing with your skates laced up the longest toe of your foot should slightly feather the end of the boot. When you bend your you would when you skate... the toe should pull away from the front of the boot. Any pressure points that you have on the sides of the foot or ankle bones should be adjusted (made comfortable) by the person fitting your skates.

How much Growing Room is enough?

A ½ size growing room represents about ¼ of an inch. Allowing more growing room than a ½ size puts the skater at risk of things such as blisters on the heel and arches. As well, the performance of the skate diminishes dramatically because of foot movement in the skate combined with a blade that is too long for the boot and hence too long for the skaters foot.

Make sure the foot is measured correctly!

Although it may give you a place to start... fingers... pencils... or looking down the back of the boot is just a big skate mistake waiting to happen. If the store fitting your skates understands the products they are selling and how to fit skates then they will know how to accurately use a measuring stick. To avoid the inevitable blisters, sore feet, and poor skating performance, that occur with poor fitting skates, be certain that a measureing stick is used.

About The Author

Patrick Francey is the owner of Pro Skate. He is recognized internationaly in the skating industry as a'skate fit for performance' Expert. Patrick and his staff service all levels of hockey and figure skaters, including many NHL hockey players,Olympic and world class figure skaters. His retail stores have been serving clients for more than 25 years. Pro Skate prides themselves on long distance/mail order 'custom skate fitting'.

Learn more about them at:
Professional Skate Service
Edmonton, Canada
780 481-5532 or toll free 1 866-481-5532
780 438-9059 or toll free 1888 438-3888

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Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:20 pm
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