The Importance of Outside Edges for Young Players

Derek Popke with Vancouver Canucks Chris Higgins during training session

It is no secret that every hockey player would like to be a great skater. One of the most important parts of becoming a good skater is learning the outside edge. The outside edge is sometimes referred to as the little toe edge and is one of the most frequent edges used in hockey skating. Mastering the outside edge will allow a player to perform power crossovers, glide turns, and effective tight turns.

Learning the outside edge can be a frustrating task for players of all levels. It requires players to roll their ankle to the outside while maintaining balance.  Learning the outside edge requires basic drills taught at slower speeds. One of the best drills to learn outside edges is called “T Stops”.

While standing still, players make the letter “T” with their skates. Players then push with the back skate to gain speed and come to a stop again using the same back skate. When performing the actual stop, players should make sure the heel of the front skate is touching the middle of the back skate. Players find this task much easier the deeper the knee bend.

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One common mistake players make when performing the “T Stop” is that while performing the stop, they use their inside edge rather than the outside edge. A good way to tell if the player is actually stopping on the outside edge is to observe snow coming out the window of the skate blade carrier. If the player is stopping on the outside edge, snow will come out of the window. If they are stopping on the inside edge, snow will not come out of the window.

Once the player has mastered the “T-Stop” with both skates on the ice have players can try stopping using the outside edge with only one skate on the ice. Younger players find this extremely difficult. A good drill is to set up two cones and have players stop at each cone (skating back and forth) alternating stops between the right and left foot. Remember, the inside of the stopping skate should be facing the cone in order to be on the outside edge.

Learning the outside edge will allow players to perform effective power cross-overs, glide turns, and punch stop tight turns. Remember to start with “T Stops” and build up to one foot. Mastering the outside edge is a process that is achieved through repetition and significant practice time.

Derek Popke is the President and Owner of Vancouver Hockey School Ltd. He has worked on-ice with the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs, ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings, and numerous minor hockey associations. You can visit Derek’s camps at  www.vancouverhockeyschool.com


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Derek Popke is the founder and president of Vancouver Hockey School Ltd. As a hockey skating consultant, Popke has worked on-ice with the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs (2009-2014), ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings, BCHL Surrey Eagles and Penticton Vees, MML GV Canadians, and numerous minor hockey associations. In 2009, a record 19 players who skate with Popke were drafted in the WHL Bantam Draft. As one of the lower mainland’s most respected skating coaches, over 50 of Popke’s skating clients have been selected in the NHL draft in the past 7 years. His focus remains teaching balance, speed, and power with and without the puck. In 2012, he was named host of Minor Hockey Talk on Sportstalk CISL AM-650. Most recently, he was a key note speaker on hockey skating at The Coaches Site Coaching Conference featuring top coaches from around the world. You can find Derek on Instagram and Twitter @derek_popke