This is the second in this series of articles on checking skills, (check out the first article here!) and it is the starting point when teaching checking. The first skill set, an individual skill, is where development coaches and instructors’ teaching checking should begin. This is because it is the most fundamental, but most important skill we can teach our players! It is also the poorest executed and therefore leads to many critical errors in the game.
It is the skating stance or skating posture known as the Power Position.
When a player achieves this ideal Power Position, they become impressive on the ice. They are solid on their skates, difficult to knock from the puck and resilient in the face of all checking pressure. By getting and staying low they can evade checkers, protect the puck and get their bodily segments into good positions to perform important skills and tactics like puck handling, dekes and feints, lane drives, acceleration, decelerations, tight turns etc.
Additionally, they can get their neck and head up and in the best position to see the ice. Scanning the ice and remaining in control suggests competence and confidence. A player demonstrating this has their upper extremity, shoulders, elbows, and hands in the best possible positions – up and away from the body – to grasp and correctly position the stick and their chest and midsection. The midsection or core of the body then becomes activated and engaged, ready to enable optimal potential to the lower extremity.