I often get asked about my thoughts on roller blading as a means of working on your game throughout the off season, so I figured this would be a good time for me to share my thoughts and some of my experiences training in the past.
First off I want to say that I’m a firm believer that doing anything, is always better doing nothing. I hear kids tell me all the time that their coach has told them to never ever roller blade during the summer because it’s going to affect their skating in a negative way come the season. Now is there some truth to this, sure. Rollerblading is clearly not the same as skating on ice, and there will absolutely be a transition period going from the rollerblades back to the skates. That’s why I always recommend that kids who spend a lot of time on their blades in the summer try and hit the ice exclusively for at least a couple weeks before any tryouts or camps get under way. That way you can adjust to the feel of being back on your skates blades, and be ready to rock and roll.
That being said I know for a fact that every kids has access to ice throughout the summer months, either they can’t afford all the camps, or there’s nothing available in their area, or maybe their just burnt out from being at the rink and want some time away from being on the ice.
Kids are on the ice more now than ever, some kids are even skating 10-12 months out of the year. And if this is you, and your loving it, and feeling fired up and motivated to hit the ice every time you’re doing so, continue to do so, good for you! I’m a firm believer that everyone should do exactly what it is they want to be doing. And if that’s going all in on hockey and hockey based training, than great. But, if you’re not fired up about going to the rink when the sun’s shining and all of your friends are outside playing, then by all means throw on your rollerblades, get outside and work on that game. There’s so many benefits you can still get outside of the rink, you can work on your mechanics, your setup, you can work on lengthening your stride, you can definitely work on your conditioning, this is something that I found the blades to be particularly useful for back in the day. I would find a nice up hill road, and do nice long strides all the way up and glide down until my legs burned and I couldn’t do another round, this great way to work on that wind and build up some strength in those skating muscles at the same time.
So what’s my final take away on the topic of whether or not you should be adding rollerblading into the mix of your summer training? I would say do it, but realize that nothing is going to replace being on the ice, don’t make it the main focus of training, but at the same time don’t be afraid to mix in a blade here or there. Whether it’s just to work on your form and technique, or building up that wind and your conditioning, or even if it’s just to get out for a skate and enjoy a nice summer evening roll. Summer and nice weather is short lived, especially when you’re from where i’m from:) So take advantage of it, so many different ways to train and work on your game, try them all and see what works best for you!