Skate blade profiling is a method of reshaping the steel on your skates. The shape of the steel dictates many things for the player including balance, transfer of power, freedom to pivot and ability to glide.
Today, most retail steel out of the box is shaped inconsistently and is the culprit of undue fatigue, premature soreness and lack of power with playing. Let’s talk about how we can alleviate these ailments.
Skate Circles Around Your Competition
Skates blades are shaped on a big circle. Often blades come from the manufacturer shaped on a 9 to 10 foot radius. This means a portion of that big circle is used to shape the bottom arch or radius of your skate blade and dictates how much steel in contact with the ice at any given time.
If we reduce the size of the circle – say to a 7 foot radius – it creates a more rounded blade and allows the player to pivot much easier being that there is less steel touching the ice. It also changes the balance of the player because they are skating on a less stable surface.blade profile circles
Increasing the size of the circle puts more steel in contact with the ice and creates more stability for the player.
This also creates a great gliding surface and when paired with the right sharpening cuts down on energy needs.
Pivot Points, Heels and Toes
Along with blade radius, when the center point of the skate is found, the steel can be pitched forward or backwards. A forward lean puts the skater on their toes and a neutral position stands the player more upright.
When we put these techniques into practice they apply as follows.
Say for instance you are a beginner skater who wants as much stability as possible. Beginner skaters – who lack good balance – stand upright, almost back on the heels. If we use a larger radius and pitch the skate forward, we create good stability and allow the skater to achieve that bent knee position. This starts the basis of good skating mechanics.
On the other end of the spectrum – more experienced skaters – could potentially want less steel in contact with the ice to free up movement. Balance is not an issue at this point and having the ability to pivot and accelerate faster would improve their performance.
There are many advantages that can come from getting your blades shaped. When coupled with the proper sharpening it can make a dramatic difference in your skating ability.
Be sure to stop by Levy’s Source for Sports and ask about our custom skate profiling system and see why we are the Fraser Valley’s source for hockey.
About the Author
Chris Levis grew up the son of a goalie mask maker in southern Ontario. Owner of Levy’s Source for Sports – an independently owned and operated sporting goods store located in Langley, BC – he focuses on a range of sporting goods including hockey and lacrosse gear. He has played goal in the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) and National Lacrosse League (NLL) since 1998. Chris has also served on the negotiating and competition committee of the Professional Lacrosse Players Association (PLPA) since 2000. In the 10 years preceding Levy’s, Chris was a Strength and Conditioning Coach focusing on sports performance and corrective movement.