Forward crossovers are a crucial skill for hockey players of all ages and experience levels to practice as they enable hockey players to change direction, move laterally, and accelerate out of turns.
Practice these 6 tips and 13 on-ice drills brought to you by the coaches and owners of Quest Hockey to help you master your forward crossovers!
6 Tips to Master Your Forward Crossovers:
1. Know and use your inside and outside edges
Doing forward crossovers requires you to utilize both your inside and outside edges.
Specifically, you ride, push, and flick with the outside edge of your inside foot. While your outside foot uses its inside edge to glide, grab, and push the ice towards the outside of the circle.
2. Deep Knee Bend
If you’ve ever attended a quality power skating session then you’ve certainly heard, “BEND YOUR KNEES!” more than you’d ever care to admit.
The reality is, there is a direct relationship between the depth of your knee bend and the power you generate with each stride… not to mention the strength and balance provided by a low center of gravity.
But novice skaters far too often lack a proper knee bend when doing forward crossovers, resulting in short shallow steps and pushes.
Instead, bend both of your knees deep like you’re sitting in a chair to get the most out of each forward crossover.
3. Proper gap between your feet
Young players particularly love to have their feet close together when performing forward crossovers which inhibits deep steps and long strides.
Instead, set your skates at hip-width distance so you’re able to cross your outside foot over your inside foot with enough gap to enable a long forceful push to the outside.
4. Direct your head, chest, and stick towards the center of the circle
Far too often players have their upper body working against their lower body by facing their upper body the opposite direction of where they’re skating.
Instead, engage your upper body to work with your lower body by rotating and pointing your head, chest, hips, and stick towards the turn or center of the circle you’re skating around.
5. Keep level shoulders
Players oftentimes allow their inside shoulder to dip down into the turn or circle they’re skating around, commonly causing them to lose an edge.
Instead, maintain level square shoulders as you’re doing forward crossovers to properly balance your weight over your skates.
6. Get your feet moving in a nonstop rhythm
Rather than allowing your feet to stop moving to ride your edges, keep your moving in a nonstop consistent rhythm. Allowing our feet to stop crossing over only slows us down and doesn’t force us to grow out of our comfort zone.
13 On-Ice Drills to Improve Your Forward Crossovers
1. Isolated Crossover Steps
Like learning any new skills, it’s best to start with the basics!
Stand in hockey position with a nice deep knee bend and with control, slowly step one skate over the other. Once your feet are crossed, step the skate that is underneath back to your starting position.
Take a few crossover steps one way and then switch to work on going the other direction.
2. Toe Extension With Puck
With one hand on the boards for balance, step on a puck with the skate nearest the boards while your opposite skate remains stationary.
With the skate that is on the puck, practice extending your leg and flicking your toe behind and across your stationary skate, like your inside skate does while doing a forward crossover.
And don’t forget to practice with both feet!
3. Outside Edge Crossover Steps
With a deep knee bend, practice consecutive crossovers in a straight line down the ice, repeatedly stepping only on your outside edges.
Practice pointing the toe of your elevated skate as you crossover and purposefully land on your outside edge to flick your toe and propel yourself down the ice.
4. Outside Edge Half Circles
Similar to (3) Outside Edge Crossover Steps but this time engage your upper body and ride your outside edge for a half-circle before crossing over and switching feet.
Work on controlling your elevated skate (not allowing it to step down prematurely) and initiating your turn by aiming your head, chest, stick, and hips in the direction you’re turning.
5. Crosby Pushes Around Circle Using Inside Edge of Outside Skate
Skate around a circle like you’re working on traditional crossovers but isolate your outside skate, working on the final push on your inside edge after a crossover while your inside skate remains stationary.
6. C-Cuts Around Circle Using Inside Edge of Outside Skate
Similar to (5) Crosby Pushes Around Circle Using Inside Edge of Outside Skate but this time keep your outside skate on the ice and perform forward c-cuts while your inside skate remains stationary.
7. Inside Skate Toe Flicks Around Circle While Outside Skate Stays On The Ice
Skate around a circle and isolate your inside skate, working on pushing and flicking with the outside edge of the inside skate while your outside skate remains stationary.
8. Crossovers Without Picking Up Your Skates (Inside Edge C-Cut + Outside Edge Push)
Do forward crossovers around a circle without picking up your skates.
9. Smooth Crossovers With Stick Across Shoulders
Do forward crossovers around a circle with your stick across your shoulders to emphasize aiming your head, chest, and hips to the inside of the circle while keeping level shoulders.
10. Linear Crossovers — 1 Crossovers Each Way
Skate in a “straight” line from goal line to goal line doing one big crossover each way.
11. Linear Crossovers — 2 Crossovers Each Way
Skate in a “straight” line from goal line to goal line doing two big crossovers each way.
12. JRM / Swedish Running Crossovers
One of our favorites from JRM Skates & Skills in Sweden where players are encouraged to do quick short crossover steps without stopping their feet. Rather than long deep crossovers, purposefully ride and push with your edges as quickly as possible.
13. Overspeed Crossovers
Use an entire zone to work on doing deep forward crossovers continuously without stopping your feet. Work on establishing a fast consistent rhythm that pushes you to grow out of your comfort zone.
Time to practice!
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