Are your ankles and feet sore often after practice or games?
More than likely it is related to the lacing of your skates.
Something that is often overlooked in ice hockey is the proper lacing of skates.
While many find focus on the type of skate, the actual lacing of skates is critical to ice hockey performance and safety of players.
Many accidents and damages could be avoided if skates are laced properly before the player ever hits the ice.
Knowing the correct steps to properly lace your skates and why this is important is essential for all ice hockey players.
There are several steps that go into properly lacing your skates, as well as determining which laces fit your preference and skate size.
Steps To Properly Lacing Your Skates
1. Make sure your foot is properly positioned in the boot of the skate and comfortable.
Before lacing it is important to ensure that you are tightening and pulling laces to fit your foot comfort.
You do need to have some tightness on your feet when lacing, but some players prefer strongly tightened skates as opposed to others.
Too loose, however, can be dangerous while skating.
2. Choose your preferred laces; cloth or wax.
These laces vary between players depending on the preferred fit of the skate.
If you have purchased new skates and they are already laced, you may want to remove them and lace them from scratch to fit your comfort.
Once you put the laces through the bottom eyelets, hold them up and ensure they are even.
This is critical before moving forward with lacing.
Proper lacing requires even lace distribution throughout the process.
4. Going over the eyelets in a zigzag pattern, begin working your way up the boot.
Whether or not you want to over cross or under cross your laces depend on how you prefer your skate to fit.
You may need to try this both ways to determine which fit is to your skating pleasure.
If you are new to the sport, it is suggested, to begin with over cross as opposed to under cross laces.
5.Every quarter of the boot, hold the laces up and ensure that they are evenly distributed.
This should be self-explanatory.
If not, refer to the video below.
6. Stop lacing just before the final two eyelets.
You will lace these once you put on your skate or just before hitting the ice.
Lacing any higher will prove to be difficult when trying to get the skate on before the game.
While you want your feet and ankles secure during the game, you also need them to be comfortable in order to
Over Cross or Under Cross?
One of the biggest debates regarding skate laces is the over cross or under cross, and which is the better option.
While both serve to secure your foot in the skate, the fits are quite different.
Do you prefer a tighter skate and new to the sport? Do you want a traditional lace?
The under cross lace option is traditional in looks and provides a secure boot for the foot.
However, some skaters depend on a tight skate on the ice, so an over cross lace will give that additional tightness and security for those who prefer a tighter skate.
For those new to ice hockey or ice skating in general, it is suggested that the over cross lacing method be implemented because of the added security
Do Your Laces Fit Your Skates?
If you get halfway through lacing and realize you are running out of lace before you reach all of the eyelets, then your laces are not the appropriate length for your skate.
When purchasing laces for skates, it is critical to get laces that are not so short or too long.
You need just enough lace to complete the eyelets and allow room for a comfortable tie.
You also do not want your laces to be too long, because of them getting in the way of the skate and causing you to lose your balance.
Each skate size comes with a lace chart to fit the skate.
What Kind Of Laces Do You Have?
Like most items, laces come in a variety, providing the skater with options.
There is no right or wrong lace material in regards to hockey skates, but there are two kinds available.
Depending on how you like to wear your skates will depend on which type of laces you require.
For a tighter and snug fit, choose the waxed laces because the material tends to tighten naturally.
The material is harder than cloth but holds well during a game.
For a looser fit, the cloth laces are the better option.
Some skaters need their skates to fit tighter to perform at their best, while others need a more relaxed feel.
The cloth laces are similar to shoelaces and have a softer feel.
No matter which skater you are and what material you choose, make sure that the tip of the laces are not plastic based but have a molded tip.
The durability of these laces depend on the end of the lace and prevent players from having to consistently purchase laces.
Why Should Your Skates Be Laced Properly?
Now that you have learned how to properly lace your skates, you need to understand why this is important in ice hockey.
Something so simple should not require such detail and precision to most.
While many may not understanding why proper lacing is essential, there are valid reasons for it.
- Ice safety
- Foot and ankle security
Skating on the ice requires precaution, so ensuring that your ankles and feet are secure on the ice will help with balance, precision, and performance.
Loose skates can enable players to lose balance and fall.
Skates that are too tight for comfort can do the same thing.
Finding that tightness that both safe and comfortable for each player is essential to their performance.
If your laces are not properly done and you are hit on the ice, your foot and ankles could be in serious danger of being harmed.
Proper lacing practices are one of the first and foremost steps to player safety on the ice.