March 5, 2013

Electric Slide

After a week off from his torture, my new goalie coach known as "The Punisher" spent our entire hour working with me on the butterfly slide.

Let me start by saying that my 47 year old legs are being put through things I thought wouldn't be possible. Between repeated butterfly recoveries where they are lifting all 260 pounds of me (plus gear!) to my poor abused knees, the past two months of 3-times-a-week hockey is taking its toll. I try not to groan or weep in the locker room after each game and practice but its not easy to keep hiding the facts from my team mates.

Back to the butterfly slide... with the help of The Punisher I finally found the trigger that made all the difference in execution. In previous attempts I had been half lifting/hopping out of my crouch and more or less falling into a slide with all the lateral movement of a glacier. Understanding that you need to load up on the push leg and let the slide side knee collapse was the first part. The real key was learning that the cue for the push was feeling the slide side skate loose its edge as the cowling made contact with the ice. In other words, shift the weight to the push leg, let the slide knee move down until the cowling causes the slide skate to slip then PUSH!

Finding these cues is important for me as I've always used self talk as a way of learning new motor skills. I did this a lot when I started playing tennis 15 years ago.

By the end of the session I was performing butterfly slides to both sides though oddly I struggle moving to my right more than my left. One other important part of the move is to clench my butt cheeks while beginning the slide which helped me keep my knees a little tighter to the middle and kept my posture more upright.

Rocking the new school butterfly with the old school jersey number.
In the two on-ice sessions since my success with this move I've had trouble "pulling the trigger" and instead I'm falling back on my old stand-up techniques. I'm not too concerned because this was the case when I was learning the standard butterfly. Now I am executing that at will during games and I hope the same will be true as I become more comfortable with the slide.

Uhhhhh... that's definitely NOT the butterfly slide