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Synthetic Ice Skating Series: Part 3 – Stops

HockeyShot’s Skating Sensei, Jim Vitale from Vital Hockey Skills has been coaching for over 25 years. Once you’ve heard his voice, you know instantly that Jim has been around a few hockey arenas, yelling at players (maybe some parents) from time to time. Jim has run successful hockey camps for years to improve hockey player’s training and skills to develop them for the next level.



“Stopping is more of a state of mind then it is a physical activity”. Players who have trouble stopping, panic when they feel the ice pushing against them. This can send you into a panic with the brain not recognizing what is occurring, but you can learn to master the ice by learning how to stop properly. “Get low as you stop” is the most important first step because it allows you to gain control of the natural forces surrounding you. “Dropping your weight makes your blades sink into the ice, it’s the pressure you need to counter balance the force of the ice pushing against your feet”.

When Vitale is coaching youth how to properly stop, he gets them to stop and then to swivel to maintain proper balance. Pivoting is a great way to train your balance to know how to stop on the ice. The trick is to do both at the same time. Jim stresses the importance of not getting discouraged, because most will not be good at both ways.

Jeremy Rupke asks: “How much does Synthetic Ice relate to stopping on real ice?” and Vitale responded with “You can really come to a full stop with the same type of resistance.”

Look no further than HockeyShot’s Synthetic Ice! The use of premium grade materials in a unique blend makes this surface the closest thing to real ice in the world. It has a self-lubricating additive that requires no wax or upkeep to give players a genuine feel like they’re on the frozen stuff. Perfect for basements, garages, driveways or anywhere outdoors, this product is quick and easy to install with interlocking grids. AND depending on where you play (residential or commercial use) HockeyShot Synthetic Ice comes in a variety of formats.

Please visit: Synthetic Ice Revolution Tiles or Synthetic Ice Panels for all the details on HockeyShot’ industry leading training surfaces used in these videos!

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Jim Vitale

Jim Vitale has been skating his entire life (literally dreaming of edgework drills after his parents tucked him in at night). With an impressive hockey career as both a player and coach, it was a no brainer for HockeyShot to bring him on board. We are proud to have Jim lace ‘em up time and time again. As a player, Jim played in the minor leagues with the AAA Vaughan Kings of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. He then moved on to play Tier 2 Junior A for both the Markham Waxers and the Vaughan Vipers. He finished his playing career with the Queens Golden Gaels but his skates barely had a chance to hang as he took on a new role as a coach. Since 1999, Jim has been coaching teams of all levels, minors to nationals. His training highlights include: assistant coach to both Vaughan Vipers and York University Yeomen, head coach to the Provincial Deaf Hockey Team, Head Coach to the National Men’s Deaf Olympic Team, and 17 years of head coaching in the minor hockey leagues. After extensive on and off-ice training with his Ukrainian National under 14 team, Jim began to place an increasing importance on the skill of skating. He quickly realized that skating itself could not only, drastically change individual players, but the entire game of hockey. This inspired him to begin Vital Hockey Skills, a cutting-edge school for player development. Jim provides growing athletes a safe and fun environment to develop essential and critical skills that inherently change their hockey abilities. During all these years of playing and coaching hockey, Jim pursued and completed an honors degree in kinesiology. Applying this education, Jim has been able to break down hockey into fundamental skills that depend on specific biomechanical development. He is proud to support the science behind hockey and with his training, HockeyShot is excited to show you how your game will change for the better! Jim’s training, places an emphasis on weight transfer, stabilizers, and extreme edges. All of this combined creates a strong and vigilant skater allowing players to make moves they did not think were possible. His enthusiasm, quick-witted-one-liners (usually directed at Jeremy Rupke during skating camps) and brute strength make Jim a force to reckoned with. Bringing you back to the fundamentals of skating, don’t underestimate this one-of-a-kind, “been-around-the-hockey-block” Skating Coach, Jim Vitale.