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Vital Hockey Skills – Part 1

Vital Hockey Skills with Skating Sensei, Jim Vitale – Part 1

After a lengthy minor hockey career Jim Vitale began coaching in 1999. Jim’s enthusiasm as a coach was spurred by the revolutionary skills being developed in the game. As Jim explains; “The techniques changed my skating and playing ability so dramatically that it was impossible to not want to pass them on!”. His passion for coaching has turned into an art form. Jim has formed Vital Hockey Skills into a very recognized hockey school focusing on player development and using innovative products, from HockeyShot.com.

In this series of videos, we can see first-hand how Jim inspires his players and uses creative drills in order to fully develop all aspects of their game. Below, we see Jim using Hockey Shot’s Extreme Defender to help create the perfect deke.

Often in hockey, you can’t simply skate around a defenseman. It takes a combination of stickhandling moves, the right pressure on your skates, and lots of practice. This is where Hockey Shot’s Extreme Defender comes in! Shaped like a pair of skates with a hockey stick blade made from high impact plastic and aluminum, you can practice getting around (or through) your opponent. You can even lift the stick up to simulate face-offs and takeaway drills!

In these videos Jim will focus on how to develop your extension during an under the stick deke and how to let the deke finish with a good stretch and reach. Watch below as Jim and his team demonstrate how to create the perfect fake out.

Jim is unique in the way he trains by cleverly using products in ways you probably have never even thought of! By using a Hockey Goal turned on its side, you can create your own net hack drill. This drill uses the net to act as an opponent, and helps you practice your puck protection. By keeping wide from your body and dropping your arm as a shield you too can create the ultimate resistance training.


Next Jim focuses on how to load your back leg to transfer into a slap shot efficiently. By making sure that you are not only setting yourself up for a goal, but also for your next shot, you will have a better chance of making sure you are in control of the puck. By being in charge of your puck placement you will ensure good agility and be able to roll off checks with a breeze. Watch below as Jim shows how to skate through the shot.


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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.