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Transitioning From Ball to Ice


ilyazhito
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Hi folks, my name is Ilya. I'm a current ball hockey goalie in the DC area looking to make the transition to ice hockey. I am a 27-year-old man with limited skating experience, and I've done my homework on options in the area. I've been in touch with the local HNA program, and they told me they'll have a goalie coach at the Hockey North America School in January! I'm really stoked for that. I'm also getting fitted for skates and pads later this week. I can't wait to hit the ice, practice my skating, and learn goalie movements. Hopefully I'll be well equipped to make saves when the HNA school starts. 

I would like to learn more about how some of y'all started playing goal as adults and what your experience was with learning both skating and how to play goalie. Was it a more linear sequence from learn to skate, then stick time/learn to play, then actual games, or did you combine steps? Did you get private lessons to supplement learn to skate/learn to play?  At what stage did you start learning goalie-specific movements? Are there any tips and tricks to remember in coming over from ball to ice? 

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Hello!

Not apples to apples, but I was an inline ball hockey goalie from 8-10 years old and inline roller-puck goalie from 10-15 before giving it up for 10 years.  Never taught how to play, just emulated my heroes Hasek, Roy, Belfour, Brodeur, and whoever else I could catch on the local stations.  Dove into people's legs on breakaway, all the parents would gasp.  Life was good.  Also had zero coaching and parents knew nothing, so I wore sweatpants, t-shirt, socks, skates, leg pads, a baseball catcher's chest protector, glove, blocker, maks and jersey.   That's it.  I had a period where school was calling home due to all the bruises on my arms and thighs. 

Started back up in inline puck when i was 25, found the GSBB forum (gone now, but similar to this site, just missing all that lost knowledge, this one gets better by the day though!), integrated butterfly to my style, and at 28, said I want to try ice like you now.  I read a lot and was "self-taught", using the GSBB and FuturePro Goalie school's free goaltending manual as curriculum (thanks Keeks!).  Gave up inline 6 years ago when I moved away from all the inline rinks.  At 38 now, all i play is ice and it's awesome.  Went to a few stick and pucks to start, then subbed a few games.  All downhill from there.  If you can inline skate, you can ice skate.  They're not close to exact, but it's very similar.  Get your skates sharp (I do 3/8ths).  There's still a lot of old school shops out there that'll tell you, "you need a goalie cut 3/4" or 1" ", and you'll get zero bite required to play today's game.  But if you wanna be a stand-up old school goalie, then go that route.  In my opinion.  An observation: As a ball hockey goalie, everyone can shoot it hard and fast.  Ball hockey is ridiculous in that the ball can curve around past you and into the net lol.  You'll have none of that in ice.  Not everyone can shoot it hard and fast.  The good players can, but I will bet that if your tracking is decent in ball, you're going to find that the puck flies in at you slower, on average, than what you are used to.  This is a huge advantage starting off.  Keep your angles and depth right, and you'll be in a great starting position.  Make sure your equipment (especially mask) will protect you. Balls sting, ice pucks will break or kill you.  And sting.  Knee pads, throat/clav protector and good cup may not have been worn for ball.  Get them for ice.  Also it gets chilly on the ice so what you wear underneath for ball may not be enough.  That's a wall o' text, sorry!  Hope you can get out there and enjoy getting into it!

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That make sense. What sort of base layers do you wear for ice?

About equipment, I'm getting knee pads, a neck protector, legal pads and an upgraded chesty. I have an old Vaughn Vision 9400 that looks like it's falling apart (the collar area is worn and the washers used to secure the elbow pad cups are almost all gone). My Itech mask has an attached dangler, so I think that's good to go for ice. I'll have to see if my stick fits me with skates on as it does on foot. If not, I'll look at sticks too, and get two. My cup is a Vaughn Vision goalie double jock. I'll see how long it holds up, and replace it as needed. 

Thanks also for the advice on keeping skates sharp. I'll do that. I've read that once every 10 hours of skating was the optimum amount of time to sharpen. 

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As everyone is so different(playing barefoot? Lol, tried it, not for me), I would just go with what you're comfortable with and adjust when you find something uncomfortable.  I ditched anything cotton or that would retain a lot of water for the synthetic moisture wicking materials a few years into restarting.  Much better for me.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Update: First few ice lessons have been great. My ball hockey training has been very helpful in terms of learning to make saves. I've learned shuffles, and am now trying to master them. I'm also learning T-pushes and butterfly slides now. Rollerfly sliders have helped me learn slides for ball hockey, so it's not completely alien. Still, getting a good push off my back skate will help master butterfly slides.

I've also learned C-cuts, forward turns, and backwards turns, and can now challenge shooters and retreat on breakaways. Post integration is a work in progress. More things learned, more things to work on. I'll need to learn VH on skates and/or RVH to be able to effectively hug the post from the butterfly position. 

 

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