Backward Skating Drill
Backward Skating Drill

Hockey: Backward Skating Stick Drill

Dick Moss, Editor

When skating backwards, the propulsion leg makes a reverse “C-cut,” in which it pushes off the skate's inside edge and traces a semi-circle as it pushes away, then returns to a point beneath the body. It then becomes the glide leg as the opposite leg performs a C-cut. At no point does either skate leave the ice.

Since the fastest way to travel between two points is in a straight line, the gliding leg, which steers the skater, should travel straight backwards on the  flat of the skate blade.

However, gliding straight backwards is difficult for beginners because the natural tendency is for the glide leg to mimic the movement of the propulsion leg. This produces a slower, snake-like path down the ice.

The following drill will teach your students to separate the movements of the two legs for a straight glide when skating backwards.

Follow-the Stick Drill
Instruct your students to stand beside a hockey stick and skate backwards down the length of the stick, making a single C-cut with the outside leg and gliding parallel to the stick with the inside leg.

Other Points

  • Once your students have mastered this drill with both legs, you can place a second stick behind and to the left of the first stick, and have students take a second backwards stride, C-cutting with the right leg and gliding down the new stick with the left leg.
  • In actual play, the glide leg will not follow a true backward path. Rather, it assumes a slightly curved path (as the glide leg does when skating forward). However, when learning, it's best to try for a straight-backward glide.


  1. Laura Stamm, Laura Stamm's Power Skating (2nd Edition), Human Kinetics Publishers, 1989.
  2. Bob Swope, Teach'n Beginning Defensive Ice Hockey Drills, Plays, and Games Free Flow Handbook (Series 5 Teaching Beginning FF Books) [Kindle Edition],  Jacobob Press, 2013.



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