One of my favorite skating drills to help hockey players improve on / develop their balance, edge control and knee bend is sculling. What is sculling? Sculling is a forward edge control skating technique.
Sculling can be practiced by pushing off with the inside edge of either skate blade. It’s important to be in a good hockey stance – head up, stick on the ice, two hands on the stick with a deep knee bend.
Keep both blades on the ice and alternate the pushing – combine a left skate scull, then a right foot scull, alternating as you move down the ice. Begin at one end of the rink and push by making a C-cut with either blade to start movement forward. Focus on the deep knee bend and maintain it throughout the drill.
This can be a very effective skating technique in a game. Rather than striding and gliding – push down on the inside edges and keep both blades on the ice. It can improve the effectiveness of your gliding in a game. For example, sculling can help you maintain and increase your speed as you drive to the net with the puck from the outside to inside on a defenseman. Also, sculling can improve the strength of your forward cross-over / glide turn when you push on the outside skate inside edge and cross-over the inside leg with the outside skate.
Good sculling can help take your skating ability to a higher level. It can result in practically effortless skating – where a skater uses less energy but maintians good speed. Paul Coffey was very skilled in this area of skating while rushing the puck from behind his net. Today, Sidney Crosby is one of the best at sculling. Crosby will often protect the puck and create scoring opportunities by maintaining his skating speed by sculling on his outside skate and go around his opponents.