Many minor and adult players as well as minor parents, who lace up their kids skates, often do not realize the importance that ankle flex plays in skating.
Skates are often laced incorrectly. Also, players and parents have the bad habit of wrapping laces and tape around the skater’s ankles. The skates should support the feet, not act as a cast and inhibit good movement. Wrapping the laces and sock tape around the ankles should be avoided.
Wrapping the ankles inhibits the foot mobility needed for proper edging on the ice. Also, when forward striding to obtain maximum efficiency, it is important to begin extension from the hip through the knee, ankle joint to the toe when performing a stride. If there’s no ankle flex, a skater doesn’t have a complete and efficient stride.
For good skating performance, lacing up one’s skates properly is a top priority prior to stepping on the ice. Good lacing will firmly support a player’s feet while allowing the player to comfortably roll his or her ankles and skates inward and outward without restriction.
Unfortunately, many skaters over tighten their laces; this limits foot mobility. Boots laced too tightly may cut into a player’s flesh and a player will experience uncomfortable lace burn on the front area of their foot. If the laces are too tight at the top, bending your knees and ankles becomes difficult. In addition, circulation to the feet may be cut off, causing numbness and foot cramps.
The toe area and the area high above the ankles should be tied so they are moderately snug or even on the loose side. The tightest area of lacing should be from a point above the ball of the foot back to a point just above the ankle bone i.e. the top 2 or 3 eyelets. This is where the most support is required. Some players choose not to lace the top eyelets at all especially if their new pair skates are really stiff.
In conclusion, if you make sure you have better ankle flex; you will enhance your skating performance especially with the edges and forward striding aspects of skating.