At Source For Sports we take your game seriously. The Precision Balance Skate Sharpening and Contouring System can elevate your performance and your game.
What is Precision Balance Skate Sharpening?
Precision Balance is a method of sharpening that will enhance your skating ability and performance on the ice. Speed, Power, Balance and Stability, the critical elements of skating, can be affected as a result of precise sharpening and contouring.
Skate blades are not flat. A hollow or ‘U’ shape is ground into the blade to create a right and left edge. When sharpening, the grinding wheel removes steel from the centre of the blade, creating a hollow in the blade. The radius of hollow (ROH) determines the sharpness of the blade. The deeper the hollow or U shape, the sharper a skate feels. The following are common sharpening measurements in order of deepest to shallow: 1/4, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 5/8.
A sharper skate will give you more bite but less glide.
Your type of game, skating style, and weight will determine the proper radius for you. Hollow determines whether the blade slides over the ice (glide), or digs deep into the ice (grip). A deeper hollow will give you more bite into the ice for tighter turns and quicker acceleration, but will impact speed because your edges are digging deeper into the ice causing increased friction. A shallow hollow gives you greater glide and speed causing less fatigue, but less bite for maneuverability.
Flat Bottom V
Rather than being a ‘U’ Shape hollow, the FBV has a flat bottom and ‘V’ shaped sides. This shape allows the skate more bite without sacrificing the ability to glide. Because the blade does not penetrate the ice as deeply, there is less chance of catching an edge, reducing the chances of falling during transitions for less experienced or less skilled skaters. There is also reduction of the twisting forces applied to knees, which means less wear and tear on the joints.
This is a process that brings the blade back to a flat reference. It is a technique that is used to remove damage done to the blade such as nicks or poor levels.
Precision Balance Sharpening addresses all of the inherent variables that affect the skate blade so that a better quality sharpening can be achieved. Blade thickness, for example,can reduce the bite angle of your blade and can ultimately cause slippage while your leg is at full extension during the skating stride.
A Precision Balance Sharpening Delivers:
- Proper radius of hollow that is centred on the blade
- Smooth square edges
- A quality finish
What is Precision Balance Contouring?
Also referred to as ‘Rockering’, contouring is the actual shaping of the blade. This allows different lengths of the blade making contact with the ice. The more contact with the ice, the greater amount of glide. The lesser amount of contact creates the ability to turn sharper (smaller radius). The goal is to create a balance between glide and turning radius, custom designed for the individual skater. Examples of common radius measurements, from the most amount of glide (or contact) to the least (or sharpest turning radius), are 13’, 11’, 9’, 7’.
Precision Balance contouring is a process of transferring the mechanical points of the foot directly to the skate blade. Contouring is the process of controlling the “APEX” of the blade radius through a machining process. This enables the skate technician to control the amount of knee bend as well as the position the body in the proper location over the skate blades, thus, affecting the body’s balance and power generation.
Our personalized analysis system enables the technician to establish the correct “radius” and “lie” required prior to performing any machine work.
- Age, height and weight
- Arm length in relation to the shoulder to floor distance
- Leg shape – knock kneed, straight or bowed out
- Foot position while walking – toed in, toed out or straight
- Position played
- Brand of skate used
Benefits of Precision Balance Contoured Skates:
- Injury reduction
- Controlled leg extension
- Increased stability
- Increased lateral movement
- Increased power
- Reduced fatigue
- Improved balance
- Increased agility
- Increased speed
Why Consider Contouring Skates At All?
Skates are very generic in design and have many inherent variables, which can affect efficiency and performance. It is not feasible to expect that a manufacturer could build a skate that is exactly right for every individual’s requirements.
The Precision Balance system of transferring the mechanical point of the foot directly to the skate blade eliminates the most common variable present on skates today. This area is the inconsistent installation location of the holder and blade assemblies on the sole plate of the skate.
What Effect Does This Have On The Body?
A skate blade has a radius, which runs from the front to the back. If one blade assembly is mounted further ahead on the sole plate (or boot) than the other, numerous things happen. The apex or high points of the blades are in different locations under each foot. This causes balance problems and also forces the skater to be back on their heels. This means that the skater must overpower the skate in order to have knee bend and to drive off the big toe. This also induces fatigue much sooner.
Pelvic misalignment can also be induced when on blade is mounted ahead of the other: remember that the body is standing on a piece of radiused steel with all the weight being applied at only one end. The blade that is mounted further than the other blade will roll back into the rear radius further than the other blade. This created misalignment as the actual height of the soleplate from the ice is reduced in relation to the other skate.
The body as it was designed was only meant to propel itself in a forward direction with any degree of efficiency.
Skating involves completely different mechanics, as the body was not designed to propel itself on rigid foot beds with radiused steel beneath.
To propel the body in skating the foot must be abducted (moved away from the body) which is produced through external rotation of the hips. (This also explains why women have better lateral movement than men.) While skating the skate and the body actually move in opposite directions. Power, control and efficiency are determined by the stance that the body has over the skate blades and is completely controlled by the layout and configuration of the blades.
How is Balance Achieved?
The work radius must be located within the parameters of the mechanical points of the foot and the apex of the blade must also be properly positioned within the work radius in order for the weight to be distributed properly.
The body’s weight enters the boot through the tibia. If machined properly, the arch of the foot will transfer and distribute the weight evenly between the ball of the foot and the heel. This allows the foot to contact the ice on the centre of the blade and to drive off the big toe creating power. If the rear radius passes the balance point of the body and creeps up into the work radius, gravity will take over forcing all the body’s weight onto the heels.
How is Power Produced?
Power is produced through controlled knee bend which produces positive draw on the Achilles tendon. This is achieved by changing the pitch or ‘lie’ of the skate. More ‘lie’ equals more knee bend, which produces more power. Prior analysis determines the correct ‘lie’ for each individual before any machining is performed.
What Are The Most Common Signs That Contouring is Required?
- Short, choppy strides (player's feet are going a mile-a-minute, yet there is not much speed)
- Poor balance (excessive falling during pivots, cornering or without any outside assistance)
- When hit, usually falls backwards
- Loses battles along the boards and in the corners
- Uncontrolled, excessive height on snap shots and slap shots
- Weak backhand shots
- Cannot find a stick with proper feeling ‘lie’
- Lower back pain (usually on one side only), aching knees and / or sore groin
- Fatigues quickly
- The tendon guards on the skates are broken down (they should remain stiff for the life of the skate)
- Excessive wear in the heel area of the boot (blisters or sore heels)
Additional Benefits of Precision Balance Skate Sharpening and Contouring:
- Improved edge control
- Improved acceleration
- Improved speed and agility
- Improved confidence allows player to attack smaller spaces
- Regain and recover balance quicker