TAMPA – When you’re the best of the best it’s easy to forget the basics.
It’s why Lightning players make it a priority to take advantage of skating advice from Tracy Tutton and Barb Underhill, two coaches who have spent the last 10 years or so working with players across the NHL on their skating techniques.
The coaches visited with the players over the last couple of weeks, including Saturday. Together, they have helped Tampa Bay’s sharpest athletes perfect their most basic skills.
Ryan Callahan likes to focus on his balance and power coming out of his turns. He said it’s not as much hard work as it is little reminders on the things that need to be critiqued. The veteran forward also said repetition is a key component.
“Their knowledge is so good that you have to go out there and get help from them,” Callahan said. “It reminds you what to do and then going into a practice you can implement that and work on that.”
The fact that the coaches use iPads to immediately show the players what they’re doing wrong and then explain how it should be done is also helpful. Callahan likes the fact that the coaches can use side-by-side videos of them next to a player doing a specific maneuver correctly and draw angles where the players should be.
“That’s impressive how you can see everything right there,” he chuckled. “It’s a lot easier to get the concept when you can see it visually."
Danick Martel is another player that has focused in on the teachings both coaches offer. He said the game is so quick now that it’s important to work on things like turning and explosiveness, two things he has been working on a lot over the last two weeks.
“We always want to get better,” the young forward said. “It helps your game, your mental and your abilities.”
Contact Mari Faiello at [email protected]. Follow @faiello_mari.