Barb Underhill: “The sweet spot [of the blade] is under the ball of the foot. Find it and then you’ll ‘pop’”


I needed a genius. So I contacted the Tampa Bay Lightning, for whom Underhill currently works as a skating instructor, and asked them to pass on a message from me. And it wasn’t long before she telephoned, heard me out and amazingly, agreed to give me skating lessons. Pro bono. “I always love a challenge,” she said.
I peeked at Wikipedia. There’s a picture of Underhill where she’s about 15 feet in the air, her body perfectly under control. In person she’s a dynamo, five feet tall and 60 years old, and when she skates she’s effortless. Neither age nor gravity seem to bind her. She moves, man.
The Lightning have won two Stanley Cups with Underhill’s help and advice as an independent contractor. Her star pupil is the great Brayden Point. “For him, it was all about getting him in a balanced position – finding the sweet spot of the blade,” Underhill said. “Once he found it, he just took off.” The sweet spot is under the ball of the foot. Find it and it helps engage the right muscles. Then you’ll “pop.”
I felt certain I was capable of popping.
Alas, Erik Karlsson was not made in three lessons and some bouncing around the house. Boyle himself said he had 27 or 30 hours of lessons over a summer. In Underhill’s eyes, I became a little more fluid. A big improvement, she said. “You, too,” she told Rob.
I can’t say enough about Underhill’s kindness, generosity, teaching skill and patience. Between lessons we spoke and she went over video with me.
Did I pop? Yes, I did – doing crossovers while skating backward on the practice rink. It was not something Underhill and I worked on, though I believe I applied the principles she taught me. In certain daily exercises my core suddenly made its presence known – it didn’t text, it didn’t call, but there it was – and pressing down into the balls of my feet, in a short burst in a game, I surprised one of the young players and beat him to the puck.
His response was to throw me to the ice.


Mayor of Carrot City
It made my morning to see this on the front page of the Globe and Mail! And except for wearing glasses (and hockey skates :lol: ) Barb Underhill looks exactly the same.

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