Home > Equipment > Slide in Roller Hockey With Slippery Tape

Slide in Roller Hockey With Slippery Tape

The biggest difference between an ice hockey goaltender and a roller hockey one has to do with physics. There is less surface tension and friction on ice, so an ice hockey goalie can easily slide from side to side in their crease. In roller hockey if a goalie attempts the same slide, their pads will stick to the playing surface and go nowhere. There are several modifications you can make on your leg pads to be able to create a decent amount of slide. You can install plastic slide plates, use velcro, get leg pads with plates pre-installed, or use slippery tape.

After researching the various techniques to increase sliding for roller hockey I decided to go with the slippery tape approach. The other methods required cutting and sewing into your leg pads and with how much they cost to replace, I did not want to take a chance and damage them. On top of that, slippery tape costs a lot less and takes less time to install. So what is slippery tape? It actually is used in the woodworking industry to stop drawers and other pieces of furniture from sticking together.

I purchased several rolls of UHMW Slick Tape made by Peachtree Woodworking. The thickness of the tape is 0.015″ and is 3″ wide. You do not want the tape to be too thick, otherwise it will not bend as your leg pads flex. Also, the wider you can get the better since it reduces the amount of tape you need to purchase and covers more area faster. For my first attempt at installing slippery tape I bought two rolls, but I suggest you buy three since chances are you might make a few mistakes.

Once you get the tape the first thing you want to do is clean the areas where you want to apply the tape. Pretty much any section of your pads that come in contact with the rink surface when in butterfly needs tape. I used a little bit of rubbing alcohol to get off the caked on dirt and dust, then went over the same area with a wet cloth, and finally dried it off with another cloth.

I started with the knee-stack and needed two pieces of the 3″ wide tape to cover the area. I had to cut the tape and shape it to fit the rounded edges. You will find that certain areas that do not flex that much can handle a larger, solid piece of tape. For corners and parts of your pads that bend a lot or get compressed easily under weight, I’d recommend cutting your strips smaller. For rounded areas I found that by cutting the strips on an angle the tape wraps around easily without causing folds. Next I did the calf area followed by the thin rounded area that runs up the length of the pad. I finished in the boot area covering any spot where I saw some wear, especially near the bottom.

Over time some corners of the tape will come up causing dirt and dust to get trapped. Using a small army or x-acto knife will help you cut away the damaged tape. After four months of use I had to replace a few strips, but overall most of the original tape is still on my pads. Speaking with other goalies who use slippery tape they do not have any problem keeping the tape on their leg pads when they place ice. Also, as long as you take your time peeling the tape off there will be no damage to your leg pads. If there is any glue residue left over some rubbing alcohol will do the trick in removing it.

Once you have the tape installed it is time to test it out. I ended up using the linoleum floor in my bathroom. I dropped down into a butterfly position and propped up one foot to do a butterfly slide off the carpet where it met the linoleum. I slide right across the room into the cabinets! Testing it out on a rink was like night versus day. There is clearly a difference between having the slippery tape and not having it.

You are not going to get that powerful and long distance slide as you would on ice. However, kick saves are effortless and you can move your leg almost the same speed as you would on ice. I am now able to get across more often than not for cross-rink passes and if I hit my cowling just right I get a pretty decent slide.

Just be careful when you first start testing the tape out because if you have played roller your whole career the lack of friction is going to throw you off. One of my goalie friends informed me about this and said that when dropping down into butterfly your legs might slip and fly behind you or as you slide you might slide too much and over extend your leg. So take it easy in the beginning, otherwise you might end up looking silly or worse tear a muscle.

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  1. Justin
    May 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve been looking into putting slide pads on (play inline puck and dek) but really didn’t want to drill holes in the face of the pad. This looks like a pretty good option, and the plastic plates I was gonna use was same material. And I feel your pain, literally, with the injury. I did the same injury between my core workout or playing net. It didn’t hurt until the next day, but sounds the same to me and has been awhile. ” Fortunately” I stress fractured my foot playing a few weeks later and have been laid up till this week, so I got some rest. keep your head up

    • jkassay
      May 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

      I’m glad the info on the slippery tape will help. Sorry to hear about your injuries. I guess in a strange way it was good you got the stress fracture. Otherwise, you might have damaged your core muscles even more. I am about 6 weeks into the recovery process and it is getting better, but very slowly. Here’s to a speedy recovery for both of us!

  2. Eileen
    October 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Question. I play outdoors on sealed concrete. Will the tape work on that as well?

    • jkassay
      October 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      The tape will probably not hold up as well as on sports court, but since it is sealed concrete it should not make major gashes. Most likely you will have to replace and repair it more frequently.

  3. January 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Hi, can you please send me (kevinflanagan77@yahoo.com) a pic of your pads that you used the tape on? I have used goalerone covers for years but I am always looking for something better. Thanks.

    • jkassay
      February 20, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Hi. Sorry for the delay. I will have pictures uploaded shortly.

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