The rules for forward balance on two skates also apply to backward balance; however, when skating backward, your body weight must be on the front halves (middle to front) of the blades-but not on the curved toes. Do not lean back. If your weight is over or behind the heels, you may fall over backward.
When gliding slowly forward or backward (i.e., to wait for a play or pass), keep the skates somewhat wider apart than your shoulders, with your knees flexed and both skates on the inside edges (figure 2.4). This stance provides excellent stability and thus is called the ready or stable position. You are prepared to move laterally, fake, check, or take a check. You are also prepared to push off and skate straight forward or straight backward. All you need to do is shift your weight onto the pushing skate and thrust off.
The more you dig in the inside edges and bend your knees, the more traction you will get into the ice, and the more stable you will be. If you are about to be checked and do not have time to do anything else, widen your stance, dig in the inside edges, and bend your knees as much as possible. In this position, you’ll be much tougher to knock down.
Goalies almost always stand on the inside edges. Having good balance on the inside edges and knowing how to use these edges are extremely important skills for netminders.
Note: When a player is in the ready position, even minimal use of the inside edges is more beneficial than being on the flats of the blades.