Balance starts with the basic stance, or “ready” position. This is the starting position for many of the basic skating skills. In the forward stance, the player’s feet should be shoulder width apart with the toes pointing slightly outward. Knees and ankles are flexed at approximately 45 degrees. The upper body leans slightly forward with the weight on the balls of the feet. Make sure the head is up and eyes are looking forward. With the stick held in both hands, the blade should lie flat on the ice and slightly to the side of the body.