August 2nd, 2017
HockeyShot Pro Tip of the Week
Do you want to be as smooth as Connor McDavid, or control the play like Sidney Crosby? Consider these next stick-handling techniques and your game will elevate to the next level. As a young hockey player, most coaches will tell you to keep your head up, and this is very true. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t always sneak a peek at the puck. In fact, if you can understand and differentiate the times when you can and can’t look at the puck, this will allow you to become an elite stick-handler. You might ask yourself, well when don’t I look at the puck? This is largely the case when you are skating up the ice. As a hockey player, you need to be able to read and react, and skate to open ice. However, when it comes to executing a difficult deke or dangle, this would be a time where taking a glance at the puck will absolutely help. Keep in mind, before you take a glance down at the puck, you need to be aware of your surroundings. You don’t want to come across the middle of the ice with your head down and have the opposing defenseman step up to clean your clock, sending your jockstrap into the rafters.
When it comes to stick-handling, you want to be comfortable with the puck, becoming familiar with how it feels on the blade of your stick. As you become more and more comfortable, try stick-handling with your head up. Just because your head is up does not necessarily mean you cannot see the puck. In fact, if you have the puck in your sweet spot, meaning out in front of you with your arms extended slightly. You will be able to see the puck in your peripheral vision. This will enable you to stick-handle effectively, while skating up ice.
To become more comfortable with stick-handling, it’s important to practice moving at all positions around your body. For example, you can begin by stick-handling on your forehand or strong side, then move your arms across your body and continue to stick-handle on your other side. Another way that will elevate your puck control, is to stick-handle in place, then move your feet and body around the puck.
Practicing is never about being better than someone else… It’s about being better than you were yesterday. Just by following these simple stick-handling techniques, you will become more and more comfortable with the puck, giving you the confidence to go on that end-to- end rush like Trevor Daley or PK Subban!
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