“YOU CANNOT SKATE AS FAST AS YOU CAN PASS.” Coaches say that all the time. And what they mean is, no matter how fast you skate with the puck, the puck travels faster on its own—after a nice, crisp, firm pass. (In fact, it probably moves faster than you can skate after a crummy pass.) Since passing is so key to a team sport like ice hockey, you can’t practice making accurate, well-timed passes enough. Fortunately, it’s easy to practice your passing off ice.
“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” —Wayne Gretzky
Accuracy…I want to practice my passing at home, but I don’t have anyone to pass to because nobody in my family or neighborhood plays hockey. Any ideas? What you need is a puck rebounder, which is basically a rubberband attached to a shooting pad. You have various options, some of which are attached to or come with a shooting pad. You can practice passing over and over without chasing down pucks or listening to complaints from a pass recipient. Options include:
Agility…How can my daughter practice catching passes—whether hard or soft, accurate or wild—without being at the rink all the time? Ever heard a coach say, “It’s your job to make the good pass. It’s the other guy’s responsibility to catch it”? Obviously, though, you are often that other guy—and you have to catch the pass whether it’s a good one or not. So how can you practice everything from that beautiful tape-to-tape pass to the wild thing you need to dive for? Options include:
Power…My son’s passes are super accurate but not hard enough to make their destination. How can he increase his passing strength? Strong hands are key to passing, stickhandling and shooting—all the essentials of hockey except for skating. (And hey, you need strong hands to tie those skates!) To increase hand strength and make stronger passes, try: