IN MOST ASPECTS OF SPORTS, HAND-EYE COORDINATION IS KEY . But with stickhandling, the key is to keep control of the puck while not looking at it—because that means your head is down and you’re in danger of getting checked. Plus, you need to be able to control the puck anywhere within your reach—not just when it’s right in front of you. Fortunately, stickhandling is one of the easiest things to practice off-ice. Remember, if you can’t keep control of the puck with your stickhandling, you have no hope of passing and scoring.
“I don’t like my hockey sticks touching other sticks, and I don’t like them crossing one another, and I kind of have them hidden in the corner. I put baby powder on the ends. I think it’s essentially a matter of taking care of what takes care of you” —Wayne Gretzky
Practice…How do you practice stickhandling off-ice? Can you really get the feel of a puck on ice? Stickhandling is one of the easiest skills to practice off-ice—because you have so many options. You can work on your strength, reflexes and agility inside or outside, on carpet, tile or a shooting surface. Options include:
Anywhere, Anytime…I like to practice my stickhandling whenever I have time, whether I’m at home, in my dorm room, or in a parking lot between tournament games. Any recommendations for stickhandling pucks and balls on various surfaces? HockeyShot offers plenty of options to give you the feel of a puck on various surfaces. (It’s up to you, of course, to see if the option you choose ends up scratching your mom’s wood floors or marking up her white tile.) Options include:
Agility…My son is a great stickhandler—when he’s alone. How can he practice stickhandling through traffic? Try the SweetHands Stickhandling Hockey Trainer, on- or off-ice, or the Attack Triangle. Both offer obstacles to maneuver around. You can use these on any surface with almost any stickhandling ball or puck.