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10 Great Tips to Improve Your Stickhandling Skills

Hockey Tips

Find out how to make the time you spend noodling around with a stick and puck more productive. This excerpt from the new e-book The Complete Guide to Stickhandling by Coach Jeremy of showcases the book’s detailed stickhandling tips designed to help you score more goals! You also get a video of 20 drills and a worksheet to track your practice.

  1. Your top hand should do most of the work. Beginners tend to use their bottom hand too much and it ends up with choppy stickhandling. Your top hand should be doing most of the work when it comes to moving the puck and pulling moves; your bottom hand is there for support.
  2. Don’t hold the stick too tight. Your bottom hand should have a nice loose grip most of the time so the shaft can slide through, allowing the stick to move closer (or further away) from your body.
  3. Protect the puck. If you see a defender coming to you, move the puck to the other side of your body and block them from getting it. You can use your feet, hips, leg, arm, back of your hand and body to separate the puck from opposing players.
  4. Keep your shoulders and arms loose. Your shoulders and arms should move freely to enable maximum range of motion. Loosen up those shoulders and move the puck around your body.
  5. Move the puck around your ENTIRE body. Beginners control the puck in front of them—pros can control the puck anywhere around their body.
  6. Practice your reach. To keep the puck you need to keep it away from the defenders. By simply moving the puck from one side of your body to the other side, you can gain 5 to 15 feet of separation.
  7. Keep the puck moving. Practice “soft hands” and dribbling the puck so that the puck is almost always moving. By keeping the puck moving you are keeping the opponent thinking and guessing—so they will never know when you are going to pull a move on them, shoot the puck or pass.
  8. Practice with your head up. If you have your head down you will miss passes, miss plays or end up laid out on the ice. With practice you can develop a sixth sense and know where the puck is on your blade without looking at it. If you practice with your head down, you will play with your head down. Make sure you are not staring at the puck when you practice.
  9. Make your off-ice practice as game-like as possible. Hockey is played with a puck on the ice. If you use a ball on cement you will need to adjust a lot to adapt the skills you learn off the ice to the real game. I recommend a nice smooth surface and the Green Biscuit to make your training more game-like.
  10. Practice A LOT. Your muscles have memory, and if you practice enough they can perform things automatically just like tying your shoes or walking. Before you start practicing, you need to know WHAT to practice and HOW to practice.