Friday, January 7, 2011

Stick Handling Tips and Drills

Stick Handling Tips and Drills

One of the most important stickhandlings basics is to always keep your head up. You've got to be able to be aware of what's happening around you on the ice without looking at the puck. If you're staring at the puck while stickhandling, you're likely to be checked by somebody you didn't even know was near you.

A second tip in stickhandling is to use 'soft hands'. What this means is to not grip the stick too tightly. Try to control the puck gently so you don't over handle it. Think of the puck as an egg, and try not to break the shell.

The shorter your stick, the easier it will be to bring your upper arm across your you body. Your stick should be around chin level when on skates, or nose level when off the ice.

When practicing your stickhandling, try to reach out as far as possible with the puck on both sides of your body. Try to use just your upper hand on your backhand side. This will help you when trying to maneuver around other players on the ice.

Breakout Drills DVD

Breakouts are necessary to create the dangerous 2-on-1 plays. Mark Carlson, the USHL's Coach of the Year in 2004-05, covers the key breakout ingredients - quick, move the puck, timing, talking, read pressure and maintain puck support - in these hockey drills.
Details include getting to the puck quickly, check shoulder, not handling the puck, forwards in position and support of the puck. The defense drill uses only the defensemen in a 2-on-2 alignment.
The next drill involves one defenseman and one forward and can be run out of both ends. The Mohawk Turn is a skill used in this drill where the player's chest is facing middle rink, ready to receive a pass.
Breakout options include adding two defensemen with two forwards at both ends. Other drills focus on support and positioning, reading pressure in the neutral zone and reading pressure in breakouts. These hockey drills are fundamental in nature and rely on many small details to assure execution.

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