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How To Stickhandle Like A Pro

Hockey stickhandling is a key skill for a advanced hockey player to learn. By practicing with pucks, balls, and other stickhandling tools a hockey player can increase his time with the hockey puck during a real game.


Since hockey players donít carry the puck for very long at all during the course of a game itís important that you can stickhandle effectively when you have the puck on your stick. In fact, a good stickhandler will be able to carry and hold onto the puck longer than other players making him or her more valuable offensive member of the team. If you work on your stickhandling skills youíll be able to receive, pass, and carry the puck with more control and accuracy due to the hockey skills youíll develop.

When practicing your stickhandling skills itís a good idea to stickhandle in several different positions around your body instead of with your stick just directly in front of yourself. Also, make sure youíre working on both forehand and backhand moves to give your opponents different looks over the game. You should keep your head up at all times when practicing your stickhandling so you get in the habit of doing it during games. It takes a lot of repetition to master stickhandling and you can always practice off the ice with off ice hockey pucks or stickhandling balls.

The best stickhandlers have developed strong hands, wrists, and forearms and make sure they concentrate on these parts of the body when weight training. The use of pylons, chairs, or other types of obstacles will come in handy while practicing stickhandling on your own. These stickhandling obstacles will help teach how to control the puck in close quarters and improve your agility as you stickhandle around or through them. Itís also a good idea to practice while in motion and while standing still because there are times in a hockey game when you may have to beat a player or hold onto the puck while youíre not moving.

The best stickhandlers can handle the puck while at top speed as well as while stationary. However, you need to develop the speed of your stickhandling. To do this, youíll have to make sure you can move your hands freely so you can change their position quickly. There are numerous stickhandling drills to work on, but you wonít be very successful at them if you grip your stick too tightly. If your grip is too stiff the puck will usually bounce off the stickís blade when youíre trying to receive a pass or control it.

Soft hands are needed so you can cushion and cradle the puck. A great way to practice this is to stickhandle with an egg and try not to break its shell. You also have to keep your stick on the ice at all times and remember that your bottom hand is used for passing and shooting while your top hand is used to maneuver the puck. When stickhandling itís a good idea to keep your hands about 12 inches apart for a proper grip.

Some of the most common stickhandling drills and maneuvers include the toe-drag, lateral reach, figure eight, box drill, and weave drill. If you practice a variety of different drills youíll learn how to stickhandle in all types of situations in any area of the ice as you weave in and out of traffic. You can do this if you have the skill to change direction and speed at any time while in control of the puck while not having to look down at it. Players who have to look down while stickhandling are leaving themselves open for a big hit or potentially missing out on a wide open passing opportunity.

The good thing about learning how to stickhandle like a pro, is that you can practice just about anywhere you have enough space. Many hockey players grew up stickhandling with roller hockey pucks, off ice hockey pucks, hockey balls, and golf balls in their basements, driveways, or back alleys etc. There are also some training tools that can be used such as hockey slide boards. With a slide board, you can practice stickhandling with the best off ice hockey puck while mimicking your skating motion on the boardís slick surface.

You can practice stickhandling all you like, but if you want to stickhandle like a pro itís important that youíre using the right type and size of hockey stick. This means you need to be comfortable with the material, length, weight, flex, lie, and curve of the stick. The only person who can really tell you which stick is the best for stickhandling is you, as choosing a hockey stick is a personal preference.

Many good stickhandlers prefer to use shorter sticks, but there are also those who swear by longer models. You have to be comfortable with your choice since the stick is really an extension of your arms. When youíve selected a hockey stick, itís a good idea to practice using it with an off ice puck to get used to the feel. Itís also a good idea to practice your skills from a variety of angles as this will help improve your puck control, speed and dexterity as a puck handler.

By practicing on the ice and with off ice hockey pucks youíll soon find that stickhandling will come naturally to you. This will help you be as effective as possible for the short time the puck is on your stick during a game. And remember, always keep your head up and your stick on the ice.

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Thor is a former College hockey player that now concentrates on helping youth hockey players develop into responsible young adults. This content is meant to help increase the stickhandling skills for all ages of hockey player.

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