Hockey Stickhandling Tips Every Hockey Player should know
Stick handling is one of the most important fundamental skills in hockey. You need good stick handling skills to play heads up hockey, to take and maintain possession of the puck, to win face-offs, to receive and make passes and to shoot the puck.All the great puck carriers, great passers and great shooters can stick handle, position and shoot or pass the puck with their head up; this requires a lot of focused repetitive training. Because stick handling is such an integral part of hockey, stick handling should be one of the first things that a player learns and practices.
Hockey players can practice stick handling both on and off the ice. The important thing, especially for young players, is simply to have a stick in their hands and play with a puck. Street hockey games are a great way to develop stick handling skills but a player should also practice stick handling alone to focus on his technique and to learn new skills.
Stick handling can be practiced off the ice in your basement, garage or in your driveway. You can use a ball (tennis, golf or roller hockey) but a puck provides a better simulation. The more the puck and stick slide on the surface, the better it is for stick handling.
First, stick handle with your eyes fixed on the puck. Move the puck within a 12 to 18 inch span using a back and forth soft sweeping motion. Develop a comfortable rhythm, do not over handle the puck There should be very little impact and almost no sound.
Practice side-to-side dribble, forward-to-backward dribble and diagonal dribbling. Master stick handling in a stationary position and then practice stick handling while moving forward, sideways and backwards.
Improving Stick Handling
Gradually take your eyes off the puck and fix them on your target or simply stick handle with your eyes closed. Master stick handling in a stationary position and then practice stick handling while moving forward, sideways and backwards. Develop a feel for the position of the dribbled puck. Stick handle the puck close to your feet and with full arm extension. Practice all the stick handling drills taught by your coach on the ice such as the forehand shift, the backhand shift and puck protection.
Set up cones (use 2 liter pop plastic bottles half filled with water) and stick handle through them. Try not to look at the puck and keep count of the number of times you can stick handle through the cones without losing control of the puck. As you make the move around the cones, practice the fake motion for deeking players.
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Shooting is a very important skill to practice on the ice and at home. The only problem is that a lot of players do not have the appropriate area to practice shooting at home. Parents are sometimes worries about the damage that the pucks may cause as this can cost a lot of money.
One solution is to provide an area for a child to practice shooting, and a great product is a shooting tarp also called the Sniper’s Edge.
The Sniper’s Edge is a very big tarp that can be hung in a garage or basement to catch and stop pucks. It was designed to reduce the damage caused by stray pucks and give children and adults a target to shoot at.
$209.95 for the 7′ by 16′ model & $229.95 for the 8′ by 16′ model.
The Sniper’s Edge uses a rubber / plastic type material that appears to be very durable. The tarp also has a goaltender and net painted on to recreate the on-ice situation of shooting on a goaltender. The Sniper’s Edge also features five pockets and a back pouch that will collect pucks. Every time a player gets the puck in the pocket the puck will be collected in the back pouch.
Close Look at the Sniper’s Edge Shooting Tarp
The Sniper’s Edge comes with eyelets at the top and a pocket all along the bottom to insert a rod or dowelling in to help it hang properly. The eyelets appear to be fastened securely on an area of the tarp that has been doubled up and double stiched. To set up the tarp, you just have to use ropes or bungee cords and you can install it in your basement or garage.
The material looks very durable and hey have used double stiching throughout the entire tarp. From the looks of the tarp it can hold up to a lot of pucks.
I couldn’t find any big faults with the product.
Big tarp and fair price for the size you get
Goalie and net printed on the tarp gives the player targets to shoot for
Pockets in the tarp make great targets and makes shooting more fun
A great way to reduce damage
Will encourage kids to shoot the puck more and improve their shots.
Sniper’s Shooting Tarps
The Snipers Edge is a great hockey tool for home use. This hockey tarp is big enough to cover large areas and more importantly protect them. It gives players a chance to practice their shot, while not damaging windows and garage. The Snipers Edge is very easy to install and very durable as well. Let it make a difference in your game today!
The Quickstickz is a training device that was designed to improve your stickhandling at home. As a hockey player it is very important to be able to move the puck quickly. A good way to motivate hockey players to practice is to provide a good training atmosphere, and that is exactly what the Quickstickz does.
Purpose – The purpose of the Quickstickz is to help hockey players improve their stickhandling ability. The best way to improve is a skill is with repetition, a person has to repeat a motion about 10 000 times before they can do it automatically. The Quickstickz has a number of drills that a hockey player can perform to help them perfect quick puck movement, moving the puck around the body, and pulling the puck in towards their body.
Another purpose of the Quickstickz is to train hockey players to stickhandle with their head up. Hockey players must look at the screen to complete the drills, which means they can not stare at the stickhandling ball during the drill.
Testing Out the Quick Stickz Trainer
What you get – The Quickstickz comes with the infrared camera, a stickhandling ball with special reflectors and a short USB cord. In order to install the programs and drivers you simply log onto the Quickstickz website and download the appropriate files.
Setup – The setup was easy, I just plugged the camera into the computer, logged onto the Quickstickz site, then downloaded and installed all the stuff. The camera worked after that but with a few small problems (more on that later)
Using the Quickstickz – When I first tried using the program I browsed through the website and found a few drills to do. I clicked on the drill that I wanted to try and then put the ball under the camera (the camera was about 4 feet off the ground as instructed) The puck on the screen was bouncing all around, and not tracking where the ball was moving. I looked at the instructions and it said that infrared light (from the sun) will interfere with the camera; they were right!
I moved to the basement where there is not much light and did the drills on my laptop, this worked fine, but I would have preferred to be able to do the drills upstairs where my computer is hooked up to my big LCD tv.
Drills – There are a lot of cool drills on the website, they are designed to help you move the puck around your body, dribble the puck (quick movements), keep your head up, and pull the puck in close to your body. All of these skills are essential if you want to own the puck while on the ice. I liked the drills and thought that they were put together nicely.
Lag – I noticed a bit of lag / delay. It seemed like there was a split second delay from when I moved the ball to when it moved on the screen. I was able to adapt to this, and it only really happened when I moved the ball quickly.
I wanted to give this product a raving review but unfortunately there are a few infractions that I could not overlook. The first one is the price, $200 is a bit steep but if your kids uses the product for a while and improves then it is well worth the investment.
The next one is the infrared system, the camera is sensitive to sunlight and if any sunlight is involved the camera freaks out and the puck on the screen will bounce around like a pinball. This means on a nice sunny day, you can’t stick handle in the living room. If you want to use the Quickstickz you can only do it in a low-light room.
The last one is the lag, it was not a huge deal but there was a split delay between me moving the ball, and when the puck moved on the screen.
There were a few things that I really liked about the Quickstickz
Very cool concept.
Easy to install.
Fun to use.
Great for competition between siblings and friends.
The drills are well thought out and will help players improve in a lot of different areas.
Trains players to keep their head up.
QuickStickz Interactive Stickhandling Training System
The most important step in stickhandling is to be able to feel the puck on your stick blade without looking at it. QuickStickz allows you to do exactly that and it makes it so much fun to learn as you proceed through a series of games and challenges.
This weeks featured product is the Attack Triangle. This is a hockey training aid that will help you become more creative and develop new moves. A lot of hockey players will practice stickhandling at home and on the ice, we usually set up a line of pucks or pylons to stickhandle around. The Attack Triangle provides a more game like obstacle.
Purpose – The purpose of the Attack Triangle is to provide a game like obstacle. Using pylons or pucks gives hockey players something to stickhandle around, but the Attack Triangle provides “lanes” like under the stick and through the legs. This obstacle will encourage hockey players to think of and practice new moves and be more creative.
Price – The Attack Triangle sells for $39.95 on HockeyShot.com. The pro model is made for heavier use and will work better on the ice.
What You Get – The Attack Triangle comes in five pieces that easily fit together to form the shape of a players skates and stick. For added re-enforcement you can put in some screws that also come with the Attack Triangle.
How It Works
Who Would Benefit from the Attack Triangle? – This would be a really good training aid to use if you have a few kids that play hockey, or if you have regular backyard hockey games. This can also be used off the ice for ball hockey and off-ice training. If you, or your kids practice stickhandling on a regular basis then the Attack Triangle would be a nice addition to your hockey training aid collection.
Attack Triangle Review
Assembly – It was really easy to put the Attack Triangle together, there were five pieces and each one easily fit together (using male and female ends) if you want to really keep them in place you can use screws, but I just pushed the pieces together so it would be easier to dis-assemble later.
Does it Work – The concept of the Attack triangle is so simple that it would be hard for it not to work. The triangle was fun to use as opposed to a pylon or a row of pucks. The odd time I would hit the Attack Triangle and a piece would come off so I would have to put it back together, I guess I should have installed those screws afterall!
There are not to many things that I could find wrong with the triangle, it is so simple that it is hard to find a fault. The only thing that I could think of is that it sells for $30, you would think that a few plastic pieces would sell for much less.
Easy to assemble and use
Promotes creative thinking and quick thinking during training
Better resembles “lanes” that a puck will need to travel through on the ice
Creates a more game-like environment for off-ice training
Will encourage players to think of new moves and try more creative moves during practice
Attack Triangle Pro
The interactive Attack Triangle is designed to challenge players by replicating the positioning of an opponents skates and stick. The Attack Triangle forces players to develop puck movement skills.
Increasing hockey speed is a never-ending pursuit for most hockey players…or at least it should be!!
SQUAT FOR LEG STRENGTH
This video shows the main key points for executing a proper squat. Squats are a great exercise to increase overall leg strength!
Today’s game is much different than it used to be. The crack-down on "clutch-and-gra" hockey has really opened up the ice for the skilled athlete. We are seeing an exciting shift toward a high-speed, quick-paced game of skill and finesse… one in which slower athletes are being left behind… LITERALLY!
Any smart hockey player should recognize this change in the game, and should be constantly striving to increase his or her hockey speed. But in order to do that, you must first understand what makes a fast hockey player.
Hockey speed is composed of Technical Elements, and Physical Elements. Or in other words: On-ice Components, and Off-ice Components.
The on-ice components are things your skating instructor should be able to help you with such as utilizing a proper knee bend, obtaining a full extension on each stride, eliminating "head-bobbing," striding at the proper angle, using your edges properly, etc…
The on-ice elements MUST be perfected in order to achieve optimal speed. However, there are three main off-ice components every player should develop that will GREATLY ENHANCE his or her ability to generate speed on the ice.
The three main off-ice components are as follows:
Agility & Footspeed
Increasing leg strength will allow for deeper knee bends, which make for longer and more efficient strides. It will also help to improve balance and stability in battling and checking situations.
Becoming more explosive will improve that quick burst of speed, and allow you to win more races to loose pucks. Races are won or lost in those first three strides!
Improving Agility and footspeed will allow you to take more strides in a shorter period of time. This, combined with an increased stride length, will complete your speed equation–allowing you to take a greater number of longer strides.
There are many ways to improve on these three main off-ice components. Here are three exercises that I think should be included in any solid hockey training program:
PLYO BOX ROUTINE (AND VARIATION) FOR EXPLOSIVENESS
The first video explains what plyometrics are, how plyometric training can contribute to increased hockey speed, and shows a sample exercise routine using plyometric boxes. The second video shows what to do if you don’t have plyometric boxes available to you.
Increasing hockey speed is a complex task, with on-ice and off-ice variables. Go to a well-qualified skating instructor to help you nail down your on-ice components, and participate in a hockey specific strength and conditioning program to improve your off ice components by increasing your leg strength, explosiveness, and agility–starting with squats, plyometrics, and the dot drill. Combining on ice and off ice development will help you to improve your speed quickly and effectively this summer!
Power skating is very important if you want to build your strength, acceleration and technique. If you are serious about playing hockey then you should implement many power skating drills into your practice.
All of the power skating techniques shown in these videos are for on ice development, however this does not mean you have to rent a rink to practice! Shovel your pond off, find an out door rink, shovel off the ice on the lake, or build a rink in your backyard! (for us in the northern climates) Power skating is crucial to improving your game, after all the easiest way to get past the defense is to skate right past them. Stickhandling is great when you need it, but why stick handle around 3 players and risk losing the puck when you could possibly skate past them for a one on one with the goalie?
You should try to power skate anytime you can. If your hockey team is leaving the ice after a practice, or the guys are getting off the ice after shinny and the zamboni is not coming on the ice yet, grab the net and push it as hard as you can around the ice a few times. Power skating is a great way to improve your game!
Stickhandling and shooting are important skills for a hockey player to develop if they want to score goals. As the old adage goes “practice makes perfect” but is there a right and wrong way to practice? I believe that proper technique is the most important aspect that a player should work on, but once you have your technique down you should start working on strength and fitness. Incorporating weights into your training and practice regime is a good way to build your strength and quickness. A weighted hockey stick will allow hockey players to incorporate weights into their stickhandling and shooting training and help strengthen the muscles involved in sport-specific movements.
Purpose – The PowerBlade was designed to add weight to a hockey players stick without hindering technique. The stick is evenly weighted so that a hockey player can just pick it up and use it. The purpose of the weight is to over-train the muscles. By using a stick that is much heavier than normal to practice, a player will be able to move a regular weighted stick a lot faster, and with more power.
Price – The PowerBlade sells for $124.95 for the “Pro” model. This is the one that adults should get, there is also an intermediate that sells for $109.95
What you get – The stick comes in only one curve pattern, you can get it in intermediate or senior sizes (senior weighs the most at 2.4 lbs) The curve is a mid toe curve, and the shaft has a bit of grip. There is no flex rating on the stick.
Taking the PowerBlade to the streets
Stickhandling – Stickhandling with the PowerBlade felt normal as far as performing the actions goes. The stick is evenly balanced and weighted so when I was stickhandling it was just like stickhandling, but with a really heavy stick. I did notice I could not stickhandle quite as fast with the PowerBlade and I also mishandled the puck and stickhandling ball a few times because I was not quick enough to catch them. I practiced soft touch / quick hands, and also a number of stickhandling drills. I could really feel the muscles working after a few minutes of the quick hands drill. I felt the burn in my forearms and then switched to using different muscles.I like the workout that I got and when I switched back to my normal stick (weighing in at 490 grams) I felt lighting fast!
Passing – I was practicing my passing into the X-Passer (review) and noticed that I got a really good workout. The X-Passer is great for quickly rebounding the puck, and the weighted stick really helps work the muscles involved in passing. Since giving a hard pass uses similar muscles as shooting a puck I think that using the X-Passer with the PowerBlade would help improve the power of your shot (I will have to do some testing over the summer!)
I can not find anything major that I did not like about the stick. One thing to note is that if you ONLY train with a weighted stick it will likely throw your stickhandling off for a bit when you get on the ice. I recommend starting with the PowerBlade and then finishing with a regular stick so you can keep the muscle memory of a regular weighted stick.
Great design and concept
Feels like a quality stick
Nice grip and feel to the stick
Evenly weighted (does not feel awkward to use)
Awesome tool to use if you want to do sport specific muscle training
One of the best ways to over-train the exact muscles you use for shooting and stickhandling
PowerBlade Weighted Hockey Stick
The PowerBlade Weighted Hockey Stick is available in multiple sizes and sides as well. This weighted composite stick is one of a kind, and will dramatically increase your strength, power and speed. Great for off-ice training, this product will help you develop faster hands, more control & a harder shot.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart with your knees bent. Explode and jump forward as far as you can while still maintaining control. Focus on maintaining proper balance when jumping and landing.
2. Side to Side Jumps
Place an object of 10 inches or so on the ground (you can also tape a line on the ground and pretend there is an object). With your knees bent and upper body looking forward, jump over the object from one side to the other at a fast pace. Focus on bending the knees to maintain balance throughout.
3. Short Sprints
Spread 4 cones (or object) approximately 5 feet from each other. Begin at the first cone. Sprint to the first cone and back to the first one. Repeat with other objects. Focus on quick accelerations in both directions. Great exercise to develop transitional accelerations.
4. 1 Foot Square Hop
Form a + sign on the floor. Standing on one leg, jump to the side, then backwards, back to the side, then forward, always in a square pattern. Focus on strong knee bends to maintain balance and quick jump explosions. Excellent exercise to help increase skating acceleration.
5. Leg Trainer – Skating Continuous
Extend leg at 45 degree angles, simulating skating strides. Swing arms and rotate shoulders. Bend knees to maintain proper balance. This exercise simulates the exact skating strides motion. Excellent exercise to help develop leg endurance and explosion.
6. Five Cone Drill
Form a square with 4 cones (cones spaced 10-20 feet) and add a cone in the middle. With side crossovers, go to one of the back cones and come back with side crossovers to the middle cone. Repeat on other back cone. Then, run to one of the front cones, and run backwards to the middle cone. Repeat on other cone. Make sure to touch every cone and to stay in balanced position.
7. Fast Crossover Shuffle
Start with your feet shoulder width apart, hips and shoulders square (head straight in front). Begin by stepping over and then reaching and stepping behind with the opposite leg. A controlled crossover motion helps build balance and dexterity for quick directional changes.
8. Backward Strides
Start in a balanced position. Drive the heels back 1 leg at a time while maintaining soft shoulders and a good range of motion. Swing arms as you would when skating backwards. Great exercise to increase backward skating speed and increase leg pushing power.
9. Squat Jumps Continuous
In a swinging horizontal motion, bring your left arm over your right shoulder, followed by your right arm over your left shoulder. Focus on keeping your upper body straight and on swinging arms in a synchronised motion.
10. Lateral Skating Jumps
Jump from side to side, while controlling your upper body as you would when skating. Focus on transferring your body weight from one leg to the other. Swing your arms from side to side as you would when skating. Great exercise to develop more powerful skating strides.
11. Side to Side Hop – 1 Foot
Mark a line on the floor. Standing on one leg, jump over the line from side to side as fast as you can. Stay low to maintain proper balance throughout exercise. Land and push off the front part of your foot
12. Step Over Shuffle
Start with legs shoulder width apart, knees bent and shoulders soft. Crossover while exploding with your legs, keeping your upper body straight and looking forward. Great exercise to help develop explosive crossovers and leg endurance.
13. Squat Tuck Jumps
Begin in the squat position, knees bent and your upper body straight. Explode straight up jumping as high as you can with your legs tucked into your chest. Land in the squat position and repeat. Great exercise to help develop explosive leg pushes.
14. Skipping Bounds
Explode in a forward running motion. Try touching your knee to your chest. Hope as high as you can while coordinating your body as you would when skating. Extend your arms fully when jumping.
15. Split Jumps
Explode forward in a hoping lunge motion 1 leg at a time. When landing, slowly touch your knee on the ground. Keep your upper body straight throughout exercise.
16. Legs Conditionning Drill
Spread 5 Cones 10 feet from each other in a straight line. Run to the first cone, touch the ground, and return to starting position. Repeat this time touching the ground on the second cone. 1 rep equalls all 5 cones. Great exercise to help build endurance and stamina.
17. Stutter Steps
With knees bent and back straight, pound on floor as fast as you can while remaining balanced. Excellent exercise to work on hips and hamstrings, as well as calves. This is one of the best exercises to develop leg endurance.
18. 1 Leg Stick Handling Drill
Get into your hockey position. Lift one leg while balancing on the other. Stick handle for 30seconds in a controlled synchronized motion. To increase difficulty level, stick handle and close one eye. Great exercise to develop balance and coordination, while improving your feel for stick handling.
The forward skating motion should be your first priority when learning how to skate. Although it may look easy, skating in a forward motion is very difficult and requires a lot of time and practice. Learning to skate with a proper technique will make you improve a lot faster and give you the confidence to develop into a great skater in the future.
• Start with your skates forming a ”V”, knees turned outwards. • Bend your knees (you should not be able to see your toes). • Push one foot at a time and transfer all your body weight into each stride. • Reach a full extension on each stride with your driving leg and with your ankle. • When you fully extend one leg, rapidly return the leg back to the ”V” position and extend the other leg. • As you get more comfortable, work on extending faster (you will gain more speed).
• When skating forward, your feet should always be hip width apart. • Your body is always square to the direction of travel. • Your back should be straight, your head in the centre of your shoulders with eyes focusing forward. • Don’t lean your body to far forward (use the body lean that gives you maximum balance and lets you to take fully extended strides). • Make sure to always bend your knees (beyond level of comfort) A good knee bend equals more power and more balance. • Skate one foot at a time. • Fully extend on each stride with a quick recovery. • As you become a better skater, focus on taking wider strides for more speed. • Skate with a proper arm swinging movement (arm and leg movements work in rhythm with their opposites). • Always keep your stick on the ice, except when you are looking to gain top speed.
2. Backward Skating
Backward skating is one of the most difficult skating technique to master. To become a fluent backward skater, lots of effort and patience is needed. In a game, a player spends nearly half the time skating backwards, and it is especially important to play a solid defensive game. By learning the proper technique and following these simple tips, you will be on your way to becoming a solid backward skater.
• Begin by bending your knees (they should be covering your toes). • Keep your back straight and eyes looking forward. • Start each push from directly under your body (from the hips down). • The pushing foot drives to the side to full extension (forming a half moon ”C”) while the other foot glides back. • Push one leg at a time and use all your body weight on each stride. • Pivot the heel of the pushing foot up and outward so it is perpendicular to your glide foot (Form and upside down letter ”L”). • Try to maintain a straight line as possible (do not swivel your hips). • Focus on one stride at a time.
• Always keep your eyes looking forward and shoulders back. • As you improve, angle your upper body slightly forward from the hips (your stance remains almost vertical). • Always keep your hips low to the ice. • Remember to have a strong knee and ankle bend. • Push your leg to a full extension and make sure your gliding leg goes back in a straight line on the flat of the blade. • Skate one foot at a time. • Always keep both feet on the ice (not like forward skating). • Use sprinter type arm movement while skating with one hand on stick.
Crossovers are a very important part of a hockey player’s game. Without proper crossover abilities, turning quickly becomes very difficult. They are the maneuvers that allow players to accelerate on curves, corners and circles. Remember to be very patient when learning crossovers as they are one of the most difficult skating skill to master.
• Make sure to bend your knees (ideal bend is 90 degrees between shin and thigh) and stay low. • As you lean into the turn, keep your shoulders still and level to the ice (do not lean your upper body into the circle). • Only the lower body parts are aligned and pointing in the direction of the turn. • Leaning into a turn, the outside leg crosses over (in front of) the inside leg keeping the skates as low to the ice as possible (within one inch to the ice). • Bring the outside leg back in front while remaining balanced and low to the ice. • Repeat crossover until you are going in desired direction.
Tips (for both forward and backward crossovers).
• Hips and skates always face direction of travel. • Shoulders remain as level as possible. • Always keep your head up and eyes pointing forward. • Good strong knee bend and ankle bend are the key to good crossovers. • Pushes are outward / inward (not forward / backward). • Body weight is always above the outside skate.
A) Forward Stop (90 degrees)
• As you get ready to stop, turn your hips 90 degrees from the direction of travel, turning both skates simultaneously. • The outside skate slides along the top of the ice on an inside edge, the inside skate trails the outside one sliding on top of the ice but on an outside edge. • Keep both feet wide apart from each other. • Transfer most of your body weight on the outside skate (if too much weight is on the inside foot, you will fall and loose your balance). • Counterbalance the stop with your upper body, keeping shoulders parallel to the ice.
B) Backward Stop (Hips straight / V Position)
• As you get ready to stop, keep your hips facing in the direction of travel and begin your slide. • Turn your knees outwards and bring heels in under shoulders. • There should be snow coming from both inside edges as you begin the slide on the ice. • As you begin to feel conformable with the slide, dig inside edges deeper into the ice. • Your body weight should be centered evenly on both feet (do not lean to far forward or you might loose your balance).
C) Backward Stop (90 degree hip turn slide)
• As you get ready to stop, turn your hips 90 degrees from the direction of travel, with your back foot lifting slightly off the ice, then returning to the ice. • Both the inside skate and outside skate slide on top of the ice, with the inside skate trailing the outside skate. • Your trailing foot should be in front of your chin, while your back foot should be slightly behind the back of your helmet. • Most of your body weight should be distributed to your back skate.
Tips (Forward and backward stops)
• As you get better at stopping, increase skating speed prior to stopping (the key is being able to stop quickly at any speed). • A good knee bend is vital to making good stops. • Always keep your eyes forward and your head up. • Your back should be as straight as possible. • Don’t be discouraged if you fall, it’s a sign that you are closer to stopping. • Remember to shift most of your weight on the outside foot for balance.
5. Explosive Starts
To become a complete skater, you want to be able to explode on the ice from a gliding or stopped position. Many skaters take too much time to gain speed. Hockey is a game of transitions, and you must master the quick start to gain speed quickly from any positions. By following the quick start technique you will gain speed a lot faster. You should also engage in off-ice training and conditioning, as your leg strength is the vital factor in achieving an explosive start.
• Bend knees deeply (you will need all your leg muscles to engage in a powerful start). • Form the letter ”V” with both skates with your knees pointing outwards. • Spring forward and drive off from the ball of your foot. • Fully extend your legs on each stride and fully extend the ankles (a lot of the explosive speed comes from the ankle flexion). • Visualize yourself as a sprinter (you should be jumping and landing on your fist 3 to 4 steps). • Thrust your body forward and transfer as much body weight as you can to the jumping foot. • Focus on having ”quick” feet as the faster you execute your jumping strides, the faster you will gain speed.
• Good deep knee bend is vital to a quick start. • Engage in off ice training to develop powerful leg muscles (the more powerful your leg muscles, the more explosive you will be on the ice). • Do not lean your body too far forward, as you will loose your balance. • The ability to get up on your toes is what will get you to explode faster. • Keep on practicing and don’t get discouraged (improving explosiveness takes time and practice).
Transition moves in hockey are extremely important in one’s development into becoming a great skater. It is one thing to be comfortable skating in both forward and backward motions. But in order to become a great skater, you must be able to make a quick transition from the forward to backward motion, and from the backward to forward motion. Transition moves require a lot of patience and practice. Apply the proper transition techniques and you will be on your way to becoming a much more complete skater.
A) Pivot – Front to Back
B) Pivot – Back to Front
Proper Technique – Forward to Backward
• Bend your knees deeply. • Keep your back straight, head up and eyes pointing forward. • As you get into the transition, turn your hips 90 degrees from your direction of travel (both hips turn simultaneously). • Keep upper body centered over the top of your skates to stay balanced throughout the transition. • The outside skate (planted on the inside edge) pushes a half moon (”C”) deeply into the ice. • The inside skate is on an outside edge and gets you going in a straight line backwards as it pulls underneath the body extremely hard to full extension, forming a letter ”Y”.
Proper Technique – Backward to Forward
• Bend your knees deeply. • Keep your back straight, head up and eyes pointing forward. • As you get ready to make the transition, center all your weight over the turning skate (Plant the skate on an inside edge and it will automatically turn). • Your other foot (the one you will land on) gets slightly lifted off the ice and forms and arrow tip position under your body. • Push off with your pivoting foot and make sure to counterbalance against it to maintain the proper grip to get power and speed from your push. • Once you have made the transition and have your momentum going forward, pop up on your toes and apply the technique of the quick forward start (”V” start).
• Practice until you can make transitions without loosing any momentum. • Make sure to turn hips 90 degrees when executing the transition (improper hip turn movement results in a loss of speed and balance). • Always keep your head up and eyes facing forward while doing transitions. • Make sure to have a firm knee bend to stay balanced and give you added power when making the transition.
7. Tight Turns(Pivots)
While crossovers are the best way to gain top speed in turning corners, it is also very important to learn how to turn quickly while keeping both skates close together. Hockey is not a game played skating in a straightforward motion; you must be able to turn quickly and confidently. When wanting to quickly change directions, a quick turn with both skates together will get you going in the desired direction a lot faster. Master the tight turn (pivot) and you’ll have a great advantage in many game situations.
• Make sure your knees are bent deeply (ahead of your toes), your upper body is straight, your head is up in the center of your shoulders and that your eyes are pointing forward as you enter the turn. • As you begin to turn, shift your body weight into the inside leg (the inside hip guides the turn). • Keep the inside shoulder pressing up to remain parallel to the ice surface (try to maintain outside shoulder as parallel to the ice as possible). • Your outside leg glides next to your turning inside leg, and your skates turn simultaneously in the same direction. • Once you have turned and are going in the desired direction, execute a sharp crossover and apply the quick start principles to gain top speed.
• Keep your eyes pointing forward as you turn. • Exaggerate the knee bend, as you must be very balanced to turn as quickly as possible. • The sharper you want to turn, the more downward body weight you should apply entering the turn. • Use your hips as the steering wheel as you execute the turn and keep your legs close together to get a quicker turn. • Focus on maintaining as much speed as you can while turning. • Keep your stick in front of you (preferably both hands on the stick).
8. Top 10 Skating tips
1 – Knee Bend
Always bend you knees deeply in front of your toes (90 degrees). A good knee bend will give you more powerful strides and help you attain better balance. You will also be a lot more solid on the ice. Remember that you can never have enough knee bend while skating.
2 – Head Up, Eyes Forward
Always keep your head up and eyes pointing forward. This will greatly improve your hockey skills, as you will always be aware of what is going on around you. Applying this tip will be difficult when stick handling the puck, but practice it until you are very comfortable. It will greatly improve your stick handling skills and you will be a much better player for it.
3 – Full Extension
Fully extend your leg and ankle on each stride. This will help you attain more speed and become much more explosive on the ice. Keep on reminding yourself to take long strides until it becomes automatic.
4 – Fast Leg Recovery
Develop a fast leg recovery after executing your strides. Keep in mind that the faster the leg recovery, the more speed you will gain. This is an area that is often forgotten by many skaters, keep reminding yourself to do it and gain an edge on the competition.
5 – Balance
Always have your weight directly over your skates as much as possible for stability and balance (when your knees are bent, your always sitting in the middle of your skates). Proper balance is crucial, especially when turning, stopping and during contact. Focus on your balance and you will spend a lot more time on your skates, rather than falling on the ice.
6 – Lightness on skates
Try to feel light on your skates, especially when you are gliding on the ice. You will become a much more graceful skater and use a lot less energy. The more energy you save, the less tired you will become, and the more stamina you will have in the late stages of a game.
7 – Wide Strides
Focus on having fast wide strides. When you are in motion and have already attained good speed, your strides should be a lot wider than when you take off. Again, focus on fully extending to the side, while having quick leg recovery, and you are on your way to improving your overall speed
8 – Feet hip Width Apart
Always have your skates at least hip width apart when skating (they will often be wider). Having your skates to close together will result in a loss of balance. Your skates should be in a position where you feel comfortable, and where it feels natural.
9 – Skate Maintenance
Always keep your skates properly sharpened at the level you feel the most comfortable. Get to know the person who sharpens your skate and always get them done with the same sharpness. When you know what works for you, keep your skates in that state as much as possible. This will greatly benefit your skating skills.
10 – Off Ice Training
Engage in an off-ice-training program that combines power, flexibility and endurance. A perfect skating technique without strong powerful legs will not let you attain your full potential in terms of speed and explosion. Focus on a program that will build power, endurance and flexibility.
In a swinging horizontal motion, bring your left arm over your right shoulder, followed by your right arm over your left shoulder. Focus on keeping your upper body straight and on swinging arms in a synchronised motion.
2. Arm Circles
Begin with very small circles and gradually increase to bigger ones. Repeat in opposite direction (small to big fluid circles). Excellent warm up exercise to loosen up the shoulders.
3. Cross Crawls
Excellent total body workout before training. With your arms stretched up in the air, bring your elbow towards your knee (opposites) and return to starting position. Repeat on other side.
4. Trunk Rotations
Get your core mid section moving to warm up for more explosive movements to come. Swing both arms from side to side extending as far as you can.
5. Walking Lunges
Excellent way to warm up all the muscles in your legs to get ready for training). Step forward with your left leg while trying to touch the ground with your right knee. Repeat on other side.
6. Leg Swings
Standing on one leg, swing leg from front to back. Repeat with same leg from side to side. Lean against wall or partner for proper balance throughout exercise. Excellent hip mobility exercise to get the hips moving before starting resistance training and plyometrics.
7. Skip & Rope
Focus on skipping at a slow or medium pace. Alternate skipping on 2 legs and 1 leg. Stay light on your feet and try jumping off the front part of your foot. Take 30 second breaks between sets.
8. Medicine Ball Toss
Stand about 6 feet from your partner (sideways). Toss the medicine ball to your partner. When catching the ball, extend with the ball opposite side from partner. Great way to loosen up the arms and shoulders while activating the core area. Great exercise to prepare the body for strength training.
9. Trunk Twists
With your right hand, come down to your left leg and touch your foot. Repeat on other side. Maintain proper form without going to fast. Great exercise to loosen up your lower back.
10. Prisoner Squats
Take both hand and put them behind your head. Squat down with both legs keeping your back straight. Excellent way to warm up the quads before moving on to strength conditioning.
11. Jumping Knee Raises
Stand with legs shoulder width appart. Jump up while bringing 1 knee up. Repeat with other leg. Focus on pushing off the ground and keeping upper body straight throughout exercise.
12. Jumping Ankle Taps
Standing with feet together, jump one foot at a time and bring your ankle backwards towards your back. Extend your ankle as far back as you can. Push and land off the front part of your foot. Focus on going in a synchronised controlled motion.
13. Light Jog
Light jog at a medium pace (50-60 percent of maximum effort). If you don’t have an area to run, run in a stationary position. Focus on jogging off the front part of your feet. Good exercise to help with your cardio vascular endurance.