Hi my name is Jeremy. I LOVE hockey and I am passionate about improving and helping others improve. My goal is to break every hockey skill down into easy to understand articles and videos. I explain everything step-by-step to help others improve.
If you want to learn more about me you can read my about page. Thanks for reading and sharing!
Yes I know, this entire website and Youtube channel is dedicated to helping you improve your hockey skills, so what kind of lunatic would tell you to play different sports? This one (and many others). Don’t get me wrong, playing hockey and training for hockey is the single best way to improve your skills, however something I strongly encourage for all athletes is something called BALANCE.
If you are a newer hockey player, chances are you are completely obsessed with playing, that is great, play and practice as much as you can, however don’t discount the benefits and advantages of playing other sports. Other sports CAN aid in your hockey development!
Advantages of Playing Other Sports for Hockey Players
Specializing in hockey early will restrict development of other muscles
Playing a number of sports will help create a well rounded athlete
Playing multiple sports will help reduce injuries. Other sports will build some areas of the body that may get neglected in hockey
Playing hockey all year can result in over-use injuries. Areas of the body may never have time to recover (knees, hips, back)
Most team sports help build play making abilities, ability to read and react to situations, mental quickness, hand-eye, speed, explosiveness, other areas of the body
Kids and Adults get a break from hockey and come back with a greater desire and passion to start again
Some skills will be “over trained” in other sports compared to hockey. The skills will carry over well
Hand eye coordination in racquet sports, Lacrosse and baseball
Foot skills in soccer
Change of direction, footwork and acceleration in Squash, Tennis
Body fakes and deception in Lacrosse, Soccer, Football, Basketball
Overall team work will be experienced in all team sports
From reading the above points it’s easy to see that playing other sports can actually help you become a BETTER hockey player. In fact some of the best hockey players were multi-sport athletes.
Examples and Quotes
Gretzky did not play summer hockey, he played baseball and lacrosse in the summer. According to Gretzky’s biography he was a very skilled baseball and Lacrosse player and spring was one of his favourite times of the year!
“If a sport has a high point of the year, it must be the first week of spring. When I was growing up, I used to love this time of year. It was when I put my hockey equipment away and I was absolutely ecstatic to see the end of the hockey season. One of the worst things to happen to the game, in my opinion, has been year-round hockey and, in particular, summer hockey. All it does for kids, as far as I can tell, is keep them out sports they should be doing in the warmer weather. I could hardly wait to get my lacrosse stick out and start throwing the ball against the walls and working on our moves as we played the lacrosse equivalent to road hockey. All the good hockey players seemed to play lacrosse in those days and everyone of them learned something from the game to carry over to the other – things athletes can only learn by mixing up the games they play when they are young.” — Wayne Gretzky, National Post, March 2000
“Kids play far too much [hockey]. I mean, kids are playing 12 months a year—little ones. They don’t need it. Play other sports. Have other coaches. Hang around other kids, other parents. I think that’s all healthy. I never went to a hockey school until I turned pro and I went as an instructor. Kids don’t need to play all year, they can have a program of light exercise and play other sports. If you look at the best players in all sports, they’re athletes— they play other sports.” Source: Bobby Orr: How we’re killing hockey
“People always talk about my hand-eye coordination and how that translates from lacrosse to hockey and from hockey to lacrosse, which is true,” said Tavares, who played lacrosse for 13 years before switching focus solely to hockey. “But the biggest thing that translated for me was using my body to protect the ball, spinning off checks and moving through traffic.
“All those things translated into skills on the ice that have helped me excel in many areas in hockey, such as puck protection, moving through traffic and gaining time and space from tight checking.” Source:NHL Star honed hockey skills in box lacrosse
Coach Brent Sutter
“It is so noticeable on a hockey team that the kids who have played other sports and experienced different things are always the smarter players on your team, and they are able to handle adversity better,” Sutter said. “They deal with adversity better because they are thrown into different environments and they trust their skills that they may have learned elsewhere to get them through certain things.”
“I’ve really noticed it since leaving (to the NHL) and coming back to the WHL how it has changed,” he said. “We are lacking in areas that we never used to lack in. I want our scouts to look at athletes not just strictly hockey players.” Source:Wanted for NHL: True Athletes
“Some young athletes now face surgeries befitting their grandparents. Young hockey goaltenders repeatedly practice butterfly style — which stresses the developing hip joint when the legs are splayed to block the bottom of the goal. The sports surgeon Marc Philippon, based in Vail, Colo., saw a 25-year-old goalie who already needed a hip replacement.”
It’s connected to physical literacy and the need to develop a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional skills within sport. When researchers look at top athletes across a range of sports, the majority of them are distinguished by broad athletic ability from playing a variety of sports as children. This kind of broad athleticism doesn’t happen when kids specialize in one sport from an early age.
(Please note: We haven’t even mentioned the problem of overuse injuries to tendons, ligaments, and bone growth plates due to premature specialization. There’s enough research on that subject to write a book. Premature specialization is also linked to kids dropping out of sports early.)” – Source: Active for Life: Why early specialization is a bad idea
What about adults learning the game?
It depends on what type of shape you are in and if you have played other sports in the past. The quickest way to improve is to play and practice as much as you can (within reason)
For adult players who are new to the game, I still recommend balance. In this case we want to help aid development, but also reduce the chance of injury. Being in better shape, and a better overall athlete will certainly help reduce your risk of injuries. When you are injured you can’t play, and when you can’t play you can’t improve. Consider a sport like soccer, basketball, ultimate frisbee or some racquet sports to keep you in shape and developing a number of skills and abilities that you can carry over into your hockey development. You can also practice hockey at home over the summer to fine tune some skills while also enjoying some other sports.
Playing other sports is also great for your social life, and mental well being (healthy body, healthy mind)
The Final Verdict
Yes there are some specific hockey skills that you can only learn on the ice (or practicing at home), however many skills you will learn in other sports will lend themselves to learning your hockey skills
Whether you are a young hockey player, or an older hockey player, playing other sports will help improve your health, mental well being, and of course, HOCKEY SKILLS!
Every now and then I like to share a motivational or inspirational story to help show what hockey is all about. I recently shared a story of how one player did not start playing hockey until he was 12 years old, and in 2 years went from House League to AAA
Today I want to share a personal story that I happened upon at the OMHA parade of champions. While working at the expo I noticed some ridiculously awesome jerseys…
I asked one player to grab his teammates to pose for a picture and I would toss it up on the How To Hockey Instagram page. The team was great, and I got them to all tag themselves in the picture before I posted it.
After I posted the picture I discovered something amazing
The team in the picture above are OMHA champions. That means they went through the Ontario Minor Hockey Association playoffs and defeated every other team in their division. Sometimes this can lead to bitter rivals, fights, cheap shots, and boasting, however in this case it was the exact opposite (how hockey should always be!). After posting this picture I was tagged in another picture….
I love this picture because the teams are celebrating together. Instead of one team boasting at a win, and the other team being bitter because of a loss, the two teams come together and are both proud of their accomplishments. It’s great to see the captain of one team smiling and posing with the assistant from another team. This truly shows respect for the game, your team, and the other team.
What really gained my respect and admiration was the hashtags
Yes, this is the assistant captain of the team who came in 2nd place commending the captain of the other team for his character and level of skill.
This is what hockey should always be like. As a coach I am always trying to encourage respect for the game, the players, the officials and the other team. Isn’t it great to see a hard fought battle for the OMHA finals end with players from both teams coming together and encouraging each other. Every hockey player can learn from the positive attitude and sportsmanship that is displayed here.
Too often (on the internet) I see players knocking others down (especially in Youtube comments) I would love for the trend of sportsmanship to spill over to the internet and see players encourage and lift up others. This is just one example I was very happy to come across. Much respect for the Ridgetown rebels and the Centre Hastings Grizzlies for your sportsmanship and respect in Hockey! Pass it on!
If you want to improve stickhandling, shooting, and passing, you will benefit a lot from practicing at home. In order to practice at home you will need a little bit of equipment first. In this article I break down what I feel is the essential training equipment for hockey players to improve their skills at home.
In order to work on your stickhandling, shooting, and passing you need a smooth surface. This surface will serve as your “ice” at home, and will allow you to practice a lot of different skills. You need a smooth surface for a few reasons
This will prevent your stick blade from being scraped away and breaking
It will be a low-friction environment which will help you get faster hands
It will be more like the ice, giving you an easier transition from practicing off-ice to on-ice
It can be use for shooting, stickhandling, and passing all essential hockey skills
Pro Sized Shooting Pad
Dryland Flooring Tiles
Roll-up Shooting Pad
Product Page: Pro Sized Price: $99.95 ($89.95 with coupon) Dimensions: 30 inches x 60 inches Advantages: Thicker material is better on uneven surfaces. Very easy to move
Product Page: Training Tiles Price: $11.95 per tile Dimensions: 1.5 foot per tile Advantages: Recommended for indoor use. Very sturdy, can be used to create a very large training area
Product Page: Roll-up Pad Price: $119.95 ($109.95 with coupon) Dimensions: 4 feet x 8.5 feet Advantages: Very large size which is great for practicing a lot of moves. Thinner material is recommended for smooth hard surfaces.
HockeyShot coupon code: HOWHCKY001
Pucks are great on the ice, but off the ice they don’t slide so well. I still recommend using a puck sometimes to practice with, but to really work on your hands you will need some other items. I strongly recommend getting one of each of the following. I recommend these products because they can be used almost anywhere and allow you to improve your stickhandling and co-ordination.
Product Page: Green Biscuit Price: $12.95 Dimensions: Same as puck Weight: 4.4 ounces Advantages: The best off-ice puck Two piece design will prevent it from flipping and rolling like most pucks Awesome to use on almost any surface
Product Page: Wooden Ball Price: $3.50 Dimensions: About 2 inch diameter Weight: Around 1.6 ounces Advantages: Very light ball which is nice for practicing very fast hands and moves. Wood material is soft and easy to stickhandle with.
Product Page: Stickhandling Ball Price: $10.95 or $7.95 for the HS ball Dimensions: 2.1 inch diameter Weight: 5 ounces Advantages: The SmartHockey ball is designed to feel just like a puck. Soft outer shell, and weight has a good feel The HockeyShot Ball is a few dollars cheaper, but feels a little stiffer to handle
There are a few options for shooting, personally I like a net the most, but I will mention the other options as well. With something to shoot at you can work on many different types of shots and different shooting techniques that you can then fine tune while on the ice.
Product Page: Various options Price: $45+ Dimensions: 10′ x 10′ + Advantages: Most affordable option. Can be used for multiple sports. Large area means it can be used as a backstop if you get a regular hockey net later.
Product Page: EZ Goal Price: $119.95 ($109.95 with coupon) Dimensions: 4 x 6 (regulation) Advantages: Has 2 inch posts, folds up for easy storage. Regulation size. Comes with targets. Will withstand shots up to 60MPH. Harder shots will dent posts.
Product Page: Shooting Tarp Price: $209.95 ($199.95 with coupon) Dimensions: 7 feet x 16 feet Advantages: Very large size protects everything behind it. Targets give you something to aim at. No posts for ricochets and flying pucks Can be used in garage or basement.
Shooting pucks is fun, searching for pucks is not fun. I like using a backstop because it allows you to spend more time shooting, and less time hunting for pucks. A backstop will give you more confidence to aim for the corners (not worried about missing), allow you to shoot more, and keep you from losing pucks! The first link also allows you to use it for other sports!
Fishing Net / Golf Net
EZ Goal Backstop
Product Page: Various options Price: $45+ Dimensions: 10′ x 10′ + Advantages: Most affordable option. Can be used for multiple sports. Larger area gives you more room for error. Not attached to the net which gives you some more creativity with the net. Permanently installed makes it easier to set up and take down your net. Good option if you want a permanent shooting area
Product Page: EZ Goal Backstop Price: $89.95 (Save $10 on order over $100) Dimensions: 10 x 6 Advantages: Fits perfectly onto any regulation sized net (6 x 4). Bolts onto the EZ Goal hockey net. Side panels can be moved when shooting from an angle. Side meshing may get holes in it with hard shots!
Now this is not a necessity, however I do strongly recommend it. This is an awesome training aid to show you how well you are shooting, motivate you to keep improving, and give you instant feedback on every shot you take. This is a great tool to have after you are set up with the basics explained above.
Product Page: HockeyShot Radar Price: $99.95 ($89.95 with coupon) Advantages: Most affordable radar.
Works well for hockey (unlike others I
More consistent from close range
Product Page: SpeedTrac Radar Price: $139.95 ($129.95 with coupon) Advantages: Durable (I’ve dropped it
and hit it with pucks a few times and it still
Consistent readings from all distances
This is the most important tip in this article. If you buy these products but don’t use them, you won’t get any better! So what are you supposed to do? Well luckily I have a lot of tips for shooting and stickhandling that you can pour over and use. Make sure you are subscribed to this website (box in the left sidebar) and our Youtube Channel to be notified of new skills videos that we release.
The off-season is here and you have every good intention of working on your shot, or practicing your dangles every day (okay maybe at least a few times a week) but lets be honest, it’s going to be just like last year. The new season will roll up on you, and you’ll look back and think “damn, I didn’t practice anything!” Well, I’m here to help with an action plan!
How you can improve any skill in 30 Days
The reason most plans fail, is because they are usually more like wishes. You don’t have a good goal, you don’t know how to achieve it, and you have no real plan on how to actually make it happen. Watch the video below to learn how to set and accomplish your goal, a S.M.A.R.T Goal!
What you need to do TODAY
Come up with a goal, it has to be realistic, measurable, and specific
Figure out what needs to be done to achieve your goal
Plan out your step by step action plan to get from where you are now, to completion of your goal
Be accountable, tell some friends and family members that you are going to achieve your goal
Have a VERY good reason why you NEED to achieve your goal, you can tell this to yourself on the days you don’t feel like following your action plan
Think of any excuse that might prevent you from following your plan, and then think of ways to overcome those excuses. Now when any excuse creeps up you will be armed with a solution.
Report back in 30 days and let me know how you did!
Is your goal to improve your shot?
If you plan on taking a lot of shots to improve accuracy, power, or a quick release I recommend my iSnipe training app! It’s available for Apple and Android and has gotten very good reviews. The app includes a shot tracker, 16 training videos, and two cool quick release and accuracy training modules, plus a journal so you write down your accomplishments and records to beat.
About a month ago I met with the guys from Colt Hockey to take a look at the new Colt Hockey stick. This is the stick that has been dubbed “unbreakable” (more on the later) so naturally I was very interested in doing a review! I drove to their factory in Toronto with a handful of questions and the feeling I’m sure would be similar to a kid going to a candy factory. All my questions were answered honestly, and I left with one brand new Colt Stick. I will be using this stick in nearly every video from here on out, so stay tuned for updates on it’s performance and durability.
In case you haven’t heard about the Colt Stick
Why is it so special? – It’s a one piece composite stick, with a twist. The bottom half of the stick is dipped in nano-steel – very light, yet very strong metal – which should make this stick very, very durable.
Is the Colt Stick heavy? – In relation to other sticks it’s somewhere in the middle. Their website boasts a weight of 465 grams, however on my kitchen scale at home it weighed in at 495. Most top end sticks weigh in at under 475, which puts the Colt stick in the same category as sticks in the $150-$200 price point. Colt is working to deliver a sub 460 gram stick.
What is the Balance like on the Colt? – This was a big concern to me, I thought that with the metal coating it would mess with the balance of the stick. What Colt has done is used less composite material for the bottom of the stick, and used it to reinforce the top portion, then when it is dipped the stick is balanced. I tested it at home and it has the same balance point as the Graf I used to use.
Will the Colt Hockey Stick Break?
Yes it will, it is not “unbreakable” and for good reason, that would not be safe, however it is designed to be much more durable than any other stick on the market. Check out my two reviews below for more information.
Some Detailed Info about the Colt In this video I pass on some information I got while visiting the guys at the factory.
On Ice Colt Stick Review
In this review of the Colt stick I test out the stick on the ice and give you my overall opinion of it. I have some cool slow-mo shots and comparisons
Where to Buy the Colt
Right now it’s only available on the Colt Hockey website. If you use coupon code: HOWTOHOCKEY you will save $10!
My Overall Thoughts on the Colt Stick
Overall I liked the stick, and it will actually change the way I play now. I’m pretty frugal and usually spend less than $100 on a stick, even then I don’t like breaking them. Normally I like to get in front of the net and cause trouble, however the other team does not like this and I get too many hacks to my stick, so being frugal I tend to float around the perimeter. I can’t afford having some tool chop my stick in half! Well, that’s going to change. I’m going to try to get these guys to slash my stick, and then laugh when theirs explodes!
Colt Hockey Stick Specs and my opinion on the feel
Performance – The performance of the stick is good, but not outstanding. I would relate it to the feel of a mid-level stick.
Flex – I got the 75 flex stick, and I’m glad I did. On the ice it felt more like an 85. Testing with slow-mo revealed similar flex to my 85 flex stick, so if you like a really whippy stick you might have to wait until the next gen Colt.
Weight – The weight of my stick was 495 grams. It’s light, but obviously not the lightest on the market.
Curve – I got the Sakic style curve and liked it, my accuracy and shots were spot on.
Balance – The balance of the stick was great, mentally you expect the stick to be blade heavy, however with my tests it was the same balance as my regular sticks
Durability – While this is something I can only test with time, this is where the Colt should be leaps and bounds ahead of every other stick. I will report back later.
Price – The Colt is not cheap, but also not the most expensive twig on the market. It currently retails for $269 but with Colt Hockey coupon code HOWTOHOCKEY you will save $10
Recommendations – I would recommend the stick to guys who take a lot of slashes, like to play in the corners and in front of the net, and want a stick that will last.
Turning is one of the fundamental skills that every hockey player needs to learn. Sure you might be able to turn, but how well can you do it? There is a big difference in a slow gradual and off balance turn VS a quick, tight, sharp turn. In this video and article we are giving you the information you need to start performing better turns.
How to Turn in Hockey
The Basics of a good turn
For a good turn you want to use both skates. Sure you can still turn with only one skate on the ice, but with two blades on the ice you will be more balanced, and be able to turn at higher speeds. Below is a breakdown of the turn
If you are turning left, lead with your left foot. If you are turning right, lead with your right foot
With a staggered stance, most of the weight will be on the outside leg, and your inside skate will be there for extra balance and to help you get lower (and a tighter turn)
With both feet on the ice you can use both edges, rather than just one
When you are coming out of the turn, use a few crossovers to accelerate out and keep your speed.
Throughout the turn you should maintain balance, you can do this by staying low, and having a good base (feet are not too close together)
Matt Duchene is performing a nice tight turn, he has a good base and a staggered stance. This staggered stance helps Duchene get a better turn, but also protect the puck from the defender!
Here is Pavel Datsyuk in the NHL Skills Competition. Notice how the hands are away from the body, the stick leads Datsyuk through the turn, and he is nice and low with both blades on the ice. As Datsyuk completes this turn he can execute crossovers from this position and keep his speed.
Here is a tight turn with the puck on the forehand. Notice the nice wide base for balance and strength (hard to knock off the puck). Karlsson has his hands away from his body so that he can cup the puck even more and perform a tighter turn. With his feet like this he can keep on pushing with the outside leg and drive wide while pushing on the opponent.
Want more? Check out our Learn to Skate Series and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog (box to the left)
This is when you are skating forwards and need to switch to skating backwards, or you are skating backwards and need to turn and go forwards. This happens a lot in hockey (especially if you play defense) so you want to make sure you are doing it properly.
Two methods for each transition
There are actually ways to do each transition (or turn). The first method is fine for beginners because it helps them stay balanced and get used to the motion, however once they get better they will need to learn the more advanced transitions. In the video below we outline both ways to turn from forwards to backwards and turn from backwards to forwards.
Transition Techniques for Hockey Players
The Beginner Method
When you first start out, we just want to get you used to turning around from forwards to backwards or backwards to forwards while moving. To do this you can keep both feet on the ice. Essentially all you need to do is rotate the hips a bit, push one foot around in front and bring the other foot around behind you.
The only problem with this method is that your blades are on the ice the entire time, which means at some point they will be perpendicular to the direction you want to go, and that will cause a lot of resistance on the ice (you will momentarily be in the hockey stop position while turning this way)
The Advanced and Preferred Method
In this method the blade that is on the ice is ALWAYS pointing in the direction you want to go. You basically point one foot down the ice, lift the other and turn it around nearly backwards and plant it, then lift and rotate the other foot and rotate it around so now both are planted on the ice and you should now be facing in the opposite direction (or flat on your face if you didn’t do it right)
Forwards to Backwards Transitions
With the forward to backward transition there are three simple steps. Remember to always pivot towards the play. In this scenario I am rotating to my left
Weight is first placed on my right leg
I glide momentarily on my right skate while lifting my left leg and rotating it around, almost going heel to heel
Now I place my weight on my left leg (which is now going backwards) and rotate my right leg around so now both feet are facing backwards (and so am I)
To do this in the other direction you just start with the weight on your left leg and rotate in the other direction.
Backwards to forward Transition
The backwards to forwards transition is a little easier then the forwards to backwards. It follows a similar system of transferring weight. In this example I am rotating / opening up to my right. Remember to always turn towards the play (chest is always facing the puck)
While skating backwards transfer your weight to your left leg (right leg if you are rotating the other way)
Take the weight off your right leg and rotate it around (open up the hips) you will almost be in a heel to heel position
Now plant your weight on the right foot and bring your left leg around so you are now going forwards.
Wait… So I’m NOT supposed to shoot like Alex Ovechkin, Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby and many other top scoring NHL forwards? That’s what I was told many times growing up and still hear today. I wanted to publish this article and video to help debunk this myth. The fact is there are many ways to shoot, and each method is effective in the right situation
If you ask me, there is no WRONG way to shoot, only more effective and less effective. If the puck ends up in the back of the net, it’s the right way to shoot. As long as you can get decent power, accuracy and release the shot is worth practicing.
My Philosophy on Shooting
There are the four basic shots, the wrist shot, snapshot, backhand, and slapshot. With each of those shots there are variations on how you can execute each shot. Some are better for power and some are better for a faster release. I believe that hockey players should be familiar with every method of shooting, and when you should use each type of shot.
What is the “wrong” way to shoot?
I made a video to demonstrate the wrong way to shoot. This is something that a lot of hockey coaches still say, so I wanted to address it.
Want to learn new ways to shoot?
Check out my iSnipe app for Apple and Android I have 16 shooting videos, a shot tracker, a journal, and two cool training tools to help you with a quicker release. It’s only $2.99!
Basic Shot Breakdown
Here is a basic summary of the four main types of shots, and when you might want to use them.
Slapshot – This is the most powerful shot and you typically want to use it from a distance. You need a bit of room to wind up so don’t try this shot when being heavily pressured. A variation is the one-timer which is great from the point, or when you are in close and need to get the puck to the net as fast as possible. Stamkos is known for his deadly powerful and accurate one-timer
Wrist Shot – This shot is great when you need power and accuracy. The full wrist shot is typically used when you are further from the net. This is also a good shot to use when cutting across the ice on your forehand side, as you are already set up to execute the shot and won’t waste any time trying to prepare for the shot. Sakic’s wrist shot is legendary
Snapshot – This shot is great when you need to get the puck off in a hurry. Many players use this when under pressure, when trying to catch the goalie off-guard, or when quickly moving the puck past a defender. This shot is good to use when in close to the net and you don’t want to give any clues that you are going to shoot. There is no denying Kessel has one of the best snapshots in the league, he scores most of his goals this way
Backhand – The backhand is often neglected from players because it is a hard shot to master, but commonly regarded as the hardest shot for a goalie to stop because they can’t read where it’s going. The backhand is used a lot in dekes. This shot is great to use after a quick move or fake, or when you are forced to your backhand and it’s your only shot option. Players who don’t practice their backhand will miss a lot of scoring opportunities. Datysuk is known to deke to his backhand, but also has a deadly backhand from a distance
Skating backwards is a challenging skill for anyone to learn. The feeling of moving backwards is not natural at first, but with some practice and determination you will get the hang of it. In this article we have two videos for you to help you learn how to skate backwards.
This video is a part of our how to skate series that we have put together to help anyone learn how to skate for hockey!
How to Skate Backwards for Beginners
In this video we give you a simple lesson on how to start skating backwards. We also share a good drill to get used to your balance and the feeling of moving backwards.
How to Skate Backwards, tips, common mistakes, and Backwards starts
In this video we have guest instructor Scott Grover teaching you how to skate backwards. Scott gives you some simple tips to get used to the feeling, and then we go into more detail, we talk about common mistakes, and also cover how to get speed with backwards crossover starts. After you master this you will probably want to move on to backwards crossovers
Quick Tips for skating backwards
Start with getting used to the feeling. Get comfortable and balanced against the boards and give yourself a push backwards, then glide to get the feeling.
Now start by getting in a good balanced stance and take some baby steps backwards. Little steps are fine to start to help you get your balance
To work on your stride start with C-cuts, but remember the C should be actually like a tear drop, you want the heel of your skates to always be pointing down the ice. If you do an actual C it can negatively effect your backwards stride
Don’t worry if you fall over, just get up and keep trying!
If these tips have helped please share this article with the buttons below, or by just spreading the word
The first thing any hockey player wants to learn (when it comes to shooting) is how to lift the puck. The problem is many players try all kinds of different methods and try anything and everything to raise the puck. In this article I am going to teach you the proper technique for lifting the puck that can also be used in the wrist shot, snapshot and other shots.
The great thing about this technique is that it is also used to help control the accuracy of your shot, and accuracy is one of the most important aspects of every shot.
How to Lift the Puck in 2 easy steps
Tips for lifting the puck
Start with the blade cupping the puck to keep the puck from coming off your stick
Roll your wrists to open the blade, this will allow the puck to lift off the ice
Push down with your top hand, and pull up with your bottom hand to add some power
If you are further from the net you will need to roll your wrists in the follow through, this will allow you to lift the puck, but also control its height
Want more tips to improve your shot? We have lots of articles and videos for shooting in our shooting tips section
If you liked this tip please share I have some buttons below to make it easy!
HockeyShot has a new line-up of training aids and I have been slowly testing and reviewing all the new products. “The Dangler” and the Mini Dangler are among two of the new stickhandling training aids released that are designed to help hockey players improve their hands.
What is the Dangler?
The Dangler is a pretty straight forward product, think of it like a souped up row of pucks. The Dangler is designed to give you an obstacle to practice stickhandling around, under and over
Why not just use a line of pucks?
Sure a line of pucks is cheap, but the problem with a row of pucks is that they won’t sit still. Every time you hit a puck it will slide down the ice and it can be quite annoying when you are trying to work on your dangles and you have to re-make your obstacle every time you hit it. This is especially true for coaches!
A product like the Dangler lets you spend more time practicing and less time trying to set up a drill.
How is the Dangler different from other similar products?
The first product in this category that came out was the Sweet Hands. I never did a full review of the Sweet Hands on How To Hockey because it just seemed too simple. I thought most people could put together something similar with stuff they had lying around the house, but the Dangler has a few notable features
Lighter and more affordable than the Sweet Hands
The only product in it’s category with moveable center legs
Built in retractable spikes allow it to grip the ice and stay in place during on ice drills
Video Review and Test of the Dangler
Is it worth it?
The Dangler is fun to use on the ice, but I remember doing the same drills and moves with a line of pucks or a snow shovel as an obstacle when I was a kid.
If you are on a budget and want a product to help you develop your skills I would suggest saving your money for something like the new Extreme Passing kit or a radar gun. You can use household items to practice stickhandling around.
If you are shopping for something like this – I do like the Dangler better than the Sweethands, and I would say it is comparable with the X-deviator from X-hockey products.
Author: Geoff Winchester – G24Hockey.com (full bio at bottom of article)
I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work with a number of NHLers training their bodies and minds to ensure they can handle the demands of their job and perform optimally every night. But I learn from them way more than I teach. It is for that reason that I am writing this, I want to share with you one of the greatest lessons I have learned from these guys: the importance of game preparation and a solid game day routine. In the end, preparation is the key to reaching your goals, fulfilling your potential and, most importantly, giving your team the best possible chance of winning every night.
The Three Pillars of a Pre-Game Routine
There are three pillars to a pre game routine: Nutrition, Physical, and Mental. Each pillar has it’s own set of principles that must be followed, but they intertwine and work together to ensure one’s mind and body are in the best possible state to compete.
What is the best pre-game routine?
The best pre-game routine is one that will make you feel unstoppable, the one that will change your game! Unfortunately there is no one routine that works for everyone, building a pre-game routine is all about fulfilling the principles of performance with food and exercises that what work for you.
Below is a road map that outlines what a pro’s game day routine is like with respect to the three pillars. After reading it, head to g24hockey.com or the app store for access to 14 actual pro game day routines where you can pull what you like from each player to build the routine that works for you. Each pro shows you what they eat when they eat it, their actual warm-up and cool-down, and their mental approach to the game.
How to Prepare for a Hockey Game
The steps below will give you a template for preparing for a hockey game. Remember that this is how pro’s do it, if you play at a rec level you can take a few bits of info to help where help is needed (stretching, nutrition, etc)
Mental: the mental approach to the night before a game varies from player to player. Some like to go to bed with a clear head, so they choose to read or watch a movie, while others like to think about the competition and the job they have to do the next day. Some players go as far as visualizing themselves playing the game.
Do what makes you feel comfortable and allows you to have the most restful sleep possible.
Physical: Pros take their sleep very seriously, even though their schedules can be erratic because it is crucial for recovery and performance. The hours of sleep before midnight are better than those after, so get to bed early if possible.
Nutrition: For this meal pros consume a lot of vegetables, high amount of protein and slow acting carbs. This combination helps the recovery process from any physical demands encountered that day and it also helps keep the immune system strong.
Nutrition: Start the day with a large breakfast, but limit the fast acting carbs (no captain crunch, or white toast) because you will crash within an hour. If you are serious about performing make sure you start drinking water at breakfast and continue doing so all day long.
Physical: Pros don’t hit the snooze button, when it is time to get out of bed they wake up and start moving. Have a shower right away if you need to, just don’t stay in bed as it will mess with your energy levels throughout the day.
Mental: When playing at the highest level you start gathering information about your body first thing in the morning. To start the mental process, think about how you feel when you play your best and then commit to the rest of your routine which is designed to get you to your optimal place.
Pregame skate (physical): The pregame skate is the time where pros work out the kinks; they are testing themselves and their bodies, gathering information throughout. It is also a good time to begin focusing on skills they know will be called upon during the game. Pregame skates are light skates with lots of flow.
If you don’t have a pregame skate, do some sort of physical activity; stickhandle, go for a bike ride, kick a soccer ball. It is important that you get moving long before the puck drops.
Mental: Ask yourself how your hands felt, how your edges felt, did your body feel loose? Knowing that you are doing the right things to get your body ready to compete will get your head in the right space.
Pre-game meal (nutrition): Team pregame meals happen right after the pregame skate, usually at 12:30-1pm for 7pm game. This is where you need to get slow acting carbs in you, best sources are pastas and rice, and make sure to have some protein with it… And continue the hydration process.
Before the game
Physical: Just before putting on their gear pros complete a dynamic warm-up, most follow a same warm-up structure it’s only the exercises that differ based on their needs. The warm-up is essential for getting your body ready to go, if you warm-up properly your legs will be in the game before the first puck drops.
To get your body primed like a pro follow these steps:
body temperature increase
Mental: At the beginning of the warm-up the mood in the dressing room is light and most guys have fun while sharing a few laughs; but as the warm-up ends it’s time to start focusing on the task at hand.
Most players, whether they know it or not, engage in visualization and/or focus techniques. The key to visualization and focus is to keep it simple, don’t overwhelm your mind; if you are thinking too much you won’t be able to react.
Nutrition: The last major part of fueling comes in the form of a snack, roughly 2.5 hours before the game; it’s easy to eat this just before heading to the rink or whenever they arrive. The snack should be high in slow acting carbs and easily digestible, this will allow for a quick start and to prevent a crash later on. A simple snack is a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, or a muffin with fruit.
Nutrition: One of the most important meals is your post-game meal. It replenishes your energy stores, promotes muscle recovery and growth, and keeps the immune system high, all of which allows a pro to consistently compete hard the same way all season long.
As soon as you are undressed, consume a source of fructose (a sweet fruit like pineapple, or grape juice), then 15-20 minutes afterwards, have a full meal that is high in protein, slow acting carbs, and different colors of vegetables.
Physical: Cooling-down properly is essential to reduce the risk of injury and to keep the skating stride long. Stretch out the muscle groups that get activated during the game (e.g., hip flexors, low back) and pay extra attention to any body part that is excessively tight. Finish with a cold tub or some contrast therapy. This is what the pros do to get fresh blood/nutrients to the broken down tissues expediting the recovery process.
Mental: Dwelling on the past is wasted energy; however, learning from it can make you a better player. The advice I have received from the pros I work with is take a step a way from the game for the night and analyze your play the next day when your emotions are in check. From there, build on your successes and make sure you do not repeat the same mistakes.
Need Help with Your Pre-Game Routine?
This article gives you the basics of how the pro’s prepare for a game, but what will your pre-game routine look like? If you want some help building and customizing your pregame routine head to G24Hockey.com. Learn more about the app below, all the information is also available online.
G24 has a great app and web platform that allows you to get detailed access to Pro hockey players pre-game routines, meals, warm-ups, mental prep and more. They also allow you to customize your own pre-game routine based on the pro’s advice.
Geoff Winchester, MA (Performance Psychology), BSc. (Honours in Human Kinetics), Certified Exercise Physiologist Chief Product Officer
Geoff works closely with professional and amateur hockey players guiding their nutrition regimens, strength and conditioning plans, and mental approach to the game. His education combined with his hockey experience (tier 2 Jr A, CIS) has helped him thoroughly understand and manage the demand that hockey places upon a persons’ mind and body. He also has experience working with Canadian Special Forces; Canada’s elite soldiers, who he considers world-class athletes both mentally and physically. Geoff’s passion is helping people understand what they need to do to be their best and helping them develop and execute a plan to get there.
The forward stride is the most used movement in hockey, however many players neglect to try to improve it. Many players think that once they can skate and move forwards they are fine, however even PRO hockey players continue to work on their forward stride throughout their entire career!
The forward stride is the most used movement in skating, which means it should be the one you focus on the most. What can you do to improve your stride? Here are some areas that you might be able to improve
The forward stride consists of a push, glide and recovery. In order to have a smooth stride you should have good knee bend, a good push using your edges, good balance glide and knee bend in your glide leg and a fast recovery.
The key to speed is stride length and stride frequency. This is true when skating in a straight line, which happens with the forward stride. Once you get into higher level hockey we also want speed in lateral movement, crossover speed, pivots, agility, etc.
Common Mistakes with the Forward Stride
You know those guys who walk around on stilts at the circus? Some hockey players look like that on the ice. If you want better balance, agility and power, and a longer stride BEND YOUR KNEES!
Rail Road skating
This is when the player skates with their feet very wide apart and just barely pushes with each foot. The stride length is very small, the skates are both only using the inside edges, and there is very little balance or glide in the glide leg.
You want your recovery to be efficient and quick. Many players skate like they run and kick their heels up before planting their foot again for another stride. This wastes time and energy. Your recovery should be almost straight back and under your hip for another push.
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If you are dedicated to improving your skating, shooting and stickhandling then balance drills and edge work drills are going to give you the biggest results. You might be asking why would a skating drill help improve my shooting and stickhandling? I am glad you asked
Drills that help a hockey player improve balance will also improve other skills because without balance there will be no power or agility. A shot that is taken while off-balance lacks the proper weight transfer to generate full power into the shot. An off balance player can not properly execute the correct chain to take a good hard shot
An off balance player will be easy to knock off the puck, and take the puck away from because as soon as they make a mistake in their footwork, or stumble for a second the player with better balance will catch up and take the puck away. A good stance, proper balance and good edgework is the base to good puck control
Oh yeah, you will also be MUCH better at skating!
Why Balance is important + 5 Balance drills
The ultimate goal for a hockey player is to feel just as comfortable (if not MORE comfortable) in your skates as you feel in a pair of sneakers.
More balance drills for hockey player
Shoot the duck – Players glide on one leg and squat as low as they can while keeping their other leg out in front
Squat – Glide and then squat as low as you can
Russian lunges – Players touch one knee to the ice, then the other in quick succession while pumping arms
Belly slide – player skates, jumps and slides on their belly, then gets up as quickly as possible
Spins – Players skate, go down on two knees and spin, then get up as soon as possible
Edge work drills – These are more advanced and push the players to expand their comfort zone
The Fundamentals of skating
Balance is one of the fundamental skills of skating, but there are many other building blocks that will help you improve. Visit our Learn to skate series to see our other videos and articles on the fundamentals of skating.