If you are looking for a new move to try out during practice or shinny then todays deke of the week is a great one to practice. This is a shifty move that I like to use when I need to gain the center and there is a pesky defencemen in my way. Usually this works the best if the D-man is a few feet in front of you, and a few feet to your side (the side furthest from the blade of your stick) and he is trying to keep you to the outside. I have used this move a lot in games, it looks great and it works! If you want a full explanation of how to do this move visit our article and video on how to do the backhand toe drag.
Backhand Toe Drag Video On the Ice
Backhand Toe Drag Tips
Practice a lot before trying it in a game
You need to pull the puck in close to your feet to protect the puck
Don’t be afraid to try variations of this move and come up with your own style / moves
Make sure you have enough room to do this move otherwise the d-man will stop you every time
Keep your head up (especially if you play contact hockey) so you can read the defencemen and tweak the move if you need to
In an effort to bring you the most comprehensive and in depth hockey training I have created the complete guide to stickhandling. I have written a number of articles on stickhandling as well as produced quite a few videos but many of the How to Hockey readers wanted a complete guide that shows everything from start to finish. I spent the entire summer writing, editing and shooting video for this e-book and training video. Every time I thought it was finished I would remember a few more drills, or a few more tips but eventually I think I emptied my brain into this book and training video.
What you get
Stickhandling Guide – You get an 18 page e-book that covers everything you need to know about stickhandling. This e-book will take you from knowing nothing to knowing basically everything. After you learn what is possible with stickhandling I show you how you can practice and train to become amazing with the puck. I include over 20 off-ice stickhandling drills to help you improve every aspect of puck control that I teach in the e-book.
Stickhandling Training Video – The training video is over 30 minutes long and explains the concepts discussed in the e-book. I also show you exactly how to do every drill that was outlined in the e-book.
Progress tracking sheets – I include a progress tracking sheet with instructions so you can keep track of your improvements. This will encourage you to keep on practicing and improving and gives you something to look back on and see how much you have improved.
In the latest deke of the week (or month :P) we bring you the toe drag. The toe drag is a very effective move IF you can master it. This is one of those moves that you don’t want to try in a game unless you have done it flawlessly 10 times in a row during practice. The first video shows you the deke of the week version with in-game scenarios, and the second video is our “how to toe drag” video that we shot last year. (If you are from the United States of Amurica remember, it’s called the toe drag, not a curl and drag)
On Ice Toe Drag Video
How To Toe Drag
Tips for performing the toe drag
You have to practice this move a lot before you can master it, I recommend using a nice smooth surface like the roll-up shooting pad and a puck instead of a ball, for the most ice-like feel try a shooting pad and the green biscuit
If practicing at home or on the ice start with a wall behind you, that way if you miss the puck you don’t have to go and get it each time
When gripping the stick with your top hand loosen your grip while rolling the blade over and let it fall into your fingertips. Hold it in your finger-tips while you start to pull the puck back, then while pulling the puck back and catching the puck tighten your grip and hold the stick in your top hand how you normally would
Practice pushing the puck out and toe-dragging back in on your side and in front of you.
During the game try toe-dragging the puck in towards your feet, that way if you don’t catch it, or a defender knocks the puck off of your stick you still have the option of kicking it up to your stick with your feet
The trickiest part to learn is actually catching the puck after you drag it back with your toe, you need to quickly roll the blade over and catch the puck, if you practice a lot you will get it!
This is one of my favourite dekes to pull on the defencemen when I am in a one on one situation and the D is matching my speed. If I have speed on the D I will usually pull a simple fake like I have shown in the previous dekes, but if the defencemen is matching your speed and skating backwards I find faking to one side and then tucking the puck under his stick and going the other way is a great way to get past them and freeze them in their spot. Check out the video to see how I do this move
In This Video
Here are a few tips from the video for those of you who like to read
To prepare for this deke either deke to the outside to get the defensemen to make a move and sweep at you with his stick, or leave the puck out to the side like you are going to skate past him on the outside and then pull the puck across and under his stick
You have to avoid the stick and the skates, to avoid the stick make sure you push the puck far enough ahead so it isn’t in the D’s sweep zone. Once the D goes for the sweep pull the puck straight across so he can’t catch the puck in his skates.
This move is easier to pull on an opponent who is the opposite hand of you. A righty going against a lefty will have more success with this move than a righty going against a righty
Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and youtube channel for more great tips!
If you ever wanted a solid go-to move to break out of your own end, well…here it is. I use this move on a regular basis and it is pretty much fool proof. There is nothing super fancy about this move, but it is very effective and can result in a breakaway in some circumstances.
Bank Shot Video
In This Video
The best time to use this move is if you catch the opposing player standing still, or skating slow near the boards. If you need to get by them you COULD try a risky move, or go with an almost sure thing and just bank the puck off the boards. If you want to be extra sneaky you can fake like you are going to try to squeeze by them along the boards, then just bank the puck off the board and quickly dart the other way and get the puck behind the player.
Best to use if the other player is standing still, or skating slowly
If you bank the puck low on the boards it will come out closer to the back of the player
If you bank the puck high on the boards the angle will be different and the puck will land farther away from you, this is a good way to create more distance, or clear the puck
A tricky move is to fake like you are going to beat the other player along the boards, if he moves to block you or hit you, bank the puck then beat him on the other side
A fun move to try it to skate to the center, drop the puck and stick between your legs and then bank it off the boards, the other player will not expect this and it could throw them off (try it during practice)
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Last week we all learned about the single deke which involves a simple fake to one side, and then beating the player on the other side. Sometimes the player does not bite on your first fake, so you might need to toss in a second one, that is where the double deke comes in! In this video I show you how to do the double deke, what you will need to practice to perfect the move, and when the best time is to use it. One situation I forgot to mention in the video is to use this move to split the D. If there are two defencemen you skate to the center of them, fake towards one, then fake towards the other, then bust through both of them, it doesn’t work every time but I have pulled it off a few times.
Double Deke Video
In This Video
Fake to one side, fake to the other side, then beat the player on the side you faked to originally
To make it really convincing toss in a head fake and shoulder fake
You can modify the move by really selling it, or just moving the puck quickly to one side, to the other, then back to the other side.
Here is the fourth installment of the deke of the week, it’s still pretty basic but we are slowly working our way up to the sneaky dekes. Some people on youtube have been asking me to do the more advanced dekes but what they don’t understand is that with dekes there is probably a 10/90 rule. You will use 10% of your dekes 90% of the time, and those 10% are the simple ones. Also knowing and understanding the simple moves will help you know WHEN to use them and help you learn the more advanced moves. There is no point in pulling a risky show-boat deke when a simple one will do the trick, but sometimes the show-boat deke will be your only option so that is why it helps to fully understand the simple dekes but still know how to pull the tricky ones. Enough with the talk, lets get to the video!
Single Deke Video
Tips for performing the Single Deke
Fake to one side, catch the puck and then move it to the other side and move past the player
Dip your head and shoulder to really sell the deke and make it look like you are going that way
If you wait to long to start the deke, the other player will be able to knock the puck off your stick
The faster you are skating, the further back you will have to begin the move. Try starting it about 10 feet away from the player
The best time to use this deke is when the defensemen is skating at you, or standing still / skating slowly
You need speed to pull this move, if the defensemen is matching your speed you will probably not be able get around the defensemen.
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In the third edition of the deke of the week I am going to be talking about fakes. In my opinion a fake is not the same as a deke, but you can use fakes in your dekes. A “fake” is just a slight, or subtle movement that might freeze the opposing player for a slight second, sometimes a simple fake is all you need to get around a play. A deke requires a set of actions, with a deke you are baiting the other player, forcing them to move or opening them up, and then pulling a move on them. So with a deke you have the preperation (set the bait), pull the move, seperate yourself from the player, then accelerate. With a fake it is just a quick movement you do, and you can use them in your dekes. Here are some fakes you can do
Eye fakes (I’m not joking they work!)
Head fakes (usually used with shoulder fakes)
Stick fakes and hand fakes
In the video below I go through each fake and tell you how you can use them in a game, in combinations, and when is the best time to use each fake. I thought it was important to cover all the fakes because I will be mentioning them in future deke of the weke videos.
Deke of the Week 3 Video
Thanks for watching! Next week we will be back on the rink. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and videos on youtube to stay up to date with the latest hockey training.
Here is the deke of the week #2, last week we talked about skating for open ice and this week we are building on that and teaching you to protect the puck. I know this isn’t really a deke, but it is very important to know the fundamentals of hockey and really the point of playing is to set-up plays, score goals and win games, not be a show-boat that tries crazy dekes and loses the puck. I will be teaching some very effective (and some crazy) dekes later on, but first I want to teach the most effective ways to beat the other players on the ice.
Protecting the Puck In Hockey
This is a basic video on protecting the puck while hustling! There are other methods for protecting the puck that I will likely write an entire article about, but for now here are some tips for beating the D!
Don’t forget to to subscribe to our blog to get notified of the newest videos and the next Deke of the Week
In This Video
Here is a quick summary of what you will learn in the video, along with some additional tips.
The easiest way to beat most players is to use your speed / skate around them
When you are evading a player on the ice, move the puck to the opposite side of where the player is, this moves the puck into a safe area where the defender can not take the puck from you
When protecting the puck you can use your leg, body, arm and shoulder to block the player from getting the puck (see video for a technique I like to use)
This technique works best when you have speed, when a player is skating backwards, or if a player is coming at you quickly ( instead of deking you just sidestep them while protecting the puck)
While skating past a player do not simply keep the puck in front of you, this makes it easy for the player to knock it off your stick
A technique I like to use is the “bait and switch” sometimes if I am approaching a player I will move the puck closer to them (if they are to my right I stickhandle with the puck to my right, if they are behind me I leave the puck a bit behind me) then when they are almost close enough to get it I quickly move it to the other side of my body. This allows me to put about 5 to 10 feet of separation between the puck and the defender.
That’s it for this week, remember to practice a lot and try to remember these techniques while playing. Being a smart player can GREATLY improve your game, all you have to do is think more while you are on the ice and remember what works 😀
Hey guys, I know I was promising this forever and here it finally is. I originally was going to call this 20 ways to beat the D, but I decided to call it the Deke of the Week and post a new on every week. We are going to start at the most basic moves, and then work our way up to some more advanced and tricky moves.
Why are we starting at the basics?
It is important for hockey players to understand the EASIEST ways to beat somebody, why try a complicated move when you can easily get past them and have a much better chance of getting a shot on net? Don’t worry, we will get to the nifty dekes later in the series, so be sure to subscribe to our blog to get notified of the newest moves.
Deke of the Week Part 1 Find Open Ice
In this video
Here is a quick summary of the video plus some extra tips
When players get the puck sometimes they get excited and lose it, instantly pass it, or blindly give it away. Take a quick peak before you get the puck so you know if you have room to move, or someone to pass to.
If you have the puck and have room to move GET YOUR SPEED UP. It WAY easier to skate past two players rather than deke through them (while other players catch up to you)
The point of this video is to teach players to look for the open ice, if you can beat a guy with speed than do it.
What not to do
If you have one man to beat, don’t skate right to him so you can try to deke him. Although it looks cool there is good chance you could lose the puck. If there is room to skate around him, then just skate to the open ice and blow past him.
That is your first deke of the week, be sure to subscribe to be notified of the next Deke of the Week
As a hockey player it is important to practice shooting and stickhandling on a regular basis. The big problem that most hockey players have though is finding a suitable surface to stickhandle and shoot off of.
The biggest problem with shooting and stickhandling on pavement or asphalt is the increased friction. This friction causes the pucks to move slower, and flip all over the place (very annoying). The friction also causes your stick blades to wear out pretty quickly (costs a lot to keep buying blades, or sticks)
Shooting and Stickhandling Surfaces
A great solution is to find a nice smooth surface to shoot and stickhandle on. I have tried a lot of alternatives, but I find each cheap alternative will have a downfall in one way or another. I think that if you are serious about improving your shooting and stickhandling it is important to find a good surface to practice on.
One product that we have reviewed in the past was the hockey shooting pad we also did a video review of the roll-up shooting pad which I really liked. I think the roll up pad is the best option for a small area.
Dryland Training Tiles
We were sent a few boxes of training tiles from hockey shot for review. Here is some information about the training tiles from the hockey shot website (with our comments in brackets)
Slipperiest & smoothest material available for stickhandling, shooting & passing! (we’ll see about that)
Each tile measures 18” x 18” tile (2.25 square feet) and are 1/2″ thick.
Comes with 2 beveled edge pieces for easy loading of pucks.
Tiles easily attach to each other. Assemble entire hockey flooring area in minutes! (more on this in the review)
Perfect for your garage, basement or driveway.
Tiles are strong enough for cars to park on, perfect for the garage. (Oh I have to test this out!)
Quality of Material
The tiles are very sturdy feeling, on the top they feel very smooth, and on the bottom they have a cross pattern across the entire tile. The tiles are not overly rigid, and it doesn’t seem like they would break or shatter with a slapshot (time will tell)
Setting up the Hockey Training Tiles
This was pretty easy, it took me a little while to figure it out, but I got it. I thought there was a special way to snap them together, but all you need to do is put the clip side over the ring side and then bash press them together. Each box has 10 tiles, and the tiles measure 18 inches by 18 inches, I set each box up as two rows of 5 tiles.
I would say 5 boxes would be enough for most areas like a garage or basement. It gave me a lot of room to stickhandle and practice dekes. I also added a few more toys from hockeyshot to give me a bit more to do.
On the right side is the attack triangle which is a substitute for a defencemen, and on left side, in the corner, we have the pass master. The passmaster will feed the puck back to you if you pass into it. We also have a weighted hockey puck, and a Green Biscuit which is my favourite off ice puck! Check out the video to see them all in action
Stickhandling and Shooting on the Training Tiles
I practiced a variety of moves on the shooting tiles, first I just did some basic stickhandling with a regular hockey puck, then moved on to quicker dekes, and toe drags. The tiles held up well too all of my abuse, I was darting back and foreth, moving the puck quickly in all directions and taking a few quick snap shots to finish the move off. The tiles did not come apart at all and most importantly, the puck did not get caught on any edges. I was really impressed at how smoothly the tiles fit together
I was told that you can drive a car onto the tiles and they will not break, so they better be able to withstand the force of a stick while taking a slapshot (I tested both :D) With 5 boxes of tiles there was plenty of room to take a wristshot, snapshot, and slapshot. I took a bunch of slapshots and did not feel the tiles move at all, and there was no damage either.
Compared to other products
I really like the roll-up shooting pad which is 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and costs $99. With the roll up shooting pad you get the most shooting and stickhandling area for your buck. A box of 10 training tiles costs $109.50 (use our coupon to get $10 off) and gives you 3 feet by 7.5 feet, but the big advantage to the tiles is that you can buy more down the road and increase the area.
Score sheet – Overall Thoughts
I think that these tiles definitely live up to expectations.
I would recommend these to anyone who has a garage, basement, or flat open area and wants to start a cool place to practice stickhandling and shooting. Only one question remains though…. can you drive a car on it, you will have to watch the video to find out!
Hockey Training Tiles Video Review
In this video we test out the training tiles and show you how well the pucks slide, how to set up the tiles, and if we can park a car on them
Where to Buy the Training Tiles
I always get a comment on every review asking where to buy the product (even though I link to it about 5 times in the review) so I am making a nice big section called where to buy. You can buy the tiles on this page at hockeyshot
I have had a tonne of requests from the subscribers of how to hockey to teach them how to toe drag. I wanted to wait until the ice is in, but I know a few good ways to practice the toe drag off ice so I thought I would write this article (and make a cool video!).
Why Use a Toe Drag
In my article and video on how to stickhandle I mention that to be master of the puck, you need to be able to control the puck around your entire body, and also have the ability to move the puck from side to side, and front to back in any situation. Perfecting the toe drag will give you the ability to move the puck quickly backwards and forwards, and side to side no matter where it is.
Another great advantage to the toe drag is to use it to deke out the opposition or the goalie. There are a number of situations where a quick toe drag can be the best (and prettiest) way to get around the defense. Sometimes the defensemen thinks you have no room to move the puck, but by using the toe of the stick to pull the puck backwards you give yourself more room move the puck. Then you can move it over and up and blow past the D (and look awesome!)
How To Toe Drag
I was hesitant to show people how to toe drag off-ice. I learned how to toe drag with a stickhandling ball, I had it perfected, then I stepped onto the ice and tried it with a puck….not good. The puck flew backwards…over, and over, and over. I did have the general motion down, but I had to adjust a bit to get it to work on the ice. I think the biggest problem was that I learned with a ball, and with a lot of friction, but on the ice you use a puck, and there is very little friction. So my best recommendation for learning to toe drag off-ice… get a green biscuit, and a hockey shooting pad (I really like the roll up shooting pad don’t forget to use our coupon)
The Green Biscuit is a great puck to use to perfect the toe drag off-ice.
The toe drag is pretty simple on paper (or computer screen), but actually getting it down is tough, here is how to toe drag
Roll your wrists to roll the blade of the stick over, so the toe of the blade of the stick is pointing down
Catch the puck with the toe, and pull it backwards (or sideways if the puck is to your side)
As the puck is coming backwards, roll your hands back and catch the puck
Make sure you have the toe centered on the puck, otherwise it will slide to the side.
This is the most basic toe drag, once you get better you can use the toe drag to move the puck straight back, in a J motion, or a wide U to pull the puck from one side of your body, all the way to the other.
How To Toe Drag Video
In this video I show you the toe-drag, and how I practice it off the ice. I also show you in detail how you can learn to toe drag off ice with a detailed step-by-step guide. If you have any problems you can leave a comment in this article, on the video, or on our facebook page
The green biscuit is a hockey training puck that is designed to replicate the feeling of stickhandling with a real hockey puck on ice. While many ( too many!) products promise the feel of stickhandling
with a real puck, only a few can deliver. How did it stack up? Read on to find out.
If you just want to know how much it costs, and buy one you can buy it here Enter our Hockeyshot coupon code for $10 off orders over $100 HOWHCKY001
First look at the Green Biscuit
When I first got the green biscuit I thought what most people probably think, oh great another gimmicky hockey training product. You have to admit, it looks a bit funny
Green Biscuit Design
The biscuit is designed to travel flat on irregular surfaces like concrete and asphalt. The idea behind the design is to reduce friction, and vibration that will cause pucks to flip over and normally occurs with other pucks.
The green biscuit is made out of two pieces of plastic with a hollow spot in the middle. The pieces of plastic are held apart by three metal bolts and cushioned with rubber spacers in the middle. According to the Green Biscuit Website this unique design is specifically engineered to stop the it from flipping over. Sounds like a great plan, but for some reason I don’t think that this puck could hold up to my ever improving slapshot, but I can’t wait to try stickhandling and passing.
While there are many pucks that use simple, and often flawed designs in an attempt to achieve an ice like feel, it appears that the green biscuit may actually achieve this. It definitely wins the award for most creative engineering and design. Only one question remains though….
Does the Green Biscuit work?
The short answer is YES! I was pretty amazed at how well this puck actually worked. After using so many shawdy products, I really expected this one to end up as dog toy, I was pleasantly surprised. Below I will share my experience with the biscuit
Stickhandling with the GreenBiscuit
I tested the Green Biscuit on a nice flat piece of pavement. The biscuit moves nicely back and forth and is definitely better than using a regular hockey puck ( see video) I also tried some other hockey training pucks but the Green Biscuit was definitely my favourite. It slides nicely, and is great for toe drags! (as seen in our hockey shooting pad video)
Does it flip up?
When doing slow smooth motions it is almost impossible to flip the it over. I find the biscuit does come up slightly from time to time, but only during quick, powerful moves. I feel this is a good way to train yourself to have nice soft hands, and it only tilts up a bit, so it doesn’t really interrupt stickhandling too much.
If you want to practice a lot of quick moves you could always pick up a hockey shooting pad. The shooting pad works well with the green biscuit by reducing friction even more, and it will also protect the bottom of your stick. We did a full hockey shooting pad review if you are interested
I really liked passing with the green biscuit. Ken and I tried all kinds of variations; quick short passes, long hard passes, rapid back and forth passes, backhand passes, and even saucer passes. The green biscuit worked great for every type of pass, and really felt like passing on ice does.
If you suck at passing I definitely recommend getting a green biscuit, having a friend to pass back to you helps as well!!
One thing that I did notice was when taking a hard pass, if I cupped the pass and then pulled it in towards my body in a sweeping motion the puck would come up on edge against the edge of the blade of my stick. Not a huge annoyance as it only happened a few times, and I easily corrected the puck and continued passing.
Shooting with the green biscuit
A lot of people ask “can you shoot with the Green Biscuit?” Here is my experience
*Winds up, takes a slapshot, hits post, green biscuit explodes*
The green biscuit is not made for shooting! That’s what regular pucks are for 😀
Green Biscuit Video
Reading about how a product works is good, but seeing it in action is even better, so we thought this video would help show you how the Green Biscuit training puck works.
Green biscuit vs regular puck
As you can see in the picture the Green Biscuit is the exact same size of a normal hockey puck
The Green Biscuit weighed in at 4.4 ounces. A normal hockey puck is usually between 5.5 and 6 ounces. The Green Biscuit is made a bit lighter than a normal puck to replicate the feel of using a real puck off ice.
According to the Green Biscuit website the Green Biscuit was made lighter than a normal hockey puck because the added friction from rough surfaces makes it feel heavier, or just like using the heavier puck on the ice.
Don’t even think about trying to use a regular puck off the ice or on pavement, the rubber grabs onto everything and the puck will flip all over the place
Of course nothing can match a puck on ice, but the Green Biscuit does slide nicely, it travels in a straight line, moves better if you put spin on it, and has a similar bounce as a puck.
Green biscuit compared to stickhandling balls
As you can see in the pictures the stickhandling ball is quite a bit smaller than the Green Biscuit, however it is also taller. The balls are made to have the same contact point as a puck, so that is why it is quite a bit taller, you can see that the middle of the stickhandling ball matches the top of the green biscuit.
The stickhandling ball I use weighed in at 4.1 oz, with the green biscuit being 4.4, not a big difference at all.
Being round, the stickhandling balls roll very easily, the motion of rolling is obviously different than sliding but provides great lateral movement along the ground. The major downfall of stickhandling balls is the passing ability. If you try to pass stickhandling balls for long distances they have the tendency to bounce and change direction.
Stickhandling balls are great for quick movements and repetition because you never have to worry about them flipping over, however real pucks do flip over sometimes so I think it is a good idea to use a product that most closely reflects the properties of a puck.
If I want to practice some serious dangles I prefer the green biscuit. The major downfall of stickhandling balls is their shape. They are designed to feel like a puck, but no matter how you look at it, they are still balls. When I first started learning how to toe drag I practiced with stickhandling balls, but found when I tried the same motion on ice, the puck would get away from me a lot. When I started using the Green biscuit on a hockey shooting pad (even on pavement was good) I noticed it felt A LOT more like a puck on ice.
Price compared to other training pucks
The green biscuit retails for around $10 US, which is right on par with other training pucks.
Green Biscuit Recap
Highlight of the night
I like how easily the green biscuit slides on rough surfaces and also how much it feels like a real puck. I also like how it doesn’t flip all over the place like other off ice pucks. Passing is great with the GB as well. If I send a nice hard pass to my friend, I know it is going to get there, which makes practicing with the green biscuit a lot of fun.
In the sin bin
The only downfalls I could find with the biscuit is that it is fairly loud (plastic on pavement, who would have guessed) and also it is not made for shooting. The plastic is some-what brittle so if you shoot the puck against something hard it WILL break. Also if you use the Green Biscuit on asphalt a lot it will wear down due to the rough surface.
I definitely recommend the green biscuit to anyone who wants to practice stickhandling and especially for people who want to work on passing. I had a lot of fun using the green biscuit, and it has found a permanent home in my gym bag, right next to my roller blades!
Where to Buy a Green Biscuit
If you want to pick up one of these you can buy it here Use our Hockey Shot coupon code to save $10 on orders over $100 HOWHCKY001
Stickhandling is very important in hockey, many young players may think they know how to stickhandle, but you may be surprised what you are doing wrong!
I used to think I was pretty good with the puck, I could get around players, I could deke and I could score goals. I lived by this notion until I was about 16 years old, and wanted to score even more. I started looking around for information about stickhandling and deking. I started studying the best stickhandlers in the NHL and I began to realize something, I could be a lot better. Don’t make the same mistakes I did, learn the proper way from the start. This article will help you learn the proper way to stickhandle, and how you can control the puck in any situation
When most players practice stickhandling they practice with the puck in front of them and moving the puck back and forth. For beginning players this is fine, you need to get a feel for the puck, and practice stickhandling with your head up. But when you get older, or better at hockey you should practice a lot more. When you first start stickhandling practice moving the puck back and forth. Lift your head and just feel the puck, see what it feels like on your forehand, on your backhand, near the toe of the blade, near the heel of your blade. Get to know these feelings, by registering those feelings in your brain you will improve a lot at keeping your head up and not losing the puck as much. But there is more to stickhandling than moving the puck back and forth….
You can see in the left picture that my top hand is to the side of my body. This reduces range of motion, the proper way to hold the stick is how I am holding the stick on the right. This allows free movement of the stick around the entire body
The Golden Rule of Stickhandling
Many players think that stickhandling is moving the puck back and forth, this is wrong. When you practice stickhandling you should practice controlling the puck every where you can reach with your hockey stick. This means moving the puck side to side AND forwards and backwards, in front of you, on both sides of you, and even behind you. Practice this as soon as you can and as often as you can. Not only will you be able to stickhandle through heavy traffic, and around a lot more players, you will also be able to recover the puck more often when it is knocked off of your stick, and you will also be able to receive more passes.
You can see here that I am practicing controlling the puck within the furthest reach in every direction. Every hockey player should practice this in order to have full control of the puck whenever it is close to them
If you can control the puck around your entire body you will not have to slow down and wait for a pass, you will be able to reach back, tap the puck forwards and take off. Stickhandling around your entire body will give you a huge advantage over other players who only practice stickhandling in front of them, and you will be able to stickhandle around a lot more players.
Practice your Reach
This is very important in stickhandling. A lot of players keep their top hand (the hand on the top of the stick) by their side, this is very restricting and gives you a limited range of motion when stickhandling. The proper way to hold the stick is with your top hand in front of you, this allows you to move your stick (and the puck) all the way around your body. Practice moving the puck as far as you can to the right, and then bringing it back, and then moving it as far as you can to the left and then bringing it back. For even more reach practice let go of the stick with your bottom hand when you are reaching to your backhand side.
You can see here how much ice I can cover, simply by moving the puck from one side to the other. Having this knowledge can help a hockey player in many situations
Practice the Toe Drag
The toe drag is such a powerful move in hockey, you would be crazy not to master it. How often have you seen NHL players embarrass NHL defensemen with a ridiculous toe drag? It happens quite a bit, I have attached a video of a nice toe drag by Michael Ryder .
If players can use this move on NHL defensemen and get away with it, then once you master it you should be able to use it to get around your opponents. For more information on the toe drag see my article and video How to Do a Toe Drag
Here I am practicing a toe drag around another puck. There are many different types of toe drags which I will cover in another article
Take it to the Ice
Now that you have practiced stickhandling and mastered controlling the puck around your entire body you are ready to take it to the ice. Keep in mind you should always be practicing your stickhandling and deking, but try to leave the moves you have not mastered yet to the practice, and only use moves you have mastered during games (especially playoff games)
Always Move the Puck
This is a good general rule, by moving the puck you are always prepared to make a deke or move on the opponent, and the opponent will always be thinking about what you are going to do next. Moving the puck is also known as dribling (moving the puck back and forth quickly) There are dekes that require you to keep the puck stationairy (like the bait and switch, will add article soon) but for the most part you should always be moving the puck.
Use Your Body
Stickhandling should not just be arms, stick and puck. Use your entire body in the process. Your body is a great tool to block other players from getting the puck (see protect the puck below) Your body can also be a good tool in deking, remember to use your head, shoulders and legs. Here’s a quick breakdown for you – Use your head for fakes, shift your head left or right when you deke left and right with the puck. Use your shoulder for fakes, you can dip your shoulder left or right when you deke left or right. Use your feet for dekes – You can incorporate your feet in any number of dekes, you can drop the puck back to your skates and then kick it back, pull the puck behind you, then pull it in between your skates and kick it forwards. You can even use your legs for fakes, think about when you fake a shot on the goalie, if you lift your one leg as if you are transferring weight you can really sell the fake. (I will upload a sweet goal by Teemu Selanne where he does this)
Stickhandling Tips Video
This video explains how a player should be able to control the puck and shows a few quick drills you can use to practice being a better stickhandler
How to Get Around the Defense
For more on this check out my deke of the week videos – A good way to beat most defensemen is to beat them with speed. Instead of skating up to them, or waiting for them to come to you and then deking them, just blow past them with your speed.
When skating around the opposing players puck location is very important. Many players will skate with the puck in front of them all the time. To get an advantage over the opponent you should position the puck on the side furthest from the opposing player while stickhandling. This means if the opposing players are on the right side, move the puck to your left side and skate around them.
Another way to deceive the defense is to make them think that they can get the puck from you. For example, say the defense is in front of you and on the right hand side. If I move the puck to the left side to soon then the better defencemen will move with the puck and stop me. Sometimes I will stickhandle with the puck so it appears the defencemen will easily be able to get it off of me (if the defence is on the right side, I stickhandle on the right side). I skate full tilt towards them, so they think all they have to do is knock the puck off my stick. I then quickly move the puck as far to the left side as I can, while turning, or crossing over to the left side, this gives me about a 15-20 foot difference between where the puck was, to where it currently is, and lots of room to skate around the defence.
Protect the Puck
Remember when driving to the net, or trying to push around another player that you should protect the puck. You protect the puck by putting your body in between the other player and the puck. Another good trick is to hold your hockey stick with one hand, and use the other hand to block the opposition from getting the puck off of you. I will add more tips on how to protect the puck soon (man I have so much information I still need to add!)
Well those are all of my stickhandling tips for now. If you have any tips of your own that you would like to add feel free to add them in the comment section below.