How great would it be to step onto the ice next season and be BETTER than the last time you skated? Well it is quite possible and the summer time is a great time to sharpen some of your skills. The only thing that is coming in between you improving over the summer is yourself, below I have made a list of 6 ways you can improve.
Off ice Shooting
You don’t need ice-time to work on your shot, in fact last summer I improved my slapshot by 20 MPH (yeah it sucked before) by simply training with a radar gun and making note of what improved my power and what didn’t. What was the trick? There was no trick, I just got a radar gun and made a commitment to shoot 100 pucks a day (taking some days off of course). While shooting my muscles naturally became better, stronger and more effecient at performing the slapshot. I was training them while shooting over and over, and the radar gun helped me notice my improvements and motivated me to keep shooting.
Here is a Review I did a while back of the radar gun I use
Off ice stickhandling
Stickhandling is easy to practice at home as long as you have something smooth to stickhandle on. If you need some drills to practice you can check out my complete guide to stickhandling (if you don’t learn anything you can have it for free). I also have a few articles and videos that should help you, how to stickhandle, and how to toe drag. All of the above links show you ways to improve your stickhandling at home
Quick stickhandling tips (for the lazy)
Practice “quick hands”or dribling, moving the puck from forehand to backhand as quickly as possible. This keeps the puck moving and the other players thinking
Practice moving the puck around your entire body
Practice moving the puck quickly from one area of your body to the next (front to back, side to side, front to side, etc)
For off-ice stickhandling I recommend a few hockey pucks, the Green Biscuit and a shooting pad. Stickhandling balls are also a lot of fun
It is not too easy to improve your skating technique during the summer (unless you can get ice time) however it is easy to improve your leg power and acceleration. This is a great way to come back next year as a faster hockey player, I think acceleration is a very important skill to have if you want to get more scoring chances so this is a big one to work on. If you want to improve your hockey speed, you have to train your muscles to work in the same way they work on the ice. Short bursts of speed and explosive movements will help improve your leg strength and speed. Wind sprints are a good way to improve your explosive speed and you I also recommend checking out our article from Jarod Palmer of the Minnesota Wild – How to gain speed in hockey with off ice training
Get some Ice Time
I know that for some people this might be very hard, but if you live in a city it is worth your while to check the nearest rinks. In most bigger cities you will be able to find a rink with the ice still in, ask if there are any adult hockey leagues, or open ice time for hockey players. One of the most important skills in hockey is skating so take a few seconds to check if there is a rink near you with ice. You can use Hockey Community to find rinks, games, and pick-up games near you
Play Other Sports
Playing sports that keep your muscles working will help you maintain fast reflexes and good overall strength and speed. Some sports like lacrosse and ball hockey or roller hockey have skills that carry over to hockey. Even something simple like tennis, squash, or soccer can help because they require fast movements, rapid change in direction and hand eye co-ordination. Unfortunately I don’t think golf will help much
Go to a hockey Camp!
Hockey camp is a great way for kids and adults to learn a few new skills and work on sharpening the skills they already have. If you are an adult there are lots of great hockey camps out there, one fan of How To Hockey recommended Heartland Hockey Camp in Minnesot
If you have kids or are under the age of 17 check out the Summer hockey camp that I will be working at over the summer
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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!
After releasing my Complete guide to stickhandling I had a number of requests for a way to track progress while completing the drills in the book / video. I decided to make the tracking sheet and methods available to everyone, but if you need some tips for stickhandling and drills / variations to use (to make the drills more challenging) check out the stickhandling course (linked to above)
Last summer I showed you how to toe drag and this summer I am going to show the backhand toe drag. The toe drag is a great move to use and very deceptive, if you can perfect the toe drag you will be able pull a few really nice dangles and have the guys on your bench cheering. A lot of people know about toe drag, but not as many people know about the backhand toe drag.
What is the backhand toe drag?
Basically the backhand toe drag is when you use the back of your blade to pull / drag the puck in close to your feet so you can get past the defenders. This is an effective move to practice because by quickly moving the puck in close to your body you will be able to protect the puck and get it out of the reach of other players.
There are actually a few different variations to the backhand toe drag so I have broken each version down in my video. In the video I show you how to practice off the ice, but once I start the deke of the week up again I will show you an on ice version.
Backhand Toe Drag on the side
In this version you will be stickhandling with the puck to your side. The best time to use this move is when a defender is skating at you and going for the puck. You can pull a regular toe drag and pull the puck in close to your feet, but I find it’s a lot easier to just roll the blade over and catch the puck with the back of the blade, then pull it in and push it forwards (shown in video)
Backhand Toe Drag in Front
This move is great to pull if you are cutting across the center of the offensive zone and looking to get a shot on the net. I usually do this one when I am on my off wing and moving into the center. Leave the puck in front of you a bit and stickhandle, the defense will likely go for a poke check as you cut across, all you need to do is grab the puck with the back of the blade, pull it in towards your feet and then pull it across your body. I usually have about 90% success rate with this move, and it looks (and feels) great
Backhand Toe Drag on your backhand Side
This one is done on your backhand side and is the most like the forehand toe drag. What you want to do here is roll the blade right over and actually use the back of the toe of the blade to pull the puck in. This one is pretty tricky to master but I can certainly see it coming in handy, and is helpful to practice for total puck control around your entire body.
Backhand Toe Drag Video
In this video I show you all the versions of the backhand toe drag that I have used on the ice.
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
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I know that a lot of people will want to keep their hockey skills sharp over the summer. Every spring after a month or so without playing hockey I start to get the itch to play. I love hockey, and I not only want to play, but I also want to keep my skills sharp. I recently found a great combination of training aids that help me train, and get a bit of the feeling of hockey!
I have been using the Shooting pad and Slideboard combo for a few months now and LOVE IT. Hockey Shot sent me the slideboard to review and I thought it was pretty good to work the muscles involved with skating, but just sliding back and forth was not enough for me. In an effort to get the most out of the slideboard I put it in front of my shooting pad and started sliding while stickhandling. This combo gives me the sensation of skating while stickhandling while working my leg muscles and my stickhandling muscles! Then I thought what about using the slideboard while shooting? This was also a lot of fun and is a great way to hone your weight transfer and shooting skills.
How the Slideboard / Shooting pad Combo helps
Using just the shooting pad is a good way to practice shooting and stickhandling, but in hockey you are always moving. Using a slideboard gets your body moving in a similar way that your body moves on the ice. This will help train your muscles while you are off the ice so that you can move better while on the ice.
This combo will help with the following:
improve your stickhandling while moving
Practice moves that require lateral movement (dekes)
Bridge the gap between off ice practice, and on ice skills (more game like situation)
Build your skating muscles
Become a faster skater
Good whole body workout while improving your stickhandling, skating and shooting muscles!
I am a huge skeptic when it comes to products so that is why I only really review and recommend products I believe in on How To Hockey. I have been using this combo for a while now and definitely think it will help players improve. I actually told Hockey shot about it and they added a page to their site where you can buy the shooting pad and slideboard together and you save $10 by buying them both at the same time! You can also use our coupon code in the right sidebar to save another $10 off your order
What if I already have a slideboard or Shooting Pad?
If you want to pick up any of the products mentioned and used in this article / video here are the links
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