How To Hockey

“Automatic Learning” in Hockey Drills

This is a guest post from Jason from Training2point0
Hey How to Hockey Readers,
I wanted to share with How To Hockey followers the concept of “Automatic Learning”. Imagine doing a drill that makes it impossible for you to fail. Imagine a drill that doesn’t require any thinking or cues or demonstration. Imagine a drill that teaches perfect technique automatically. This is automatic learning and I love finding little drills that do this.
After watching shooters like Stamkos and Ovechkin shoot, I noticed that they both had a strong upper body rotation and proper hand placement. They are able to generate massive torsion around their core, and thus through their stick. Watching baseball batters, they do the same thing! When comparing their shots to my own, I realized that I didn’t always do this. Sometimes I did, and had a great shot. Other times, I was off balance and didn’t rotate my shoulders all the way through.
So I accidentally stumbled across a little drill to work on getting that shoulder opening. The result was surprising, so I tested it on some other players I coached. I noticed that this drill led to automatic learning! I’m always on the hunt for these types of drills, so I was ecstatic when I found it.

I found that the drill made me stay balanced, open up my shoulders, and generate torsion through my core exactly how I needed to in order to have a good 1-timer. I also noticed that after a few reps most players I showed this to automatically got better rotation through their shoulders. It got their core, shoulders, arms, and wrists working together just like Jeremy shows on his videos. The drill helped with their 1-timers, but also their wrist and snapshots by tidying up their upper body mechanics.
Ok, enough of my blabbering. Here’s what you want to to do get the benefits of Automatic Learning with this drill:
To start the drill, simply take a few shots with your back knee on the ground in a half kneel position. Then try a few 1-timers from this position.
Once players get the feeling of perfect upper body mechanics from doing the kneeling version, they stand. When they properly attach the power from the legs to the perfect upper body mechanics, the result is…A ROCKET!! If after a few reps, they revert to using their legs without proper upper body mechanics, the fix is to simply go back to the half kneel position and re-identify the feeling!
During your regular shooting practice, mix in a few kneeling shots. Notice how it feels and see if it helps. If you have success or any questions, let us know!

Coach Jeremy

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