How To Stickhandle
Do you watch the best stickhandlers in your league, or watch great feats of stickhandling and deeking in the NHL with amazement?
Turn your awe into study. Learn how to stickhandle from those who are better than you. Promise yourself to continue to strive to grow as a skillful hockey player.
How To Stickhandle Your Way to More Ice Time
On the ice, players don’t get to handle the puck very long. Add up all the seconds for which a player carries the puck. It isn’t a long time.
If you want to increase the amount of time in a game that you get to handle the puck, you have to improve stickhandling. As you develop good stick handling skills you’ll become better at giving and receiving passes, as well as maintaining possession of the puck yourself. That will earn you more ice time. Then you’ll need better ice hockey conditioning, but that’s fodder for another article.
How To Practice Stickhandling On And Off Ice
- Cradle the puck. Roll your top wrist over and under when stickhandling the puck with soft hands. Minimize the slapping sound when moving from forehand to backhand.
- Practice different positions. Always practice stickhandling in many different positions around your body, not just directly in front of yourself. Practice dekes by moving the puck in all positions from your forehand to your backhand side of your body and back again. And again.
- Head up. To be able to see around yourself for dekes and passes, practicing stickhandling with your head up around 45 degrees from the surface. Stickhandling with your head up is an essential skill in order to play safe and effective hockey.
- Practice off ice. Learning how to stickhandle requires so much repetition that you have to do it habitually off the ice in various places. There are many off ice stickhandling props available online.
- Strengthen your wrists. Strong wrists, hands, and forearms can be developed with wrist exercise like weight training. One way is to tie a rope to a stick shaft and a weight to the other end; hold the shaft parallel to the ground so the weight hangs; wind the weight up to the shaft by rolling the hockey stick shaft.
- Keep hands away from body. This allows your hands to move freely and increases your stickhandling reach and range of motion in a way that the gloves and top of stick don’t get caught in the jersey. Increase the lie of your stick blade for this.
- Increase agility. Use stickhandling obstacles. It’s easier to learn how to stickhandle through and around real players, or obstacles similar to them.
- Make it fun. Using games and challenges or competitions with others is a fun way to learn how to stickhandle.
- Practice in motion. Ultimately you have to learn how to stickhandle while skating. Off ice, you can do stickhandling drills on the run or on inline skates or on a skateboard to increase balance.
- Develop quickness. Stickhandling skills are not as good if done slowly in a game situation. Gradually increase the speed of your stick handling the puck or ball. You can do this with fast moving objects on and off ice, such as wiffle balls and golf balls. You have to move your hands fast to keep them on your stick.
Here’s an article about how to choose the best hockey stick for stickhandling.
How To Stickhandle Like a Pro
Do you stickhandle within your comfort zone? Get out of it. Push your speed and dekes beyond your current ability and you’ll improve soon enough. Many NHL hockey players attribute their skills to hockey camps when they were young. Some reputable hockey schools are now available online. Those who didn’t make it to professional hockey would definitely have found NHL statistics about how to get to the NHL very useful. We strive to make such a resource is available to you here.
Use soft hands while stickhandling because you’ll be able to cushion the puck and feel where it is on your stick better. You’ll be able to move your hands faster and more freely than you would with a stiff grip. You have to quckly change hand positions when stickhandling, so stay limber.
Check out some of the great stickhandling practice products available online.