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04-04-2011, 04:06 PM
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Being 'strong' on the puck is a combination of many things, but the most important is having a low center of gravity. Having great balance makes it harder for someone to brush you off the puck, no matter how hard you get hit. Bend your knees, keep as low of a center of gravity as possible, and plant your stick firmly on the ice. This helps especially when scrumming in the boards for a puck. As far as stick handling goes, it's all about timing and anticipating what a defender will do. Always try and keep your body between the puck and an opponent, and the puck close to your feet. It's hard to describe without *showing*, but the longer you play the more naturally this will all come. If you are comfortable, keep your head up when you have the puck, or at least try and sense in your peripherals where a defender's stick is.

For example, if you're right handed and you have a defender on your left, don't let the puck get ahead of you. Instead, control it on your right side (furthest away from the defender), almost parallel to your shoulders. It's common sense stuff, but you'd be surprised at how many people forget. If you can, don't be afraid of taking a hand off the stick when you're cutting in to smack an opponent's stick away too, it helps.

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