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01-10-2012, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Enter city here
There's a lot you can do for dryland stickwork with green biscuits, fly pucks and the like to help you gain confidence with the puck. My biggest suggestion, keep your feet moving, while you're practicing.
But as somebody who has as much on-ice experience as you, my biggest suggestion in fighting "Puck Panic" is knowing what you're going to do with the puck before you get it.
I play defense mostly, and was notorious for battling for a puck on the boards or in front of my net, getting it, and then just blindly passing it out of the zone to absolutely nobody. I just wanted the puck off my stick and away from the goal as fast as possible. 90% of the time, the puck was quickly corralled by the other team and brought back into the zone. 5% of the time I iced it, 5% of the time I got lucky, hit a teammate, and we went the other direction.
The past few games I've really focused more on situational awareness, and knowing what I'm going to do with the puck before I get it. As I'm battling with the guy trying to screen my goalie, I'm glancing at my winger every couple seconds making sure I know where he is, so that when I get the puck, I can look up quickly in his direction, and put the puck on his stick.
The same goes for charging at the boards. Sure, at my level of skating, it's scary glancing away as I approach, but if I know where my teammates are, and have a plan for the puck, I don't panic when I get it.
When I'm in the offensive zone, I'm constantly checking out the forwards like quarterback surveying his receiver. If the puck comes to me, I'll look quickly at who I knew was last open, and try to send the puck his way. Or if I know nobody is open, I'll have the situational awareness to know if I can hold it a second or two and wait for things to open up or take the shot.
I actually found it helped to play some NHL 12 video games as a locked in position, letting the AI play all the rest of the players, and spending the game thinking, "If they pass it to me, what am I going to do with it?" Sure you can always call for the pass in the game, but in real hockey, the puck comes to you when it comes to you, not on your demand. I was trying to simulate that aspect.
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