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Stickhandling Help

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Old
08-22-2007, 05:45 PM
  #1
tisting9
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Stickhandling Help

Hi, I am 14 and looking to improve my stickhandling. I would say I have above average hands, but there is always room for improvement. I know this may be impossible but what are some ways to get me to look like mini datsyuk out on that ice this season?

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08-22-2007, 08:35 PM
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McNasty
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Practice Practice Practice. Stickhandling is probably the one thing I excel at and it stems from me stickhandling in my garage for an hour a day, mostly with a roller hockey puck. It takes a fair amount of natural talent, but just a lot of trial and error.

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08-23-2007, 11:05 AM
  #3
Kevin Wey
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If you want a real challenge stickhandling, stickhandle a golf ball on garage pavement (it's smooth, so if starts bouncing uncontrollably, it's probably you and not the surface). This will help you develop quick hands and get more feel in your stick/hands. It's not easy.

That said, though, as much fun as it is to be a slick stickhandler, it's fairly useless at higher levels of hockey. Does Joe Thornton rely on amazing hands? No, he uses powerful strides to generate speed and then also intelligently uses his body to shield the puck and stickhandles intelligently to shield the puck as well. He doesn't often use quick movements to do this, either. Much of Jagr's career is based off of puck protection. Vanek does this well, too, as does Kyle Okposo.

Plus, at higher levels of hockey, a defenseman won't pay any attention to your sick stickhandling and will only proceed to separate you from the puck by playing the body. About 10 years ago I was watching Viktor Kozlov come down on Eric Weinrich and Kozlov did a fairly slick stickhandling move that you might see in pond hockey and you could physically see Weinrich wait for Kozlov to finish the move/attempted deke and proceed to poke check the puck and play the body on him after Kozlov was done. Weinrich created a turnover on this play and Kozlov only looked foolish.

So, slick stickhandling might get you on YouTube, but most high level players do not rely upon slick stickhandling. Besides, the more you stickhandle, the less in position you are to shoot the puck. Only if you're carrying the puck alongside you, and not in front of you, are you always ready to take that shot. So, if you're stickhandling away in front of you, a smart goalie will not make any commitment until you bring your stick into a shooting position on the forehand or the backhand.

Quick and soft hands are important in tight, but there's a difference between quick hands and ostentatious stickhandling.

Lastly, if you're doing a lot of slick stickhandling, it probably means you're missing opportunities to pass to puck to teammates. It's easier for a goalie to track the puck on your stick skating as fast as you can skate than if you pass the puck, which you can do at a much faster velocity than you can skate it.

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08-24-2007, 01:58 PM
  #4
tisting9
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Thanks

Thanks for all the replies, but can more people have some input. And when stickhandling what should I do?

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08-24-2007, 02:26 PM
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Jarick
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Smart Hockey Website - I'd pick up one of these balls, they are a great off-ice aid, and there's a movie section on the website with Vincent Lecavalier doing some drills

USA Hockey Videos - when you get that hockey ball, do these drills in this order. Spend your time on each one and you should definitely see improvement.

Hockey Shot Website - great resource on shooting, good page on stickhandling

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Old
08-24-2007, 02:55 PM
  #6
Henrique Iglesias
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my dad bought me one of those Smart Hockey balls, and WOW are those amazing...one of the best stickhandling helpers out there

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Old
08-24-2007, 02:56 PM
  #7
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Nobody has mentioned it yet so...

1A) Always pratice stickhandling with you're head up. Never look down at the puck. Even if your stickhandling takes a major step backwards it will be worth it in a real game (as mentioned earlier this makes sure you can see the right play).

2) Golf balls on smooth concrete works great, but try keeping more than 1 alive at a time (use 2 or 3). You can look down for this drill (if you don't have to add another golf ball).

3) Do both drills with one hand on the stick with you're arms nearly fully extended and both hands (work on seemlessly going from one hand to two handed drills). Also as mentioned above some of the best stickhandling plays are just extending the puck outside a defenders reach (as long as you still have control of the puck).

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Old
08-25-2007, 04:10 PM
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EmptyNetter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Wey View Post
That said, though, as much fun as it is to be a slick stickhandler, it's fairly useless at higher levels of hockey. Does Joe Thornton rely on amazing hands? No, he uses powerful strides to generate speed and then also intelligently uses his body to shield the puck and stickhandles intelligently to shield the puck as well. He doesn't often use quick movements to do this, either. Much of Jagr's career is based off of puck protection. Vanek does this well, too, as does Kyle Okposo.
You make a valid point -- puck protection skills are very valuable -- but everybody you've mentioned has the size and build to excel at playing that style. If the OP is built like Paul Kariya and is a fast skater he'd really benefit from skating around (rather than through) his opponents. Being a good stick handler makes that easier to do.

Quote:
So, slick stickhandling might get you on YouTube, but most high level players do not rely upon slick stickhandling. Besides, the more you stickhandle, the less in position you are to shoot the puck. Only if you're carrying the puck alongside you, and not in front of you, are you always ready to take that shot. So, if you're stickhandling away in front of you, a smart goalie will not make any commitment until you bring your stick into a shooting position on the forehand or the backhand.
Quote:
Lastly, if you're doing a lot of slick stickhandling, it probably means you're missing opportunities to pass to puck to teammates. It's easier for a goalie to track the puck on your stick skating as fast as you can skate than if you pass the puck, which you can do at a much faster velocity than you can skate it.
So if he practices his stick handling skills he'll become a worse goal scorer and a worse passer? Come on. . . Any skill that he can add to his arsenal is a good thing -- it's in figuring out when and how to use these skills that matters and since he's 14 he's got plenty of time to learn and make his mistakes.

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08-28-2007, 10:42 AM
  #9
Kevin Wey
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Paul Kariya and skating around opponents: Exactly correct; and to skate quickly around opponents, you won't be actually handling the puck that much but rather pushing it. Try skating your absolute fastest while doing slick stickhandling moves in front of you and keeping your head up to continually assess the play. Your odds of turning the puck over increase significantly no matter who you are.

I'll stick by the stickhandling advice that I learned from J.P. Parise at a camp at Shattuck. If you're handling the puck, especially in front of you, you are not in the optimal position to either shoot or pass the puck.

I just don't like to see young kids spend a lot of time on skills that don't have a lot of functionality when the game is actually played, especially when there's a good chance their skating could be improved instead. The scoring prowess of guys like Kariya, Pavel Bure, Martin St. Louis, etc., does not come down so much to stickhandling as it does their skating, especially what Ken Hitchcock calls separation: a combination of acceleration, agility, and hockey sense (knowing how to apply those two things).

You are correct in that it's a bonus to have slick stickhandling in your arsenal, but the tendency often ends up to spend a lot of time working on "flashy" skills that don't usually apply to the game. If he can add it and utilize it correctly, more power to him. But I'd hate to see it practiced at the expense of time that could be dedicated to skating, conditioning, etc.

Doing on-ice and off-ice stickhandling drills that soften your hands are actually more helpful in giving you soft hands to catch passes, which is far more important than being able to do the tricks we can watch on YouTube.

I've just seen too many kids who work hard to become slick stickhandlers who then need a double yellow line on their jersey (no passing) and consistently reduce their own angle on the goalie by handling the puck too long.

Skating, the conditioning to skate well and efficiently, and hockey sense are far more important.

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Old
08-28-2007, 03:09 PM
  #10
SoundwaveIsCharisma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Wey View Post
If you want a real challenge stickhandling, stickhandle a golf ball on garage pavement (it's smooth, so if starts bouncing uncontrollably, it's probably you and not the surface). This will help you develop quick hands and get more feel in your stick/hands. It's not easy.

That said, though, as much fun as it is to be a slick stickhandler, it's fairly useless at higher levels of hockey. Does Joe Thornton rely on amazing hands? No, he uses powerful strides to generate speed and then also intelligently uses his body to shield the puck and stickhandles intelligently to shield the puck as well. He doesn't often use quick movements to do this, either. Much of Jagr's career is based off of puck protection. Vanek does this well, too, as does Kyle Okposo.

Plus, at higher levels of hockey, a defenseman won't pay any attention to your sick stickhandling and will only proceed to separate you from the puck by playing the body. About 10 years ago I was watching Viktor Kozlov come down on Eric Weinrich and Kozlov did a fairly slick stickhandling move that you might see in pond hockey and you could physically see Weinrich wait for Kozlov to finish the move/attempted deke and proceed to poke check the puck and play the body on him after Kozlov was done. Weinrich created a turnover on this play and Kozlov only looked foolish.

So, slick stickhandling might get you on YouTube, but most high level players do not rely upon slick stickhandling. Besides, the more you stickhandle, the less in position you are to shoot the puck. Only if you're carrying the puck alongside you, and not in front of you, are you always ready to take that shot. So, if you're stickhandling away in front of you, a smart goalie will not make any commitment until you bring your stick into a shooting position on the forehand or the backhand.

Quick and soft hands are important in tight, but there's a difference between quick hands and ostentatious stickhandling.

Lastly, if you're doing a lot of slick stickhandling, it probably means you're missing opportunities to pass to puck to teammates. It's easier for a goalie to track the puck on your stick skating as fast as you can skate than if you pass the puck, which you can do at a much faster velocity than you can skate it.
I somewhat agree with your post, stickhandling too much is generally not that great for higher levels of hockey. But practicing stickhandling is great, it builds up your muscle memory for the quick movements and it gives you confidence to pull off the move.

I do agree that knowing how to protect the puck as well as good skating should be your primary goal, but having the ability to pull off a deke can really turn you from a good player to a dangerous player.

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Old
09-07-2007, 07:56 PM
  #11
Wrista33
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Just do it as much as you can, its all muscle memory and having a feel for whatevers on the end of your blade and where it is without looking

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Old
09-07-2007, 08:37 PM
  #12
XweekendwarriorX
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As a captain of a pretty good junior team and of my HS i was always taught as a defenseman to watch the chest and play instead of looking at the puck. with that said if a player can stick handle his way out of a paper bag thats great but if he cant get around the defender with it than all his work and skill has become kinda useless.also if you do have the puck out in front of you than you really have no power to put on the shot you take and really can only make a pass.

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Old
09-07-2007, 11:35 PM
  #13
Backstrom #19
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Allways practice with your gloves on and have your head up.

What i like to do is come in on 3 guys in my garage(it's 20x20, really small) and i try and get by 3 guys in a small area, it helps you with getting your dekes off quicker.

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Old
09-07-2007, 11:55 PM
  #14
YogiCanucks
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What I used to do is do office drills I just used to with my regular stick and my gloves on. Go into my drive way and put 4 objects (such as small flower pots) on the ground and I'd just take a hockey ball and without moving my feet I'd just deke in and out of the objects and eventually I was able to do it without having to look down, and you keep it random where you go so you'll get really good at quick thinking. I believe this helped ALOT in my stick handling.

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