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What to work on?

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Old
07-09-2010, 12:32 PM
  #1
tarheelhockey
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What to work on?

I'm just curious, as a beginner, what I should be working on at stick&puck sessions.

Currently I practice pretty hard to try and improve quickly. So I break it down about like this:

40% shooting at an open net
30% shooting on a goalie
10% working on puckhandling
10% pure skating
10% sucking wind on the bench

Then I attend open-skate sessions where I can really focus on stops, crossovers, backward, and speed.

Should I do more or less of anything? I feel like I don't do enough puckhandling, but it's hard to know what exactly to work on...

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07-09-2010, 12:51 PM
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noobman
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Skating, skating, skating, skating, and skating.

You can practice your shot all you want, but if you don't have good enough balance for proper weight transfer, you will never have a good shot. In fact, you might just develop a ton of bad habits that will take 3x longer to unlearn.

I would recommend working on your passing more than your shooting.

I used to teach myself new skating maneuvers using a three step approach:

1) Use the skill (crossovers, tight turns, etc) in isolation.
2) Use the skill in isolation with the puck
3) Use the skill in combination with the puck (three crossovers, stop, transition).

This way you will be working on both your skating and your puckhandling skills together. If by puckhandling you mean standing around and pulling the puck in figure 8s around your gloves (highly isolated skills), more than 10 minutes per session is a waste of your time.

Hockey stopping can seem like a breeze during open skates (skate in straight line, stop), but hitting the brakes with the puck then using that momentum to take three step backwards (something you would use in a game) is much more difficult. This is the difference between step 1 and step 3.

One thing I've learned is that it takes a lot of time to take what you've picked up in practice and integrate it into your game. The idea is that these skills should become second nature to you. Instead of thinking about how to keep the puck on your stick while doing a crossover in a game, you want to be thinking about what your options are (skate, pass, shoot) and who's available.

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07-09-2010, 12:55 PM
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tarheelhockey
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Thanks, that's all very helpful. My S&P sessions are usually a bunch of guys circling and taking shots, so going with the crowd is obviously not giving me the kind of practice I really need. Thanks again for the tips.

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07-09-2010, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noobman View Post
Skating, skating, skating, skating, and skating.

You can practice your shot all you want, but if you don't have good enough balance for proper weight transfer, you will never have a good shot. In fact, you might just develop a ton of bad habits that will take 3x longer to unlearn.

I would recommend working on your passing more than your shooting.

I used to teach myself new skating maneuvers using a three step approach:

1) Use the skill (crossovers, tight turns, etc) in isolation.
2) Use the skill in isolation with the puck
3) Use the skill in combination with the puck (three crossovers, stop, transition).

This way you will be working on both your skating and your puckhandling skills together. If by puckhandling you mean standing around and pulling the puck in figure 8s around your gloves (highly isolated skills), more than 10 minutes per session is a waste of your time.

Hockey stopping can seem like a breeze during open skates (skate in straight line, stop), but hitting the brakes with the puck then using that momentum to take three step backwards (something you would use in a game) is much more difficult. This is the difference between step 1 and step 3.

One thing I've learned is that it takes a lot of time to take what you've picked up in practice and integrate it into your game. The idea is that these skills should become second nature to you. Instead of thinking about how to keep the puck on your stick while doing a crossover in a game, you want to be thinking about what your options are (skate, pass, shoot) and who's available.
This. To the max.

You'll see the most benefits from skating practice rather than shooting practice.

edit: Most people don't like doing skating drills, but think of what you're doing most in a game...skating.

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07-09-2010, 03:55 PM
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And after skating... more skating. Seriously. If you're a beginner, chances are you aren't going to have the puck very often. And when you do get the puck on your stick, you probably won't be very effective anyways. Not trying to be a dick, but that's the truth of the matter. If you develop your skating, you'll basically be able to get yourself in position to score or defend against other players.\

70% skating
20% skating with the puck (stickhandling)
10% shooting


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07-09-2010, 04:06 PM
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Id agree with the others that you should work on your skating. You cant be a good hockey player until you are a good skater. Without being a good skater you wont have the balance and mobility that you will need to be in the right place at the right time and make plays.
After that, Id work on stickhandling. Having a good shot is great, but the majority of the time you have the puck you will need good stickhandling in order to be effective.
Id suggest practicing shooting some, but you should focus 60% of your time on skating, 30% on stickhandling and the remaining 10% on shooting.

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07-09-2010, 06:03 PM
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When you do eventually get to the shooting (after wearing yourself out skating of course ), make sure you practice a variety of different shots. A hard slapper might look impressive, but you're shooting yourself in the foot if it's the only thing you focus on. The wrist shot and backhand are absolutely devastating if you can master them.

Edit: also work on keeping your head up (this pairs nicely with stickhandling and passing). Good peripheral vision is critical to a long and fortuitous hockey career.


Last edited by meanolthing: 07-09-2010 at 06:06 PM. Reason: Response needed an SAT word thrown in there.
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07-09-2010, 06:19 PM
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Definitely work on the skating and then add shooting while skating. Most can shoot standing still but have trouble while moving at full speed.

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07-09-2010, 07:05 PM
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Yet another vote for skating, skating, then more skating. The rest can come later, if you're a beginner it's your skating more than anything else that will hold you back. Suicides are a great way to work on straight line skating and stopping, and are also great for conditioning. Do tonnes of crossovers (both directions), and really practice super tight turns too. When you get bored of skating, and feel like shooting, I'd say the snap shot is easily the most important shot for a forward, and if you're a dman work on your slapper.

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07-09-2010, 10:35 PM
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Lots of good advice here. Don't be afraid to mix it up some.

And look around at S&P and you'll probably see at least one other person with about your same skills. Ask if they'd like to do some passing.

I'm in an adult clinic and most of the group have better skating skills than me. But, over half the passes I received in one drill (not moving) were at my feet, not on my stick.

You're not going to be a great stick handler right away. At least be able to make a good pass. And receive one.

No matter what, have fun.


Last edited by trtaylor: 07-13-2010 at 10:05 AM.
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07-12-2010, 08:14 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'm just curious, as a beginner, what I should be working on at stick&puck sessions.

Currently I practice pretty hard to try and improve quickly. So I break it down about like this:

40% shooting at an open net
30% shooting on a goalie
10% working on puckhandling
10% pure skating
10% sucking wind on the bench

Then I attend open-skate sessions where I can really focus on stops, crossovers, backward, and speed.

Should I do more or less of anything? I feel like I don't do enough puckhandling, but it's hard to know what exactly to work on...
I was going to start a separate thread on this but this seems close enough: I went to stick & puck sessions for over a year and finally joined a beer league... Man, I can't even use lots of skills I practiced or even those that I already knew how to do well when I played pond hockey! Organized hockey seems like a completely different sport to me!

So, forget about shooting... When you join a league, it is likely that you will play a lot of games and take only few, if any, shots on goal... Hell, you can easily play several shifts in a row without even touching the puck!

Some stickhandling? Sure. But don't spend a lot of time practicing those fancy dekes. You won't be able to use them in a game situation for a long time... if ever. I noticed that even seasoned beer leaguers, particularly middle age guys in B/C leagues, don't really use them. They play very very simple. So besides skating, I would say the most important thing is conditioning! You have to be really fit to play even in lower level beer leagues! Fatigue will make you feel like an absolute beginner! Suddenly you'd notice that you can't skate, you can't stickhandle, you'd be chasing that precious puck and before you can do anything with it it will be taken from you!

I noticed that some of the good guys are not necessarily great skaters. There are just... athletic? agile? Experienced? Hard to tell. That's what I've been wondering since I started playing.
They just kind of know where to be and they are always first to the puck. We have like 3-4 guys who have the puck most of the time. The rest of us are just skating around chasing the puck and collecting garbage. Also, good guys rarely pass the puck. Especially to beginners... Not in our team anyway.

So, my question to everyone. What do you guys thing are the most important skills in the beer leagues besides skating and conditioning? Bribing the regulars with the beer so they start passing to you?

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07-12-2010, 08:50 AM
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vivianmb
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how about 90% skating....
practice your first three steps. do workout geared to build up strength in your upper legs.
squats jumps ,etc...

practice skating at top speed and turning directions ...over and over again. changing directions efficiently is a main key to being in postion . if it takes you half the ice to turn,or switch direction, you'll be standing alone while the play goes on down the ice.this meansd you need to learn to transfer your weight ( hips,hips,hips,) and be light on your blades.

stops/starts. with both feet.then with one foot in each direction. skate fast stop /change direction. do it again.
got a flag or scoreboard in your arena? ( if not something else that doesnt move)face it EVERYTIME you stop. go up and down the ice facing that flag EVERYTIME. so your stopping on BOTH sides .


if you can accelerrate decent, and stop /change directions on a dime, your ready to get better at everything else. and it'll help you get better much quicker.
and VERY important get a good guy to do your skates. a decent rocker/edge means TONS to a new skater.
how big are you?

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07-12-2010, 08:56 AM
  #13
Cowbell232
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trtaylor View Post
Lots of good advice here. Don't be afraid to mix it up some.

And look around at S&P and you'll probably see at least one other person with about your same skills. Ask if they'd like to do some passing.

I'm in an adult clinic and most of the group have better skating skills than me. But, over half the passes I received in one drill (not moving) where at my feet, not on my stick.

You're not going to be a great stick handler right away. At least be able to make a good pass. And receive one.

No matter what, have fun.
I love my adult clinic for this reason! I'm not terrible at receiving a 'good' pass, but I have a lot of trouble with bad passes. I LOVE working on passing with people that are worse then me. It helps both of us so much, because I have to pass a lot more accurately for them to catch it, and I have to work harder to stop their bouncy pucks/pucks at my feet, etc. and of course they're working on something they need too.

Quick edit: I mean this for "regular" passing. When I'm trying to work on something more advanced like saucer passes, I tend to work with someone above my skill level so they can tell me what I'm doing wrong. I try to do the same for the people worse then me when we're doing those "regular" passing drills. Seems to benefit everyone this way.

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07-12-2010, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by pucko View Post
So, my question to everyone. What do you guys thing are the most important skills in the beer leagues besides skating and conditioning? Bribing the regulars with the beer so they start passing to you?
I had the same experience and you're quite right, it's skating and stamina which is important at first, shooting's not so for a beginner. Especially because being a pest on the forecheck and backcheck can help your team a lot, even if you don't get the puck all the time, you give the opposing players less time to execute.

After skating and stamina work on:
2) Passing (meaning receiving and giving passes: no player can move as fast as a puck, if you can pass good you'll get more passes from good players, if you fail to handle the passes they gave you you will get less and less)

3) Stickhandling
Once you have the puck and no good options to pass it does not hurt to be able to move with the puck

4) Shooting
Well, if you made it to the offensive zone, and you have good position, you should shoot, but first you have to get there (with the help of the above)

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07-12-2010, 09:16 AM
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tarheelhockey
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Originally Posted by vivianmb View Post
and VERY important get a good guy to do your skates. a decent rocker/edge means TONS to a new skater.
how big are you?
I'm 5'9", about 165. I get my skates done by a guy I know at the rink (since he'll do it for free) so I basically go on good faith that he's giving me the right treatment. What should I ask him to do with them?

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07-12-2010, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'm 5'9", about 165. I get my skates done by a guy I know at the rink (since he'll do it for free) so I basically go on good faith that he's giving me the right treatment. What should I ask him to do with them?
1/2" hollow. make sure theyre somewhat rocked. (when theyre new you need to get rid of some of the "toe") hopefully he's done this already.if he doesnt know...find a new guy.
i cant give you exacts on rocking cause i do mine by eye (i have my own machine) and if dont like em i redo em.once you're comfy, you can experiment with shallower hollows(i skate on 7/8")

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07-12-2010, 07:57 PM
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has nothing to do with puck and stick sessions but go to the proshop at your rinkn and ask them if they have a puckhandling ball. Do it for like 30mins a day and youll get a lot better.

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07-13-2010, 08:19 AM
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tarheelhockey
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More good advice, I'll put it under my hat. Thanks guys.

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07-13-2010, 10:21 AM
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Just to hitchike on this thread a bit,

I'm a beginning skater. I go to public sessions with some gear on, and I've been working on forward strides (I'm ok with), crossovers (getting there), and stopping. I can do snowplows easily with my left foot, but it's hard to do with my right foot. I can sometimes do an ok hockey stop, but sometimes I don't do it right and I'll hit the ground hard (good thing I brought my pads).

Do you guys recommend a skating class? They have one at a local rink and it comes out to about 100 bucks for 8 sessions (plus I think 5 free public sessions with that). I like going to public skates, but it's sometimes too crowded with figure skaters who take up a huge amount of space with their fancy twirls and glides.

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07-13-2010, 11:10 AM
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Just to hitchike on this thread a bit,

I'm a beginning skater. I go to public sessions with some gear on, and I've been working on forward strides (I'm ok with), crossovers (getting there), and stopping. I can do snowplows easily with my left foot, but it's hard to do with my right foot. I can sometimes do an ok hockey stop, but sometimes I don't do it right and I'll hit the ground hard (good thing I brought my pads).

Do you guys recommend a skating class? They have one at a local rink and it comes out to about 100 bucks for 8 sessions (plus I think 5 free public sessions with that). I like going to public skates, but it's sometimes too crowded with figure skaters who take up a huge amount of space with their fancy twirls and glides.
$100 bucks for 8 sessions AND 5 public sessions to practice in?

Do it dude. If your skill level is as you describe, you're almost guaranteed to learn something, and that's definitely worth it IMO.

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07-13-2010, 11:10 AM
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vivianmb
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Originally Posted by Defgarden View Post
Just to hitchike on this thread a bit,

I'm a beginning skater. I go to public sessions with some gear on, and I've been working on forward strides (I'm ok with), crossovers (getting there), and stopping. I can do snowplows easily with my left foot, but it's hard to do with my right foot. I can sometimes do an ok hockey stop, but sometimes I don't do it right and I'll hit the ground hard (good thing I brought my pads).

Do you guys recommend a skating class? They have one at a local rink and it comes out to about 100 bucks for 8 sessions (plus I think 5 free public sessions with that). I like going to public skates, but it's sometimes too crowded with figure skaters who take up a huge amount of space with their fancy twirls and glides.
you need to train your muscles to stop on the other foot.
i tell every beginner skater this ....slide on a linoleum or hardwood floor in wool socks. train your muscles to stop there firast . then do it on the ice. it sounds dumb, but it works.you'll learn how to shift your weight and your muscles will learn too.oh and any ice is good ice.

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07-13-2010, 01:34 PM
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I'm in the same boat. I'm pretty new and I want to get better. Does anyone know any links or videos that have good drills noobs can do during sticktime/open skate? Usually I do mostly I only do suicides and crossovers around a circle. I need suggestions for other drills (esp tighter turns)

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07-13-2010, 02:14 PM
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Further hijacking the thread, the issues I'm suffering from in my Summer 4-on-4 rec league:

1-cannot turn/stop sharply enough to be able to get right to the focal point of the play and reach the puck

2-cannot retrieve the puck when it sits in a corner or is loose out front in the slot - as soon as i take 2-3 steps towards it a more experienced player arrives a moment faster and scoops it up

3-as a forward i've had problems during breakouts when the D-men make an outlet pass to me - i flub the puck trying to catch it, or it bounces around me along the boards over my stick and the other team gets it

4-as a forward playing the point in my defensive zone, the d-men passing around the horn into the corners or to the other point seem to be able to pass just outside my reach - no matter how fast I try to step forward to steal the pass am always a step too slow

This tells me my skating sucks, and is a HUGE factor holding me back. Maybe my skates are tied too tightly and are preventing me from bending sufficiently to make a tight turn - and I may not be bending my knees enough as I skate????

My problem with the skates is that i need to tie them tightly so that i can maintain accurate control and not catch an edge - but when i tie them that tight it reduces my ability to pivot and bend my ankles alot - let alone hurting my feet and their numbness from the tight tying...very frustrating, maybe time to start private lessons to particularly focus on my skating....?

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07-13-2010, 02:22 PM
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practice skating at top speed and turning directions ...over and over again. changing directions efficiently is a main key to being in postion .
HOW??!?!? I cannot even visualize this...

I can visualize coming to a hockey stop at top speed, and then sliding into the other direction - BUT - cannot even conceive of a method/procedure on how to turn tightly at top speed....

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07-13-2010, 05:51 PM
  #25
vivianmb
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use your stick like a steering wheel. when you turn lead with your stick and your hips. SHIFT your weight. learn your edges.
sounds like you are heavy on your ankles. skate more on the front balls of your feet.dont dig into the ice. stay on top of it.

skate the circles. if you shoot right ...when you turn left keep your stick in the center holding it only with the top hand.(and vice versa)do the faceoff circle and keep your stick in the center like a spoke. one hand on the stick keep it touching the dot and stay on the cirlce go as fast as you can. crossovers with a good push.do one circle then go to the next but go in the opposite direction to use your other edges.
LEAN into those turns and use your edges.
after that get a cone(or use a faceoff dot) and just circle it as tight as you can. just pushing with your outer foot and turning with your inner foot. do this a few times in one direction, and then a few in the other direction. this will also help you to learn your edges.

are your knees bent?GET LOW. lead with your shoulders and hips into the turn. when you turn you should almost be able to rest your inside elbow on your thigh .yes you can get that low. extend your outside leg . (you are now shifting your weight) this is exagerrated i know, but you should see what i mean if you do this during practice.
and again make sure whoever is doing your skates knows what hes doing.


Last edited by vivianmb: 07-13-2010 at 05:57 PM.
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