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So, again, which stick side to choose?

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07-06-2010, 09:31 AM
  #1
McDugan
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So, again, which stick side to choose?

Hi, I'm new to these boards, have been lurking for a while and reading lots of older posts. I know there's been a lot of discussion of this sort of thing already, and I feel bad bringing up a tired topic but many of the threads I've read have given me a lot to think about, maybe too much, but they haven't helped me make up my mind

I played some pretty disorganized ice hockey (mostly skills clinic with scrimmages, not an actual team situation) as a 7, 8, 9, 10 year-old kid, and I'm now 29, looking to come back to the game after years and years of not playing at all. I'm right-handed and shot right for the time I played as a kid. Recently I picked up a couple street hockey sticks to fool around with and get a bit of a feel back and I got one in each hand to fool with.

I find that with my right (dominant) hand on top, I definitely have much more one-handed control of the puck and stickhandle better, but it does feel strange and I just can't shoot! With my left hand on top, it feels more comfortable and I can shoot the puck, but I now know that I was using my lower hand way too much when stickhandling and there's a big sacrifice in terms of control from the top hand. I kind of feel as if I'm also overusing my right hand in shooting when it's the lower hand - I don't feel much push-pull opposition. When I shoot with my right hand on top, there is more push-pull balance but my left wrist is a lot weaker so the shot is pretty ineffective, and my balance and timing are way off.

So, my plan is to eventually get into an adult beginner skills class to work skills from the bottom up and re-learn the game. I'd love to start over shooting left and use the change to re-learn mechanics, but I am doing this for fun and I'm sort of afraid I'll spend a long time unable to really play the game effectively, even at a low level. My right-handed shot is certainly nothing to write home about, but at least it exists, and I seem to be able to pass more accurately right-handed as well, which is important.

Does anyone have any thoughts on whether I'd be better off trying to get my stickhandling up to par with my weak hand on top or my shooting up to par with my strong hand on top? I'd be especially grateful for any tips on exercises to do and/or tips on HOW to address each weakness (shot with weak hand low, sitckhandling with weak hand high).

Thanks!

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07-06-2010, 11:03 AM
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Dump and Chase
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I hate to be the one to tell you this but, you are never going to be a super star.


Now that that's out of the way here is what I think.


Don't go changing which hand you shoot if your goal is to play some rec hockey. It won't make much of a difference anyway. Practice lots shooting right handed and work on your skillset by building from your base.


Have fun, good luck, and keep your stick on the ice.

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07-06-2010, 11:50 AM
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Gino 14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDugan View Post
With my left hand on top, it feels more comfortable and I can shoot the puck
Hey look, you answered your own question. You're thinking way too much about this, pick the way that feels best to you and stick with it.

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07-06-2010, 12:17 PM
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Jarick
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Exactly. Pick whichever one feels more comfortable and lets you have more fun. Then work to improve on that hand.

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07-06-2010, 12:25 PM
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McDugan
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Thanks for the responses so far.

Maybe I am overthinking it, that's probably true, and I'm certainly aware I'm not going to be some kind of superstar (thanks for the heads up though ). I feel more comfortable right-shot [I]at the moment[I] but I feel like the primary reason for that may be a flawed technique.

Thus this question - Does anyone have any thoughts on whether I'd be better off trying to get my stickhandling up to par with my weak hand on top or my shooting up to par with my strong hand on top? I'd be especially grateful for any tips on exercises to do and/or tips on HOW to address each weakness (shot with weak hand low, sitckhandling with weak hand high).

There will be a major weakness to address either way, I just wonder how to go about it and whether one way or the other is easier.

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07-06-2010, 01:09 PM
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Jarick
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Unless you're really, really awful I'd just stick with the right hand. In a few months you'll be a better stickhandler AND shooter whichever way you choose.

Truthfully I use both hands when stickhandling...why not? That's why I have two! Sure the top hand has more control, but I roll both wrists.

Oh yeah, and if I could choose to have any one skillset that was high level, it'd be skating. Skating is way more important than anything else.

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07-06-2010, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDugan View Post
Thanks for the responses so far.

Maybe I am overthinking it, that's probably true, and I'm certainly aware I'm not going to be some kind of superstar (thanks for the heads up though ). I feel more comfortable right-shot [I]at the moment[I] but I feel like the primary reason for that may be a flawed technique.

Thus this question - Does anyone have any thoughts on whether I'd be better off trying to get my stickhandling up to par with my weak hand on top or my shooting up to par with my strong hand on top? I'd be especially grateful for any tips on exercises to do and/or tips on HOW to address each weakness (shot with weak hand low, sitckhandling with weak hand high).

There will be a major weakness to address either way, I just wonder how to go about it and whether one way or the other is easier.
Think about a few things. 1) You spend a lot more time stick handling in a game than you do shooting. 2) It's really easy to strengthen a weak arm in terms of shooting, compared to improving a lifetime of poor coordination on your weak arm up top. Moreover, arm strength SHOULD have little to do with proper shooting. As you suggested, your own poor technique is likely hurting you 3) Lefties are just cooler

Seriously though, you will stand out a lot more being able to stick handle better and have an easier time getting on teams. If your right hand on top is going to make that easier, it's a good idea to shoot "lefty", which should actually be called right IMO.

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07-06-2010, 09:31 PM
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djcreepshow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donGjohnson View Post
Think about a few things. 1) You spend a lot more time stick handling in a game than you do shooting. 2) It's really easy to strengthen a weak arm in terms of shooting, compared to improving a lifetime of poor coordination on your weak arm up top. Moreover, arm strength SHOULD have little to do with proper shooting. As you suggested, your own poor technique is likely hurting you 3) Lefties are just cooler

Seriously though, you will stand out a lot more being able to stick handle better and have an easier time getting on teams. If your right hand on top is going to make that easier, it's a good idea to shoot "lefty", which should actually be called right IMO.
It's a tough call when you're just starting out, and it's different for everybody. My brother is right-handed and shoots right, while I am also right-handed but shoot left. I couldn't shoot right if you paid me, it just feels WAY too awkward. But I bat and golf right-handed. Go figure! Just keep experimenting for a bit. One side will eventually win over. Although I think donGjohnson may be right. It does sound like you may be a little more natural shooting left, but see how it plays out. Good luck and have fun, that's the most important thing!

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07-06-2010, 10:01 PM
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One thing that you should note is that the longer you spend with a particular stick side, you develop strength and better control with time. It applies to just about everything, leg strength, core strength, forearms and wrists so you don't need to worry too much if one part is a little bit awkward.

What I would recommend is going with the stick that you feel the most comfortable with stick handling. Setup some cans or something to use as obstacles and practice stick handling around all of these obstacles. Try toe drags, try twisting your torso as you handle the ball as well.

Handling the puck is probably one of the more important things, and if you can't handle the puck with authority, you're not going to be getting off as many shots cleanly.

The other thing you mentioned is that although shooting right feels more natural, you're likely not using proper form. It seems to me that you could spend just as much time developing proper form shooting left and getting the hang of that side.

It's entirely up to you. I'm right handed and I shoot right as well, but stick handling for me just felt much more natural. I'd flip left handed sticks backwards and play with those when I was playing ball hockey with my buddies. When I started off, my left hand was much weaker but I really pushed some of my stick handling routines and really focused on using that hand much more and now I've reached an area of comfort.

On the other hand, with your case, it's not impossible to learn how to shoot left either. Just for kicks I use my perfectly flat blade to shoot off wristers (I feel it helps for my balance sometimes), and I can get some decent shots off although it still feels awkward as hell. If you really think that you're getting better stick handling with the left handed stick, you may just go with that.

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07-07-2010, 02:17 AM
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Axxion89
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Ok let me solve this very easily, I tried doing exactly as you thought going from righty to left and had the exact benefits. At home I practiced shooting left till I thought I was good enough to shoot on I ce and well, I failed bad. See wat a lot of people here forget is that when u skate your going to play on one side in your mind so when you try to stickhandle and shoot left it will all go to ****.

I learned my lesson the best thing to do is to strengthen ur left top hand and get it tobstickhandle better its easier and works very good

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07-07-2010, 03:18 PM
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Badger36
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The theory is that you should have your dominant hand on top because it gives you more control and better stickhandling.
However, if you are used to playing as a righty and thats what feels most comfortable to you, there is nothing wrong in sticking with that.

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