There are lots of skills that are necessary to be a good hockey player, but perhaps the most vital one of all is stickhandling ability. Stickhandling simply means being able to control the puck with one’s stick. When players are really good at it, they can often remain in full control of the stick without ever looking down at the puck. It may seem impressive, but, for them, it’s like second nature. This type of stickhandling ability comes from lots and lots of practice, but you can help the youth hockey player in your life reach this level by following a few simple tips.
Hold the Stick Properly
Good stickhandling all starts with properly holding the stick! If a stick isn’t held correctly, good stickhandling is going to be pretty much impossible.
To hold the stick correctly, the top hand should be kept stiff and strong and should grip the top of the stick. The bottom of the stick should be handled with the lower hand a little bit down the shaft. The hands on the stick should be kept soft for better control of the puck.
If you can master the right way to hold the stick, then you’ve already won half the battle of good stickhandling!
Get Used to the Feel
Once your player has mastered how to hold the stick, it’s time to get a feel for how the puck feels when being handled. To get “the feel,” practice dribbling the puck back and forth in front of the body with a limited range of motion. Once the player has gotten used to this, start encouraging him or her to handle the puck without looking at it and while, instead, taking in the rink around him or her. With enough practice, your player should soon be handling the stick with ease, just like the pros!
Like any skill in hockey, stickhandling does take practice, but, with enough of it, especially if you’re using these foolproof techniques, your hockey player should be stickhandling like a pro in no time.