When carrying the puck up the ice, it’s important to have the confidence that you can weave in and out of players. In order to do that, you’ll need to go through some vigorous stickhandling progression workouts, so that you’re not turning the puck over in an inopportune moment.
The figure 8 is an excellent choice of stickhandling motion to prepare yourself for game time. Watch the video below to see how lead trainer Pete Talafous utilizes figure 8s when training young players at Total Hockey Minnesota.
As Pete clarifies at the beginning of the first drill, it’s important to note that this is not just a hands drill. Stickhandling is a full-body aspect of the game, so it’s important you keep your entire body involved when running these drills. Keep your feet in a wide stance (especially in the second drill) and sway your body with your hands. This is not only important for controlling the puck, but it makes your body steadier, helping you shake off defenders a bit easier.
As we always say, truly training is to work just outside your comfort zone. Once you master a drill, push yourself to complete it faster. Once you do that, keep putting your barriers farther away or closer together to really test your body and mind when stickhandling.
We recommend trying these drills all at once, too. This will remind your brain that stickhandling is very much a reactionary part of the game. You have to adapt to the surroundings (including both your teammates and opponents), so keep yourself prepared.
This is just the first round of stickhandling progression drills we will be running in our xHockey Performance Academy videos; stay tuned to the Everything Hockey blog as we continue to show you how to push yourself to become better on the ice.
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