Drill of the Week 1 Powered by Skilled Advantage Hockey
We are thrilled to have partnered with Kenny Brandt and Skilled Advantage Hockey to bring you our new “Drill of the Week” feature. The first drill in our weekly series can be found below, and the accompanying video of the drill being performed will be posted each week on YouTube, Facebook Instagram and Twitter. Make sure to follow Kenny’s Instagram account and to check out his Skilled Advantage Hockey website for more great video content and lessons.
Our initial Drill of the Week is the first in a progression of off-ice stickhandling drills that we will be posting during the coming weeks. Each week we will build on the previous drill, and the great thing is that these drills can be done virtually anytime, anywhere with minimal equipment or space needed. If you’re watching a game or movie on TV, get your stickhandling board or stickhandling ball and practice the drill while trying to watch. You also can do it while you’re waiting for your turn to play a video game. In fact, doing the drill while watching TV will help you learn to play with your head up when you stickhandle on the ice.
A word of warning, though. You must practice the right way to see positive results. You shouldn’t be able to look up while performing the drill right away.
Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. That’s an old baseball saying that Cal Ripken’s father passed down to him and that he has in turn passed on to millions of kids over the years.
If you rush through the drill and try to do it really fast or while looking before your mind and body are used to performing it properly, if you take shortcuts and don’t follow the pattern as you see it in the video or if you don’t try all three variations, you’re not going to get better. You can practice all you want, but if you practice the wrong way or don’t put the proper effort into what you are doing, you’ll never see the results. This goes for all aspects of hockey and is something to always keep in mind.
It’s not a race to do the drill more quickly than the next person or to finish your 10 to 15 repetitions in the shortest amount of time possible. The next time you watch an NHL game, notice the stickhandling. No one is moving the puck back and forth really quickly. You can’t play at a high speed, keep your feet moving and do that, and it really doesn’t do anything to fool defenders. Patience, deception and calculated movements to attack or react to a defender based on his approach and positioning are strategies that are most effective against higher-level players.
Take your time. Read the drill description. Watch the video. Imitate the movements and try to perform the drill exactly as you see it. Go slow so you can do it properly. It’s good if you mess up, because that means it’s a skill you haven’t mastered and that you are learning something new.
You only get better by doing things that are outside your comfort zone. As you get better at the drill and get the feel of the movements, yes you can speed up a little bit, but even more important you can start to look at the wall or the TV instead of the ball as you do the drill. This will help you keep your head up when you get on the ice and try to carry the puck or stickhandle in game situations.
Don’t Forget to Join Our Contest!
As an added bonus, if you record yourself doing this drill on video and post it on Instagram and tag both @KBDangles and @MYHockeyRanking, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free month’s membership to the Skilled Advantage Hockey Website!
Drill of the Week #1
Category: Off-Ice Stickhandling Progression
Stick, 2 pucks, stickhandling board or smooth surface (if no smooth surface is available a stickhandling ball can work).
Drill Mechanics: T
here are three variations of this drill – one in front of your body, one off to the forehand side and another off to the backhand side. This allows you to get your hands out away from your body and get the feel for handling the puck in any location. Being comfortable handling the puck in front of your body and on both sides will allow you to attack the defense from any angle and also to react to how a defender plays you.
Perform 10 to 15 repetitions of one variation then move onto the next. Start slow and be sure to execute the movements properly. You can speed up a little and try to perform the drill while looking up as you get comfortable. Try to master this drill in time for the next drill in the progression, which we will post next week.
- Line up with the puck a few feet in front of you and aligned with the center of your body.
- Start with the puck on the backhand side of your stick.
- Tap the puck with the heel of your stick to your backhand above the puck.
- Start to slide the puck across with the back side of your blade, then pull it down below the puck with the to of your stick.
- Tap the puck with the heel of your stick back to the starting point.
- Perform 10-15 reps then move the forehand side of your body.
- Execute the drill on the forehand side for 10-15 reps then move to the backhand side.
- Do 10-15 reps on the backhand side of your body.
Good luck and have fun! Don't forget to shoot a video of yourself doing the drill then post it on Instagram and tag @MyHockeyRanking and @KBDanbles.