Tips for Improving Ice Hockey Stickhandling

Stickhandling is arguably the most important skill to have in hockey. Being able to maintain control of your stick is essential to being an effective player. Luckily, there are many things that you can do to improve your stickhandling.

The placement of your hands on your stick is somewhat up to personal preference, but there are definitely some guidelines. Your top hand should be the dominant force behind cradling your puck.  Your wrist should roll fluidly to dribble the puck.

Your bottom hand should be gripped a little bit looser and serve mainly to assist the movements of the upper hand.  You want to be able to easily slide your bottom hand up and down the shaft of the stick .  Ideally, your movements should be smooth and not choppy. 

A main goal of hockey is to become so comfortable with stickhandling that you are able to make all your plays with your head and eyes up.  If you are looking down at the puck, you have much less awareness of the rink.   With your head up, you can see where your teammates are, where the opposing players are, and where there is empty ice.  

Learning to use deceptive moves, like head fakes, can help you to execute your passes or shots.  You want to throw the other team off from what you are actually doing.  Once they anticipate your plays from your fake moves, you have the space to make a better pass, shot or offensive move. 

Practicing the basics is always a good way to become a master at something, and stickhandling is no different.  Running drills is a great way to improve your hockey skills. The more comfortable you become moving the puck, the easier it will become.  You should start with small, simple movements and then slowly increase the size and difficulty.

Hockey is an extremely fast paced game, so it is extremely important to learn how to react quickly and make fast decisions with the puck.  When you practice, you should place various obstacles to mimic actual game play.  

Learning to move your upper and lower bodies independently of each other is one of the more difficult aspects of playing hockey.  If you are able to master this, it makes it much harder for the opposing team to anticipate where you are going and what you are doing.  

If you can learn how to stickhandle with one hand, it will allow you to keep the puck away from the defender, while you are using your body to protect the puck.  You should practice doing your favorite exercises, but only using your top hand to control the stick.  This exercise will be difficult at first, but will become easier as you gain more control over your movements. 

Some players find that using a weighted puck or heavier wooden stick will make you stronger.  If you are used to holding and using heavier equipment, when you switch to lighter, it can give you a speed and control advantage.  

One way you can give yourself an advantage is to tape your hockey stick with VukGripz hockey tape.  This will give you the ability to grip lighter and hold tighter, which allows you to have better control over your hockey stick! 

Since stickhandling is so important to the game of hockey, it should definitely be something that you devote time to working on every day!  With VukGripz hockey tape and extra practice, stickhandling will soon be a breeze!