Basic Stickhandling In Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is composed of two basic skills, great skating technique and great stickhandling skills. In this introduction, we'll take a good look at the basics so you can learn to use your hockey stick effectively.

The very first thing to consider for proper stickhandling is, of course, whether the hockey stick you are using is the best one for you! It may be an old stick inherited from a friend or brother, or it may be the "top of the line" that you had just read about in a magazine.

There is no best shape or material for a hockey stick, but the most important consideration is to have as much of the stick blade on the ice as possible. This is known as "stick lie". To check this, look at the wear on your stick blade. It should be worn pretty evenly all along the middle. Wear just along the toe, or just at the heel, shows that you may need a stick with a different lie number. Players who like to play hunched over a bit (like Wayne Gretzky) will require a lower lie number, like a 5, and players who skate more upright use sticks with higher lie numbers. For effective stickhandling, the stick should be long enough for you to feel comfortable receiving and executing passes, and this is best determined by trying out different stick lengths. You might do this by trading sticks for a few days with your friends or team members. The old rule that your stick should come up to your chin is just a rough estimate, and is not a hard and fast rule. Finally, a rule that is usually quite sound is "the younger the player, the less curved the stick should be."

It is easier for younger players to develop good passing skills with a stick that is straighter. As he matures and his skills develop, he can change sticks.

Place your hands on the stick far apart enough to be comfortable, but the farther down the lower hand is, the more you will need to bend at the waist. So take a comfortable standing position and adjust your hands accordingly.

To begin a pass, the puck is taken from behind the body and swept to the area of the midline of the body. When the puck is in this area, this is the critical time to ensure the puck will get to its target. Once it is through this area, shift your weight to the front leg and point the stick blade at the intended target. This last motion has the same effect as the follow through of a stroke in golf, ensuring that the puck is sent in the right direction.

Practice a pass slowly, thinking through each step: start the puck toward the midline, center yourself and the target, and follow through. Remember that the motion is a sweeping motion, not a slapping motion. A slapped puck may dance across the floor instead of sliding, or may explosively get to a teammate before he is ready to receive the puck. If possible, aim "tape to tape", from your hockey stick to a teammate's hockey stick. If there is no one open, pass to an area that a teammate can skate to and receive the pass.

Finally, if you practice these skills for proper stickhandling thoughtfully and slowly, you are guaranteed to become more comfortable and proficient in passing, and, thus, a better hockey player!

For more articles of similar interest click these links:
Common Problems in Ice Hockey Skating Techniques


To Go To The Article Index Click Here

To Go To Top of Page on Stickhandling Click Here

Home | Articles | Family Tips | Money/Business | Health/Fitness |
House Tips | Auto Tips | Sports/Hobbies | Grandma's Tips |
Wisdom & Humor |