One of the fundamentals of hockey is stickhandling; the 5 best hockey stickhandling drills will help everyone from mini-mites to pros, increasing hand-eye coordination and helping develop the moves that lead to offensive success. Even the greats—Mario, Pavel, Wayne—practiced their stickhandling every day during their pro careers. This list of the 5 best hockey stickhandling drills will help any player improve his or her skills:
- Heads-Up – One of the most important fundamentals of stickhandling is being able to do so without looking at the puck; otherwise, a defender can easily get the jump on you. The first on the list of the 5 best hockey stickhandling drills takes some involvement from the coach, who skates with the player through cones, using a stick of his own to keep the player's chin up so that he or she cannot look at the puck.
- Soft Hands – This drill is to be performed off-ice, using tennis balls, which are harder to control than pucks on ice. Two players stand across from one another, passing a tennis ball back and forth, handling it backhand-forehand-backhand, and passing it back. If you can do this, handling a puck will be much easier; this entry on the list of best hockey stickhandling drills can be done year round as an added benefit.
- Kick to the Stick – Handling the puck with your skates is important to stickhandling. Have one player skate to the blue line, where another feeds a pass into the player's skates. The player kicks it up to the stick, handles across the other blue line, then becomes the passer for the next player in line.
- One Hand Drag – Often, a player will be forced to take a hand off the stick to fight off a defender. This entry on the list of 5 best hockey stickhandling drills helps with that skill. Place cones in a line throughout the rink. The player must weave through, alternating hands on the stick and curling the puck around the cones.
- Skating the Circles – This final entry in the list of 5 best hockey stickhandling drills requires no cones, just the circles present on the rink. The player begins in one corner, stickhandling around both circles in the zone, then the center circle, then the circles in the other zone, dragging one-handed and crossing over with both feet angling around the circles. This will improve skating skill and turning speed as well.
Hopefully, this list of the 5 best stickhandling drills will help your team, no matter what their experience level.