April 1, 2021

Stickhandling Homework

by Upper Hand in Player Development

I have pulled some of my favorite Stickhandling drills from @driscollhockey Instagram and put the drills in a progression that makes sense to me.


I have had good success with getting players to practice 10-15 minutes per day and then build to twenty minutes or more once they start seeing the benefits and gain confidence. Even every other day could also work well.


As you can see, variety of drills and variety of surfaces and pucks, golf balls, green biscuits, etc. Every surface and every object has its own unique properties, some work better with certain drills, encourage the players to experiment and have fun.


Quick Dribble | Quick Dribble: Start all Stickhandling drills with good hockey position and knee bend. Player is looking out with a downward gaze. Knob in palm of top hand and top hand in front of belly button. Top hand controls the blade of the stick with wrist roll and bottom hand is loose. Dribble the puck on the heel of your stick and keep the puck between your toes.


Around the World Eight Positions | Around the World: Teaching players to get comfortable 360 degrees around their body. Always stay in good hockey position with good knee bend, relaxed upper body and keep hands off of and away from body.


Figure 8 Stickhandling | Figure 8 Stickhandling Horizontal: Work on minimizing touches handling the puck on the heel (except on forehand away from body when one uses the toe). Start by practicing 100 repetitions: 10 sets of 10; four sets of 25; two sets of 50. Once the touches of the pattern are mastered, increase speed and do ten sets of 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off.  Alternate between “Up the Side and Down the Middle” and “Down the Side, Up the Middle”.


Figure 8 Vertical Figure 8 Stickhandling Vertical: Work on being smooth with the touches and then work to increase speed. Practice both patterns.


Figure 8 Advanced | Figure 8 Stickhandling | Stick on Pucks: Three progressions i. Figure 8 Horizontal and Vertical both pathways with puck ii. With golf ball to increase tempo iii. Golf ball with chip over stick when moving golf ball up through the stick.


3 Puck Vertical Stack 3 Puck Vertical Stack: Two Progressions i. Tight stickhandle around one, two and three pucks. Forehand Toe brings the puck straight down and catch on the heel. Then move puck up and over across your body catching on backhand heel away from the body. Puck should move in a small triangular pattern. ii. Across the top and weave through the pucks. Go across the top Left to Right and then try Right to Left.

Note: Both drills focus on being in good hockey position with hands away from the body so that your feet aren’t all over the place. Body Control.


Wide Dribble Wide Dribble: Hockey Position. Forehand: Knees bent, telescope bottom hand and catch puck at full extension on the toe of the blade. Backhand: Knees bent, telescope bottom hand and catch puck on the heel of the backhand of the blade.


Toe Control Toe Control: Rotate the stick in your palm 90 degrees to promote “Toe Down” position of the blade. Knob in the palm of the hand bottom hand stays the same. Practice from all eight positions with good knee bend and hands away from your body.


Golf Ball Chip | Golf Ball Progression: Four drills, try for ten reps each exercise, i.e., the golf ball must go over the sticks ten times each progression. Try and do all four in one minute. i. Chip on backhand over stick ii. Flip on forehand over stick iii. Toe drag around bottom and chip on backhand iv. Flip on forehand into chip on backhand.


Backhand Fake; Forehand Fake and Front Fake | Front and Side Fake: Three Progressions: i) Backhand Fake, set up Dribble on Forehand Toe ii) Forehand Fake, set up Dribble on Backhand Toe iii) Front Fake. For all moves there are four parts: Set-up; Move: Separation and Acceleration. Be precise on the Set-up and the Move while practicing stationary.

Eyes Up; Body Control and Sell the Fake!!! Sell the Fake with Short and Quick Head and Shoulder Movement and Quick Hands. Practice ten Fakes from each position and build to ten quality fakes in a row.


Connor McDavid Off-Ice Stickhandling | Youtube “Connor McDavid Off-Ice Stickhandling” and you will see Connor McDavid doing the three progressions as a young player. i. Lateral Hop ii. Lateral Crossover iii. Lateral Crossunder


Stickhandling Moves on Roller Blades | Stickhandling Moves on Roller Blades: Four individual moves: i. Pull-in Move ii. Pull-in Push-out Move iii. Slip Across iv. Backhand Toe Drag.

Set cones 20-30 feet apart and make the move at every cone. Reminder that the moves will be more difficult on asphalt and sport courts because of the additional friction so we need to be better with our touches.


Puck Protection Roller Blades Puck Protection Roller Blades: Four progressions: i. Remove inside hand from stick on each turn ii. Remove inside hand and touch inside hand to the cone on every turn iii. One handed pull of puck behind heels before every cone iv. Two-handed slip of puck between legs at every cone.

Note: First two progressions, puck on heel of the stick backhand and forehand and transition puck through the middle of the Figure 8.