3 Off-Ice Drills For Lightning Fast Hands

For those of you who are not familiar, a reaction ball is just an odd shaped ‘ball’ that bounces in a random pattern, so it is much harder to track and catch.  Think of Rocky Balboa chasing that chicken around with Mick yelling at him the whole time – anyone else remember that?

The random pattern makes it a great tool for improving your hand-eye coordination. I think these drills add to your vocabulary of movement, much the way ladder drills do.  So think of these as agility drills for your hand.

I do not think they speed the transmission of information to your brain at all – that is already exceptionally fast and I do not believe there is room for improvement in that aspect.  But it will help you find a more efficient response that your brain will catalogue and have stored in its databank for when you need it.

Agility Drills For Your Hands (VIDEO)

If you cannot see the video in the player, simply click on the link below..

Ball Drop Pyramid 1-2-3-4-3-2-1

With this drill you start with one bounce and catch the ball.  Then you try to catch the ball after two bounces.  If you do that successfully, then you try to catch it after three bounces.  You keep going until you fail to catch the ball after the required number of bounces.

Then you come back down the pyramid from your last successful number.  So if you caught the ball after 1-2-3-4 bounces, but then missed on your attempt for five, you would start descending the pyramid at three.

Ball Off The Wall

I like this one because the ball is coming at you in a horizontal plane.  So remember to stay low in your legs, keep your chest up and move with your legs, don’t just lean toward the ball.

Ball Off The Wall From Behind

You need a partner for this one, but it is well worth it.   Since the ball bounces in a random fashion, your partner does not even have to be good at throwing.

You will stand approximately 10-20 feet out from the wall (the closer you are the faster the ball comes at you, the farther you are the more time it has to bounce away).

Your partner will stand about 10 feet behind you and throw the ball directly at the wall.  You will stay low in your legs and use lateral shuffle patterns or forward/backward shuffles to track the ball down.

You can find a reaction ball at most sports stores, it actually started as a dog toy, so if the sports store fails, try the pet store next door.

Remember that these drills are training your neuromuscular system, so you need to keep the quality up, which means a fairly low volume – like 10-minutes maximum at a time.  We typically use them at the beginning of a workout after the dynamic warm up.

Happy training!


PS – the last time I checked, there were 9 copies of the Big Bargain For Goalies (click here) package and I think 14 or so copies of the Hockey Training Blueprint (click here) still available on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal.