4 Exercises For Soft Hands And Better Stick Handling

Well, with an NHL lockout looming big time, looks like you are going to need something to do instead of watch hockey on TV.  Today Coach Tyler Doig shares four of his favourite stick handling drills to give you soft hands on the ice.  Enjoy!

4 Stick Handling Exercises


Anyone who watches the NHL can see how well they can stick handle the puck and protect the puck not only when it is on their forehand but their backhand as well. It’s no secret that you are not just going to wake up one day and be able to maneuver the puck at the caliber of an NHL player. It takes practice and that is where I am going to help you out.

Not everyone is able to get on the ice every day to improve their shot, skating, stick handling and other skills. I am going to give you four stick handling exercises that you can do anywhere on and off the ice that will help improve your stick handling.

1. Puck Maze- Use this drill when you have extra time on the ice surface. Scatter 10-15 pucks 2-3 feet apart from each other. Then take a puck and proceed to stick handle any direction through the pucks. This will help you to make quick decisions using your forehand and backhand.

2. Golf Ball Wrist Rolls- You can do this in your basement or anywhere you have a smooth surface. One quick stick handle from your backhand to forehand in front of your body, then another out wide from your backhand to forehand to the right of your body. You will then do a quick stick handle forehand to backhand in front of your body, then forehand to back hand out wide to the left of your body. Rolling your wrists over each time will mimic protecting the puck out wide from a defender.

3. Street Ball Maze- Find a space in your driveway or a quite street. Find any obstacles in your garage and scatter them out just like you would with the puck maze. Taking your street ball (or tennis ball) you will stick handle randomly through the obstacles. This can be done with roller blades to mimic moving like you would be on skates.

4. Figure 8- Set up 2 pucks or small obstacles 1 foot apart from each other. Facing the pucks you will stick handle out around the puck on your backhand, pull it through the pucks and toward your body then repeat as you push it out and around on your forehand. This will be done stationary so you can do it on a smooth surface as well with a puck, golf ball or street ball.

Remember, when stick handling to roll your wrists over as you go from forehand to backhand. You want to build this skill up so that you can do it without looking down at the puck. This will help you make better decisions in games allowing you to keep your head up at all times.