Q&A: What Drills Help Build Puckhandling Skills?
Susan asks: Are there any drills you would recommend to help my player build puckhandling skills?
Answer: One easy and very inexpensive tool that can be used virtually anywhere is a baseball-sized balloon. Players practice with the balloon in the air to work on dribbling and other techniques. The idea behind the balloon is that practically anything a kid wants to try is possible. It is big and light, and tends to be slow moving. Still, almost every time a balloon is tapped, it spins off in an unpredictable way causing the player to react quickly in order to make the next tap.
Next, consider a small wooden Swedish stickhandling ball or a golf ball (although the wooden balls are less bouncy). I believe practicing with a small ball will help a player develop better puck skills. As the player becomes more advanced they can try bringing the ball through and around each foot, and even combine stick dribbles with passes off one foot and then off the other.
It is best to opt for lightness when it comes to selecting substitutes for a puck. I suggest this because quick hand movements are the mark of a good puckhandler and the right props will allow, or even encourage, quick reactions.
Best of luck Susan! I hope this helps. If you have any other questions or comments, please feel free to comment below.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Dennis Chighisola (Coach Chic) for his valuable input on this question.