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Although “skating is the name of the game”, puckhandling has always come a close second to me…

Number One, a player’s ability to handle the puck — with the eyes up and under any conditions — makes him or her a better passer (make sense?).  And the better puckhandlers more often corral bad passes than do not-so-good ones.  Then, of course, good puckhandling skills also help the player beat more defenders and finish more plays around the opponent’s goal.

Secondly — and I was mentioning this to a few parents at my hockey school the other night…  I honestly believe that puck skills help a young player who isn’t yet strong on his or her skates.  And my explanation to this is actually a two-parter…

You see, working with a puck tends to force a player to move his or feet (a whole lot more than when he or she is without the puck).  A puck-carrying youngster will strive to out-skate others, and he or she is often forced to move a lot because a puck frequently squirts off just outside his or her reach.

A few successes with the puck also encourage a kid to work harder on his or her skating.  Oh, he or she might not like that idea, at least initially.  However, I’ve seen lots of youngsters score a few goals and then admit, “I think I’m going to have to work on my skating to be an even better player!”  :)

Finally, there is nothing like a success or two to excite a young player and get him or her dying to return to the rink (or to even work at home with a puck or ball).  Yes, feeling good about oneself has a way of snowballing.  And, nothing — at least to me — gets that snowball rolling faster than some successes with the puck.

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Speaking of Puckhandling…

I have an awesome training course available over in the Hockey Tips & Tricks STORE for Digital Products.  The 16 drills I prescribe are easy to do anywhere — at home, on a roller court or on the ice.   And, despite those drills being very simple, I promise that mastering these key skills will help anyone very quickly demonstrate “Incredible Stickhandling” moves!  (There’s also a cool promo video I think you’ll enjoy!)

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About CoachChic

Dennis Chighisola, known throughout the hockey world as "Coach Chic", is President and Director of New England Hockey Institute programs, as well as the main contributor to CoachChic.com and HockeyTips and Tricks. Over 40-years in coaching, he has worked with every amateur level of hockey -- beginners through pros, and numerous Coach Chic taught players have become NHL stars. A former US college head coach, Dennis is a prolific writer, video producer and inventor.