When practicing any of the following drills, you have to do more than just practice -- you have to practice them right. Memorize the following list of key elements and be conscious of them when practicing.
- soft hands - if you grip your stick tightly or too stiff, the puck will bounce off the blade of your stick, rather than cupping it to maintain control
- stick on the ice - how are you going to control the puck if your stick is in the air (unless it's bouncing, of course)
- watch the puck - when you receive a pass, watch it until you have control, then make sure you keep your head up and are aware of your position
- your bottom hand is for shooting/passing, your top hand is for maneuvering the puck
- bend your knees
- keep your head up
Toe-Drag (Standing Still)
Push the puck in front of you as far as possible so that the puck is resting on the toe of the blade of your hockey stick. Both arms should be totally extended with both hands high on the stick's shaft. Your torso should be leaning forward and your legs should be bent. Now drag the puck back toward your body until the puck comes to your front foot (left foot for left shots, right foot for right shots). Your bottom hand should adjust from high on the stick shaft during the reach, to as much as half way down the stick when the puck approaches your body. Try doing this with a quick lateral stickhandle at the end of each "pull back".
Lateral Reach (Standing Still)
Standing stationary, reach the puck as far as you can left to right with a quick stickhandle in the middle. Now do the same thing, but this time do it as quick as you can, without the stickhandle in the middle. "Snap" the puck across your body, moving the puck point A to point B as fast as you can. Don't let the puck slip under your stick blade. Now do this so that you have two hands on your stick when you reach to the forehand and one hand on your stick when you reach to the backhand.
Figure Eight (Standing Still)
Place two objects on the ice (or ground) with about 2 feet of space between them. You can use your gloves, small pylons, other pucks, or anything that is small and won't intrude with the drill. Move the puck in a figure eight around the two objects - try to keep the "eight" as small as possible. Don't forget to switch directions!
Box Drill (Standing still)
Place tape on the ground in a small square for quickness, or use a large square to practice extended movements, and move the puck/ball along the tape. Go in both the clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
Weave Drill (Skating)
Place one rows of pylons from one end of ice to the other, using about 4-6 pylons. Start at the goal line, skate to the left and right of the pylons with a puck (in a weaving fashion) to the other end. Make sure you use the inside of your skates to turn and keep your head up. Coaches, you can have more than one row and have the players race (once they have a good handle on the drill), or have them go up one row and back down another. Goalies too!
Remember, when you're in practice, always have a puck on your stick and play around with it. This will also improve your stickhandling skills. Coaches, have your players use a puck on every drill possible and stress the basics of stickhandling.