Notes on Managing and Instructing a Session in Competitive Edge’s Hand Skills Station.
Typical Format of Training in our Hand Skill Station
In the Hand Skills Area we need to fill the time for the whole group so it requires some thought to make sure we have enough relevant drills for the group which also get players a lot of reps. In terms of planning a session, the Hand Skills Area requires the most work.
In the Hands Skills Area, we should seek to discuss with a group leader (parent or coach) what they would like to focus on. That is not always possible or they may simply be open to our ideas. When either of those are the case, our structure should look something like…
- 10 to 15 minutes stationary puckhandling
- 4 to 8 minutes passing
- 5 to 10 minutes
- Shooting or
- Shooting with some puckhandling
- With a multitasking drill that features shooting, passing, puckhandling, and some skating or
- A fun game
Again, within this structure, instructors are welcome to make decisions about the specifics of the plan. This is to promote engagement of the instructors in the process and will hopefully maximize the instruction value they can provide players.
It is important to use the space of the Hand Skills Area. Here are 6 ways to set up the space to keep a group of 4 busy.
Now, to ensure you have a large number of drills to fall back on, check out the following pictures and videos.
Stationary Stickhandling Drills
It is efficient to use the stationary stickhandling portion of a training session to focus on some key puckhandling details such as stance, posture, grip, top hand position, and wrist roll. Each of those are illustrated with the following pictures. Following those are a set of stationary stickhandling drills to remember.
- Sides of feet on “fake width” lines
- Toes on “shot position” line
- Knees bent and chest up
- Top Hand out in front (the first photo below shows the top hand on the hip which is incorrect)
- Loose bottom hand, tight top hand
- The “V” between the thumb and index finger on the top hand should be on top of the shaft
- The best way to remember how to do this is to imagine there is a button on the side of the shaft and to constantly push that button with your thumb as shown below (glove is off to show what the hand is doing)
When stickhadling, we want to roll the wrists.
- An easy way to explain how to do this specifically is to instruct players to “cup the puck” on both sides whlie stickhandling.
- Also note how the puck is positioned near the heel of the blade. We prefer to stickhandling near the heel as it offers us better control.
- Finally, it is possible to “roll the wrists” improperly such that we don’t cup the puck. That would look like the following photos.
To round out your arsenal for the Hand Skills Area we provide videos that create a good foundation of drills that an instructor should use with players in our Hand Skills Area. Please do a thorough review of each of the following videos paying attention to key teaching details that are explained and how the drills will look when done properly. To do them properly, students must get the big parts right (overall body position) and the small details right (usually related to wrist action, puck position on the blade, and overall stick position).
It may require two watching to do this, but you should be watching them on two levels.
- Watch as if you are a student learning the drill.
- Watch as if you are trying to learn to mimic the key points of the explanation and demonstration process. The idea isn ot to learn to mimic directly, but to make sure your explanations and demonstrations hit all the same key points.
These videos will open in a new window to a Google Photos album that contains them. These albums are designed for skaters to use to guide at-home drill work, but here they are repurposed to guide your development as an instructor.
Stationary Stickhandling Drills
These drills are laid out in a progression so you should seek to find the right drill for the player(s) you are working with. Our philosophy with shooting is to start kids working on a good saucer pass technique, build to wrist shots, then snap shots, and finally slapshots.
After we see some skill with the wrist shot some backhand shooting technique can be introduced as well. On the backhand, the puck has to roll from heel to toe and we need to rotate the upper body to the target to create a whipping effect for the strongest shot.
Also, 4 kids can be doing these drills at once with a “four-lane” station set up.