News & Updates
April 13, 2018
Decision-making is an illusion.
In talking with a former professional quarterback, he told me, “The decision has already been made for you – you just react.”
In Part 1, we discussed the idea of action vs reaction. Read that here.
So what does this mean? And how does this relate to the setup?
Here is the setup:
The first part doesn’t matter. It’s variable. Crossovers, c-cuts, shuffles, 10&2…doesn’t matter. Speed probably does matter.
The second part matters a lot. Because this is the part of the pattern that allows for dangles.
The second part of the pattern is: Cut across the defender’s body on the diagonal angle, from one side of the body to the other.
See that pattern here.
Now, this is where action vs reaction comes into play.
You make the decision (action) to go across the defender’s body on the diagonal.
Your mechanics and pattern need to be sound so that you can go left or right. You must be able to do:
- Anchor Left and Right (The above two examples are an anchor to the right)
- Soft Hip (The above two examples are a soft left hip – going from wide to narrow to step around the defender)
Then you react to the defender’s stick and body momentum. If they go too far to the left, you go right. If they go too far to the right, you go left. This is the part of the dangle that you don’t pre-plan. You simply react that what you see and feel.
This leads us to the Mindset Of The Dangler.
You may have heard me mention the power of humility, being wrong, and getting embarrassed on the podcast. This is extremely important if you’re going to take the next step to adopt the Mindset Of The Dangler.
I hypothesize that most “learned reactions” in hockey are conditioned responses. Yes, like Pavlov’s dogs and rats in a maze. That kind of conditioning.
In particular, operant conditioning.
In operant conditioning, you take some sort of action, then get a reward. If the reward is positive, you get a dopamine boost. This feels good. And this begins the wiring process in your brain.
What exactly wires? The link between the opportunity, action, and result.
The more you fire this pathway, the more it wires together. What fires together wires together.
We call these “NeuroLinks”.
Here’s where the Dangle Mindset falls apart: If you’re not willing to put yourself in a reaction situation because you don’t trust your instincts and you don’t want to fail – you can never create these conditioned responses. Your bag of flesh known as a body needs to experience many situations until it happens upon the right combination of movements that triggers the right chemical response. So you literally have to flail, in about 1000 different ways, until your body accidentally stumbles on the right combination of flailing. If you repeat that right combination enough times, you form a strong NeuroLink, and your brain pathways wire together. Then you get consistent results. A bonus is that it feels good!
Anyone who can skate can get the setup right. This is the action portion of the dangle. The Decision portion of the dangle.
Anyone can practice the mechanics. Get them perfect. That’s simple.
Anyone can read the stick momentum and the body momentum. Also simple.
But few have the balls (or lady balls) to put themselves in a reaction based situation – where they trust their instincts and let their body learn unconsciously. Because they are afraid of looking stupid. And yet, that is the most important part of the dangle.
Don’t confuse willingness to fail with wanting to fail. Or willingness to be embarrassed with wanting to be embarrassed. No one likes those things. But some people learn to love the pain. Because they associate that pain with growth.
Frustration, anger, guilt, blame – these emotions do not work in the Dangle Mindset. Because they restrict you from trying again. From flailing and failing in new and creative ways. A desire to seek out this type of punishment and turn it into something you crave is the mindset of a Dangler. And over time, as your body creates those connections, it automatically wires the right pathways together. You just have to get out of your own way and let the learning occur naturally.
Please take into account that there is a time to practice these reactionary instincts. And a time play it safe. Off-season. Practice. Fun games. These are the times to hone your instincts.
Game 7 OT? Probably not the time. Stick to what you know your instincts are already good at.
So, to finish off the Dangle By Design Series:
- The setup includes a variable entry pattern
- Cut diagonally from one side of the defender’s body to the other
- As you cut diagonally from one side of the defender to the other, be in a position (mechanically – called “Still Point”) to go left or right to that you can react to the defender’s movement
- Master the Crosby Curl
- Master the Kane Drag
- Master the Anchor
- Master the Soft Hip
- Read the cue of stick momentum
- Allow yourself to react to the movement of your defender. It’s too fast to pre-plan this. Let your instincts take over.
- To develop your reactions and instincts you must be willing to fail many times until your brain wires itself together naturally
- The only thing holding you back is your ego (humility, willingness to fail, willingness to be embarrassed)
I hope you enjoyed this series. I enjoyed writing it and learned a ton. Would love to hear from you – please tell me what you learned and what you think I overlooked. Coming up next is the Dangle by Design Course – which will be the step by step video lessons to teach you how to do this. If you’d like a sneak preview of it, make sure to sign up for the Train 2.0 Membership.
Thanks for reading,
March 28, 2018
We broke down the Dangle into the Four Part SEEE Formula:
We explored the entry tactic of exploiting stick momentum. Today we look deeply at how the best in the world exploits stick momentum: Sidney Crosby.
In this video from xXLaflammeXx, we see a great compilation of Crosby’s Dangles. Their distribution looks roughly like this:
- 60% Forehand to backhand dekes
- 20% Backhand to forehand dekes
- 20% Tips/Chips past the defender
The low hanging fruit is the forehand to backhand deke. So let’s examine the NeuroLinks and Mechanics.
The reason I use Crosby is thanks to xXLaflammeXx compilation. It is a complete data set of successful dangles – from a guy who isn’t really known for dangling.
Exploit Stick Momentum: When Crosby approaches his Dangle Victim, he moves the puck to the left – within reach of the DV. As the DV reaches or swings, Crosby continues moving the puck to the left. As the DV fully commits to the reach or swing, Crosby moves the puck using the “Crosby flick” to move the puck to his backhand.
Entry Tactic: Sometimes Crosby dekes backhand to forehand – to get the defender to open up the forehand to backhand (which is his bread and butter). So the initial backhand to forehand deke is bait. So this is part of the entry.
Going forehand to backhand, Crosby always does a version of what we’re calling the Crosby Flick. (We’re already in the process of adding the Crosby Flick to the Kane Stickhandling System.)
As the puck moves from right to left, he allows the puck to also travel forward. This creates an arc like so:
You often see defensemen swing or reach at the heel of Crosby’s stick. But the puck starts at the midblade, and then travels to the toe of his stick. As the defender swings his stick at the heel, Crosby rolls the puck off his toe. The flick seems to weight the puck correctly so that it doesn’t jump in the air, or get too far away. It matches Crosby’s momentum from left to right and forward.
After the flick, Crosby lets his stick follow the puck – but not too closely. I’m assuming this so that if his stick is knocked, it won’t knock the puck off its perfectly weighted trajectory. (Damn you’re good Sid).
In order for this to work, the defender must generate stick momentum towards where you place the puck. Your timing and placement need to keep the puck out of range until the defender commits their stick momentum. Once committed, you use the Crosby Flick to move it to your backhand.
Sometimes, the defender will swing or reach at the toe of your stick instead of the heel. In this situation, you need to be ready to do what we call the Kane Drag. We show you how to do this in the Kane Stickhandling system course.
Data, 80/20 and Avoiding Bias
The reason I think that there are less backhand – forehand dekes in this compilation is because a backhand > forehand deke doesn’t usually “Dangle” the defender. Usually, this type of deke gives you time and space, but doesn’t actually beat the guy. Crosby might use that deke all the time, but it doesn’t show up in a compilation like this. So when I say that the low hanging fruit to learn how to Dangle is the forehand > backhand, that is representative of this sample of dangles. But that may not represent all of Crosby’s dekes. He may use the backhand > forehand much more than we realize.
Nevertheless, if Dangling is your goal, I think we’ve found a pattern and formula. I think you see the mechanics and the NeuroLinks. And if you’d like to learn those mechanics in-depth, you can check them out in the Kane Stickhandling System.
TLOG Day 1
In case you’d like to see how my training is progressing, here is a Training Blog (TLOG) video I did. You can see it here.
Thanks for reading today.
March 27, 2018
This is Part 2 of the Dangle by Design Series. Please read Part 1 to get caught up on what’s going on before you read part 2.
Today, we deconstruct the Dangle. And then we talk about exploiting the momentum of the stick.
The Four Parts of the SEEE Dangle Formula include:
- The Setup
- The Entry
- Exploit Opportunity
This is your route towards your dangle victim. Straight on? Crossovers? Hip Scissors? Shuffle Steps? Could be anything. (Hint: Straight on does not work too good.)
Here you engage your dangle victim. In most dangles, this involves a present to bait tactic (Read Part 1 to learn what Present to Bait means). How and where you present to bait matters a lot here. And it follows a pattern for successful dangles. You MUST be a master of the 5 Transition Tricks in order to properly enter on your dangle victim.
A successful entry looks like:
- You dictated your DV’s stick momentum and/or their body momentum
- You didn’t get poke checked
If the successful entry conditions are met (dictate momentum and no poke check), then you exploit your DV’s change in momentum to create space for yourself. You must have hand-foot rhythm and you must master the 5 Transition Tricks to fully exploit the opportunity that you created.
After you successfully exploit the opportunity you created, you need to protect the puck through hip wall, and have at least enough speed to maintain that gap you created. This means having good puck protection mechanics, and good transition skills.
Entry & Exploitation: The Stick
The first domino to fall is Stick Momentum Exploitation. We talk about turning heels and changing body momentum. But I believe that the most important opportunity to exploit is stick momentum.
When mastered, you should at least be able to avoid poke checks. You might not be able to get around people (escape) – but you won’t get poke checked.
There are three ways to exploit the momentum of the stick:
- Exploiting the reach
- Exploiting the swing
- Combination of both (these are the ones when the jock/jill strap really hangs off the rafters)
Entering To Exploit Stick Momentum
Upon engaging your DV, the puck needs to be in a place to bait the DV into swinging or reaching. Too far: no swing or reach. To close: poke check. Just right: swing and/or reach.
Exploiting Stick Momentum
If you entered with the right positioning, then you know a swing or reach is coming. As that swing/reach comes, the puck needs to be in a position on your blade to exploit that momentum. If your DV swings from right to left, you’d better be ready to move the puck left to right – into the open space. If your DV swings left to right, you’d better be ready to move right to left.
Mechanics: Kane Stickhandling System
In the Kane Stickhandling system, we teach players to handle the puck on the heel, then use their wrists to roll the puck down the toe for movement. During your entry, the puck needs to be handled at the heel for two reasons. 1: The puck sometimes needs to be pushed/rolled forward before going left-right and 2: The roll from heel to toe is a smaller mechanic to move the puck than moving your whole arm (maximization through minimization).
If you’d like to see the Kane Stickhandling System, it is available here.
The Foundation Of Dangles
My hypothesis is that stick momentum exploitation is the foundation of the dangle. Many of you know that I look for movement variants and movement invariants. What things always stay the same? And what things change based on the situation? I call those invariants “Movement Principles”.
I honed in on the Stick Momentum Exploitation as an invariant. In situations where stick momentum exploitation does not occur – I’d suggest that that is not a dangle (deke). Instead, I’d suggest that that is a better angle, better speed scenario. And that does not constitute a dangle.
I’d suggest that the setup and escape influence the size of the dangle. They are the variables. But stick exploitation is invariant: the principle behind the dangle. In my next posts, I evaluate my ideas after testing in practice and discuss using the setup and escape to increase the “size” of your dangles.
Don’t Create > Document
The reason I’m able to generate so much content so fast is because I don’t create. I document. You get to see this process unfold in real time. And you are involved in the process with your feedback, observations, and suggestions.
Are my ideas supported by video evidence? Do they work in real life? These are the things I want to know. Please send me an email because I’d love to hear what you think: [email protected]
P.S. If you’d like to join the conversation with the members, you can do that here, because we take these concepts to another level.
November 23, 2016
How To Win Puck Battles – With Your Hips
An extension of Crosby’s Puck Protection Formula – here’s an approach to winning puck battles that is not typically taught or practiced. When you have hip position, you WILL win the puck. These two players are atom aged and I noticed on their video that they would simply try to win pucks with their stick. Even though they aren’t allowed to body check at their age, it doesn’t mean they can’t use their hips to win position. The first clip I’m explaining to both players how Crosby uses his hips to win and keep more pucks. Then I show the different drills we used to teach that part of the formula.
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November 1, 2016
In this step-by-step video, we cover Sidney Crosby’s Puck Protection Formula that he follows. Yes, he has a Formula, or a set of patterns that he consistently uses to demonstrate mastery of puck protection while playing down low in the NHL. This Puck Protection Formula is less a set of skills, and more a blend of skills in the correct order – hence a formula!
Many will think that Sidney Crosby’s puck protection comes from insane strength. And he is certainly a strong player. But how he uses that strength is more important. And because “how” he uses his strength is learnable and immediately actionable – it is useful to you. Learn the breakdown, video analysis, and steps that he uses, that you can implement immediately.