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March 12, 2018

How To Stickhandle Faster At Speed

I once said that “If a player connects their hands and feet in all movements, they are a pro hockey player.”

I still agree with that. In this post, I show my work.

Continuing using new WORDS (since mine are the best), I introduce some new stickhandling concepts to you.

We talk about:

  • How the hands and feet are connected
  • The difference in connection between Quick Handles and Vectoring
  • “Don’t Overhandle It”

How the hands and feet are connected…

It seems that many coaches view stickhandling as an isolation of the arms, hands, stick and puck. They ignore that the heels drive the hips, which drive the core, which drive the ribcage, which drive the shoulders, which drive the arms, which drive the hands, which drives the stick, which drives the puck AND THAT’S STICKHANDLING….PHEW!!

We call this “driving” the Kinetic Chain.

The elastic components of the lower parts of the chain attach to the upper parts and influence their movement. When each part is connected with fluidity, the movement is effortless and efficient. I say “efficient” because the muscle does not need to actively contract to move.

Technical Note: Passive vs Active Muscle Contraction

I’ve alluded to this many times without addressing it directly. This part is technical and skippable. I do my best to simplify the concepts.

Active muscle contractions require an impulse from your motor cortex. The impulse from the motor cortex generates an impulse along your alpha motor neuron. Your alpha motor neuron connects to your muscle at the neuromuscular junction where the nerve releases the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine triggers cellular mechanisms that cause muscle contraction. It’s important to note that these cellular mechanisms consume “energy” in the form of Calcium, ATP, and Acetylcholine. I call it “energy” to simplify the explanation.

Passive muscle contractions aren’t contractions at all. When you stretch a muscle, it has elastic components within the muscle and tendons (which attach muscles to bones). If you pull your finger back, notice how it springs back into place? This is due to the elastic components of your finger muscles and hand.

Players who generate more of their movement with “passive muscle contractions” leverage the elasticity of their musculature. This reduces the demand for neurological and cellular resources. When one body part (say the heels) drives the next body part in the chain (the hips) – the hips don’t need to generate as much of an active contraction. Pass this “connection” up the chain, and the energy and efficiency compounds.

Note that beginners learn to move with active contractions first. As they gain expertise, they learn to leverage their passive systems. The ratio tips towards more “passive” movement. Hockey Wizards maximize their passive systems.

[End of Technical and Skippable Content]

If you plant both feet shoulder width and lock them in place, then stickhandle, you ignore the lower part of the kinetic chain. So you turn off power. You turn off efficiency. And then you turn off your ability to stickhandle at speed.

You can build your stickhandling skill with your feet locked in place and get pretty good. But as soon as you get in a dynamic scenario (changing direction, off balance, skating at speed) your body’s model of stickhandling falls apart.

But if you connect your feet movements to your stickhandling through the kinetic chain, you maintain the same stickhandling capability while stationary as you do at speed. So it makes sense to build your stickhandling from the bottom up instead of top down.

What is the difference between Quick Handles and Vectoring?

I borrow the term “Quick Handles” from Pavel Barber. It refers to a quick brushing of the puck with the blade on an angle. Quickhandles don’t move the puck. In fact, one of their main uses is to settle the puck in place.

With Quickhandles, your hands and stick move fast, but the puck remains in about the same place. Or at least on the same path.

Vectoring is new term. A vector is a mathematics and physics term for a course or direction. We use this term to describe when the puck moves from one spot to another. You might see how Kane’s feet re-arrange every time he changes the vector of the puck.

Quickhandles are a lot of fast stickhandling with the puck in place. Vectoring is when the puck moves from one place to another.

How do the hands and feet connect with Quick Handles and Vectoring?

Quickhandles don’t require the influence of the feet since you aren’t changing the vector of the puck. All you need for Quickhandles is a balanced base. We use the Hip Engine, Hip Scissors, Corkscrews, Soft Hips, and Shuffles to ensure we provide a balanced base for Quickhandles.

Vectoring does require the influence of heels because you change the direction of the puck. Let’s say you’re a lefty. If you want to move the puck from left the right, the first impulse should be through your left heel as you move the puck on your forehand. Then as you catch the puck on your backhand, your impulse is through your right heel. Foreward to backward vectoring requires rearranging your feet to maintain the pattern.

We could go on ad nauseam to describe how the hands and feet connect for vectoring. Ultimately, you need to Feel Your Body Learning. If you’d like to accelerate that, we have the Kane Stickhandling System that helps you get the feeling faster.

Quickhandles can be done while you Vector the puck. As the puck goes from A-B, your Quickhandle doesn’t require a change of Vector, so it also doesn’t require an impulse from your heels.

The Quickhandle sometimes evolves into a “No Stickhandle Stickhandle” as you Vector. This is where your stick doesn’t even touch the puck as it follows the Quickhandle Pattern. This gives the illusion of faster hands. And if you think it isn’t a game skill, think again…

“Don’t Overhandle”

You’ve probably noticed that some Drone Coaches tell their players not to stickhandle the puck. Allow me to translate this DroneSpeak for you.

They mean “Vector efficiently”. Players at lower levels sometimes require several foot and stick movements to vector the puck into a passing or shooting position. Or they Quickhandle without moving in space.

Pros vector the puck into passing and shooting positions quickly and efficiently. They do it at speed. And they do that while Quickhandling. THAT is the difference.

No one tells Kane to stop stickhandling. Because he Vectors quickly and efficiently. And he layers Quickhandles on top of his Vectors.

No one tells McDavid to stickhandle less. Because he uses the Corkscrew as he Quickhandles (Sometimes the No Stickhandle Stickhandle) – and skates faster than anyone.

What to do…

The concept of Vectoring may make it easier for you to understand how the hands and feet connect. Understanding how Quickhandles layer on top of Vectoring may also help your stickhandling progress. I’ll share with you how we treat this progression in the Kane Stickhandling System:

  1. Quickhandle Mechanics
    1. Still Point Posture
    2. NHL Grip Code & Pivot Principle
  2. Quickhandle Isolation
  3. Vectoring
    1. Basic Patterns
    2. Advanced Patterns
  4. Layering Quickhandle on Vectoring
    1. Basic Patterns
    2. Advanced Patterns
  5. XLR8
    1. Timed and measurable patterns

You can follow this basic outline yourself to improve your stickhandling mechanics. I spent over 10 years and thousands of hours researching the fastest way to learn this progression. And we compiled it in the Kane Stickhandling System which you may want to use to accelerate your acquisition of these Mechanics and Patterns.

Either way, I hope this article was helpful to you. Please email me if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments: [email protected] Love to hear from you!

January 19, 2017

Pavel Datsyuk Stickhandling – Was He Only Average?

Pavel Datsyuk Stickhandling Training – Was He Only Average?

In this video, I’m going to explain why you probably have more talent than Datsyuk.

Yes, that’s right.

You have more talent than Datsyuk.

You’re probably watching these clips right now and thinking that I’m nuts. And you’re right.

Datsyuk wasn’t known as the magic man because he had more talent and skill. He was known as the magic man because he had magic mechanics.

His mechanics allowed him to use less skill to achieve more magic.

Confused?

Did you know that cross country skiers have way more aerobic capacity than runners? So their lungs and hearts can process oxygen way better than runners.

But if you put a skier in a race with a runner – the runner wins every time.

Why? Because the runner has better mechanics.

Datsyuk has better mechanics than most players. At Train 2.0 we call them magic mechanics.

His mechanics literally make it EASY for him to display magical skill.

Your mechanics make it hard to display magical skill. You’ve practiced all these drills to develop your hands, but the mechanics you are using are making it really hard. Kind of like the skier trying to run.

The most important part of Datsyuk’s magic mechanics is his hip movements. Everyone thinks he has the best hands. He really has the best hips.

The two things he did better than anyone is the hip scissor and the 45 degree step. I’ve mentioned both in my McDavid and Karlsson video breakdowns.

What if you had more talent and skill than Datsyuk and you had just been taught the wrong mechanics? What if there was a way to literally make a quantum leap in your development?

Then click the link to here to get the free training which just might give you that quantum leap.

Become a member: http://ift.tt/2h1dqMi
Free Training: http://ift.tt/2hW0b15
Homepage: www.train2point0.com
Instagram: @train2point0
Facebook: http://ift.tt/2j9THZf
Twitter: @train2point0

– Jason

PS. If you want to do a live training with Train 2.0. you can click this link here to get FREE access

December 10, 2015

[Video] The Skill that Makes Deceptive Players

One thing elite players do to be deceptive

I’ve spoken poorly about goalies, tried to give advice to them, and shared some embarrassing stories. That said, I have a large amount of respect for them and what they do. Unbeknownst to most of my audience (slightly on purpose), I do actually know a fair amount about goalie mechanics, purely out of some weirdo interest I have. I somehow always end up beside them in the dressing room (maybe because I’m about as weird as them)…and I love it because I usually pick their brain on goalie-ing techniques, learning techniques and strategies. What strikes me is that they usually have a much stronger grasp of skill development and learning philosophy than the average player.

For this reason, in my first year with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, I asked my goalie for some feedback. I think I just said to him, “give me some feedback” to see what he would come up with.

He told me, “You are very predictable.”

So I asked, “What does that mean? How can I change that?”

He replied, “I don’t really know, but you’re really predictable with the puck.”

Not really the super detailed and technical feedback I was hoping for. But helpful nonetheless – at least it gave me a place to start.

So I started noticing which players were more deceptive and harder for me to check. Then I observed what they did differently. You might imagine that there is probably traits that they exhibit that predictable players don’t, and you’d be right? After a while, I noticed one subtle thing that they did: they moved the puck first.

I will pause here to tell you that if you are already very deceptive and skilled, you will probably only be mildly intrigued by this article, primarily through a sense of validation. Otherwise, it won’t be useful to you. But if you are moderately skilled and you find yourself having a hard time creating time and space for yourself, this article might have some good information for you to apply immediately.

So let’s say you’re playing as predictable you…you start at the goal line and skate down the ice towards the right boards and the far blueline. Then you want to change direction to where the far blueline and left boards connect.

As predictable you, you would turn and shift your whole body to change direction.

As deceptive you, you move the puck with a roll of your wrist, and then your stick, arm, shoulder, chest, hips, legs, and feet would follow the puck in that order.

As predictable you, the defenseman (who is an expert body language reader) easily picks up on your intended movement because your entire body is SCREAMING “I’M GONNA GO THAT WAY!!”

As deceptive you, the defenseman (who is told not to look at the puck) starts to read your movement a split second later because the only body signal you give that you’re planning on changing direction is a quick and subtle flick of the wrist. This split second of difference makes players who routinely change direction by moving puck first more deceptive.

Of course, the deceptive version of you will need to improve their stickhandling precision to be able to carry out this change. But that’s why you’re here isn’t it? To get better? I thought so.

Here is a video showing some changes a player made over the course of about 5 minutes by starting to change the habit of moving puck first to change direction. You’ll first notice that the puck is flicked into open space with a roll of a wrist, and then his body catches up. You’ll also notice that at first he seems to be working very hard to change direction. You’ll then notice that in the second clip his change of direction becomes more effortless as he becomes more comfortable with the skill. Effortless grace is another trait of deceptive players.

Before you watch and try this drill, let me tell you that we preceded it with about 50 minutes of changing this player’s habit from being an arm-based stickhandler to using his top wrist to stickhandle. But more on that coming later….

 

Watch for this trait of moving the puck first in the skilled and deceptive players on your team. Then go ahead and practice this in practice. Soon it will become automatic.

-Jason

P.S. If you liked this article because it was different than most Drone Coach advice, and you’d like to get to work on becoming a Hockey Wizard, then click here to check out the benefits of becoming a Train 2.0 Member.

January 15, 2015

Ubyssey Edition – How to Improve your stickhandling

In this “Frosted Tips” article, I had the chance to interview my teammate, Anthony Bardaro, on his tips for improving your stickhandling.

Check out this link: HERE

February 27, 2014

Belfry Stickhandling

Sometimes I get to watch videos or come across resources that illuminates things that I see, but don’t really recognize a pattern yet. The proverbial “Aha!” moment. This is one of those videos.

Oftentimes you see players that are good stick handlers….they seem to do something different. I wasn’t really able to pick up on exactly what it was they did differently. This video shows what that is. As soon as I saw this video, I went out to my team’s practice and immediately noticed that the best puck handlers on my team had this habit.

Increasing puck contact time while stick handling seems to be a priority of Belfry. If you’ve seen the Patrick Kane stick handling video, you’ve probably seen that he stick handles in a very distinct way. Belfry is his skill coach, so I assume that this was taught to him.

If you’ve ever seen Datsyuk stickhandle, especially in warm up, he also uses this technique. I have video of him in warm up which I’ll post soon.

P.S. If you liked this article because it was different than most Drone Coach advice, and you’d like to get to work on becoming a Hockey Wizard, then click here to check out the benefits of becoming a Train 2.0 Member.