Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How Do You Control Your Hockey Stick?

A few days ago I ran across a Reddit link to a video on basic hockey stickhandling.  Like a lot of those videos, it was overly simple, with hardly any earth-shattering information included.  (In my CoachChic.com tagline, I call that offering the WHAT, with little advice about the HOW.

Okay, that sounds like a pretty simple question, deserving of a fairly simple answer.  But, hear me out on this one...

Anyway, at one point the instructor in that video mentioned gripping the stick, along with a suggestion that the lower hand on ones stick acts as a fulcrum, as the top hand steers the stick-blade's actions.  (I'm paraphrasing here, but that's pretty much what he was saying.)

Here's a comical story, though...  Sometime back in the late 1970's, my faithful assistant coach and I got into a fun, back-and-forth exchange on this very subject.  I had expressed feelings similar to the above noted instructor, and my assistant climbed all over me.

Understand that he was a brilliant guy, and a formidable debater.  So, he was all over me about that -- again, with some fun needles included in his tirade, explaining that he actually controlled his stickhandling moves with his lower hand.

Hmmmm...  Hmmmmmm...

Adding ammo to my assistant's side, he polled our two teams -- varsity members and JVs, discovering that a number of the kids did as he did, controlling their sticks with their lower hands.

Now, 30-years later, I understand that there is no "rule" when it comes to how a player holds his or her stick, and there's also no set way a player controls the stick.  No, many will start right off with their dominant hand at the top of the shaft, but some players won't.  And, as my assistant claimed, many players will steady the stick in their lower hand and steer with the top hand, while some others will do just the opposite.
And, by the way...  I wouldn't tamper with a young player, no matter how he or she does it.  I want my players to be comfortable, and I want them to do as much as possible in a natural way.
With all that, I couldn't think of a better question to use in kicking off the new CoachChic.com forum -- now known as the CC Hockey Message Board.  There, I posted as the first question/s a want to know just where a player places his or her dominant hand, and which hand he or she uses to control the stick.

That forum and question is open to anyone -- at no cost.  It takes a few secs to register as a member, and just a few more to tell us how you do each of the above.  So, won't you join us there?  The more hockey folks who provide input, the better representation we'll have.