QuickStickz Review




QuickStickz is a Fun and Effective way to Develop Stickhandling Ability

I’ve been really excited to get this post out, and let you know about a cool product called QuickStickz. QuickStickz is an innovative new way to work on your stickhandling abilities off the ice, and it’s a lot of fun too!

A few months ago I was invited to take a look at QuickStickz, which is a video-game-based, hockey stickhandling development system. I had seen the product before, but I’d never had the chance to get my hands on one. The idea seemed really cool, so I was excited to see what it was all about.

How it Works:
QuickStickz uses a special infrared camera that connects up to your PC via USB jack. The camera combos up with a customized SmartHockey stickhandling ball, that has been machined out with a whole bunch of tiny reflectors all over its surface. As you stickhandle, the camera picks up the movements of the ball, and sends the signal into the computer, which allows you to see your stickhandling movements on the screen.

Set-up is pretty simple, just plug in the camera, go to the QuickStickz member’s area, and install the plug-in when prompted.

Drills and Games:
Once you’re up and running, just select a drill or a game from the member’s area, and have at it! The drills are designed to help you work on various skills such as tight puck movement, wide puck movement, dekes, toe drags, etc. The games apply these skills in a more dynamic environment.

Member’s Area:
The member’s area is a great way to track your progress. You can check your own stats and progress, or see how your top score compares to other top scores from around the world. The member’s area also tracks how much time you’re spending on QuickStickz. This makes it easy for parents or coaches to check in on the player’s efforts and progress.

Conclusion:
QuickStickz is a great tool to help any player develop his or her stickhandling abilities. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a product that I think connects with kids on their level. The one weakness of QuickSticks is that it’s fairly sensitive to the ambient lighting in the room you’re using it in. Sunlight badly interferes with the infrared signal put out by the camera, and makes the ball just jump around on the screen. So make sure you close the blinds, and rely on your “artificial lighting” (regular lightbulbs), and you should be just fine!

Skating: PowerSlide Hockey Slide Board




The PowerSlide Hockey Slide Board Allows you to Imitate a Skating Motion while Developing Other Skills

A while back I was talking to one of my coaching buddies about some of the cool off-ice training equipment that is available these days. I mentioned something about combining a hockey slide board with a stickhandling skill pad, and how it would be cool to be sliding back and forth while stickhandling, passing, shooting, or anything else.

At the time I thought my idea was completely original… but, it turns out that innovative hockey coaches have had their players doing this for years!

What You Get, and Set-up:
So… here’s what I did. I picked up the PowerSlide slide board from HockeyShot. It’s a really high quality slide board that is portable, so you can take it places; adjustable, so you can use with athletes of various sizes and abilities; durable, so it’ll hold up to a lot of usage; and super grippy, so it won’t slide around on you.

The first thing I did was watch the free DVD that came with the PowerSlide. The DVD was very helpful for instructions on putting the PowerSlide together, but the exercise instructions and demos were a little weak to be totally honest. You’ll be better off just using your own creativity to develop your own set of exercises. Plus, as a hockey player or coach, I’m sure you’ve got no shortage of skating drills that can be transferred to the PowerSlide!

Set up was a breeze. I unrolled the PowerSlide, attached the adjustable end piece so that it was a good length for me, tightened it down, and I was all set.

The PowerSlide consists of two end-piece assemblies (where you’ll be pushing off from), and a flexible slide mat. There’s an interesting design feature that I quite like on the PowerSlide. The end piece assemblies aren’t just flat, like most other slide boards. They are made using solid rubber “ramps” that enhance the grip underneath the slide board, and improve the pushing angle of your stride. This feature allows you to stride really hard, but stay very stable in the process.

The PowerSlide also comes with a carrying bag, and a set of booties to wear over-top of your shoes.

My Experience:
I decided to use my PowerSlide on top of my Dryland Flooring Tiles, which gave me tons of room for stickhandling and passing. It worked REALLY well! The only thing that surprised me was that the PowerSlide was SO grippy that they were causing the Dryland Tiles to shift a little bit against the garage floor!

Once I slid the tile set-up into the corner, it anchored itself down a bit better, and I didn’t slide anymore.

Using the PowerSlide was amazing… not only was it a lot of fun, but it was a FANTASTIC workout! In fact, you can see a bit of sweat on my face at the end of my video review 🙂 What’s even better though, is that it felt A LOT like the real thing. I was able to work on all sorts of skating, passing, and stickhandling combos, all in the “comfort” of my own garage!

Conclusion:
This was one of the funnest, most realistic set-ups I’ve had the chance to mess around with, and I definitely recommend adding this to your Home Hockey Training Center.

If you decide to pick up the PowerSlide, I would HIGHLY recommend grabbing a few other items while you’re at it… Here’s a quick list for you:

  1. Dryland Flooring Tiles or Roll-up Shooting Pad (both have HUGE surface areas)
  2. A few stickhandling pucks or balls
  3. Attack Triangle
  4. Sweethands
  5. Extreme Passer

Yes, you’ll spend a bit more upfront, but it will make your experience a lot more worth while in the long run.


Passing: Extreme Passing Kit




The Extreme Passing Kit is a Great Way to Incorporate Passing into your Off-Ice Workouts

Passing is a skill that most players don’t think about working on away from the rink. The main reason they don’t think to work on passing is pretty obvious: because you need a partner to pass to, and to receive passes from… Unless, of course, you have the Extreme Passing Kit.

Overview:
The Extreme Passing Kit is a really cool skill pad & passing rebounder combo, that will let you work on multiple skills such as regular passes, touch passes, and one-time shots.

The Extreme Passing Kit comes in two different models, the One-Timer Model (which you see in this video), and the Bungee Cord Model. The only difference between the two is that the rebounder is removable in the One-Timer Model, and can be mounted onto another shooting pad, or even your dryland flooring tiles. This feature gives you a little more flexibility than you have with the Bungee Cord Model.

On the Bungee Cord Model, the rebounding bungee is mounted right onto the skill pad, making the unit completely self contained (which has it’s benefits as well, in my opinion).

Both models use the 4×8′ roll-up shooting pad (huge!), which is light weight, durable, and portable. You can easily roll it up for storage when you aren’t using it, or pack it in the car to bring it to a new dryland training location.

My Experience:
The Extreme Passing Kit comes already rolled up for you. When I first unboxed mine, it had retained the shape of being rolled up (which is to be expected), and I had to sort of “pry” it open and “reverse roll” it a bit on the ends to keep it from rolling back up on me. I let it sit out on my driveway in the hot sun for about an hour, and it flattened right out.

Once the shooting pad had flattened out, I mounted the rebounder to one end (it just clamps on), and went to town!

One thing you’ll notice about the Extreme Passing Kit is that it works really well with pretty much any type of puck. I’ve used mine with regular black pucks, FlyPucks, and Green Biscuits, all of which slide really well, and stay flat off the rebounder. In fact, the pucks stayed flat enough that I was actually able to work some one-touch passes as well (which actually surprised me a little).

Conclusion:
In conclusion, the Extreme Passing Kit is definitely a worthwhile product to add to your Home Hockey Training Center. It is well built, versatile, portable, and the surface area of the skill pad is big enough to use it for shooting, stickhandling, or passing.

Stickhandling: Attack Triangle




Use the Attack Triangle to Mimic a Defenseman in a 1 on 1 Stance

A number of years ago, one of my coaching buddies told me he had just bought 10 Attack Triangles to use for his team. I took a look, but didn’t totally see the value. I thought it looked a little gimmicky, and it seemed like it would be a hassle to bring that many on the ice each practice.

It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I actually got the chance to use the Attack Triangle, and when I did, I liked it a lot!

The Theory
The Attack Triangle is designed to mimic a defenseman in a 1 on 1 stance. You’ve got the stick and two skates, and they’re positioned exactly where a real player would have them. The fact that it’s a 3-dimensional model makes for a more realistic experience for your players. For example, if you start your move too late, you’ll hit the the stick and lose the puck. If you don’t pull your stick back in time, it’ll get caught up in the Attack Triangle’s stick, and once again, you’ll lose the puck.

Off-Ice Training
A big part of effective stickhandling practice is just getting your reps in, plain and simple. This is where off-ice training with a tool like the Attack Triangle can come in REALLY handy. Instead of having a partner stand there, mimicking a defensman’s stance for countless reps, you just set up the Attack Triangle, and go to town. I definitely recommend getting one or two of these for your off-ice training center.

On-Ice Benefits
This training tool can also work in your favor as a coach during practices. In the past, I’ve often had a coach offer “token” resistance in a stickhandling drill, and basically stand in the way, in a defensive stance, and let players make moves around him… maybe you’ve done the same? While this method can work, it’s taking at least one coach completely out of the equation! Now instead of coaching, he’s playing “token defense.” Definitely not the best use of personnel in my opinion. Why not throw down an Attack Triangle and let your coaches be free to coach?

Conclusion
The Attack Triangle is a really good tool, with a lot of possible uses. In my mind, having one or two for your off-ice training center is a no-brainer. It will help you to develop your dekes and moves in ways that are much more realistic. On the ice, I also see many uses for the Attack Triangle. The only question is how likely are you to bring them to the rink and back every practice? If you have a situation where you can leave them safely at the rink somehow, then I’d definitely consider picking up 10-12 to use in place of cones.

YOU’RE INVITED… REGISTER TODAY!!

Most competitive teams do some sort of pre-season training camp to ensure that the players are primed and ready to go as soon as the season starts. This is great, and I’m a firm believer in this strategy!

Coaches must come to training camp with a plan, a goal, and a purpose if they intend to have any form of success during the regular season.

We have developed a FREE Specialized Online Training Course for Hockey Coaches, that will give them a chance to think about, and plan their seasons so they can hit the ground running come training camp.

The course will last 2 weeks and will be done via blog posts with videos, written instruction, and downloads.

Here are a few of the topics we’ll be discussing:

  • Coaching Philosophy
  • Defensive Zone Coverage
  • Breakouts
  • Offensive Attack Options
  • Forechecking
  • Regroups and Neutral Zone Play
  • Special Teams

SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OUR COACHES TRAINING COURSE TO ENTER!

We would love to have you participate with us. The Training Course is FREE (just sign up below), and we are even giving away a few cool prizes for folks who help spread the word––including a free DrillDraw Pro license (the software I use to create all my videos) valued at $149!

UPDATE:

We just received word that Shooter Tutor is donating one of their “substitute goalies” for the giveaway (a $165 value)… so now we’ll be able to select TWO lucky winners (your odds just went up!)

I’ve been a HUGE fan of the Shooter Tutor since I was a kid. We had one set up in our yard during the summers and I spent endless hours shooting pucks with my buddies. When I started up my hockey school, the first thing I invested in was two Shooter Tutors… and they’ve lasted for years under intense use!!

Owning at least one Shooter Tutor is a must for any hockey coach.


UPDATE:

I couldn’t resist… I’m adding my own product to the giveaway. We’re throwing in an S3 Formula membership as our third prize (VALUED AT $147). The S3 Formula is my web-based strength and conditioning program, designed specifically for hockey players. We have players from all over the globe participating in the S3 Formula, and now you’ve got a chance to join in the action and get an incredible advantage over your opponent this year!

Our users have already had some phenomenal results using this program… check out this before and after shot of our buddy Nate Hymas (S3 user).

So, we have 3 prizes up for grabs now… we’ll pick our 3 winners on July 12th to kick off our Coaches Training Course. If you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, check out the instructions below!

HERE’S HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY (YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL 3 STEPS TO QUALIFY):

  1. Register for the Training Course using the form below
  2. Email (and copy me on the email for verification info@weisstechhockey.com) at least 5 of your favorite hockey friends about this course (your coaching staff is a great place to start). Send them to this post so they know what the course is all about.
  3. Stay tuned for the drawing on July 12th, the first day of our training course!

Talk soon!

Jeremy