SweetHands is a Really Useful Hockey Stickhandling Aid that Can Be Utilized in Many Different Ways!
If you’ve been following along with our Home Hockey Training Center course, you probably know by now that versatility is one of the biggest selling points for me when it comes to selecting hockey training products. I like products that will give me multiple uses, and that can be combined with other products to make an even more creative “work space.” SweetHands definitely fits that criteria!
Features and Benefits Here are a few of the SweetHands features I thought were noteworthy:
Durable product that can be used on or off the ice.
Comes with two end pieces and six middle pieces, so you can use it as one 8′ set-up, two 4′ set-ups, or any combo in between.
Lightweight (less than 9 lbs), and since the pieces come apart, it’s really easy to bring it to the rink with you.
Comes with a drill book and a 29 min DVD, which gives you plenty of ideas on different ways to use the product.
Can be used in a wide variety of ways, in combination with lots of other products… just be creative!
Setting up your SweetHands is easy. The pieces just snap together, and you’re up and running in seconds. I liked being able to choose how many pieces to include in my set-up. As you see in the video, I messed around with a few different combinations to work on different aspects of stickhandling.
I also like how durable this product is. I had seen some durability demos on other videos (kids stepping on the SweetHands “crossbars” with skates), but I wasn’t planning on actually putting hat to the test… However, my rambunctious 4-year-old thought otherwise. I caught him walking tightrope style across the SweetHands unit, AND jumping up onto the crossbars like plyo jumps, and trying to land and balance on them! I’m happy to report, the SweetHands held up to the abuse just fine.
Sweethands is a pleasure to use. It works really well, and does exactly what it was designed to do. As I was making the video, I kept thinking how much better a stickhandler I would be if I would have had some of these tools available to me as a kid!
I had a lot of fun putting this post together. SweetHands is a great product, with lots of versatility, and the capability of making you a better hockey player if you use it consistently. It’s lightweight, portable, and easy to put together and take a part.
The drill book and DVD are two added bonuses that are VERY worthwhile! In fact, if it were sold separately (which it’s not), I’d recommend picking up the DVD even if you didn’t get the SweetHands unit itself, it’s that good! I definitely recommend this product to anyone looking to improve their stickhandling off the ice!
The Swedish Wooden Ball is the “Speed Bag” of Hockey Stickhandling
In most areas of athletic development there are drills and products to work on raw strength, and there are drills and products designed to work on speed and agility. Think of the difference between a boxer punching the heavy bag vs. the speed bag, or the difference between squats and sprints. Well, stickhandling is no different.
We use different pucks, balls, and other training tools to work on different aspects of stickhandling skill requirements, in an attempt to put together a “complete development package” that will help the athlete to perform at an optimal level. Heavier pucks and balls will develop wrist and forearm strength, while lighter balls will develop faster hands, and quicker reaction speed. Both types of training are important.
Why it Works:
The Swedish Wooden Ball was designed help you work on your quick hands. This ball is substantially lighter than a puck, and since its made out of wood, it gives you a real dead bounce, which is what we’re looking for in a hockey training puck or ball.
Since it’s a ball, you’ll be able to use it in more places than with a puck (think rubber flooring at the rink, carpet inside your house, pavement, concrete, etc.) This is a very versatile product.
This is a great, inexpensive tool that will give you some variety in your stickhandling training. I recommend picking up two or three of these balls. One for your hockey bag, and a couple to keep around the house. Then all that’s left is to get creative with it!
The SmartHockey Stickhandling Ball is Something Every Hockey Player Should Have in His or Her Bag!
Every once in a while a hockey product comes along that just makes sense. The SmartHockey Stickhandling Ball is one of those products. I’ve been using the Smart Ball for about 7 years now, and I’ve really enjoyed it. There are a few reasons why the Smart Ball is such an effective stickhandling tool.
Versatility and Durability
Since it’s a ball, the Smart Ball can be used on many different surfaces. You can take it inside and use it on carpet, bring it to the rink and use it on the rubber flooring there (I keep a Smart Ball in my bag to use for warming up my hands before games), or you can use it outside on the pavement. The Smart Ball is durable enough to withstand whatever abuse you might throw at it. In fact, I still have my original Smart Hockey Stickhandling Ball that I bought 7 years ago, and it’s still in GREAT shape. These balls just don’t wear out!
Smart Design The Smart Hockey Ball really lives up to its name when it comes to it’s design. They really did their homework with this product. Here are a few of the key features that I think really add to the off-ice stickhandling experience of the Smart Ball:
Contact Points – The Smart Ball was designed to contact your stick at the same height as the puck does. This small detail makes a big difference in the “feel” of the ball.
Weight – The Smart Ball is slightly lighter than a real puck. All the top stickhandling pucks and balls on the market have done this. The idea is that once you factor in the friction of the surface you’re working on, the ball will feel really close to the real thing on ice.
Dead Bounce – The Smart Ball was designed to have a “dead bounce,” similar to that of a puck. In fact, if you drop a Smart Ball and a puck at the same time, they have almost identical bounce patterns, as you can see in the video. Again, this design feature really enhances the feel and stickhandling experience you’ll have with the Smart Ball.
All in all, this is a fantastic ball to add to your stickhandling tool set. Not only is it extremely versatile, durable, and well-designed, but it’s a lot of fun to use too, which means it’ll actually GET used! I recommend picking up 2 or 3 Smart Balls, one for your bag, and a couple to have at home in your dryland area.
The Dot Drill is One of my Staple Off-Ice Agility Drills
The Dot Drill is one of the most effective off-ice hockey agility drills I’ve ever seen. This drill is easy and inexpensive to set up, and only takes about a minute of the athlete’s time each day – so there are no excuses not to do it!
Remember, the dots should be placed in a 2′ x 3′ rectangle, with one dot in the middle. Each dot should be about 5″ in diameter. You can spray paint the dots onto your garage or basement floor, or onto an old piece of carpet. You could also use something less permanent such as sidewalk chalk or tape.
I prefer the rubber dot drill mats because they have better grip and are more durable. If you decide to get one, make sure you pick up one of the thicker ones with the dots embedded in the mat itself – not just painted on.
The Dot Drill:
The Dot Drill consists of 5 movements, performed 6 times each. Here are the 5 movements.
1. Hour Glass (always facing forward) – over and back equals one rep
2. Right Foot “Slalom” (in, out, over, in, out, over) – back to the original dot equals one rep
3. Left Foot “Slalom” (in, out, over, in, out, over) – back to the original dot equals one rep
4. Two Foot “Slalom” (in, out, over, in, out, over) – back to the original dot equals one rep
5. Hour Glass with Spin – over and back equals one rep
HOW FAST IS FAST?
As your Dot Drill begins to improve, you’ll definitely want to compare your times to the national averages. Here’s a time chart to help you track your progress:
USE THIS DRILL IN YOUR OWN OFF-ICE TRAINING SESSIONS: