20″ Wobble Board for Improved Hockey Balance




Use the 20″ Wobble Board to Improve your Hockey Balance and Coordination!

I recently had the chance to test out a number of new products from HockeyShot’s balance line. I’m a big believer that developing balance and coordination off the ice can lead to improved performance on the ice. The first product I tested out was the 20″ Wobble Board, as shown in the video above.

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DSC_0016Construction:
The platform of this Wobble Board is made of birch wood with a slip-resistant top. The birch wood gives it a nice feel, while still maintaining it’s durability. “Feel” is an important feature with balance products. I’ve used plastic wobble boards in the past that don’t hold a candle to this one, mainly because of the feel.

The spherical base is made of durable plastic, that is sure to withstand any reasonable amount of abuse you’ll throw at it. The base is adjustable, which allows you to change the level of difficulty as your skills improve.

Usability:
The wobble board is easy to use, although it will take some practice to get good at it. I recommend setting the base at the easiest level while you work on your balance and strength. The base is well-designed, and easy to adjust.

Benefits:
The benefits of using a wobble board are pretty obvious for hockey:

  • Improved Balance & Control
  • Increased Coordination
  • More Strength in Calves and Ankles
  • Variety of Power Exercises that Executed
  • Great way to develop “independent” Hands & Feet (hands and feet are active together, working on different things)


Stickhandling: SweetHands




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:

  1. Durable product that can be used on or off the ice.
  2. 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.
  3. Lightweight (less than 9 lbs), and since the pieces come apart, it’s really easy to bring it to the rink with you.
  4. Comes with a drill book and a 29 min DVD, which gives you plenty of ideas on different ways to use the product.
  5. Can be used in a wide variety of ways, in combination with lots of other products… just be creative!

My Experience
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!

Conclusion

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!

Stickhandling: SmartHockey Ball Review




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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Conclusion
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.

Enjoy!

Stickhandling: Dryland Flooring Tiles




Dryland Flooring Tiles are one of the Most Versatile Hockey Products on the Market Today

In this post, I wanted to introduce an extremely effective and versatile product, HockeyShot’s Dryland Flooring Tiles. The reason I say this is such a versatile product is that you can literally design your “floor plan” to fit your training objectives. This might mean using six or eight tiles as a shooting pad, or it might mean going wall to wall with them in your basement for a fully functional stickhandling, passing, and shooting facility.

Not only are the flooring tiles versatile in how they can be used, but you also get a lot of flexibility when it comes to timeline. You don’t have to outfit your whole room all at once… These tiles are kind of like legos, you can keep adding to them and expanding your training square footage as you see fit!

Pricing
Many people consider Dryland Flooring Tiles to be an unaffordable “luxury item” rather than a necessity for their Home Hockey Training Center. The truth is, price per square foot on these hockey dryland flooring tiles is right in line with most of the other shooting & skill pad options on the market, and it’s an easy way to build a fantastic, multi-purpose training facility in your own home!

Here’s some quick math if you’re interested:

Now, obviously each of these products fits a certain purpose. But if you’re looking for a semi-permanent, HUGE surface, on which you can stickhandle, shoot, OR pass, the Dryland Flooring Tiles are definitely the best option for you.

Durability
HockeyShot’s Dryland Flooring Tiles are among the most durable hockey flooring tiles on the market. The underside of the tiles has a special ribbing system that keeps them light-weight, but super tough. In fact, these tiles are so durable, you can even park a car on them! I know this comes across as a little “infomercial-ish,” but this is actually a really important feature if you want to set up your training center in your garage, but still need to be able to park there.

Slickness
I’ve had a few questions about the “feel” of these tiles, and how well the pucks slide compared to real ice. Regular black pucks slide pretty well, definitely well enough for shooting practice, and some slower stickhandling but they do pop up a bit when trying to work on quick stickhandling. However, specialty pucks, like the Flypuck or Green Biscuit, that were designed SPECIFICALLY for off-ice stickhandling practice, slide REALLY well, and feel almost exactly like real ice!

Versatility
As I mentioned above, one of the features I like most about these tiles is how many different ways there are to use them. There are literally dozens of different combinations you can set up with other hockey training products. Some of the ones I’ve been messing around with are the Extreme Passer, SweetHands, and the Attack Triangle. With my 48 tile set-up, the square footage is big enough that I can do just about anything I want to do!

Shooting: Professional Shooting Pad




The HockeyShot Professional Shooting Pad is a Must-Have if You Plan to Work on Your Shot from Home!

This product is a no-brainer. If you want to work on your shot off the ice, you need a good shooting pad. Otherwise you’ll wreck your stick, and the pucks won’t slide with the same feel as real ice.

HockeyShot’s Professional Shooting Pad is a great choice.

I’ve used quite a few “makeshift” shooting pads over the years. Some of these worked ok, some not as well. None has compared to the experience I’ve had with the Professional Shooting Pad. There are a few key features that make this a “must-have” item:

  1. 30″ by 60″ surface area, which is larger than most of the pads I’ve used in the past. This makes it big enough to give you a full range of motion on your wrist shots, slap shots and snap shots.
  2. Made of a slick and durable material, which allows your pucks to slide similarly to ice––so it works great for shooting or stickhandling practice.
  3. Durability allows you to take slap shots without damaging the pad; something I had to be careful about with some of my makeshift shooting pads!
  4. Bevelled edge makes it easy to pull pucks up from beside your mat.
  5. This shooting pad is lightweight, with a handle cutout, which makes it REALLY easy to transport (not the case with some of my previous shooting pads).

To sum it up, you need a shooting pad of some sort if you want to work on your shot from home. If you’re looking for one that mimics the feel of real ice, is big enough to take real shots with, will hold up to intense use, and is easily transportable, then this is the pad for you. It’ll save your stick, and help make you a better hockey player in the process!

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