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.

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!

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.

Stickhandling: FlyPuck Review

The FlyPuck is a Great Tool for Achieving an “On-ice” Feel, While Off the Ice!

Over the past few years, a number of off-ice hockey pucks have made their way onto the scene. Initially, most of these pucks were designed to be used for roller hockey, with the intent of using them on a SportCourt surface. Some of these pucks worked ok, some of them not as well… but at the end of the day none of them REALLY did what we needed them to do.

For an off-ice puck to be an effective tool for stickhandling development, it has to have the same weight and feel as a real puck does on the ice, and it also has to behave like a real puck does on the ice. The FlyPuck does just that.

The FlyPuck was created specifically as an off-ice stickhandling puck, and is made from a hard plastic that is not only durable, but heavy enough to feel like a real puck. The design features a recessed middle that reduces contact points (friction) with the surface, and allows the puck to slide and behave much like a real puck does on the ice. Every FlyPuck also comes with a DVD, which is a cool little bonus with some drills and exercises you can use on your own.

My Experience
With any stickhandling puck, you’re gonna have the best results on the smoothest surface. I first used my FlyPuck on the Dryland Flooring Tiles I have set up in my garage. The puck felt almost EXACTLY like a real puck does on the ice. In fact, it’s probably my favorite puck when on a good, smooth surface like the tiles because it behaves so closely to the real thing.

After I’d messed around a bit on the tiles, I moved out to the pavement, and was impressed there as well. The FlyPuck did really well for me as a stickhandling puck on the pavement, but I didn’t really like it for working on passing… it tended to bounce too much, and didn’t stay as flat as I would have hoped. The Green Biscuit was a much better puck when it came to passing on pavement as you’ll see in my Green Biscuit Review.

All-in-all, the FlyPuck was my favorite puck on the Dryland Flooring Tiles surface because it feels so much like a real puck. It was about equal to the Green Biscuit for stickhandling on pavement, and wasn’t as good as the Green Biscuit when it came to passing on pavement.


Hang Clean for Hockey

Hang Clean for Hockey

The Hang Clean is one of the most effective exercises for increasing hockey speed, strength, coordination, and general athleticism. Because it is so effective, we include it as one of our “core” lifts in the S3 Formula (by core I mean “main” or “staple” lifts, not the core muscles of the mid-section).

Technique is extremely important with the Hang Clean. So, start light enough that you can control the weight and develop your technique before moving on to heavier weights. Including this lift in your off ice training program will help make you a stronger, faster player come fall!

Good luck!


Effective Off Ice Hockey Training

Interview with Tyler from NHL Digest:

starNHL Digest
March 11, 2010 8:06 PM
by Tyler

Effective Off Ice Hockey Training

Off ice hockey training has been an area of extreme interest to me ever since I played college hockey. You see, I was the kid that had some talent, (not much) but enough, to play on the top teams growing up. But, I was a tall, but underweight and weak defenseman. As you know, those don’t go together! It wasn’t until I reached college and my hockey coach put the a large emphasis on off ice training that I really started to develop. To make a long story short, I often wonder what might have been if I had started an off ice hockey training program in my early teens?

Since I interviewed Washington Capitals strength and conditioning coach, Mark Nemish, last summer I have been looking for an off ice hockey training program that matched his philosophy. If you’re going to do dryland training, why not train like some of the best hockey player in the world?

Well, the other day, Jeremy Weiss contacted me about his newly released S3 Formula Hockey Training System. After reviewing his program and training videos, I found that it matched very well to what Mark Nemish had suggested.

The following are examples of how the S3 Formula matches what Mark Nemish prescribed.

First, Coach Nemish listed the following as his top 3 tips off-ice hockey conditioning:

  1. Make sure that you are being coached in performing the exercises in the program correctly…
  2. Make the clear distinction between activity and accomplishment…too many athletes perform the activity of training but don’t progress at the rate they should because they don’t train hard or smart enough.
  3. Nutrition plays a huge role in training gains or adaptations…your composition and timing of nutrition is very important.

The S3 Formula addresses Coach Nemish’s tips perfectly!
(This is the main reason I can recommend this program for youth hockey)

  1. Emphasis on technique and safety is a big deal in the S3 Formula. The S3 Formula contains a video exercise bank with 57 videos (one video for each exercise prescribed in the program). These videos contain the main “key points” to focus on with each exercise, then show actual demonstrations of the proper technique. The videos are downloadable so players can import them into their ipods, and bring them to the gym with them.
  2. They have structured the S3 Formula in a way that is EXTREMELY trackable. Worksheets and progress reports let the athletes see their progress, and motivate them to compete against their previous scores and records.
  3. Like Coach Nemish, Jeremy is also a firm believer in the importance of proper nutrition in athletics. There is a complete section of the S3 Formula members’ area dedicated to nutrition. They also have meal plans to suit hockey players of different ages and sizes that were prepared by a nutrition specialist as well as a number of videos, audio interviews, and articles in the materials section that deal with subjects like pregame meals, carb loading, and eating to replenish energy stores in tournament settings with multiple games over a weekend.

In the interview, Nemish also indicated the following areas where players are most prone to mistakes with regard to strength and conditioning programs.

Players don’t train hard enough at times and also don’t know when to listen to their bodies and back off at the right times. Also, many players do not pay enough attention to some very important, but overlooked, training variables such as length of rest periods, speed of the repetition, and restoration techniques.

What Jeremy and his S3 Formula say on this topic!

I agree with coach Nemish, particularly with respect to “listening” to their bodies. I’ve always said there’s a fine line between peak performance and injury. The best athletes learn to walk that line with skill and precision. This might mean skipping an exercise, or dropping the weight way down to focus more on technique from time to time.
Another mistake I would add to that is players who get into the weight room without a plan. Workouts must be structured, specific, and goal-oriented in order to be effective. They also must be performed consistently. Having a plan is VERY important in this regard.

Here is the advice that Mark Nemish gave for a hockey player’s off-season conditioning program.

One very important variable for improving power is to intend to move loads as quickly as possible especially with regards to training the legs. Speed kills in this sport and taking advantage of sound training principles to enhance leg power is important. In addition to intending to move loads quickly, regardless of whether they are light or very heavy loads, improving one’s off-ice sprint speed is important as well. Sprinting for 10-30 yards while pulling loads on a sled will help accomplish that. Finally, don’t do too much on-ice training or conditioning too soon in the summer. I don’t like to see players get on the ice much sooner than the beginning of August.

Does the S3 Formula incorporate powerful, explosive movements? In particular for leg training as Coach Nemish recommends?

Absolutely! Jeremy indicates that Hockey speed is comprised of 3 main components:

  1. On-ice technique (low posture, full strides, pushing off at the proper angle)
  2. Foot speed (quickness of stride repetition, agility, ability to change direction quickly)
  3. Leg Strength and Explosive Power (amount of power within each stride, how explosively that power can be used, recoil after each stride).

The S3 Formula is an off-ice strength and conditioning program, with not much focus on skating technique.  However, it does focus a TON on the second two elements – quick feet, and explosive strength and power. This through a structured series of agility drills, leg-strengthening exercises, and explosive plyometric training.

General weaknesses that Coach Nemish indicated he finds most often when training hockey players – Abdominal strength!

Abdominal strength and balance about the core and hips (ie flexibility and strength). This leads to trouble down the road in the form of lower abdominal tears and frequent groin tears.

Does the S3 Formula address abdominal and core strength?

Yes. The program prescribes a blistering ab routine,as well as quite a few “functional exercises” that engage the core while working on other muscle groups. An example of this is the Bosu Push-up, using a Bosu Ball and a Stability Cylinder (As seen below).

S3 Formula Off Ice Hockey Conditioning Program

Making It Easy To Use!!!

One other aspect that I think any fitness program (web-based or not) must address is ease of use and easy to follow instructions. So many people fall off the fitness wagon because programs are too difficult to follow.

The S3 Formula is set up in a way that is very simple to understand. They provide a workbook that shows you each exercise to perform each day, along with the number of required sets and reps. Just to be sure everything is crystal clear, they’ve also created an instructional video that gives step-by-step instructions on how to use the workbook.

As mentioned before, there is a video demo of each exercise––so there’s no confusion on which exercise is being prescribed. These videos can be downloaded and imported to an ipod … and if you don’t have an ipod, there’s also a printable exercise guide you can keep with your workbook that contains the same info as the videos, along with pictures of each exercise.

Simply, they really have gone to great lengths to ensure that this is as easy to follow as possible!!

What is really important about the S3 Formula is that it’s a hockey specific training program. Hockey players should train to be hockey players, not bodybuilders or runners etc. A sport specific off ice training program for hockey is a great way to gain a competitive edge over your competition.

You can get on Jeremy’s mailing list, take advantage of some great free training videos and learn more about the S3 Formula here.

Post from: NHL Digest- Hockey News and Equipment Reviews

Effective Off Ice Hockey Training

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