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: 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: Shooter Tutor Review




The Shooter Tutor is one of my All-time Favorite Hockey Shooting Aids!

I first began using the Shooter Tutor when I was about 10 years old back in Toronto. My dad used to keep one in the trunk incase we had ever had a goalie “no-show” us for practice.

During high school (about 6 years later), I kept that same Shooter Tutor strapped to a full-sized goal in our side yard. I left it up through rain and shine, and shot anywhere from 50 to 100 pucks a day during the summers. Needless to say, it saw its fair share of abuse from me!

Years later, when I began running my own skill development camps, the first thing I invested in were two Shooter Tutors. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a practice or drop-in, and having nothing to shoot at… especially in a camp setting! So, following in my old man’s footsteps, I now keep one Shooter Tutor in my car for “emergencies,” and the other one is strapped to my EZ Goal so I can keep my shot sharp between games.

So… what’s so great about the Shooter Tutor? Well, a lot of things actually! It’s light-weight, portable, and durable enough to take years of abuse. The design is simple, yet sophisticated. You’ve got your classic 5 holes cut out; The steel bar sewn into the bottom keeps it hanging heavy so that pucks don’t trickle through under the “goalie”; You have to actually snipe to score (most of the time). Also, the combination of canvas with the bungie cord straps makes for a very realistic rebound when you miss your shot.

BEWARE OF IMITATIONS:

Because the Shooter Tutor is so well designed, lots of companies have tried to come up with their own versions. I obviously can’t speak for ALL of them, but I can tell you that I’ve used a number of them over the years, none has held a candle to the Shooter Tutor. Many of them tend to be lower quality, don’t stay strapped into the net as well, and don’t hold up to real shots from real pucks the same way the Shooter Tutor brand does. In my mind, the Shooter Tutor is tried and true, and well worth the investment!

Shooting: EZ Goal Review




The EZ Goal and Backstop combo is a durable, versatile, and inexpensive way work on your shot from home!

One of the highest priorities in my Home Hockey Training Center was to have a solid shooting station. The first step is to have a good goal that you can shoot real pucks at. I chose the EZ Goal and Backstop because it is a full sized, durable, and portable piece of equipment. The design is very cool, and it can actually fold up for easy storage.

Assembling the EZ Goal frame was very simple. It took me about 35 minutes to build both the net and backstop. Most of it snaps together with spring-loaded pins. The few tools that were needed actually came with the net (other than a phillips screwdriver).

The hardest part about putting it all together was lacing the netting on. I’d never done it before, and had to undo and redo a couple of times. The biggest thing I can recommend is fitting it in and tying in the corners and other key spots before you begin. This will help make sure you don’t “run out of net” after you’ve laced 3/4 of the way around (yes, that happened to me!)

In all fairness, the lacing wasn’t hard, just time-consuming… and if you take my advice on “tacking it in” before you begin, you’ll have a much easier go of it!

Part-way through setting it all up, we had a rain storm. The EZ Goal is weather resistant, but I wanted to bring it into the garage anyways. So I had a chance put the folding feature to use. It was super easy to collapse, and it fit in my garage like a glove!

So, after the rain quit, I was able to finish the rest of the assembly and try it out. I’m REALLY impressed with the design! I’ve used nets in the past that don’t hold up to real shots from real pucks. This does.

I’ve also used set-ups where the backstop sits behind the net. They don’t work nearly as well as this design, because if you hit the post or cross bar just right the puck will still ricochet up and over the top of the backstop. With the EZ Goal’s design, the backstop is actually integrated into the net, so unless you just outright miss the net AND backstop, you’re very unlikely have anything get away from you.

Another thing I love about the design is that the side panels can swivel. This feature makes for a really cool set-up when working on shooting from an angle.

All in all, the EZ Goal is a fantastic piece of equipment at a great price point, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their shot this summer!




Home Hockey Training Objectives and Considerations

This is the 3rd of 3 intro videos for the Home Hockey Training Center. Check out the first two videos before moving on to this one. Here are the links to videos 1 and 2:

Before you start putting together your Home Hockey Training Center, it’s important to have a game plan. Here’s an example of the things I thought were important considerations for my situation. I think this list is a good start, but I’m sure there are other considerations that might fit different scenarios:

  1. Age: older players are bigger and stronger, which may have implications on how sturdy the equipment needs to be, and how much space you’ll need
  2. Ability: more advanced players will have more advanced needs, which could affect what types of equipment you’ll need
  3. Space: self-explanatory… you need a place to put everything!
  4. Objectives: what are the main skills you’re looking to develop? what equipment best fits those needs?
  5. Budget: if you’re like me, you’re ok with investing in your skill development, as long as the value is there

Once you’ve mapped out your game plan, then the fun begins! Time to start picking and choosing what you’re going to put in your Home Hockey Training Center. That’s where I’m hoping this course will come in useful.

Join me as I give you a peek at my own Home Hockey Training Center, complete with reviews of everything I’ve included in it. And when you’re ready to start shopping, just click the link below to be taken to my favorite store for Hockey Training Aids!

 Page 1 of 2  1  2 »