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: Swedish Wooden Ball Review




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.

Conclusion:
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!

Enjoy!

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: Green Biscuit Review




The Green Biscuit Behaves Like a REAL Puck, Even on Pavement!

My First Experience with the Green Biscuit
I’ve gotta admit, the first time I saw the Green Biscuit online, I didn’t get it. It seemed a little weird, and kinda “gimmicky” to me.

Then, a few months ago I saw one at my local hockey shop. I picked it up off the counter, and asked Darren, the store owner, what he thought of it. He told me it was amazing, and that he’d never seen anything like it. I’ve been friends with Darren for years, so when he tells me “I’ve never seen anything like this,” I usually perk my ears up! Here are his exact words:

“Jeremy, that puck is the damnedest thing… it feels EXACTLY like a real puck, even out there on the parking lot. I’ve never seen anything like it! You’ve gotta get out there and let me show you this!”

So we grabbed a couple of old sticks from the back and went outside to the parking lot. Darren was right! The Green Biscuit did behave just like a real puck. In fact, I’d NEVER seen a puck stay so flat while passing across such a bumpy surface. We messed around in the parking lot for a bit. The more I used the Green Biscuit, the more impressed I became with it… I started passing harder and harder, trying to “test the limits” of the puck. I was thinking at higher passing speeds, it would surely skip up if it hit a rock or something. Nope! It just stayed flat.

After a few minutes of really zinging it back and forth, Darren told me to try throwing some sauce. So of course, I took the invitation… once again, I was amazed. I threw Darren a saucer pass, and the Green Biscuit floated nice and flat through the air, then hit the ground AND STUCK! Before long, Darren and I had spread way out, and were firing saucer passes across the parking lot at each other. Needless to say, I was sold.

Dissecting the Green Biscuit
The reason the Green Biscuit works so well is because of the design. It’s about the same size as a regulation puck, but it’s about an ounce lighter (when friction is factored in, it feels about the same as a regulation puck feels on the ice). Next, the middle is recessed, so contact points with the surface are minimized. In fact, you can see the wear marks on my puck cover about a 2 mm area around the outer edge of the puck.

The most interesting design element is the Green Biscuit’s two-piece, “hinged” assembly. Three metal dowels hold the two halves of the green biscuit loosely together. There are foam cushions in the middle that dampen any bumps. This set-up acts a lot like shock absorbers in a car, with the bottom half of the puck having the flexibility of “adjusting” to the bumps in the surface.

Conclusion
This is a really fun puck to mess around with. If you have the chance, take the Green Biscuit out and give it a whirl. It’s so much fun to use, you might lose track of time once you get passing it around (that’s what happened to me at least!). I had so much fun shooting the footage for this video review, that I took a lot longer to make it than I needed too. It’s a great puck to use for stickhandling on just about any surface, and it’s even more impressive when you start working on passing. I definitely give the Green Biscuit two thumbs up!

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.

Requirements
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.

Conclusion
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.

Enjoy!