Develop Stickhandling Abilities with the X-Deviator
I’ve mentioned this before, but there are a number of skills that can easily be developed off the ice. I’m a strong believer that players who don’t take advantage of off-ice training time are leaving precious skill development on the table. Stickhandling is one of the easiest skills to work on at home. XHockeyProducts has put together a great line of hockey training aids that is both fun and effective, which means players will be more motivated to work on their skills off the ice!
The X-Deviator is a new take on hockey stickhandling aids. The biggest difference between the X-Deviator and some of the other stickhandling aids out there is that the X-Deviator is adjustable. Each joint on the X-Deviator swivels, this feature opens the door for increased creativity by allowing for an endless variety of configurations.
The X-Deviator is available in two sizes; Standard – 7 segments, and Mini – 3 segments. Either can be used on or off the ice. Pick the one that fits your needs and matches the space you have available.
Integration with the X-Line-up:
The X-Deviator is part of the X-Line-up. All of the products in the X-Line-up are designed to be used together, and can be configured to work on whatever skill you’re looking to develop. If you already have (or plan to purchase) the X-Tiles, make sure you pick up an X-Pocket to go along with your X-Deviator. The X-Pocket will allow you to hook up your X-Deviator right into your X-Tiles system.
I’ve been a big fan of XHockeyProducts’ X-Line-up for a long time, and the X-Deviator didn’t disappoint! The concept is fantastic, and the product is well put-together. One minor word of advice would be to make sure to tighten the nuts that hold the segments together from time to time. They can get loose from using the X-Deviator and changing configurations. If the nut falls off, the segments come apart. Not a huge deal, but just something to watch out for. All in all, another great product from XHockeyProducts!
The Weiss Tech Hockey Summer Camp provides a fantastic opportunity for world-class training, at a world class facility
Weiss Tech Hockey: History
We started Weiss Tech Hockey back in 2004 as a high-quality summer camp for local players in the Salt Lake area. Over the years, Weiss Tech Hockey has evolved, becoming very involved in the online hockey community. With a world-wide following, we have been receiving an ever-increasing number of requests from hockey folks wanting us to put forth a camp format that would would be more accessible for players from out of state (or out of country).
Summer Camp: New Format
We decided that this was the year to accommodate those requests, and we have put together a camp that could be considered a “Hockey Vacation.” This a camp where you will receive world-class instruction, at world class facilities, and the rest of the family will have a blast at the same time!
You see, Utah is really the perfect location for a camp like this. It’s a central location for hockey in the Western United States, and we will be running the camp out of the Olympic Oval, a venue from the 2002 Winter Olympics. Utah is also a fantastic vacation spot for the outdoor enthusiasts with tons of stuff for the family to do while the players are on the ice.
The camp runs July 30 through Aug. 3 at the Olympic Oval in Kearns, UT. The daily schedule consists of the following:
How early can youngsters be taught to play “systems hockey”?
Many people have varying opinions on the correct answer to this question… and, as is often the case with philosophical hockey questions, there is more than one correct answer. The answer depends on the physical skills of your players, the mental maturity of your players, and the manner in which the systems are taught and implemented. In this video, I discuss my own personal opinions on the matter, and why I believe what I believe.
When I was 8 years old, my dad had this idea of taking the top-caliber kids from around the city, and keeping essentially the same kids together for 5 years. The end goal of his vision was to win an Ontario Championship at the “AAA” level.
As 8-year-olds, we were taught to play systems hockey based on a “color-coded” breakout set-up. Our individual skills were advanced enough that we were able to complete the patterns of a structured breakout system, even though we weren’t quite ready to read the play ourselves. So, my dad gave each breakout option a color, and he would read the pressure and call out the play from the bench. We would hear it, and react accordingly. As we got older, we were taught to read the play for ourselves and make our own decisions.
This color-coded breakout system allowed us to learn “systems hockey” years before other teams in our league. I mention a few of our team’s successes in the video.
WARNING: Do not let systems and positional development rob individual skill development. They can both be developed simultaneously if practices are structured correctly.
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:
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.
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.
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!
Bevelled edge makes it easy to pull pucks up from beside your mat.
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!
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!