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: 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!

Shooting: Extreme Passer for 1-Timers




The Extreme Passer is an Awesome Tool for Working on your One-Timer!

Every once in a while, a product comes along that just makes sense. The Extreme Passer is one of them. This device is simple, but very versatile in how it can be used.

The Extreme Passer clamps or screws onto any shooting pad synthetic ice surface, and can then be used as a “passing buddy” to feed you passes for one-time shots (as we’re demonstrating in this post), or as a rebounder to actually practice your passing technique (as we’ll show in an upcoming post).

When you open up your Extreme Passer, the first thing you’ll notice is that it is super heavy duty. It’s thick enough that will stay stable as you fire passes off it. Set-up is easy, just tighten the knobs to secure the Extreme Passer onto your pad, then you’re off and running!

The Extreme Passer can be purchased as a stand alone unit if you already have a pad, or as part of the Extreme Passing Kit (One-Timer Model) which includes a huge 4′ x 8′ shooting pad.

One piece of advice: The more stable the surface underneath your pad, the better results you’ll have with the passer, especially if you’re using it on a flexible shooting pad like the roll up pad that comes with the Extreme Passing Kit.