Spotting the puck to go through a tight spot is a good drill to work on as it will give you the feel of another player being close to your body on the ice. Stickhandling between the two defenders in tight quarters will allow you to practice a number of different skills at once.
This is all especially important as you want to make sure you are also protecting the puck at all times. Puck protection is crucial in avoiding a turnover. These moves are some of Pavel Barber’s favorite skills to use in a game. It helps you to protect the puck as you skate around your opponent. Let’s look at the two drills that can help you with just that!
DRILL #1: SPOTTING THE PUCK & TIGHT TURNS
This drill is spotting the puck where we have to make a tight turn when we need to place the puck from point A to point B if you want to go through an object, or to just be able to get the puck, while continuing through the turn.
STEP 1: FOREHAND
Start on the forehand side, extend the hands outward, opposite of the way you’re turning, and pass the puck through the object to create a straight line perpendicular to your body’s direction. Rotate the toe of the blade and turn around the object to create the proper setup to retrieve the puck in a nice straight line as you complete your turn.
This helps to continue momentum in your stride. Complete the same steps on the opposite side. Once you have the technique down, complete the drill using a defender on both sides without losing momentum. You can even throw in a fake by shifting your weight and looking in the opposite direction before you pull the puck.
STEP 2: BACKHAND
Improve your backhand control by pushing the puck through the defenders with the backhand of your blade. This will also help you work on your tight turns with the outside of your skates. This is the exact same as the previous drill except now we are using the heel of the blade.
This drill helps you improve how much power you shoot with and challenges your body to get a decent shot even when you aren’t lined up in the perfect situation. This hockey training drill forces you to get outside of your comfort zone and forces your body to adapt.
Tip: Grab two HockeyShot Extreme Defenders and put them back to back to practice skating tight turns around the defender.
DRILL #2: PROTECTING PUCK CYCLES
This drill helps head fake opponents while keeping them away from the puck. It is important to keep the puck protected at all times in case of an aggressive attacker.
STEP 1: PULLING THE PUCK
To keep the defender from stealing the puck, start by faking a shot (or pass) over to the forehand side. Then, quickly pull the puck wide and behind your body. This will give you the angle to pull the puck through your legs.
STEP 2: PROTECTING THE PUCK
Once you’ve retrieved the puck, keep your hand out nice and wide as you skate around the defender. Even with a tight turn, it is important that you keep the bottom hand extended so your opponent’s sick can’t get to the puck. Through these actions, this keeps the stick on the outside of the body away from the opponent, keeping the puck nice and protected.
Tip: Use a HockeyShot Extreme Defender to create an obstacle in your training area.