Player Development

Puck Control Skill Development | The Puck Control Pathway

Puck control and stick-handling skills give hockey players the ability to have more fun playing hockey and better contribute to the success of their team. Over 80% of the game is played in the offensive or defensives zones, so players need to be able to handle the puck in small areas.

Puck control practice needs to be done in progression

  • If a player cannot do it standing still, they cannot do it moving
  • If a player cannot do it moving, they cannot do it to beat an opponent

Hockey puck handling skills

When teaching puck control...

  • Keep an emphasis on range of motion, creativity and agility
  • Every practice should include some range of motion and agility
  • Teach skating first, then introduce the puck, then add other player(s) where appropriate
  • Use drills that simulate game situations as much as possible

Developing puck control

Work on puck-control basics every practice. Use drills to teach and reinforce through repetition. Mimic game action as realistically as possible, progressing from skating to skating with a puck and finally, puck control moves to beat an opponent.

  • Small-area skills – Over 80% of hockey games are played in the offensive or defensive zones, so players must be able to handle the puck in small areas.
  • Lanes – Provides an opportunity for lots of players moving, and multiple repetitions.
  • Agility – Quickness, acceleration and lateral movement with the puck are the most important puck-handling skills.
  • Puck protection – Keeping the puck once a player has it is the key to puck possession and generating scoring chances.
  • Creativity – Players need to be able to think and react without being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it.
  • Stations – Provide a great opportunity to work on puck control, while involving multiple players. Stations ensure players are kept moving and time with the puck on their sticks is maximized.

Hockey Canada Development Programs | Puck Control Pathway (pdf)

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