Puck Control

Puck control is essential for every hockey player, and that requires working with the hockey stick thoroughly to learn to carry the puck and defend it from the opposing team. Mastering puck control, to the point that you don't have to look at the puck, makes hockey players better able to control the game.

The hockey stick becomes a part and an extension of the player. A player who understands his individual hockey stick will know exactly what a puck will do and where it will go when handled.

To master puck control, work on the following hockey stick handling techniques.

• Grip the hockey stick tightly, with your hands approximately 12 inches apart. Don't squeeze the hockey stick, and the bottom hand should only grip with the fingers, not with the palm.

• Carry the puck in the middle of your hockey stick blade.

• If you are having trouble, trying using a shorter hockey stick to improve puck control.

• A shorter hockey stick blade can make it easier to control, also.

• Backhand shots can improve with a straighter hockey stick blade.

A player can protect the puck and better guide it by "cupping" it with the hockey stick blade, or by leaning the blade slightly over the puck.

A hockey player can also control the puck with a glove, for example, by using a glove to catch a flying puck and drop it right away. A skate blade can also be a useful tool for receiving passes and pushing the puck to your hockey stick blade.

Once puck control has been established, a hockey player can enjoy the game even more and be a more confident player.