When we talk about stick handling tiles we are generally referring to slick tiles, which are better known as dryland hockey flooring tiles. With so many names for one object, it is easy to see why so many people get confused with this topic. Not to add to the confusion mix, but understand that slick tiles are not synthetic ice. Although they are close, they are different in big ways. Either way, both make excellent hockey flooring areas, it all depends on your particular needs on which one would be a better choice.
In any event, we wanted to share a few drills with those of you that would prefer practice over sitting on the couch. It is probably safe to assume that if you have hockey flooring of any type installed that you are serious enough about the game that you want to play, and get better at it. We have put together a few key stickhandling drills that you can put to use on whatever kind of flooring that you have in place. Please note that if you have dryland hockey tiles for your flooring, that you can not ice skate on it. Dryland tiles are made for shoes or rollerblades only. These next drills you can do in skates or shoes, it doesn’t matter.
Left Right Left
With this drill, you will need one puck or biscuit to practice with. Your choice. It is pretty easy to do but will build your stamina and accuracy with the stick and puck. Start out with your puck directly in front of you on the flooring. With your stick tap your puck to the left, then stop it and slap it to the right. At first, slap it only a couple of inches, but with each time you go back allow it to slide further until you reach the farthest length you are able from right to left. Allow your arms to stretch out as far as they can while keeping your stick close to the ground on each side. Stretch and repeat 10 times.
Criss Cross Shoot
For this exercise, you will need a shooting tarp set up for the best results. You will also need a good-sized pile of pucks ready to go within reach unless you want to go chasing your pucks every time you hit them. This is a simple, but great exercise. Have your pile of pucks to the back of you so you have to turn around to get them. With the shooting tarp in front of you and the pile of pucks behind you, turn to the pucks and pull one out. Use the hook of your stick to pull it towards you. Once you get the puck in front of you slap it up to the right, down to the left like a criss-cross, then snipe it into the goalie on the shooting tarp. Continue this drill until your pile of pucks is gone.
For this one, you will only need one puck. This is an exercise that will help you to develop your accuracy skills as well as your muscle memory. Start out with your stick directly in front of you with a puck about arm’s length out in front of you. Gently guide the puck in a circular motion in front of you in about a two-foot radius. Just large enough for you to form a circle without having to stretch out too far to do it. Now, at first, when you create the circle with the puck stand still and do it. Repeat two or three times, then turn your body in a circle as you create the circle with your puck and stick. You don’t have to go very fast as you do this, there is no need to get dizzy, just slowly create circles in front of you as you turn in a circle. Repeat as many times as you feel is necessary.
Now you have three more drills that you can add to your training toolbox. If they don’t work for you, try different ones. Each person has their own needs as far as practice goes, and some might need more practice in other areas than others. The main thing is that you keep on practicing no matter what and become better than you were the day before.