Taping The Knob Of A Hockey Stick

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In addition to taping the blade of your hockey stick, you also need to tape the knob.

The primary reason for taping the knob, is to provide you some grip when stickhandling, shooting, passing, receiving a pass or picking up the stick when you’ve lost it on the ice during a practice or game.

Over time, you’ll establish your own personal preference and style of knob, but I’d like to give you some pointers, if you’re not sure what to do.

First, let’s start with the size of the knob. Having coached youth hockey players for over 20 years, I consistently see knobs that are way too big. The wider diameter, forces the hand to a more open position, limiting strength and performance.

Think of the hand when it’s in a fist position. That’s when it’s the strongest. The more open it is, the weaker your grip strength is. A good example would be when you were on the monkey bars as a kid. When you first start out, the hands are strong and you can motor across with ease. As you start to tire, your hands become fatigued, your grip loosens and you start to hang on more by your fingertips, until you can’t go on and fall to your feet.

You want to have your top hand closer to the fist position, so that you’ll be able to optimize your hand strength and increase stick performance.

Next, let’s talk about how far down the shaft you should extend the knob. The rule of thumb is to make it only an inch or two down past your glove. Too often, I see players that have an additional 4-8 inches of tape past the top hand. This will add unnecessary weight to the stick and impede performance.

The top hand doesn’t move up and down the shaft of the stick like the bottom hand does. It stays put, unless you release the top hand to fend off a defender while protecting the puck, but then goes right back to the top of the stick.

I apologize; I’m starting to get a little long winded. I know you’re extremely busy, and I don’t want to take any more of your time than I have to. So I made a short video with a detailed explanation and a visual demonstration of how to tape the knob of a hockey stick. I hope it helps?

Thanks for stopping by, and always remember to Work Hard and Dream Bigger Than Everyone Else!!

Stinky Hockey Hands Solution

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At some point in time during a hockey player’s career, there is a transformation that takes place. During this change, you go from the cute cuddly kid who everyone wants to hug, to one they want to avoid. Why is this? It’s because you STINK!!

Not only do you stink, but also your hockey equipment is equally as ripe. Two of the biggest culprits are your hands. Even is you regularly air out your gloves, the hands are stench sponges and emit such a fowl odor, Grandma won’t even get close to you.

Soap and water doesn’t seem to help, so what can you do?

I can’t remember exactly where or when I picked up this tip, but there is a solution, and I’d like to share with you here today. I made a short video explaining what you can do in order to eliminate those stinking hockey hands.

Thanks for stopping by and remember to Always Work Hard and Dream Bigger Than Everyone Else!!

How To Make A Saucer Pass In Hockey

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The saucer is one of the most difficult passes to master in the game of ice hockey. This type of pass happens when the puck is passed to another player and the puck flies through the air like a flying saucer.

Because the puck is elevated off the ice, it’s much more difficult to intercept by the opposition. When executed properly, it truly is poetry in motion.

In order to gain the confidence and ability to consistently be able to make this pass in games, players must practice the technique thousands and thousands of times.

Very few players have the opportunity to practice this pass exclusively on ice, and guess what, you don’t need to. A lot of your repetitions can be done in an off-ice environment, in your garage or basement.

Start out by placing an object about 5-6 feet out in front of you. An old or extra hockey stick will work when you first start out.

Next, get a pile of pucks and place them on the forehand side of your body. Grab a puck and position it on the forehand side of your body in line with your toes. It’s important to know that for this pass, the puck must start at the heel of the blade.

As you start pushing the puck forward, simultaneously you’ll also be pulling your stick toward your body, so the puck is traveling toward the toe of the blade. At the last second, before you release the pass, there is a slight flick of the wrist, which elevates the puck off the ice surface.

Essentially, by having the puck travel from heel to toe on your stick blade, you are making the puck spin. The end result is having the puck land flat on the ice, so your teammate is able to handle the pass and make the next play or get a shot on net.

If the puck is wobbling while in the air, you didn’t get enough spin on it and you’ll need to do the above steps a bit faster.

As I mentioned above, this is a difficult pass to master and you need to have persistent practice time in order to have the ability and confidence to execute it in a game. Every practice session you have in a dry-land environment, regularly set a side five to 10 minutes dedicated to working on your saucer passing.

I’m a visual learner, so I’ve also made a short video for you, with a detailed explanation and demonstration.

Thanks for stopping by and remember to Always Work Hard and Dream Bigger Than Everyone Else!!

How To Gain 2 Feet Of Reach In Hockey

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How To Gain 2 Feet Of Reach In Hockey

My Grandpa always said to me, “there are two guarantees in life. One day you’ll die, and you’ll eventually be paying taxes.” As a kid, I didn’t know what he was talking about, but now as a middle aged man, I know exactly what he was passing on to me.

I have another guarantee I want to add to his list and share with you today. What if I told you I could extend your reach in hockey up to two feet? Well, I can and it’s guaranteed!!

Let me start by talking about most moves and fakes in hockey. Generally, there are four different parts or steps to every move, fake or deke.

Step one is the approach. When you are approaching a defending player, right before you’re going to make your move, you’ll get into a shuffle stride on your inside edges, and have the puck positioned in-front or the forehand side of your body.

Step two is the move or fake. For this example, let’s say you have the puck in front of your body, in line with your right skate. You’ll then fake over to the left, in line with your left skate, faking skate to skate.

Step three; you need lateral separation, where you’re getting outside of the defending player’s body and stick zone.And finally, Step Four is acceleration. This is where you kick on the after burners to get around the player and establish inside position.

Where the breakdown occurs is during step tree. When players’ makes that hard lateral push, the puck doesn’t clear the defenders stick zone and the puck is poked away killing the play.

I’ve created a short video, giving you a visual of everything I just mentioned, and will show you how to gain that extra two feet of reach. With enough practice, I’m pretty confident that you’ll be getting around more defensemen, possess the puck longer and hopefully generate more offensive chances for yourself.

Remember to always Work Hard and Dream Bigger Than Everyone Else!!

Michael Granlund

Mikael Granlund Scoop Shot – How’d He Do It?

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Mikael Granlund Scoop Shot – How’d He Do It?

As each hockey season passes, there seems to always be a player or two who comes up with a new way to score goals. The hockey world took notice in 1996, when Michigan forward Mike Legg made history by scoring a goal in the NCAA Western Regional Tournament that nobody had seen before. From that moment on, the goal became known as “The Michigan.”

It was the first time that lacrosse-scoring techniques were introduced to ice hockey. Since that goal was scored, young players from around the world saw what was possible, and new and improved variations started to pop up on YouTube regularly.

Michael GranlundOne of those variations took place in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships semifinal game that featured Finland versus Russia. Finnish forward Mikael Granlund took “The Michigan” to a whole new level.

Mike Legg’s version had him stationary behind the net, he then puts his stick blade over the puck, scoops it up and lacrosse style deposits the puck in the upper right corner of the net. Mr. Granlund added movement to his version.

He first stick lifts a Russian player in the corner and gains possession of the puck. Next, he has to fake out another opponent at the goal line, where he gains some time and space. He proceeds behind the net, where he scoops the puck on his stick blade and then finally wrapped it around into the top left corner of the net.

What’s so impressive about the goal was the speed by which it was executed. This wasn’t something he just thought about and then pulled it off. I’m sure he practiced scooping the puck on his stick blade thousands and thousands of times prior to tickling the twine that particular game.

In the attached video, I dissect it down into parts, and give you specific instructions on how to do it. Enjoy the video and thanks for stopping by.

Remember to always Work Hard and Dream Bigger Than Everyone Else!!

*photo credit: NHL.com

Steven Stamkos - Buffalo Sabres v Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos Freeze Shot Front Fake – How’d He Do It?

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Steven Stamkos - Buffalo Sabres v Tampa Bay LightningThere are not many players in the NHL that can say they are a point per game guy, because there aren’t many of them. This year, there was a total of 4 players who ended the 2014/15 regular season with this amazing achievement, Dallas Star Jamie Benn, New York Islander John Tavares, Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin, and Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers. I included players that played in at least 70 regular season games.

One player not on the list this year is Steven Stamkos. He’s been there before, but missed out by 10 points this season. Though his wheel house is to the left of the net on the power player, where he’s looking for a seam pass that he can one-time, he show’s his craftiness and versatility by pulling off the Freeze Shot Front Fake in the attached video.

Like most moves, fakes or dekes, the set up is critical in order for all the different components to flow one right after the other. When doing the Freeze Shot Front Fake, there is one particular step that can’t be missed or the move will rarely work.

I break down each of the steps in detail so you will have a better understanding of how to start mastering this move and start making goalies look silly. Mr. Stamkos does just that, when he undresses New York Ranger goalie, Henrik Lundqvist.

Enjoy the video and always remember to Work Hard and Dream Bigger Than Everyone Else!!

Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane Spin O Rama – How’d He Do It?

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Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has been electrifying crowds and frustrating opponents since entering the NHL in 2007. His uncanny ability to possess the puck and consistently pull off move after move continues to impress the critics as each year passes.

In addition to his crazy shoot out move repertoire, Mr. Kane has one particular maneuver he regularly executes during most of the games he plays in. It’s a move that former Blackhawk Denis Savard made famous during his playing career and is now being kept alive by number 88. The move is called the Spin-O-Rama.

Patrick KaneThere are two different variations of the Spin-O-Rams, the backhand spin or forehand spin. When Patrick Kane uses this move, it usually happens when he’s coming down on the off wing with space, meaning the defenseman doesn’t have a good gap.

When the conditions are ideal, Mr. Kane makes a quick move to the middle, getting the defenseman to move with him, forcing the player to get stick on puck, taking away the shooting lane. Once the defenseman commits, by either stepping toward the center of the ice, or moving his stick, Patrick Kane then transitions quickly from forward to backward, and then forward again by doing the backhand spin-o-rama, resulting in him gaining a step on the floundering d-man.

In order to have a chance at pulling this off during a game, you need to practice this move off-ice in order to get the mechanics of each part down.

First, place a chair or some type of obstacle out 10-15 feet out from in front of the net. If you’re a right-hander, you’ll be coming down the left side. Make a quick move toward the middle in front of the obstacle, and then quickly spin back to the direction you just came from, take a couple steps toward the net and release the shot.

I break down each step in the included video. Give it a try and see what you think.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the video and always remember to Work Hard and Dream Bigger than Everyone Else!!

*photo credit: NHL.com

Predators Taylor Beck Scores

Taylor Beck Scores Between Legs – How’d He Do It?

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Nashville forward Taylor Beck, scores an unconventional between the legs goal against the historic Toronto Maple Leafs. Mr. Beck takes a shot in the mid section from the sideboards, drops the puck down to the ice, and without hesitation, bats the puck between his legs past the unsuspecting goalie.

Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, this former Guelph Storm player has been grinding it out in the AHL since 2010, playing for the Milwaukee Admirals. In those four seasons, he got some looks with the big club before finally establishing himself as an everyday player NHL during the current 2014-15 season.

Predators Taylor Beck ScoresAt 6’2” 207 lbs., he has the frame and competitiveness to go into the dirty areas of the ice and give himself opportunities that others are unwilling to do on a nightly basis. Though he currently isn’t viewed as highly skilled player in the league yet, he has shown that he can contribute on the score sheet.

If his NHL career trends like his Jr. or AHL years, he’ll be a player you’ll want to keep your eyes on, as his point production increases each season as he gain more experience and confidence. He’s currently enjoying his first playoff experience in the NHL, battling it out with a tough opponent in the Minnesota Wild.

I break the goal down step by step, from where he takes the shot in the stomach, drops the puck to the ice and then puts the biscuit into the basket. I also show you the most important tip of all in order for him to get power on the shot. If he doesn’t make this simple adjustment, he probably doesn’t even get the puck to the net or score the goal.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the video and always remember to Work Hard and Dream Bigger Than Everyone Else!

*photo credit: NHL.com

Lance Pitlick

Gritty Hockey

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The definition of Gritty is – Containing very small pieces of sand or stone: containing grit.
Having or showing a lot of courage and determination.

Other words used to describe having grit are, brave, spunky, spirited, determined, tough, feisty, tenacious and ballsy.

I look forward to one day of the week, and that day is Sunday, Championship Sunday!! For most youth hockey players, Sunday is the day, the day they want to be playing in the big game, The CHIP!!

Championship games are where you see the true colors of players, and I can summarize who wins most championship games with a simple question, “who had the most grit?” Who’s going to take a hit to make a play, throw their bodies in front of booming slap shots, get into the greasy areas in front of the net and never get outworked!!

You don’t have to be the most skilled to be gritty, and if you are skilled, this doesn’t give you a get out of jail free card from being gritty. To win a championship, you need everyone pulling on the same rope and playing the same way. Putting the team ahead of themselves, not caring who gets the glory, it’s all about the “W.” When this happens, magical moments quickly become a regularity shift after shift.

So how can you become grittier? I don’t know if it’s something that can be taught; but only acquired through challenging experiences, events in your life where you fall short of the desired outcome. Maybe you didn’t make the team you worked so hard to be on, or getting to a long, hard fought championship game, only to lose in the final minute of the contest.

All of these heartbreaks or disappointments shape us as hockey players. Most trip over their bottom lip and feel sorry for themselves, saying things like: we got screwed by the refs or point the finger at teammates for not winning that final game.

Gritty players are different. Yes they are disappointed, but they never feel sorry for themselves. They use the agony of defeat as fuel, fuel to keep pushing and reaching for the next opportunity to compete for the top spot. Training longer and harder than they ever thought was possible, and always having that little voice in your head saying, “is someone out there training harder than me today?”

Acquiring grit is not skill based, it’s heart based. It’s suffering through disappointment, learning from those moments in time, and doing things differently to hopefully get the desired outcome. It’s rewinding the tape of these big events and asking yourself, did you leave it all on the ice? Did you take any shortcuts because of fear of getting lit up; or purposely not eating some rubber because of the pain you may endure? When the agony of defeat is a stronger feeling than minor bumps or bruises you get playing the game, you now are ready to win a championship and have acquired Grit!!!

Until next time, Work Hard and Dream Big!!