To hold a hockey stick properly, follow these five steps:
1. Grip the stick: Start by placing your top hand (the hand closest to the blade) about halfway up the stick’s shaft. Position your bottom hand (the hand farthest from the blade) about a foot or so down from the top hand.
2. Use a firm grip: Ensure that you have a firm grip on the stick, but avoid squeezing it too tightly. This allows for better control and flexibility during play.
3. Keep your hands apart: Maintain a distance of about shoulder-width between your top hand and bottom hand. This spacing provides stability and balance for your shots and maneuvers.
4. Angle the blade: Tilt the blade slightly toward the ice, with the heel (the end of the blade nearest to the shaft) slightly off the ice’s surface. This angle helps with stickhandling, shooting, and passing accuracy.
5. Practice proper hand positioning: When holding the stick, make sure your top hand is in front of your body, with your bottom hand slightly behind you. This position allows for better reach and mobility while protecting the puck from opponents.
Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions about holding a hockey stick:
Q1: Can I use the same hand position for both forehand and backhand shots?
A1: While the hand positioning remains similar, you may need to adjust your grip slightly to accommodate the different angles and motions required for forehand and backhand shots.
Q2: Should I use the same hand position for stickhandling as well?
A2: Yes, maintaining a consistent hand position when stickhandling provides more control and fluidity in your movements.
Q3: Is it better to hold the stick tightly or loosely?
A3: It’s important to find a balance. While a firm grip is necessary for control, gripping the stick too tightly might hinder your flexibility and handling ability.
Q4: Can I hold the stick higher or lower than the recommended positions?
A4: The recommended hand positions provide optimal control and maneuverability. Deviating significantly from these positions may affect your performance on the ice.
Q5: Are there any specific exercises to improve my grip strength?
A5: Yes, exercises such as wrist curls, forearm squeezes, and using grip strengtheners can help increase your grip strength, resulting in better stick control.
Q6: Should I adjust my hand positioning for different types of shots?
A6: Small variations in hand positioning can optimize your shot techniques. For example, moving your top hand slightly lower on the shaft can generate more power in slap shots.
Q7: Is it necessary to tape the stick for a better grip?
A7: While it’s not mandatory, many players choose to add grip tape to their stick’s shaft for enhanced control and stability during gameplay.
BOTTOM LINE: Holding a hockey stick correctly involves gripping the stick firmly, maintaining proper hand spacing, angling the blade, and positioning your hands strategically. Practice and experimentation will help you find the hand position that works best for your style of play.