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Eyes Up - See The Ice!

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 03/06/15, 3:00PM EST


Keeping your head up when stick handling is a key to success

The first thing young hockey players are taught after learning how to skate is to always keep your head up. Playing with your head up is essential to becoming a more complete hockey player. It will also help further develop other skills that you have, such as your passing and overall awareness on the ice.

The most common but critical skill lacking among young players is the ability to skate and carry the puck without looking at it. Keeping the head up and facing straight ahead is crucial. Plays simply cannot be executed if the puck-handler can't see what's developing around him. To become a great hockey player you have to get to the point where you can feel the puck on the end of your stick, and are able to move the puck to different planes on the blade. This skill takes a tremendous amount of practice.

The best way to practice stick handling with your head up is to stand still and start stick handling with a ball or puck. Slowly as you get a better feel and start stick handling faster slightly lift your head up more and more until you are no longer looking at the ball/puck. Once you have mastered this you can make it more difficult by starting to walk slowly in a straight line. Eventually when you get good enough at this you can create and obstacle course and run through it stick handling with your head up moving faster and faster each time doing it.

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