Heading into the winter season our coaching staff is always being stopped at the rink and being asked by parents and coaches what they can spend more time on with their child or team. Our first answer is always the same… Skating. The next one might surprise you, spending time handling the puck off the back hand.

It is almost an automatic in any Initiation hockey game that more than half the passes in the game are going to hit the boards. When you step back and look at the missed pass the two kids did many things right. The puck carrier identified a teammate was open, they moved the puck in front of the moving teammate and yet something went wrong. It usually comes down to the pass was delivered to the players backhand. It is neat to see in practice players contort their bodies or sticks simply to avoid using 50 percent of thier stick. They don’t have confidence in thier backhand so they do anything to avoid it instead of developing thier skill set further.

Simple drills at the start of each practice or even off the ice can help give your child have more confidence with thier stick skills and an advantage on the ice with more puck time. Simply present your backhand as the target recieve a pass and pull the puck across your body to your forehand. Then move the puck to the other players back hand and repeat. You can then add movement but just stationary touches will help develop your child’s or your teams skill set. Even when kids are passing a puck or ball before an Atom or Peewee game in the dressing room, lobby or wherever you can encourage your players to move the puck across their body to their backhand.

Often times we tell parents that the difference between a good player and a great player is that the great player can handle a bad pass and nobody really notices. This is also a measuring stick at younger ages were good players can use both sides of their blade were an average player is still limited to just thier forehand.

Pay attention to your child at their next ice time and see if they are receiving passes on their backhand consistently. Spend some time with them playing pass and developing more confidence and you will see even more positive results on the ice.

We hope you found this article useful.

Brad Reynolds
Program Director