Controlling the puck while skating backwards is a fundamental skill hockey players must master. One of the most common inefficiencies of skaters at all levels is overhandling the puck while skating backwards. When defensemen backpedal, the priority is puck containment and protection, followed by making an accurate breakout pass. By overhandling the puck, defensemen inadvertently overload their central nervous system, decreasing the emphasis on skating speed. This drill focuses on backwards skating while dragging the puck on the backhand of the blade.
A great coaching cue, borrowed from well-known skills coach Sean Walker of iTrain Hockey, is to imagine that the puck is being sunburned. Shield it from the sun by using the backside of your blade. This will ensure that the puck is contained safely while you quickly skate backwards.
Beginner to intermediate players can attempt to control the puck with both hands on the hockey stick. More advanced players can challenge themselves to control the puck with just their top hand on the stick while they swing their bottom hand in an athletic motion to generate more speed.
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