Posted 23-06-20150 comment

To follow up my video about stickhandling I want to here share some more thoughts and background of this video.

When playing juniors in Lincoln Stars USHL I had a goalie in my team that always was balancing on big Pilates balls before each practice. I thought that it looked challenging so I started doing it to, just for fun. The summer after I kept doing it before each time I was lifting weights. I didn’t really have any thoughts of what it would do for my performance, I just thought it was fun and that it, most likely, was good in some way. I learned to stand on it, to jump up on it and actually to jump from one ball to another as well.

Anyhow, when going back to the ice after that summer, I felt a “Wow!” feeling. Suddenly everything just felt like it had fallen into place. I felt strong, quick and efficient in my skating. But not only that I also felt that my stickhandling and shooting had improved massively. I started to think about how my balance training could effect my stickhandling and soon realized that it’s quite logical.

To be able to be strong in your shooting and stickhandling you have to be able to create support in the whole chain from the foot, knee, hip, core, axle, elbow to the hand and then finally to the stick. It’s not like you shoot with either your hands or your upper or lower body, you need the whole chain to function.

In each joint there are small stabilizing muscles specifically designed to create stability and support. When they are activated they serve as a stable base allowing for the large, power giving (?) muscles to create powerful and efficient movements. When they are not activated the large muscles have to step in to do the small stabilizing muscles job. When the large muscles try to do the small muscles job it leads to clumsy and inefficient movements.

Many players are practicing their shooting and stickhandling wearing their shoes. This can be ok, if you make sure that you are not getting bad habits, using poor technique. But, you see the problem is that the body is lazy and always finds the easiest way to get the job done. Standing in your shoes is not as challenging as standing in your skates. So when stickhandling with your shoes, it’s easier for you to stickhandle and shoot hard than with your skates. It’s easier because you can “cheat” using poor technique. But this leads to bad habits. And consequently when you go back to the ice you will notice that you cannot create the same power. This due to it being more challenging on ice.

So by stickhandling (and shooting) using Marsblade, and sometimes even on one leg like in the video, you force the stabilizing muscles to work harder witch in turn will improve your technique. So when going back to the ice you can be more relaxed in your movements allowing you to stickhandle and pass with greater accuracy as well as shoot harder.

About the blog

Per Mårs is a former professional hockey player and a third round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jacket in the 2001 NHL draft. After his hockey career he has been studying Sport Science at the Mid Sweden University. Welcome and enjoy! Learn more