USA Hockey Magazine

November 2015

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A PASS RIGHT AT YOU, TIGHT TO YOUR BODY, WILL HANDCUFF YOU IF YOU TRY TO USE YOUR STICK. A PASS BEHIND YOU WILL MAKE YOU TWIST YOUR BODY INTO AN AWKWARD POSITION TO PUT A STICK ON THE PUCK. IN MOST CASES, THESE PUCKS CAN BE PLAYED UP TO YOUR STICK BY USING YOUR SKATE BLADE. ONE OF MY COACH'S FAVORITE HOCKEY QUOTES IS, "YOU CAN'T GIVE A GOOD PLAYER A BAD PASS." IF THAT'S THE CASE, I'M NOT A GOOD PLAYER BECAUSE I CAN'T CATCH A PASS TO SAVE MY LIFE. HELP!!! ALEC CURREY OMAHA, NEB. TO SAVE YOUR LIFE, WE MUST TAKE DRASTIC MEASURES TO HELP YOU CATCH PASSES. I REALIZE I AM DATING MYSELF HERE, BUT DURING THE 1970S NFL PLAYERS USED WHAT WAS CALLED "STICKUM" TO HELP THEM CATCH FOOTBALLS. ITS USE WAS LATER RULED TO BE ILLEGAL, BUT NO SUCH RULE EXISTS IN HOCKEY. SO, BESIDES PACKING YOUR HOCKEY BAG WITH STICK AND SHINGUARD TAPE, PUT IN SEVERAL ROLLS OF DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE. WRAP YOUR BODY AND STICK WITH THE TAPE AND START "CATCHING" PASSES WITH LITTLE OR NO EFFORT. CATCHING PASSES IS EVERY BIT OF A SKILL AS MAKING A PASS, SKATING AND STICKHANDLING. IT TAKES HARD WORK. HOWEVER THE MISTAKE MANY PLAYERS MAKE IS THEY ONLY WORK ON THEIR STICK AND HAND SKILLS TO HELP THEM CATCH PASSES. A GOOD PLAYER WILL USE HIS WHOLE BODY AND THEIR MIND TO TURN A BAD PASS INTO A PLAYABLE PASS. EACH OF THE PASS CATCHING TIPS GIVEN ABOVE, USES SKILLS YOU WORK ON ALMOST EVERY TIME YOU'RE ONE THE ICE: PLAYING PUCKS WITH YOUR SKATES AND ADJUSTING YOUR BODY AND HAND-EYE COORDINATION. WHAT ALSO HAS TO BE INVOLVED AND TRAINED IS YOUR BRAIN. A GOOD PASS CATCHER THINKS THROUGH ALL THE BEST OPTIONS AND CAN PICK THE RIGHT ONE IN A FRACTION OF A SECOND. THAT TOO TAKES PRACTICE. JUST LET IT GO PLAY AIR HOCKEY MOD THE BOD SOMETIMES, RATHER THAN CATCHING THE BAD PASS, IT MIGHT BE THAT YOU JUST NEED TO LET IT GO. IF A PASS IS WAY BEHIND YOU, AND YOU'RE NEAR THE BOARDS, YOUR BEST OPTION MIGHT BE TO LET IT BOUNCE OFF THE BOARDS AND THEN PICK IT UP OFF THE CAROM. INSTEAD OF TRYING TO KNOCK A PUCK OUT OF THE AIR, SKATE AWAY FROM THE PUCK UNTIL IT HITS AND SETTLES ONTO THE ICE. FOR THOSE BAD PASSES THAT ARE IN THE AIR, DON'T HESITATE TO DROP A HAND OFF YOUR STICK AND KNOCK THE PUCK DOWN TO THE ICE. THIS OPTION CAN BE USED WITH ANY PUCK ABOVE THE KNEES. PUCKS BELOW THE KNEES ARE BEST PLAYED WITH A SKATE OR YOUR STICK BLADE. A GREAT WAY TO WORK ON THIS SKILL IS TO HAVE A TEAMMATE FLIP PUCKS AT YOU AND YOU KNOCK THEM DOWN INTO A BUCKET OR TIRE. USE THE OTHER BLADE AT TIMES, A BAD PASS MAY REQUIRE GOOD PASS CATCHERS TO USE THERE WHOLE BODY. CATCHING A PASS IS USUALLY EASIER IF IT'S ON YOUR FOREHAND. SO, IF YOU HAVE TIME AND SPACE, ADJUST YOUR BODY TO FACE THE PUCK. HANDLING A BOUNCING PUCK IS DIFFICULT TO DO WITH JUST YOUR STICK. DROPPING TO A KNEE AND DROPPING YOUR HANDS DOWN WILL CORRAL THE BOUNCING PUCK, MAKING IT PLAYABLE IN FRONT OF YOU. 50 ILLUSTRATIONS BY Mike Curti NOVEMBER.2015 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM If You Have A Question For Stix Handle, Send It To: Ask Stix, USA Hockey Magazine, 1775 Bob Johnson Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80906

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