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Hello Tom and fellow coaches out there,

My young son was handed a hockey stick very early on, in fact, within the 1st couple years of his life. The "hockey stick", has been his favorite "toy" ever since. He's 5 now, skating well, stickhandling and shooting are fine for his age, and he just loves to play and have fun.

I had never given much attention to the way he holds his stick or shoots, other than insisting on a straight blade and letting him get a feel for both sides during this fundamental stage. He's well trained on keeping 2 hands on the stick and looks natural.

He's asking now for a curved blade and it donned on me ...

He's a righty (does everything right handed), and he naturally chose to shoot right in hockey. (left hand on top, right hand on bottom).

I'm a righty, and I shoot left in hockey. (right hand on top, left hand on bottom).

My one brother is a lefty and he shoots right in hockey.

My other brother is a lefty, and he shoots left in hockey.


So my question is...do you see any advantages or disadvantages in any of these scenarios? I'd think that having the dominant hand on the top of the stick would provide better one handed puck control (in corners and on the rush) and also give the player a stronger/ more controlled defensive poke check.

I can't think of any advantages of having the weaker hand at the top... but it obviously comes natural to some people (my son included).

Just a topic of interest that I haven't ever thought about before. I look forward to any insight and expereince with this phenomenon.


4paw

   
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Registered: 05/30/09
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4paw it is a good question. You are correct to say that the dominant hand in hockey is the top hand. I have noticed that a lot of right handed - right handed shooters have harder shots. The bottom hand has a lot bigger role in shooting and the top in handling the puck.

Make sure that your son is using is top hand and not controlling the stick with his bottom hand because it is a poor mechanical position to take passes and be able to stickhandle all around the body.

When I do camps in the USA I notice about twice as many right handed shots as I see in Canada. Why this is I don't know. About 2/3 of Canadian male players shoot left. A lot of females shoot right here. It is interesting but I don't know why.

My thought is that when a parent who hasn't played goes into the sports store and the sales person asks if they are right or left the parent tells what their dominant hand it.


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   
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Registered: 06/25/08
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Hey thanks Tom.

From what I gather (and researched extensively) it is not so much to do with dominant hand (i.e. writing) but probably several factors. We all have a dominant eye and hemisphere in the brain, a dominant foot, and a dominant hand.

But look at a few of the premiere players in the NHL today.

Ovechkin signs autographs with his right hand and shoots right.
Crosby signs right handed & shoots left.
Nash, signs right & shoots right.
Malkin signs right handed & shoots left.
Stamkos, signs right handed & shoots right.
And your boy Heatley, signs right handed & shoots left.

These guys seem to do alright.

So I guess as long as he's comfortable I'll stop worrying.
(But there must be some sort of weird mad science to it, isn't there?)

4Paw

   
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Registered: 05/30/09
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This is interesting. During the 70's and 80's most of our players shot left- except for the true left handers who shot right. Now it is the opposite. A true left stick defenseman is a real prize in the US. Review the the rosters of the elite teams at the world championships at any level and you will see the northern European, Scandinavian teams with mostly left shots and 3-5 right. Canada is about 50/50 and the usa is typically most right with 3-5 left.
I think for sure that in the usa it is a function for non hockey plaing parents taking jr to the store and getting advice from a16 year old store employee who says "are you right or left handed?" Since the population is 85% right handed, here comes a right stick. Tom is correct about about harder shots for right handed players but most players only take a couple shots a game. They stickhandle far more, and play with one hand on their stick quite a bit. For the typical youth player I would recommend a left stick for a right hand dominate kid. As a coach I really get excited when a skilled left shot shows up at camp. I want 3 left forwards on my team a 3 left defensemen. That gives the team more options.
Parents that want their kids to have an edge when competing in tryouts etc, being a left hand shot is and advantage with knowledgeable coaches.

4 posts :: Page 1 of 1