The DekerBar is a great tool to help with your stickhandling training. Whether you are practicing stickhandling in tight spaces or carrying the puck at speed, the DekerBar can be configured to meet your training needs.
The DekerBar is unique in that it functions very well on driveways, in basements and on the ice, but also on slick surfaces (like tile systems and the SuperDeker) because of the included suction cups.
Here are seven of our favorite DekerBar configurations that you can use today!
2 Bases, 1 Bar
This is your traditional stickhandling bar setup that can help you practice handling the puck on both your forehand and backhand, even while moving at speed and dangling under or around. You can also practice puck lifts by chipping the puck over the bar.
For more of a challenge, set your bar up on the SuperDeker. The tighter space will force you to be quick with your hands to maintain puck control during gameplay.
This is one of the simple setups that get players comfortable with stickhandling without constant puck-stick contact, which is essential when controlling the puck in traffic.
The basic horseshoe requires all four base pieces and three bars, but you can make a bigger ‘U’ with more DekerBar pieces. Using a larger footprint allows you to work on short, quick movements and long, sweeping dekes around or under the bars while strengthening your side-to-side movements.
You can stay stationary and really work on maintaining control of the puck in, out, over, under and around the U. This helps build confidence handling the puck farther from your usual comfort zone. When practicing on a larger obstacle with multiple openings, you can also create a more game-like practice session by alternating quick dangles under bars, believable fakes with long-pulls around, and even chipping and catching the puck as you move.
In this set up we are only using three bases in a triangle — or three bases and suction cups if you want to secure them to the surface so they don’t move when you accidentally hit them. There are many stickhandling drills you can do with this triangle, whether it’s just freeform dangling or repeating a pattern. One of our favorites is to stand with one of the bases directly in front of you, with the wide part (other 2 bases) away from you. Objective is to work your forehand and backhand toe drags and cradling the puck. Start with the puck between your feet and the base positioned directly in front of you. Next, carry the puck up and around the outside of the base on your forehand, then pull it back to you through the inside of the triangle. Once it’s at the bottom of the triangle, you sweep the puck below the base then push it up and around on your backhand side. Follow the same steps as with your forehand, and you can make a never-ending loop. The more you practice, the faster and smoother you’ll be.
4-Bar Straight Line
You’ve likely seen this setup many times when practicing at the rink. Coaches use single bars or training aids with multiple openings to create obstacles or to work on quick touches. Set your bases up in a straight line and connect them with your DekerBars; the more you have, the better. Now, you can deke the puck in and out under the bars.
Practice using just one tap on each side to work on speed and efficiency. Or, have fun as you move through and add feints and fakes before going back under or over. See how fast you can go in this setup while keeping the puck under control. Challenge yourself by alternating quick, short touches and wider, longer dekes. The key to this one is movement, whether you approach from one side or straddle the bars. The more you practice, the faster your pace and the longer your reach will be.
2 Sets of “2 Bases, 1 Bar”
Doubling (or tripling) the classic 1-bar setup adds an extra level of challenge. You could lace up your blades or skates, or simply move around the DekerBars avoiding the obstacles as you stickhandle. One of the drills we love is to remain stationary and work the puck in your three handling areas: front, forehand and backhand. Positioned like Coach Arnie is in the picture, dribble the puck (quick touches) in each of the zones. Vary when and how you transfer the puck, like— chipping it over the bars or passing it under — to quickly change from forehand to backhand. You can also bring the puck around the obstacles, working it farther and closer to you. This drill can help improve your stickhandling and puck control through traffic.
Suction Cups on the SuperDeker
Don’t forget about using the DekerBar components on your SuperDeker! Here’s a simple one to get you started: put two of the yellow suction cups on the blue lines. The suction cups stick well to the patented synthetic surface.
We know in hockey; it’s not just about finding your way to the goal but avoiding players and sticks as you carry the puck. Maneuvering around the suction cups is an excellent way to practice cradling the puck and throwing in some toe drags to keep your score up while avoiding obstacles.
4-Base, 4-Bar Diamond
This setup is perfect for players who want to work on stickhandling the puck at different angles, as well as working in toe drags around and getting quick touches inside the diamond.
Another drill we like is to practice your sauce accuracy. Normally, kids work on sauce passes with a stick, bar, or pad in their way. This is great when starting out, but as you get better you want to land the puck flat and in a specific spot — not too far, not too short. Now you have a target “hole” and can work on your touch by trying to aim the puck over the bar but under the bar opposite of it in the diamond.
Make Your Own Configuration
These are some of our favorite configurations for improving your mitts with the DekerBar, but its variable design offers almost endless possibilities for your stickhandling training on and off the SuperDeker. Mix up your routine with new shapes of your own, and keep in mind:
- BAR HEIGHT: You can easily change the bar height for some variety in training.
- At its highest setting, you’ll need to pick your stick up a bit higher to clear it, meaning you’ll have to be quicker with your hands.
- If the bar is lower, you’ll need to focus on crisp, clean handling, so the puck doesn’t wobble and get stuck.
- The puck won’t go under the bar at the lowest setting, so you’ll have to chip it over or dangle it around.
- BASES & INSERTS: You can use these independently from the bars.
- Bases work in place of cones or other obstacles. Use the suction cups to keep the bases in place on slick surfaces.
- The suction cups alone, adhered to the SuperDeker or synthetic tiles, are great obstacles.
- STICKHANDLING, PASSING & SHOOTING: Different setups let you practice different skills. Be creative, not only in the shapes you use, but how you use them.
- For instance, you can improve your stickhandling with any shape or configuration, but if you set it up close to the goal you can also work on quick escapes or feints before you shoot bar-down on the goal.
This is just a taste of what you can do with the DekerBar. There are more drills you can perform with these configurations, and even more setups to play around with. Have fun with it, get creative, and let us know what you find!
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