One of the main keys to being a superior hockey player is the hockey players puck handling skills. You may be the fastest skater in the world without a stick, but if your puck handling is not up to par with your skating ability, then you are a slave in your own body, as you can only skate to the speed that your puck handling abilities allow. So, to begin going over puck handling it is important that you get your puck skills to a level where you can do it with your head up, this way you see the defense, you can make reads, hit the open man, and see when a shot is open. The puck should be out in front of you and should never be to the sides of your body. You cannot become a great puck handler overnight, but to make gains much faster, you need to begin practicing around the clock.
This means, instead of just doing sprints or suicides on the ice that now you do them with a puck. If you are walking around the drive way or in the apartment, grab your stick and handle a tennis ball as you walk. Now, there is a huge difference between going at 100% speed and handling the puck and going 70% and handling the puck. Always start by going around 65% to 70% speed but as you get comfortable with this it is important to pick up the pace and get outside of your comfort zone. Push and push yourself so that you are ready for any speed or competition thrown at you. Now, let us go over in detail how to control the puck and get better, because there is a science to the madness! First remember that you need to be a good skater, and this means that you balanced and centered as you skate. If you become off centered or unbalanced then there is not going to be any puck handling so keep the two separate and first master the art of skating balanced and controlled. Next, the key to controlling the puck is to have the puck on your stick as much as possible, and this is done by rotating your wrists. This allows the puck to slide against the head of your stick soft and in unison with the rotation of your wrists and increasing the time that you actually have contact of the puck. The less wrist movement, the less give when the puck hits your blade, and the less control and overall time that the puck is literally in your control as it is touching the blade.
There is a science to puck handling in turns, both wide and tight, and in and through traffic. You are rarely just puck handling straight ahead, you are usually weaving and turning. Set up blocks or cones to practice. It is import to keep the ball in front of you, even as you turn. As you go to turn, remain balanced, bend your knees lowering your center of gravity, have your head up and turn it as you go into the turn to the direction you are trying to go to help bring your shoulders and body around with it. Keep contact with your stick on the puck by hooking it with you as you turn. Remember to hook the puck around it is all about the rotation of your wrists. Wrist rotation is key to remain control of the puck without having it slide off the end of your blade. If you want to focus on mastering tighter quick turns, simply set up blocks closer together when practicing. When executing a turn that is tight and quick, remember to rely on the rotating of your wrists around to control the stick and thus the puck, and move your arms and hands out and away from your body in front of you. This will give you greater control of the puck. Remember also to keep that knee out. To get speed out of the turn utilize the crossover step as you are coming out of the turn. Remember to keep your skating and your puck handling separate in your mind and without mastering good footwork, you cannot master puck handling.