Mastering Puck Control with Scott Herbster | CoachThem

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Mastering Puck Control with Scott Herbster

Mastering Puck Control with Scott Herbster

Mastering puck control is fundamental for any hockey player. Without proper control over the puck, players struggle in seizing scoring opportunities for themselves or their teammates. In this blog, we talk about puck control with a seasoned Skills Coach, Scott Herbster, as he emphasizes its importance and shares drills customized to refine this essential skill.

Herbster brings an extensive background as a full-time Skating and Skill Development Coach spanning eight years. He works closely with youth and high school organizations, serving as the Skills Coach for the Kansas City Mavericks of the ECHL (Seattle Kraken Affiliate) and the Director of Skill Development for the University Wisconsin - Superior (DIII) Men’s and Women’s teams.

During the off season, he leads Herbster Hockey, a premier training company established in 2016. Herbster Hockey offers a range of summer programs for athletes at every level, from youth players to seasoned NHL players like Brent Burns, JT Compher, and Olympic athletes like Jess Compher, Megan Bozek, and Kendall Coyne.

Herbster notes that puck control is paramount for creating plays, maintaining possession, and seizing scoring opportunities. Players must seamlessly maneuver the puck while skating, facilitating passes, and setting up shots. As a Skills Coach, Herbster customizes drills to enhance individual player’s puck control abilities. By focusing on refining feet control, bouncing puck control, and off the boards puck control, he helps players develop versatility in puck handling.

*All of the drills highlighted below are available in our Marketplace with video! 

1. Feet Control

Simulate receiving a "bad pass" with the puck landing at our skates, promptly transitioning it to our stick for a shot on net. It's crucial for the player to adjust their skate angle to facilitate the puck's transfer to the stick while positioning themselves for a shooting opportunity.

“Players should focus on maintaining their glide if they are moving. Also, angling their skate to allow
the puck to move in front of their body. The most important aspect is to get the puck from the skate to
stick as quickly as possible.” -Scott Herbster 


2. Bouncing Puck Control

*Click on each drill image to view the drill video! 

Finding the puck after it bounces off the skates or stick presents a challenge as it needs time to settle. The unpredictability of a bouncing puck, especially when it's not flat on the ice, adds difficulty. However, mastering this skill can boost a player's confidence in handling different situations. In this drill, send bouncing pucks to players, challenging them to control and settle the puck before taking a shot on net.

3. Off the Boards Puck Control

In this drill, the puck is rimmed, prompting the player to skillfully control it with their stick or skates before maneuvering off the boards to initiate an offensive play. Players refine techniques like stickhandling and utilizing their skates to gain control, vital for executing plays along the boards.

“As a skills coach it’s my job to find areas in players' games they need to improve on and you can notice l
ittle details with the puck when zeroing in on an individual player. How they control pucks on their stick,
feet, off the boards etc., it’s our job to get a player comfortable in any game situation.
Allowing players to handle pucks in different situations will give them more time and space in games,
thus allowing them to create more scoring opportunities.”
-Scott Herbster

Mastering puck control is vital for hockey players wanting to elevate their game. Through purposeful drills and focused practice, players can develop the skill and confidence necessary to thrive in different game scenarios. Puck control not only enhances individual performance but also contributes to teams success on the ice.



March 15, 2024

Written by Kelsey Dold & Scott Herbster 


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