Hockey training is becoming increasingly important, with the extra edge on the ice going to players who are working the hardest off the ice. QuickStickz is a stickhandling training system designed to help players of all ages become better at stickhandling, and teaches you to handle the puck with your head up as well. The folks over at QuickStickz were kind enough to send us a demo unit to review for our readers, and you can bet we’re going to put it to the test.
QuickStickz is pretty simple out of the box and requires less than a half hour of total set up time. In the box, you’re going to find the special stickhandling ball and a USB camera which connects to your computer. The stickhandling ball is quite similar to the Swedish stickhandling balls, and nearly identical in size. The ball is covered in special reflective stickers which allow the infrared camera to pick up where the ball is at and display it accordingly on your screen.
In order to get yourself up and running, you first need to head to QuickStickz.com and register an account for yourself. All of your gameplay will take place online, and this account helps to keep track of accomplishments such as high scores, average scores, and total points. Once you’ve registered, you’ll be required to download and install the QuickStickz software, as well as the Adobe Shockwave player.
Once you’ve installed the software, plug in the USB camera and login to your QuickStickz dashboard to begin training. If you head to the “drills” tab, you’re presented with 18 unique stickhandling drills designed to increase your skill. The varying drills, such as the soft touch, wide dribble, and front forehand fake will work on enhancing a wide selection of stickhandling abilities. If you would like to use QuickStickz on a computer that does not have internet access, be sure to contact the team over there and ask for the offline drills. These will be the exact same drills you would run through online, but without the scores and stats being sent to your personal dashboard.
While these drills have a fun game-like feel, the focus is clearly on enhancing a specific technique. However, if you’re more interested in playing a fun and interactive game, head over to the games tab where you can play around with classics such as space shooter, brick breaker, or missile defense. These games even focus on certain skills. For example, brick breaker teaches lateral puck control, while missile defense will enhance fast point-to-point control.
QuickStickz is a great full-featured tool which provides a fun learning environment to students of the game of hockey. There are a couple areas, however, that I would initially like to see improved. First, there is no support for the OS X, so Mac users are out of luck. Fortunately, the majority of consumers are still PC users, but this is slowly but surely changing. Beyond that, my gut tells me this would be quite a hot seller if it carried a smaller price tag. These days, you can purchase a Wii or XBox game system for the same price, making the $199 price tag seem a bit steep.
Now that we have our QuickStickz environment set up, we’re going to get into some intense training and see whether or not our stickhandling can improve over the next few weeks. Beyond that, we hope to prove whether or not QuickStickz can justify its hefty price by delivering the player an increased ability to control the puck. Keep checking back for our full review.