I’m a big fan of being able to train as much as possible when I’m not able to get any ice time or if I’m short on funds to pay for it. I got kind of sick of using an over-sized, lighter, roller hockey ball when practicing my stick handling and wooden balls just don’t cut it. I wanted something as close as I could get to the feel of a puck off ice. I decided to try this product to see how much it can improve my handling and to see what other advantages it could offer.
The company claims that the product offers a similar feel to an ice hockey puck in the following ways:
amount of bounce (bounce coefficient), the core, weight (which is slightly less than a puck), height (.10″ higher than a puck), and slide.
About the only thing I found the product didn’t deliver on was the amount of friction and amount of bounce. The ball had much more friction on a concrete/asphalt compared to ice and the amount of bounce is a decent amount more than a puck would be (when dropping the puck flat). I tried the ball out on a few different surfaces just to see if I could get a feel as close as I could to ice. I tried it out on asphalt, tennis court, smooth concrete, plywood, and tile. Tile and the smoothed concrete mimicked ice the closest. These surfaces created the least amount of friction -compared to the others mentioned above- when handling the ball.
In comparison to any other training ball I have tried so far -liquid filled, metal, wood, etc.- the Smart Hockey Training Ball stands above it’s competition.
There was enough weight in the ball for me to practice toe-drags, dekes, and dangles and feel comfortable attempting my moves when I got back on ice. The balls generally cost around $10-12, if you go to your local hockey store. If you get them online at smarthockey.com, they come in a pack of 5 for $45. I’d have to say they’re worth every penny. I would be plenty willing to fork out $10 dollars a ball and I doubt it would be hard to talk four teammates into getting one as well.
For an extra part of this review, I decided to try out the Smart Hockey Ball with a previously reviewed product, the Hockey Halo. I wanted to see if both training devices would perform well together. It took me a little getting used to, but I was able to develop my wrist shot better while having a similar size and weight of a puck. Let’s hope I can get all of this to transfer to ice!