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QuickStickz: Technology to Teach Kids to Stickhandle with Their Heads Up!

I get a lot of requests to try out hockey products and post reviews on this site. So, when I was contacted by Dean Dachyshyn, Vice President at Skillz Systems Inc. about trying out QuickStickz, I wasn’t sure what to think. QuickStickz was pitched as a product to improve stick handling by teaching kids to keep their heads up…all though playing a video game on your home computer.

QuickStickz was invented to address the issue of kids not practicing the very important skill of stick handling as much as they should. The creators believe that to become a good hockey player, kids need to learn to stickhandle with their heads up! In an era of X-box, Wii and Playstations, kids are not interested in learning by the old method of stick handling around objects on the floor, they want action!

I’m not much of a gamer myself, but I do happen to have two sons who can get caught up in playing video games when they have some down time.  I was curious, would they see the QuickStickz product as “practice”, or a game? Would they have as much fun with it as they do other, more traditional video games? And, would I be able to get QuickStickz set up without much effort on my computer?

With these questions in mind I set out to learn more about QuickStickz.

The first thing to be noted is that the design is quite simple, and it’s easy to get started. There are two main parts to the apparatus; the camera, and the ball. After following the simple instructions to install the software, we plugged in the camera to our laptop, went to the QuickStickz website to set up a user name and password, and we were off! The initial set up took less than 10 minutes.

OK, so I can imagine you are wondering exactly how it works. Picture this:

  1. Camera and monitor are perched on a table. The camera points down to the ball, and the ball’s motions (on the floor) are tracked.

  2. Your child uses their own stick to manoeuvre the ball through a series of drills or games on the screen.

  3. The WHOLE TIME, players are watching the screen, but not the ball, because they have to see what is coming next!

  4. They can use their own stick to play allowing them to transfer skills to the ice.

My sons started with simple drills, but soon moved on to the “games” section of the website. Picture your child playing “space invaders”, manoeuvring the ship (the ball) to blow up  asteroids. Or, imagine a race car game where the speed at which the ball is moved side to side determines how fast your car moves.

After a very slight initial learning curve, my kids were hooked. In fact, we had company over on the weekend, and our adult company took turns with the kids for over an hour playing all the games. With 20 drills and 5 video games, your kids won’t get bored. Drills are timed and players get scores at the end of the drill, making them want to play on to beat their “best score”. It never even dawned on my kids that they were actually practicing a hockey skill, but they did keep asking for more. By the way – I also tried the product and quickly realized a) how hard stick handling is, b) how good my kids are at it compared to me, and c) how fun and challenging the QuickStickz games are!

It truly is an innovative product.

So, for those of you who are looking for a cool hockey related gift for your kids this Christmas, consider QuickStickz.  And because you are a reader of our website, you will even get a deal! QuickStickz typically sells for $199 plus tax and shipping, but if you use the promo code HMC, you can get QuickStickz for only $189. As well, you will get an additional 3 months of VIP service ($30 value), for a total of $40 off.

So, check out QuickStickz! Another innovative Canadian Hockey Mom Approved product!

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