How to Shoot while Skating

How to take a Slapshot While Skating

The slapshot is a tricky shot to master, before you learn how to take a slapshot while skating I would recommend learning how to take a slapshot while standing still. A lot of people when they are first learning develop some bad habits, so it is important to learn the proper technique. Another important aspect is using your ENTIRE body to get power, not just the arms. For more on that read our article on how to take a slapshot and the follow up articles at the bottom with more info.

Prep the puck

One issue that some players might have is prepping the puck. When shooting while standing still the player will set the puck up, and then shoot. If the player sets the puck up in the same spot while skating the puck could end up a few inches behind by the time you are ready to take the slapshot.

When you are setting up for the slapshot while skating, you have two options. You can either push the puck a little bit ahead and then really skate into it, or just make sure the puck is going the same speed as you, and get a nice quick shot off.

Tips for take a slapshot while skating:

  • Prep the puck by pushing it a bit in front of you, or ensuring it is going the same speed as you are before you wind up
  • Use the entire body to get power, use your arms, core muscles and legs
  • Really push into the shot with your back leg

How to Take a Snapshot While Skating:

The snapshot is a tricky shot so I encourage you to practice it at home. We have an article on how to take a snapshot if you need any tips. On the ice there are a few things to consider, positioning, weight transfer and technique.

Positioning – I find that I have a pretty good shot to goal ration from certain areas of the ice. I always opt for a snapshot when I am in close because it gives the goalie less time to set up (get the puck to the net quicker). I also find I have a more powerful snapshot while on my wing. I’m right handed, and I like to take snapshots while on the right side of the net. When I am on the left I like to cut to the center and take a full wrist shot.

Weight Transfer – Your weight transfer is very important, you want to transfer all your weight onto your front foot, or the foot closest to the blade of your stick. This is the opposite of the leg you transfer weight onto for a wrist shot. You can also take a snapshot from the other leg, it just takes a bit longer to get the shot off.

Technique – The technique to taking a snapshot while skating is a bit tricky

  • Skate in and have the puck on your shooting side, on your side
  • Push off with the leg furthest from the blade of your stick, and sort of lunge onto the other leg
  • While pushing off with your back leg and transferring the weight onto your front leg, pull the puck in towards your body and towards the net

Now use a quick snap from your wrists to elevate the puck and put power on it

The 2 Type of Wrist Shots

Two Types of Wrist Shot

Yes there are two types of wrists shots in hockey, yet I am amazed at how many people are unaware of this fact. A newcomer to the game of hockey asked for some wrist shot tips in a popular hockey forum. Many beer leaguers who have been playing hockey for years tried to help. The problem was that different people were teaching different types of wrist shots as if they were the same type. I could not find one good article that addresses both types of wrist shots so I thought I would clear things up.

Two types of wrist shots:

Both types of wrist shots are commonly used in hockey, and both have their pros and cons. The first one I will discuss is the first type of wrist shot you should learn, and also the most powerful. The second type of wrist shot is great for getting a quick shot off but not quite as powerful as the first.

The most powerful type of wrist shot:

his is the first type of wrist shot you should learn because it teaches the fundamentals of how to take a wrist shot. For this type of wrist shot the player rotates the shoulders and trunk and draws the puck back, and across the body. Rotating at the trunk allows the player to bring the puck further back which will result in a more powerful shot.

The player will now execute the wrist shot by pulling the puck toward the net, rotating the shoulders and trunk towards the net, and transferring weight onto the leg opposite of their stick handiness (right handed shot transfers weight onto left leg)

This type of wrist shot allows the player to derive power from their core muscles, and also allows them to transfer more energy and power into their shot. The puck will be on the blade of the stick longer as well which will also result in more power.

The quick release wrist shot

This type of wrist shot is great if you want to surprise the goalie with a quick snapper. In fact some say this type of wrist shot is a mix between wrist shot and snapshot (it can be depending on how you execute it). For this type of wrist shot the player keeps their chest facing the net and draws the puck behind them, and on their shooting side.

The player then leans into the shot, while quickly snapping the puck towards the net. For this shot the weight is transferred onto the same leg as the way the player shoots (right handed player transfers weight onto right leg) This type of wrist shot derives less power from the core and leg muscles, which results in a weaker shot.

In order to get as much power as possible from this shot the player must learn to use the flex of their stick to help generate power. Some NHL players refer to this as slingshotting the puck at the net ( especially if you have a low flex stick) the loss in power in this shot is made up with the quick set up and release.Know that you know about the two types of wrist shots, you should learn when to use each type of shot.

Where to use the powerful wrist shot

The powerful wrist shot is a great tool for defencemen to use. This type of shot can be used in situations when a slapshot would take to long to set up, or a more accurate shot is needed. My favourite use of this shot is when I am coming into the offensize zone on the off wing, with one defencemen at the blue line. I penetrate the offensive zone near the boards, and the defence will now be near the top of the circle. At this point I push the puck forwards as if I am going to go hard into the corner or dump the puck in. Then I pull the puck back into position for the powerful wrist shot and cut to the cemtre. I shoot for the side of the net that I just came from. I know the goalie will be moving from the side I just came from, to the centre of the net, which gives me a good spot to shoot. The defence can also provide a partial screen which will increase chamces of scoring. (explained in the video as well for all you visual learners)



Where to use quick wrist shots:

The best time to use the quick wrist shot is when you are in close to the net. The faster you can get the shot off the better. My favorite way to score with a quick wrist shot is to skate in, pick a spot and let it rip. The key to scoring this way is accuracy, and not giving any clues that you are going to shoot. A great way to perfect this is to practice executing the quick wrist shot without breaking your stride. Another great way to score with the quick wrist shot is through the five hole. The closer you are to the goalie, the less time the goalie has to close the gap, and the better chance you have to score.

HockeyShot Professional Shooting Pad

Perfect for anyone who wants to improve their on-ice game at home, the HockeyShot Shooting Pad makes an excellent indoor and outdoor trainer. It simulates the smooth, slick feeling of the rink so you can work on passing, stickhandling and shooting.


Visit the HockeyShot Professional Shooting Pad page

 

 

How to Improve your Slap Shot Power

How to Improve your Slap Shot Power

I shot this video that shows you how you can improve your slapshot technique and get more power from your shot.



Proper slapshot technique

Proper technique is the most important aspect of your slapshot, in fact by using a radar gun and tweaking just a few things in my technique, I was able to increase my slapshot by 15 mph. After improving my shot substantially, Ken and I went to the hockey expo in Toronto. There was a radar gun there where anyone could test their shot. One guy was in line in front of us who was absolutely jacked, 6 feet tall and muscles rippling from every where. Ken and I were sure he would be able to hit at least 80mph. This guy steps up and struggles to hit 65, still fast, but Ken and I have a lot less muscle and easily topped 70 mph. It just goes to show that proper form is the first thing you should work on.

Tips to improve slapshot power

After posting the slapshot challenge video on youtube, and starting a forum thread at the rink we got a number of video responses showing their slapshots. We noticed a few common slapshot technique problems that could be easily fixed for more power. Also while working on improving my slapshot technique I noticed a few changes in technique that really improved my slapshot speed. I have made a list below.

Hold the stick in the right location

Holding the stick too close to the blade is common among people learning the slapshot, as it makes it a bit easier to get the puck off the ice. However this is a bad habit that many players form. To get the most power from your slapshot your lower hand should be just below the halfway point of your stick, this allows you to put more flex on the stick. Also by holding the stick too low you will not be able to get full power from your shoulders and arms.

Back swing

Your back swing in your slapshot should not look like a back swing in golf.  You do not want to bring the blade of your stick behind your head, on an angle. The blade of your stick should move more like a pendulum, coming straight back and straight down. If your back swing and down swing is on an angle you will not get as much power from your shot, and you will not be able to flex your stick properly.

Transfer your weight

When you take a slapshot, you want to use your whole body, mot just your arms. A great way to add power to your shot is to step into the shot and get your weight moving forwards. This will help you transfer energy and give you a faster slapshot. Transferring your weight involves using your legs. In order to get power from your legs you should bend your knees, and during the downswing really drive into the shot with your back leg. If you watch NHL players taking slapshots you will notice they all push off with their back leg to get more power.

Bend your knees

This goes along with transferring your weight. A common mistake in slapshot technique (for beginners) is shooting straight legged. If you are shooting straight legged you will not be able to properly transfer your weight. Bending your knees allows you to push off with your back leg, and drive into the shot.

Roll your wrists and follow through

While practicing my slapshot I noticed that I would often leave the blade of my stick open in my follow through. By rolling my wrist during the follow through, and continuing to push into the shot I added a few MPH to my top speed.

HockeyShot Professional Shooting Pad

Perfect for anyone who wants to improve their on-ice game at home, the HockeyShot Shooting Pad makes an excellent indoor and outdoor trainer. It simulates the smooth, slick feeling of the rink so you can work on passing, stickhandling and shooting.


Visit the HockeyShot Professional Shooting Pad page

Black Standard 6 oz Pucks

Black Standard 6 oz Puck from HockeyShot™

Standard 6 oz black hockey pucks, official size and weight. Manufactured by In Glas Co, an official supplier of the NHL.

 

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How and When to Shoot Low in Hockey

How & When to Shoot Low in Hockey

The one-timer is a great shot if you can do it properly, it is also a great way to embarrass yourself on the ice if you don’t know how to do it properly. There is nothing worse than completely missing the puck, or sending a muffin towards the net that the goalie easily gloves. In this article and video we will share a number of tips on how to perfect the one timer.

In this video we talk about three different types of one-timers, they include standing still, skating, and skating backwards. We also share a little trick at the end on how to go top shelf with a one timer from in close to the net.



A lot of hockey players like to snipe the top corners, and why wouldn’t you? It looks pretty and makes you look like a pro. The only problem is that when you start getting better at hockey, so do the goalies. Goalies love to rob players with their flashy glove saves, or brilliant blocker saves. In order to continue to score a lot of goals you have to know how and when to shoot for the bottom corners.

To help you score more goals I have outlined the best reasons to shoot low:

  • You can shoot over the net but not under it (better chance of hitting the net)
  • Aiming for just over the goalies pad and close to the post gives you a high chance of scoring
  • Better chance for a tip in or deflection
  • Better chance for a rebound
  • The 5 hole is a great place to score (more on this later)

Now that you know why you should be shooting low, I will teach you how to improve your accuracy. I have already written a detailed article on how to improve wrist shot accuracy so now I will cover shooting low.

How to Shoot Low in Hockey

Many hockey players have a hard time shooting low, they try to take a nice hard shot for the bottom corner, or maybe try to send one just over the goalies pad, but they just can’t get the accuracy right. Shooting low is actually pretty simple if you know what to do. Just follow these two simple steps below, and you should be sniping low in no time.

Follow through:

The follow through is simple, if you follow through high, the puck will go high. If you follow through low, the puck will go low.

Point the blade:

When you are following through, make sure you point the blade of your stick at where you want the puck to go. By pointing the blade of your stick you will help guide the puck in the right direction. Pointing the toe of the blade of your stick also helps remind you to roll your wrists. Rolling your wrists, and adding a bit of a snap in your shot helps with accuracy, and also adds a bit of power to your shot. Which brings me to my next point

Don’t let up on the shot:

A lot of players tend to let up on their shots when they shoot low; they think if they shoot too hard than the puck will go high. While laying off on the power does help keep shots low, this is not what you want to learn. If you lob pucks at the net the goalie is going to easily stop them, collect the rebound, and then laugh at your weak little flutter puck, you don’t want that and neither do I! Practice hitting the bottom corners with full force, man up, take a powerful shot, follow through low, point the blade of your stick, and score more goals!

When to shoot low

I might be a bit biased because I score quite a few goals this way, but the way I see it, if the goalie doesn’t have the bottom of the net covered, shoot low. Even if the goalie stops your shot there should be a juicy rebound waiting for you, or your team mate.

When to shoot 5 hole

The 5 hole (spot between the goalies legs) is a great spot to score goals, but there are some situations that are better than others if you want to score. Shooting 5 hole from the blue line…. not a good idea. I have always found that the closer you are to the goalie, the less time the goalie has to close the five hole, and the better chance you have of scoring. If the goalie has the five hole open, and you are in close, snap a quick one right between their legs! Most goalies won’t be able to close the gap in time, and that means you get to light the lamp.

I have found another great way to score 5 hole is on a deke. I used this move A LOT from Pee wee to Bantam. All you have to do is skate in on your off wing, fake a shot to the closest side of the net, and then pull the puck back and cut to the other side of the net (back off a bit from the crease to avoid the poke check). Every goalie is trained to move where the puck moves, by moving the puck from one side of the net to the other, you force the goalie to move. If the goalie doesn’t move (because you from them with your fake shot) you shoot far side and score. If the goalie does move it will create openings, the easiest one to score in is the 5 hole. To sum up the move, come in on your off wing, cut from one side of the net to the other, shoot 5 hole (fake a shot for extra style points)

Shooting Low Video

Here is a video that gives you a few pointers on shooting for the bottom corners. You should also check out our other wrist shot videos where we have another great wrist shot accuracy video (The prequel to this video, showing you how to snipe top shelf)



Hockey Shooting & Stickhandling Tips

SHOOTING & STICKHANDLING

Here are a few Hockeyshot Tips to improve your shooting and stickhandling skills

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1. Snap Shot

Slowly pull your leg back while holding your foot with your hand. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Don’t overstretch (if you feel to much pain, you are going to far). Good stretch to help with your leg flexibility.

A) Side to Front Snap Shot

The snap shot is quicker than a wrist shot and more accurate than a slap shot.The most important attribute of a good snap shot is the speed with which youcan release the puck. It’s probably the most widely used shot in hockey today.

One of the most effective snap shot is the low snap shot. Try to keep the slap shot a few inches from the ice. At that height, your teammates have a good chance of deflecting the puck in the net and the goalie is easily screened by his own defenceman. The low snap shot is a great weapon especially when used at the point by a defenceman.

With your eye on your target, draw your stick back between your waist and your shoulder height. In this wind up (slingshot) position, your weight should be on your back leg. Drive your stick down stepping and leaning into the shot transferring your weight forward onto your stick through your lower hand. Your stick should strike the shooting surface 2 to 3 inches before the puck. The contact with the puck should be made in the middle of the blade or a bit off centered toward the heel. The bending and whipping return of the shaft and the forward motion of the downswing is what creates the powerful force. As the puck rises off the shooting surface, snap your wrists. Continue with a low follow through pointing at the target and resume a balanced position with your weight fully transferred on your front leg.

B) Back to Front Snap Shot

C) One Timer Snap Shot

  Download USA Hockey Magazine Snap Shot Article (150 kb)


2. Slap Shot

The slap shot is the most powerful and exciting shot in hockey. However, most of the time, the slap shot ends up hitting the boards. If you are to use the slap shot, you need to develop accuracy.

One of the most effective slap shot is the low slap shot. Try to keep the slap shot a few inches from the ice. At that height, your teammates have a good chance of deflecting the puck in the net and the goalie is easily screened by his own defenceman

A) Slap Shot

B) Slap Shot One Timer

Improve your Slapshot Accuracy with these EASY steps

With your eye on your target, draw your stick back between your waist and your shoulder height. In this wind up (slingshot) position, your weight should be on your back leg. Drive your stick down stepping and leaning into the shot transferring your weight forward onto your stick through your lower hand.

Your stick should strike the shooting surface 2 to 3 inches before the puck. The contact with the puck should be made in the middle of the blade or a bit off centered toward the heel. The bending and whipping return of the shaft and the forward motion of the downswing is what creates the powerful force. As the puck rises off the shooting surface, snap your wrists. Continue with a low follow through pointing at the target and resume a balanced position with your weight fully transferred on your front leg.

Hockey Slap Shot Diagram


3. wrist shot

The wrist shot is probably the most effective shot in hockey. It is the most accurate shot and it can be released fairly quickly. This is the shot that a player should learn first. While not as fast as the slap shot, with practice, proper technique and upper body strength, the wrist shot can be a very powerful shot.

Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. For the wrist shot, move your lower hand halfway down the shaft to add power to the shot. Position your body at a 45-degree angle to the net. Bring the puck behind or even with your back leg lowering your shoulder as you reach back and down with your stick to position the puck. Keep the puck in the middle of the blade with the blade tilted over the puck (rotate your wrists). In this position, your weight should be on your back leg.

Sweep

the puck forward while transferring your weight toward your front foot and rotating your body forward. As the stick blade crosses your body, transfer body weight on your stick while pushing forward with your lower hand and pulling backward with your top hand. The puck is released when it reaches your front foot and your shoulders are square to the net. At the point of release, your wrists turn causing the stick blade to turn out and lift the puck. After the puck is released, follow through pointing the toe of your stick toward the target. The height of the shot depends on how much you rotate your wrists and how high your follow-through is.

The short wind up wrist shot

is similar to the description above except that the puck is positioned between your back leg and front leg. Starting with your weight on your back leg, you step directly into the shot transferring body weight on your stick while pushing forward with your lower hand and pulling backward with your top hand. The short wind up has a quicker release and should be used when there is little time to prepare and power is not necessarily required.

For the wrist shot advanced shooters

will position the puck on the back third of the blade. When the shot is released, the puck rolls toward the toe of the blade causing a spin on the puck, which provides a faster and more accurate shot.


 

4. Backhand shot

The backhand shot is the most difficult shot to learn. Most goalies fear the backhand shot because its trajectory is so difficult to read. A player will loose many scoring opportunities if he has not mastered the backhand shot. This shot is very effective when cutting in front of the goal or when the pass is made on your backhand side at close range to the net. A player should practice the backhand shot as much if not more than any of the forward shots.

Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. Move your hand down one-third the length of the shaft. Bring the puck just behind or even with your back leg. Position the puck on the back third of the blade (in the middle of the straight section close to the shaft). Roll your wrists to tilt the blade over the puck. Keep the line of shooting close enough to your body so that you stay balanced but far enough to provide good arm movement.

In the wind-up position,

Your body weight should be on the leg closest to the puck. With your head up looking at your target, move your arms across your body shifting your weight to your front leg (dip your front shoulder down and lean on the stick). You really have to roll your wrists as the shot is released and point the toe of the stick to the target. Follow through until your palm is pointing up. The higher the follow though, the higher the puck will rise.

  Download USA Magazine Backhand Shot Article (150 kb)


5. Hockey Stickhandling

Stick handling is one of the most important fundamental skills in hockey. You need good stick handling skills to play heads up hockey, to take and maintain possession of the puck, to win face-offs, to receive and make passes and to shoot the puck.

All the great puck carriers, great passers and great shooters can stick handle, position and shoot or pass the puck with their head up; this requires a lot of focused repetitive training. Because stick handling is such an integral part of hockey, stick handling should be one of the first things that a player learns and practices.

Hockey players can practice stick handling both on and off the ice. The important thing, especially for young players, is simply to have a stick in their hands and play with a puck. Street hockey games are a great way to develop stick handling skills but a player should also practice stick handling alone to focus on his technique and to learn new skills.

Stick handling can be practiced off the ice in your basement, garage or in your driveway. You can use a ball (tennis, golf or roller hockey) but a puck provides a better simulation. The more the puck and stick slide on the surface, the better it is for stick handling.

Learning stick handling

First, stick handle with your eyes fixed on the puck. Move the puck within a 12 to 18 inch span using a back and forth soft sweeping motion. Develop a comfortable rhythm, do not over handle the puck There should be very little impact and almost no sound.
Practice side-to-side dribble, forward-to-backward dribble and diagonal dribbling. Master stick handling in a stationary position and then practice stick handling while moving forward, sideways and backwards.

  Download USA Magazine Backhand Shot Article (150 kb)

  1. Gap control stickhandling
  2. Stickhandling protection
  3. Stickhandling in traffic

6. Forward Pass

Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. To set up for the forward pass bring the puck behind your back leg. Keep the puck in the middle of the stick blade. Rotate your wrist causing the blade to tilt over the puck. In this wind-up position, your body weight should be on the leg closest to the puck.

Passing Tip:

When making a pass you want to use a sweeping motion. Rather than “slapping” at the puck, begin with the puck on the heel of your stick and during the sweeping motion, the puck should spin to the toe of your stick and off to your teammate. Like shooting, remember to point the toe of your stick at your target at the end of your follow through to increase accuracy.

With your head up looking at your target, release the pass using a smooth sweeping motion (pull on your stick with your top hand and push on your stick with your bottom hand). Keep both hands out away from your body and keep adjusting your aim as your stick moves forward and your weight is transferred to your front leg. After the puck is released, follow through with the toe of the stick pointing at the target.


 

7. Backhand pass

The backhand pass is similar to the forehand pass except that it is made with the backside of the blade. Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. To set up for the backhand pass, bring the puck behind your back leg. Keep the puck on the middle straight section of the blade close to the shaft. Rotate your wrist causing the blade to tilt slightly over the puck. In the wind-up position, your body weight should be on the leg closest to the puck.

Passing Tip:

When making a pass you want to use a sweeping motion. Rather than “slapping” at the puck, begin with the puck on the heel of your stick and during the sweeping motion, the puck should spin to the toe of your stick and off to your teammate. Like shooting, remember to point the toe of your stick at your target at the end of your follow through to increase accuracy.

With your head up looking at your target, release the backhand pass using a smooth sweeping motion (push on your stick with your top hand and pull on your stick with your bottom hand). Keep both hands out away from your body and keep adjusting your aim as your stick moves forward and your weight is transferred to your front leg. After the puck is released, follow through with the toe of the stick pointing at the target.


 

8. Specialty Skills (tip ins, poke checks, one timers, saucer passes)

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