Shooting in Hockey: Tips You Should Know

Hockey is a fascinating sport to play and watch. If you are a newbie to this sport with hopes of practising, you can tell it can be frustrating at first. Improving shooting capabilities is one of the most frustrating aspects of this beautiful sport. 

This content will provide quick tips on how you can enhance your shooting capabilities. 

Note: If you’re interested in NHL sports betting as a fan, you can check out NHL odds here. 

Should You Shoot Left or Right?

Determining whether you should shoot left or right is not as easy as it sounds. You may have even been playing for years, thinking you should shoot one way, but you should be shooting another. Here are your two options and where your hands should be.

Don’t assume you know where your hands should be or your shooting direction!

  • Lefties: Your dominant left hand is at the top of the stick’s shaft, and your right hand is two-thirds of the way down the – wait for it – Right shooting stick.
  • Righties: Your dominant right hand is at the top of the stick’s shaft, and your left hand is two-thirds of the way down the – wait for it – Left shooting stick.

You may want to prop up your jaw with the knob of your stick because if you are reading this in a sporting goods store, this possibly goes against what you may have assumed or heard before. 

But with your dominant hand gripping the top of the hockey stick shaft, you will have better control of your shot. 

The hand you write with, which has the most “fine motor skills,” will determine the end of the stick which you control the “small movements” of the stick, which determine the distance of your stick away from your body and the targeting of the stick and puck movement. 

The hand you use for, well, other stuff like using a fork when you cut steak, for example, had the “gross motor skills” like the swing of the stick on a slap shot or the pushing movement of the puck in a wrist shot. Of course, the wrist of your dominant hand will be making the snapping motion, which makes for a good shot.

We’ll give you a minute, your mind is probably wholly blown right now, and you are probably trying a different stick than you’re used to. Your dominant hand makes small movements with the stick, which makes the other end make larger movements and a better shot.

Admit it. Your mind is totally blown right now. You might be looking for a time machine to take you back to your Pee Wee Hockey League days so that you can start your hockey career over.

Dominant hand, control. Less dominant hand, power. If you think you are a two-way shooter, or generally ambidextrous, try shovelling some snow. If you need a driveway to practice on, I’m sure you won’t have trouble finding a driveway to try it out during the hockey season.

If you haven’t used this shooting direction throughout your life, why not try it? You can improve your shooting skills, or even if you don’t, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Five Steps to Make a Powerful Slap Shot

If you want to have a “wicked hard” slapshot like Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara, or even just one that consistently gets by the goalie, here are some hockey drills you can try to practice. You will obviously want to apply these techniques in a game where slap shots are permitted. When making this shot, you want to make sure you are using your legs, arms, eyes, and the flex of the stick as best you can.

Any good shot takes:

  • Good awareness of what is happening around you
  • Proper weight transfer
  • Bent knees
  • Good position behind the puck
  • A snappy finish

Here Are Steps To Making A Great Slap Shot

Make sure you are lined up properly with the puck. You want to know what is happening around you, so you can determine how much time you have to get your shot away. You might have a great wind-up to blast the puck at the net, but your shot will be blown if an opposing player steals it. Have the puck about mid-way between your legs, just like you would a golf ball.

Bend your legs slightly, so you can execute a weight transfer movement which helps to give the shot more power. Extend your arms to hold the top of the stick with your forward hand and your other hand as far down the shaft as you can. When you draw the stick back, your arms should be straight and prepared to shoot.

The amount of time you have to shoot the puck will determine the arc of how you draw the stick back. If you have lots of time, you can raise the stick so it’s parallel to your body, but if you’ve got a defenseman rushing at you, you’ll want to lessen your arc, so you don’t get robbed. Where ever you stop the arc, gather your weight on your back leg and skate, and get ready for your shot.

As you start your shot, keep your arms as straight as possible so you can get the best power from the recoil or flexing of the stick. When you begin your shot, start your weight transfer from your back skate to the front. 

Keep your eye on the puck as you swing, and when the blade of your stick makes contact, make sure you follow when the puck goes towards your target. You want to be sure you can pick up a rebound or even when to start your celebration dance when you score. Make sure you finish your shot with a good shot and follow-through, or you won’t need to show off your dancing skills.

Take opportunities to practise your slap shot at net targets, a garage screen, or in hockey drills with a fully equipped goaltender. Getting your wind-up, swing, contact, and follow-through to all work together will hone your hockey skills and intimidate your opponents.

We will have to stop here for now, but we hope you understand how to improve your shooting skill in hockey. Thanks for reading!

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