A good player wants three things, power, accuracy, and a quick release. With these three elements you are a triple threat and should be able to beat the goalie quite a bit. Out of all three skills, I think accuracy is the most important because it requires a player to read the net well, choose a spot, and then hit it. You can’t be accurate if you don’t pick a spot to shoot first and this is why it’s so important. With your head up you can read weaknesses in the goalie, decide to shoot, fake, deke, or pass, now you’re making smart decisions and this goes a long way in hockey. In these four videos below I will share some common and some uncommon tips to improve your accuracy.
Not many people touch on this topic but it’s a great way to stay focused in your practice. Before you start, close your eyes and visualize in detail hitting different targets. Picture EVERYTHING that would happen for you to pull off an accurate shot. Now open your eyes and mime the motions a few times without the pucks. Studies have shown that dynamic imagery (imagining doing something while mimicking the motions) activates similar areas of the brain when compared to actually performing the skill and can increase performance of the skill.
Create Good Shooting Habits
How you train is VERY important. A player who spends 30 minutes a day shooting while using good shooting habits and working towards better technique could easily improve more than a player training for an hour a day without good habits and a strong focus on technique.
This video focuses on looking and picking a spot every time before we shoot. In a study on motor learning the process of learning a new skill was broken into 4 categories. First the athlete must learn to direct their gaze and gather sensory information. This is usually why players look at the blade of their stick, they’re learning about where the puck is on the blade, but we also need to gather information about the target, and receive feedback if we hit it. In early training the gaze provides feedback, we look at the puck, and follow it to the net to see where it hit and repeat. However after we gather enough information in this phase we need to look at the target, then shoot. Now our vision has a feedforward role (as explained in this study on hand-eye coordination), we aren’t watching where the puck goes to see where it hits, we are looking at what we want to hit, and that provides the information to our body on how to do it.
Use Your Wrists
The wrists are the last joints used in your shot, and by targeting the role of the wrists we can create better control over our accuracy and power. The stick blade plays a big role in the elevation and accuracy of your shot, and the movement of the wrists and arms control the movement of the blade. In this exercise I want you to try to use only your wrists to shoot the puck. Play around with different variations to see how you can manipulate the puck. By understanding the roles the wrists play you can increase power and accuracy
Follow Through High and Low
The most common piece of advice for accuracy is “follow through high for a high shot and low for a low shot”. This is mostly true, but because the wrists, flex, and speed of your shot also play a factor in accuracy it’s not “perfect”. In this video I show you how to follow through high or low for more control and accuracy. I find a good tip for controlling accuracy without thinking about the height of your stick is to use your bottom hand to point where you want the puck to go.
Those are all the tips for this week. Stay tuned next week for 4 tips to improve your one timer. For more hockey tips you can subscribe to our Youtube channel where I’m releasing a new video every day for the next 3 weeks and follow our page on Facebook where I’m always sharing ways to improve your game.