Every hockey player loves to put the biscuit in the basket, but scoring goals gets harder as the players get smarter at every level, and even experienced NHLers go through slumps. An obvious way to score more goals (besides going to the net) is by being more accurate. We’ve all heard the same old advice (Follow through, point the toe) I’m not here to say that, I’ve found a scientifically proven method to improving accuracy that I want to share with you. To find out, just watch the video below.
Score more goals!
Turns out, practicing your shooting from the exact same spot over and over again isn’t actually the best way to improve your accuracy! In an actual scientific study, players who practiced shooting (basketballs, or beanbags) from the same area over and over, actually performed worse than players who didn’t practice from that area at all!
(The study I’m referencing is “Specific and varied practice of motor skill.” by Kerr R, Booth B. To learn more you can research Variable practice vs Fixed practice.)
So what did we learn from this study?
You need to vary your shots. If you want to score from 15 feet from the net, practice shooting at five feet from the net, and at 20 feet from the net. The variable in the distance actually improves your accuracy.
The secret is training your brain to recognize what it takes to score from many differing distances and angles. In a game situation, the likelihood of you being placed exactly at the 15 foot marker in the slot multiple times a game is very low. You need to train your brain to understand the calculations of scoring from many different places.
While there is definitely a “high percentage scoring area” in hockey (as seen below), that area is actually quite sizable. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with many different spots within that area, as well as beyond that area to really unlock your full shooting potential.
Let’s take a look at 1000 of Steven Stamkos’s shots from 2013, and 2014. While they mostly exist in the high percentage scoring area, or home plate area, you can see that Stamkos is actually shooting from many different spots, especially on the “overall” part of the chart. Varying distances, varying angles, and varying degrees of difficulty for the former 60 goal scorer.
There’s three things that you’ll need to consider while doing this type of practice:
- Challenge yourself – If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning
- Pay attention to how it feels – Being in touch with feel will help you improve faster
- Make changes – This will help you find new ways to challenge yourself
Hopefully this video can help you snipe those corners when you need to the most!