How to Take a Slapshot
Slap shots are very easy to learn yet hard to master. A lot of people feel that blasting a puck as hard as humanly possible qualifies as a great shot. Slap shots are just as much about accuracy as they are about power.
In this article we have two videos, this first video breaks down the mechanics of the slapshot, and in the video at the bottom of this article we share some slapshot tips on the ice.
Slapshot Key points
When taking a slapshot their are some key points to remember:
- Weight transfer - Just like other shots in hockey weight transfer plays a huge roll in the slap shot. You must move all your weight from your back leg to your front leg in one fluent motion. The idea is to shift your weight in the direction of the shot. This puts more energy, and power into your slap shot.
- Accuracy over Power – It is better to be accurate then to shoot the puck at 100mph, you will never score a goal if you can not hit the net! I once played with a defensemen who had a bullet of a shot, the problem was that his shot would be all over the map. The perfect slap shot for a defensemen is 10 to 12 inches off the ice. Taking low shots makes it easier for your defensemen to screen, or tip the shot in. By keeping your shots low and accurate, your forwards will be more confident stand in front of the net, tip in your shots, or crank in the rebounds.
- Stay low and Load the Stick - Many players who are learning to take a slapshot try to hit the puck, this is not the proper way to take a slapshot. When taking a slap shot you should be contacting the ice first. You should hit the ice 3 to 5 inches behind the puck (or more depending on the stick, the shot, and how strong you are) this allows you to load or flex the stick first ( like in those fancy pictures you see of NHL players bending their sticks almost in half or the one in this article). Loading the stick like this is where a lot of the power in your slapshot comes from. When lining up the puck put it about two – three feet in front of you and about 2 inches behind your front skate (see picture). When taking the shot you want the blade of the stick to contact the ice a few feet out, and in the middle of your stance, this gives your stick time to flex, when the blade hits the puck it should flex even more . Also remember to stay low and trust your stick, you need to throw most of your weight (the more the better) onto your stick. This will allow you to increase the power on your shot without the huge windups.
- Location of Puck for Slapshot – For a slapshot you want the puck to hit the blade of your stick close to the middle, between the heel and middle of the blade is where you get the most power. With a slapshot the puck spends very little time on the blade of the stick. You want to hit the ice, load the stick, hit the puck, and then launch it (remeber follow through, and weight transfer)
- Follow through - A very simple rule and tip for slapshot accuracy is follow through low and your shot will stay low and if you follow through and aim your stick high your shot will go high.
The process of taking a Slapshot
Your bottom hand should be about half way down the stick or more. Line the puck a few feet in front of you and 2-3 inches behind your front foot. Keep your legs at shoulder width and bend your knees.
Now line your shot up, do not shoot hard off the start, practice connecting the ice first and getting a feel for your stick flexing. Start putting more and more weight onto your stick as you progress. When you feel comfortable, start increasing both the speed and strength of your shot. Another tip is to aim your skates where you want the puck to go, a great trick is once you have released the puck turn your front skate to the area you are aiming at.
Remember to watch your follow through and always see where the puck goes. Everyone is different and dialing in your shot is always a personal preference.
How To Take a Slapshot Video
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Now you feel comfortable taking a slap shot and it is time to work on accuracy and muscle memory (muscle memory is built through repetition). The key to a great slap shot is accuracy and the best way to build it is through trial and error. Set up as many pucks as you can find. Get a bucket or some sort of a target and set it up about 20 feet away. Now start taking shot after shot after shot, don’t rush your shots, set up and prepare on each one. Once you start hitting 5 or 6 pucks in a row at your target, stop. Now go for a skate/ do a lap or practice your wrist shot. Now go back and start hitting them again. Keep repeating this process. This will condition your body that no matter what you were doing when you wind up for a slapshot it will be ready to give you the perfect shot everytime.
Thanks to the guys at hfboards.com and the OMHA forum for some tips on improving your slapshot. Many of these tips are from older rec players who are trying to improve their slapshots, coaches and even new players trying to learn how to take a slapshot. Here are some quick slapshot pointers to remember
Rotate Your Hips and Trunk
This is a good way to add power to your shot, As you wind up the slapshot, your hips and shoulders should be in a line to the target. As you come down, make contact, and follow through, your hips and shoulders should open up to the target (see picture above), adding a rotational force to the shot.
Try different stick heights and weights
Sometimes using a ligther stick, shorter or longer stick, or a stick with less, or more flex may make a difference in your shot. Try some different sticks out and try to find one that works the best for you.
Lead With your Bottom Hand
Here is a quote from the HFboards “One of the things i noticed that helped was getting low to the ice, dropping your lower hand down the shaft maybe a foot or so (note: Your hand should be halfway down the shaft or more), and really keeping that arm straight and pushing down and forward with it.”
Try leading with your bottom hand, really leaning into your stick and pushing the puck forwards.
Look at the Net when Shooting
Even if your shot is not that great you will score more, How many times do you see a hockey player just shoot blindly and hit the goalie in the crest and then wonder why that happened? Look, aim, and shoot
Slapshot Tips for Defense Video
How to Get More Power from Your Slapshot
Here are a few more articles (and videos) to help you progress on your slapshot
- How to improve slapshot power and technique
- Last summer I did a slapshot challenge and was able to improve my slapshot power by 20 MPH! In this article and video I share some tips that really helped
- how to improve slapshot accuracy
- What good is a powerful shot if you put it 5 feet wide every time, or can’t control where it is going. I show you a bunch of tips for controlling your x and y axis
- Slapshot Tips
- This article and video goes over some of the common mistakes that people make when trying to learn the slapshot. Watching the video and reading the tips should help you avoid cheating, and help you get the most power from your slapshot