How to Take a Snapshot – Off Ice Tutorial

how to take a snapshot

by Jeremy Rupke on October 26, 2010

The snapshot is a very important shot in hockey. When players first start playing they will learn how to perfect the wrist shot, the backhander, and later the slapshot. Some hockey players will naturally learn the snapshot, but others have to be taught, and in my opinion it is better to learn the different techniques, where to use a snapshot, and how it can help you score more goals. In this tutorial we are going to show you how to take a snapshot, the different types of snapshots, the advantages of a snapshot, and when you should take a snapshot (the best chance of scoring a goal)

Two Types of Snapshots

When I was a kid I was taught how to take a snapshot, I was taught the old school way of shooting, but now I use the “evolved” version of the snapshot. This is just what I have observed, but there does seem to be a big difference in the two shots so I thought I would clear things up here (for the older players and younger players)

Old School Snapshot

The old way of taking a snapshot was basically a slapshot, but with very little set up time. Instead of doing a full wind-up and hammering the puck, you lift the blade of the stick about a foot off the ice, and then quickly shoot. For this method the steps are

  • Bring the blade about a foot off the ice
  • Quickly shoot (snap)
  • Hit the ice a few inches behind the puck to load the stick
  • Ensure you transfer your weight
  • Roll the wrists in the follow through and point the toe of the blade to aim where the puck goes.

For the most power you still need a bit of a wind-up, and transfer weight onto the foot furthest from the blade of your stick (you have to “step into” the shot which takes a bit more time) You can read my article on the two types of wrist shots for more information on transferring your weight onto different feet.

The New Snapshot

The new snapshot is a method that I see a lot of NHL hockey players using and also high level players. This shot requires almost no set-up time, and relies heavily on proper technique, and the flex of the stick to generate power. The advantage of this shot is that you can go from stickhandling to shooting almost instantly. With a quick release you can score more goals because the goalie will not have any clues that you are going to shoot and you will be able to catch them off guard and out of position. I will list the steps of the snapshot below

Snapshot with set-up

  • Draw the puck back a bit to set it up
  • Pull the puck forwards, and towards your body a bit. With a lot of practice you can use the toe of the blade to pull the puck in
  • The puck will now be moving on an angle towards your body, and closer to the net
  • Now is the time to really snap and shoot the puck
  • The puck will be a few inches in front of the blade of your stick, this is the tricky motion that you have to master
  • Pull back with your top hand quickly, while also pushing forwards with your bottom hand, this motion will cause the stick to flex, which will give your shot more power
  • When you hit the puck, you should then roll your wrists over for extra power and accuracy
  • Follow through low and roll your wrists over a lot to close the blade and keep the puck low, follow through high and keep the blade slightly open to shoot high.

Snapshot with no set up

  • This shot is easy to do while skating in on the goalie, for extra points do not break your stride while shooting, this will really surprise the goalie
  • Instead of pulling the puck back to set up, and get more power you can use the position of your body
  • Stickhandle with the puck on your shooting side, and move the puck forwards and backwards, this will allow you to shoot at any second you want
  • When you are ready to shoot simply step towards the net with the foot closest to the blade of your stick, this will line the puck up with your front foot
  • Now all you have to do is repeat the actions explained in the snapshot with a set up (without the set-up part) and you are good to go.
  • Remember to lean into the shot, and the trick is the quick snap, this will give you a powerful shot, and a quick release.

The Advantage of a Snapshot

Snapshots are important to learn because they can be very deceptive, and require very little set-up. If you perfect the snapshot you will be able to shoot without giving any clues to the goaltender, if the goalie is not prepared for your shot you will have a much better chance of scoring.

When to use a snapshot

A full wrist shot will give you the most power, but it takes longer to set up, many players can get a fairly powerful snapshot, but your wrist shot should always be harder. For this reason the wrist shot should be used when you are further away from the net, and you need to get the puck to the net quickly.

For the snapshot you should focus on accuracy, and still have a decent amount of power on it. The best time to use a snapshot is when you are in close to the net. The closer you are to the net, the less time the goalie has to react, and the more scared the goalie will be. If you are in close to the net a quick snap through the legs, or in the bottom corners will beat most goalies. If you have a quick goalie you can fake a shot, and if the goalie goes down, snap a shot up high.

How To Take a Snapshot Video

In this video I show you how to take a snapshot, I talk about the best times to use the snapshot, and even show you a few clips of me snapping some shots off in my backyard. If you want to show off your snapshot then upload a video response to this video on youtube.

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Jeremy Rupke

Coach
Hi my name is Jeremy. I LOVE hockey and I am passionate about improving and helping others improve. My goal is to break every hockey skill down into easy to understand articles and videos. I explain everything step-by-step to help others improve. If you want to learn more about me you can read my about page. Thanks for reading and sharing!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick March 25, 2013 at 8:00 am

Jeremy,

Thanks for the tutorial. I’m having problems transferring this from my off ice practice to on ice. Any tips or things that you find are most different between trying this off ice versus on ice (barring the obvious)? Off-ice I’m finding the shot is really powerful. On-ice, I get nothing on it.

Reply

Nolan January 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Which foot do you reccomend you shoot off of I see some people shoot off their outside foot and it didn’t seem right when I tried it

Just wondering if you could help

Thanks for all your articles and videos they’ve really made me a better player

Nolan

Reply

Jeremy January 23, 2013 at 11:05 pm

For the snapshot you want to transfer the weight to the foot closest to the blade of your stick. This will train you to shoot in stride with no set-up.

Athena November 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Hey Jeremy,

Can you post a video or teach us how to shoot high? I can’t seem to lift the puck into the air and make it fly.

Thanks

Reply

Mikey Sikora July 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

you are like god at hockey

Reply

Gabriel May 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Hey Jeremy,
are you doing some kind of “comments to amateur video” in a way that somebody sends you a video how he’s performing the shots and you will comment it like “this and this you are doing wrong”? If so I would really have an interest.
Thanks.
Gabe

Reply

Jeremy May 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Yeah just leave it as a video response to my snapshot challenge video on youtube and I will check it out

rudy August 2, 2011 at 1:25 am

Hey Jeremy i have a question
how would you get your snapshot more powerful

Reply

Jeremy August 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm

It is all about technique and a little bit about muscles. My best advice would be to get 100 pucks and practice your snapshot every day, or every other day. It would work even better if you had a radar gun to help you track your improvements.

For the technique you can try some of the things I mentioned in the video, after that it’s just about practicing them and tweaking your own style

Bret May 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

Love the videos and all the details. I’m 45 and just started playing a year ago after a 32-year layoff. I rely on your videos to help me up my game. I particularly enjoy all the detail and explanation – stuff I don’t get from on-ice skills sessions, where former college players show off and expect you to mimic them.
Great stuff!
- Bret in Massachusetts

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Ian April 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Can you talk a little bit about your net and backstop setup? Where did you get that? Did you make it or purchase it?

Reply

Ryan March 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Hi Jeremy, great tips and nice snappers!

I have a question, when taking your snap shot (the act of snapping), which part of the blade do you hit the puck with?
Toe, middle or heel?

Thanks!

Reply

Jeremy March 11, 2011 at 1:27 am

For me I pull the puck in a bit with my toe, then hit it with the middle of the blade

Ryan April 2, 2011 at 1:51 am

This really is the best tutorial on snappers ever! I am so glad you did this. I’ve read/watched a lot of old school books/videos which all taught the “quick slap shot” way. I’ve never liked that approach, and have always shot it similar to your quick method. All this time, I thought I was doing it wrong.

After practicing a few session following your tips, I am very happy with my snap shot. It is a quicker, harder and more accurate. Goalies just have a hard time picking it up.
The other thing that helped a lot was that I bought a new intermediate (55 flex, cut 5 inches) stick which is a more appropriate flex for my size. Previously I used a 85 flex Sr stick that was cut A LOT (real flex easily over >100).

Thanks again!

Ray October 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I use the snapshot just before going into a 1:1. When I don’t have the speed to go around the defender, I aim directly for the goal or sometimes just beside his shinguards, to get at least a decent shot on the goal. Better than nothing, sometimes the rebound makes up for it ;)

Reply

James October 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I generally use the snapshot when I don’t have much time, whether from the blueline (I play defence) or in closer. My style of snapshot is a quicker way than your but I will try yours during practise.

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