As part of our slapshot challenge it is our mission to help you improve slapshot power and accuracy. In this article we will show you how to turn your muffin of a slapshot into a howitzer.
Proper slapshot technique
Proper technique is the most important aspect of your slapshot, in fact by using a radar gun and tweaking just a few things in my technique, I was able to increase my slapshot by 15 mph. After improving my shot substantially, Ken and I went to the hockey expo in Toronto. There was a radar gun there where anyone could test their shot. One guy was in line in front of us who was absolutely jacked, 6 feet tall and muscles rippling from every where. Ken and I were sure he would be able to hit at least 80mph. This guy steps up and struggles to hit 65, still fast, but Ken and I have a lot less muscle and easily topped 70 mph. It just goes to show that proper form is the first thing you should work on.
Tips to improve slapshot power
After posting the slapshot challenge video on youtube, and starting a forum thread at the rink we got a number of video responses showing their slapshots. We noticed a few common slapshot technique problems that could be easily fixed for more power. Also while working on improving my slapshot technique I noticed a few changes in technique that really improved my slapshot speed. I have made a list below.
Hold the stick in the right location
Holding the stick too close to the blade is common among people learning the slapshot, as it makes it a bit easier to get the puck off the ice. However this is a bad habit that many players form. To get the most power from your slapshot your lower hand should be just below the halfway point of your stick, this allows you to put more flex on the stick. Also by holding the stick too low you will not be able to get full power from your shoulders and arms.
Your back swing in your slapshot should not look like a back swing in golf. You do not want to bring the blade of your stick behind your head, on an angle. The blade of your stick should move more like a pendulum, coming straight back and straight down. If your back swing and down swing is on an angle you will not get as much power from your shot, and you will not be able to flex your stick properly.
Transfer your weight
When you take a slapshot, you want to use your whole body, mot just your arms. A great way to add power to your shot is to step into the shot and get your weight moving forwards. This will help you transfer energy and give you a faster slapshot. Transferring your weight involves using your legs. In order to get power from your legs you should bend your knees, and during the downswing really drive into the shot with your back leg. If you watch NHL players taking slapshots you will notice they all push off with their back leg to get more power. Watch this video and watch Ron Hainseys back leg
Bend your knees
This goes along with transferring your weight. A common mistake in slapshot technique (for beginners) is shooting straight legged. If you are shooting straight legged you will not be able to properly transfer your weight. Bending your knees allows you to push off with your back leg, and drive into the shot.
Roll your wrists and follow through
While practicing my slapshot I noticed that I would often leave the blade of my stick open in my follow through. By rolling my wrist during the follow through, and continuing to push into the shot I added a few MPH to my top speed.
Video to help improve your slapshot technique
I shot this video that shows you how you can improve your slapshot technique and get more power from your shot.
These tips should help a lot of beginner hockey players improve their slapshot. If you are looking for some more advanced slapshot tips then read my article “understanding where slapshot power comes from” (will be posted soon)