Lets be honest, there is a lot to learn when it comes to positioning in hockey and you might have heard it 20 times but some of us just aren’t verbal learners. For all the visual learners out there I have created the hockey cheat sheet. This is an all encompassing guide that pretty much covers everything that your coach will yell over the boards at you. If you like this guide be sure to share it with your friends
How To Hockey Cheat Sheet
This guide should help you figure out what to do wherever you are on the ice!
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.
For the last few months a lot of our readers have been participating in the slapshot challenge where we have shown you how to take a slapshot, how to improve your slapshot power, slapshot tips and where slapshot power comes from. Now we are going to take a break from learning to break the glass with your slapshot and teach you how to pick the corners.
Improving the aim of your slapshot in five easy steps
Here are a few tips that you should remember when practicing your aim
Look at where you are shooting
Align your body properly
Practice proper form
Practice your follow through and rolling the wrists
Make sure you have the right stick
I will now go into more detail on how you can get better aim with your slapshot. In my article about where slapshot power comes from I mentioned the arms, legs, core muscles, and stick. If you have learned how to improve your slapshot power you should now be using all of those body parts to generate power, but now we have to learn how to use those body parts to get better aim.
Using Your Feet
You might think I am crazy, but you can actually improve your slapshot accuracy with your feet. I mentioned this in the how to improve wrist shot accuracy article and the same is true for taking a slapshot. When you are skating, you point your feet where you want to go, and when you are shooting you point your feet (or foot) where you want the puck to go. Pointing your foot will properly align your body, which means the rest of your body will be in a good position to take an accurate slapshot.
What you want to do is point the toe of the foot that you transfer your weight onto towards the side of the net you are shooting for. This not only helps you improve your accuracy, but also your power. By pointing your toe towards the target, and transferring your weight you will be moving your energy towards the net, which helps put more power into your shot.
Using Your Arms
This is where proper form comes into play, if your back swing looks like your golf swing then we have problems! You should practice nailing down your form so that there are very few inconsistencies. If your slapshot is different every time, then your aim will be different every time.
For the best aim you want to be able to draw a line from where you start your backswing, where the blade hits the ice (or ground), where the blade contacts the puck, and where you follow through to. Now if we put an arrow at the end of that imaginary line, that should be where the puck went
Using Your Stick
Your stick plays a big roll in having a great slapshot, but you have to know how to use it. Here are a few tips to using your stick properly
Make sure the flex is right for you
Make sure your stick is the right height
Hold the stick in the right spot
Contact the ground / ice before hitting the puck
Close or open the blade in the follow through to control height
Flexing the stick is important to get the puck off the ice, the recoil of the shaft and blade help get the puck up. DO NOT try to chip the puck, you will get NO power!
I covered most of those points in the how to take a slapshot article, but I will touch on a few of them now. For flex and the height of the stick these are usually personal preference, but if you are new (or newer) to hockey I would suggest using half your body weight as a starting point for your flex, and then going up or down depending on your strength.
How to Put the Puck Top Shelf, or Nice and Low
Controlling the height of the puck is a problem that a lot of players have. Some hockey players have the problem of rifling the puck over the net, while other can’t seem to get it off the ice; I will show you how you can do both!
How to get slapshots off the ice – The biggest problem I see here is players “cheating” they try the proper slapshot form a few times and can’t get it right, so they just chip the puck. This is when players make the blade of their stick like a wedge and chip at it like it is a golf ball BIG MISTAKE. The best way to take a slap shot is by hitting the ice first, with the blade of your stick cupped over a bit. This method, and angle allow the stick, and the blade to flex back before hitting the puck, now all you have to do is follow through properly and the puck should come off the ice. If you are using the proper technique and the stick is not flexing then try using a lower flex stick! If you want the puck to come off the ice then follow through high, and leave the blade of the stick open a bit (don’t roll your hands all the way over) remember to point the toe of the blade of the stick where you want the puck to go.
How to get the puck up when in close to the net – This is another problem some players have, they can pick the corner from the blue line, but not from the hash marks or closer. What you want to do here is change your form a bit, you don’t need a massive wind up, and beast of a shot when you are in close. The technique I use is not the most powerful, but it works. I find getting lower to the ice, and dipping your back shoulder helps you get under the puck more and get it up quickly (shown in video)
How to keep slapshots low – This is a fairly easy fix because most players already know how to take a shot, but they just want to keep them low. I find there are two things that really affect the height of the puck, follow through, and rolling the wrists. If you want to keep the puck low, keep the blade nice and low to the ice for the entire follow through, and start to roll your wrists over right when you contact the puck. By rolling your wrists you will be closing the blade of the stick, and this motion will keep the puck down.
Slapshot Accuracy Video
In this video I show you how to aim left, right, high and low and I even pick a couple of the corners myself just to prove I know what I am talking about 😀
I hope these tips have helped you improve your slap shot aim, remember to practice a lot because the best way to improve is by building your muscle memory, and you can only do that with practice. If you liked this article you can subscribe to this blog for more great hockey tips.
Yes there are two types of wrists shots in hockey, yet I am amazed at how many people are unaware of this fact. A newcomer to the game of hockey asked for some wrist shot tips in a popular hockey forum. Many beer leaguers who have been playing hockey for years tried to help. The problem was that different people were teaching different types of wrist shots as if they were the same type. I could not find one good article that addresses both types of wrist shots so I thought I would clear things up.
Two types of wrist shots
Both types of wrist shots are commonly used in hockey, and both have their pros and cons. The first one I will discuss is the first type of wrist shot you should learn, and also the most powerful. The second type of wrist shot is great for getting a quick shot off but not quite as powerful as the first.
The most powerful type of wrist shot
This is the first type of wrist shot you should learn because it teaches the fundamentals of how to take a wrist shot. For this type of wrist shot the player rotates the shoulders and trunk and draws the puck back, and across the body. Rotating at the trunk allows the player to bring the puck further back which will result in a more powerful shot.
The player will now execute the wrist shot by pulling the puck toward the net, rotating the shoulders and trunk towards the net, and transferring weight onto the leg opposite of their stick handiness (right handed shot transfers weight onto left leg)
This type of wrist shot allows the player to derive power from their core muscles, and also allows them to transfer more energy and power into their shot. The puck will be on the blade of the stick longer as well which will also result in more power.
The quick release wrist shot
This type of wrist shot is great if you want to surprise the goalie with a quick snapper. In fact some say this type of wrist shot is a mix between wrist shot and snapshot (it can be depending on how you execute it)
For this type of wrist shot the player keeps their chest facing the net and draws the puck behind them, and on their shooting side.
The player then leans into the shot, while quickly snapping the puck towards the net. For this shot the weight is transferred onto the same leg as the way the player shoots (right handed player transfers weight onto right leg) This type of wrist shot derives less power from the core and leg muscles, which results in a weaker shot.
In order to get as much power as possible from this shot the player must learn to use the flex of their stick to help generate power. Some NHL players refer to this as slingshotting the puck at the net ( especially if you have a low flex stick) the loss in power in this shot is made up with the quick set up and release.Know that you know about the two types of wrist shots, you should learn when to use each type of shot.
Where to use the powerful wrist shot
The powerful wrist shot is a great tool for defencemen to use. This type of shot can be used in situations when a slapshot would take to long to set up, or a more accurate shot is needed.
My favourite use of this shot is when I am coming into the offensize zone on the off wing, with one defencemen at the blue line. I penetrate the offensive zone near the boards, and the defence will now be near the top of the circle. At this point I push the puck forwards as if I am going to go hard into the corner or dump the puck in. Then I pull the puck back into position for the powerful wrist shot and cut to the cemtre. I shoot for the side of the net that I just came from. I know the goalie will be moving from the side I just came from, to the centre of the net, which gives me a good spot to shoot. The defence can also provide a partial screen which will increase chamces of scoring. (explained in the video as well for all you visual learners)
Where to use quick wrist shots
The best time to use the quick wrist shot is when you are in close to the net. The faster you can get the shot off the better. My favorite way to score with a quick wrist shot is to skate in, pick a spot and let it rip. The key to scoring this way is accuracy, and not giving any clues that you are going to shoot. A great way to perfect this is to practice executing the quick wrist shot without breaking your stride.
Another great way to score with the quick wrist shot is through the five hole. The closer you are to the goalie, the less time the goalie has to close the gap, and the better chance you have to score.
Two Types of Wrist Shot Video
This video shows you how to take each type of wrist shot, the difference between them, the benefits of each shot, and when the best time to use each shot is.
Wayne Gretzky is known as one of the greatest hockey players of all time, not only for his incredible skill, but also because of his Hockey IQ. Some people refer to hockey as chess on ice and to quote Lowell Cohn – “Some guys play hockey. Gretzky plays 40 mph chess.” A great hockey player should be able to read a play, and know not only where everyone IS on the ice, but also where every player WILL BE on the ice. This is hockey IQ
This article is going to deal with the mental side of hockey that Gretzky knew so well. I believe that hockey is at least 60 percent mental. This means not just being able to put your head on a swivel, it means being able to read plays, understand the ice and the rink and be able to react instantly to any situation that might arise.
Pre-Game warm up
Developing your mental skills doesn’t require you to be on the ice, near a hockey rink or even have equipment on. It is a proven fact that if you are confident and believe you can do something your chances of completing that task will rise astronomically. Before games I used to take ten minutes in the dressing room, throw my towel over my head and just sit there and imagine. I wouldn’t dream about girls or cars I would see myself on the ice taking and giving the perfect passes, stopping every player who came near me, and even scoring a few goals. This gave me a great boost of confidence on the ice and freed up my mind to focus on the game. If you have the slightest worry that you are going to be beaten it can be the difference between a great play or a huge disappointment. If you do this for a few minutes before practice and games I guarantee you will improve your overall game.
On the Ice
Being able to read the plays on the ice and react accordingly is one of the single most important assets to a hockey player. You could be the best skater in the world but if you do not understand how to get open for a pass or make that perfect play you are useless.
A great example of how mental training can help is on two on ones. Before the game I envision stopping any two on one. When it happens I am already prepared to stop two on ones. In my mind, I know I am going to stop it and I start looking ahead to what I am going to do with the puck after I stop the play. This confidence greatly increases my chances of stopping the play.
The same works on any situation on the ice. Just remember that if they do beat you, don’t get discouraged. When you are on the bench play out what happened in your head and try to see what you did wrong, and how you can improve. Then imagine how you could have made the play. Hockey is not only about training your muscles, but also about training your brain!
Another mental aspect of the game is emotion. Your emotions are one of your great strengths but also can be your biggest weakness. Keeping your emotions in check is a necessity for any hockey player. A good example is when your team is on a penalty kill. If a player hacks your goalie and the ref does not see it, as a defensemen you have been trained to take that guy out. Say you let your emotions get the best of you and cross check or slash this player, now the ref sees you do this and calls another penalty and your team is down another player. I did this in provincials and though no goal was scored I got an earful from the coach.
Think of it this way, when you are on the ice, you are supposed to do things you learned in practice. Shoot, pass, stop players and throw body checks. If you are thinking of doing something that you did not learn in practice (slash, trip, crosscheck) then think for a second how it might effect your team. Coaches hate selfish players, so think about your team first, and your pride / ego second.
A good hockey player will be able to read their teams emotions and help change them. If your team is down, you will be able to feel it on the bench. Go out on the ice and give it 200 percent, skate hard and try to make some huge hits. If you have a good shift then get back on the bench and get amped about the shift, also try to get your team hyped up. You will see a change almost instantly on your bench. It only takes one amazing hit, goal or play to completely change the game. You have the power to change the outcome of a game.
I hope this helps you understand the mental plays in the game. If you can take anything from this article it is to use your head before, during and after the game.
Now that we are nearing the summer, and many players will be wrapping up their hockey season, many players and hockey parents may be thinking of what hockey camp to enroll their children in. This seems like the obvious answer to help keep your child’s hockey skills up par, but have you considered other sports instead of hockey?
Some people may not realize that you can really increase some of your hockey skills by not playing hockey at all! Don’t believe me? Just ask some of the pros
Wayne Gretzky – “If sport has a high point of the year, it must be the first week of spring.” “…When I was growing up, I used to love this time of year. It was when I put my hockey equipment away and I was absolutely ecstatic to see the end of the hockey season. One of the worst things to happen to the game, in my opinion, has been year-round hockey and, in particular, summer hockey. “All it does for kids, as far as I can tell, is keep them out of sports they should be doing in warmer weather. I could hardly wait to get my lacrosse stick out and start throwing the ball around. It didn’t matter how cold or rainy it would be, we’d be out firing the ball against walls and working on our moves as we played the lacrosse equivalent to road hockey.” “All the good hockey players seemed to play lacrosse in those days and everyone of them learned something from the game to carry over to the other – things athletes can only learn by mixing up games they play when they are young.”
Here is another quote from Peter Twists Complete Conditioning for Ice Hockey “[What advice would Gretzky have for a young player?] [For young athletes Gretzky recommends, “that they do not focus on one sport. Kids should play all sports. Varied sport participation will help their hand-eye coordination and improve their overall conditioning and athleticism. Team sports, at a young age, also help them learn to be unselfish.”
If that is not enough for you here is another quote from Peter Twists book from a former NHL player and current NHL coach, Pat Quinn “One thing I don’t like about our game today is that one sport takes too much time from the kids. If they’re hockey players when they’re seven, it’s a 12 month job now, with summer camps and a heavy game schedule. This works against overall development of skill and athletic ability. I’d much rather see kids play as many team sports as they can.”
I think I have your attention now, you may be asking what sports will your child enjoy, but also help them come back next season as a better hockey player? I have written several articles that sum up how each sport will help build your child’s overall athleticism, and also help them develop some great skills for hockey. (linked at the bottom of this article)
I think it is a good idea to compete in many sports in order to be a good overall athlete. Many pro athletes also played a number of other sports, and I think that helped them become a complete player. One point to consider is the fact that muscles plateau, muscles will plateau if only worked to a certain point. I think the same goes with muscle memory, as well as building muscle mass, if you only play hockey, you will only be testing the muscles involved in hockey. Playing other sports will test and build your muscles, and muscle paterns in ways that hockey would not. This means that some areas will grow beyond any level you could achieve while playing hockey, helping to make you an elite athlete. If you do not believe me that playing a variety sports will help you in hockey, just ask Wayne Gretzky and Pat Quinn 😉
Tennis and sqaush are great sports to participate in because you really only need two people to play. You can also play by yourself if you really want, however you will not be challenged quite as much. I like squash a bit more because you are constantly changing direction, and you must move fast in order to get to the ball. I find with tennis if you are not that good you will spend more time getting the ball, rather than actually playing. Squash is a great sport you can start with your child and you will both benefit from the extra activity.
Skills that will transfer to hockey from Tennis and Squash
Importance of following through with shots
Stop and starts and explosive movements
Hustling to complete a play
Hand eye coordination
Building quick decision making
I have listed a number of skills that tennis and squash will help build that will also be important in the game of hockey, however there are many other sports that you can participate in that will help your game in hockey. You can read some of my articles to find a whole list of sports that you can play that will not only make you a better athlete, but also a better hockey player!
Soccer is great to play on a team, with friends, or by yourself just kicking the ball against a wall, or even practicing some moves. I think the biggest improvement players would notice after a few good soccer sessions would be their improvement in foot speed and their ability to play the puck with their feet. I remember when Ken and I spent a few hours in the driveway playing soccer with a road hockey ball. From that day on I would frequently use my feet in hockey, and I noticed a lot of times that using my feet helped me make plays that I otherwise would not be able to do. If you or your child play soccer here are a few skills that might carry over into hockey
Skills that will transfer to hockey from Soccer
Foot speed and foot skills
Acceleration and speed (your legs get a great workout)
Cardio, aerobic and anaerobic energy systems
Ability to read plays and make plays
Fakes and dekes (shoulder and head fakes)
Sportsmanship and team play
Quick movements and changing direction
Great for defensemen
I have summed up a few skills that I think players would notice the most. I think that defensemen would get the most benefit from playing defense on a soccer team because they will need to always be reading plays, and will also use their feet again. Some of the best defensemen I know were great with their feet, one move I use is putting the puck through the legs of the D, the better the defensemen the faster I have to be, or I need to use one deke first, then put it through their legs on the second move. If tennis, squash and soccer are not for you I have one more sport to mention, Lacrosse
Thanks to kmad from Reddit hockey for this great tid bit of info: “Sedin twins are notorious for playing soccer in the dressing room. In the early parts of the decade they had the whole team into it.”
After doing some research I found out that the Sedin twins played hockey and soccer when they were younger, they both played soccer on the Swedish junior national team, and had offers to play soccer for a club in Stockholm, but they chose hockey.
Lacrosse is probably the best summer sport to play, as it is very similar to hockey. Wayne Gretzky, one of the best players of all time was known for also being great at Lacrosse. I read in Gretzky’s book that when he played in the minors a coach on the other team offered $5 for every hit laid on Gretzky in the game. The coach ended up paying $2.50 for half a hit, why? Gretzky said he had learned from Lacrosse to dodge hits, and roll off of them. That is not the only thing you will learn though, I have compiled a list below of skills that will help your hockey game that you can learn in Lacrosse.
Skills that will transfer to hockey from Lacrosse
Lateral movement and foot speed
Dekes and fakes
Passing and setting up plays
Hand eye coordination
Sportsmanlike and team play
Acceleration and speed
Shooting and aim / accuracy
Core strength, follow through and second efforts
Checking and physical presence
Here is a great list of other hockey players who would play lacrosse during the summer when they were young
Wayne Gretzky, Brendan Shanahan, Doug Gilmour, Cliff Ronning, Joe Sakic, Steve Larmer, Collin Patterson, Tim Hunter, Paul Kariya, Don Cherry, Gary Roberts, Adam Oates, Paul Coffey, Joe Nieuwendyk. …and many more! – Thanks to Port Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association for the list.
It is best to enroll your child in team sports, but not every town has a local lacrosse team. When I was younger I bought a few lacrosse sticks from Canadian Tire and just tossed the ball around, or played mini games when my friends were over. Lacrosse is great at building all kinds of muscle memories that you can really use in hockey. So don’t just limit yourself, or your child to hockey, make sure they get to play a number of sports and become overall great athletes.
This article shows you how to take a backhand when you are close to the net, I also recommend my article and video on how to take a backhand shot, where I show the most powerful method that should be used when further from the net.
Not being able to put your backhand shot in the top shelf is a problem that many players have, but few realize. Most hockey players tend to focus on their wrist shot or slapshot because these are the two most commonly used shots in hockey, but how often do you really use your backhand shot? I bet you would use it a lot more if you could snipe top shelf every time. For this reason I decided to write a tutorial detailing how you can use your backhand to put the puck right where momma keeps the cookies.
Raising Your Backhand Close to the Net
I like to think that there are two types of backhand shots in hockey, the first type you would use when you are further away from the net, and would like a lot of power on your shot. I have detailed how to take this type of shot in my article How to take a powerful backhand shot. Now that you have read that article you should learn how to get the puck up quick when you are close to the net. Practicing getting the puck up quick is important for a number of reasons
Many goalies utilize butterfly style goaltending. This means the goaltender can quickly and easily cover the bottom of the net. In order to score on a good butterfly style goaltender you will need to be able to lift the puck quickly, at least over the goalies pad.
A quick, powerful backhand shot, up high can be very deceptive as many goalies will not expect a backhand shot to be flying for the topshelf.
Many times players waste time moving the puck to their forehand to shoot (giving the goalie time to set up to make the save), because they are not comfortable with their backhand. Other players just whack at the puck and drive it right into the goalie because they have not mastered their back hand shot.
The main reason you should practice sniping top shelf on your backhand…You WILL score more goals
I hope these points will convince you to take some time and work on getting your backhand shot up quick. You may be thinking “ok I get it! Get to the backhand tips already” I will do you one better. I went out and made a video for you! I find seeing it makes learning a lot easier, but if you have a thing against watching videos feel free to read the tips below the video.
Hockey Backhand Shot Video
How to Raise Your Backhand in Hockey
When you are close to the net, power is not as important as height. You want to get the puck up quick, fast, and in a hurry. Follow the steps below to snipe topshelf
Start with the puck forwards in your stance
By having the puck forward in your stance you can get a better angle on the puck. You want to make the blade of your stick like a wedge, get under the puck, and almost shovel it up top.
Location of the puck on the blade
In this shot the location of the puck is not crucial, somewhere close to the center of the blade is fine, but do not worry to much about it.
Get some momentum
If you have to fire the puck off quick, just get low, wedge it up, and pull up hard to put power on the shot. If you have some time it helps to get the puck moving towards the blade first. Tap the puck towards you quickly then wedge your blade under the puck and pull up quickly
Get low to the ice
The idea of this shot is to get under the puck, then scoop it up high. Bend over a bit at the hip to help you get lower. The reason you want to get low is because you want to wedge the puck up high. To get even more of a wedge on your blade you can drop your top hand (the one holding the top of the stick) lower to the ice.
Lead with your bottom hand
When the puck is on the blade of your stick use your bottom hand to pull up hard on the middle of the shaft, while pushing down with your top hand.
Follow through is very important, the puck will be on the blade of your stick right until the end, so you must continue to guide the puck right into the top of the net.
By reading this article you should have a few good ideas of how to put the puck top shelf on your backhand. First you get the knowledge, then you get the experience, so go..now…PRACTICE!
I have summed everything up in the picture below.
Hockey Backhand Shot
In the first picture you can see the puck is forward in my stance. I am tapping the puck away from the net to get some momentum towards the blade of my stick. In the next frame I get behind the puck to “catch it” and get it on the blade of my stick. In the next frame you can see the puck actually on the blade of my stick, and I am pulling it hard to the top of the net. The key is the follow through and to guide the puck top shelf. In the last picture you can see I have put the puck top shelf.
Once you perfect this shot let me know in the comments 😀
For more tips on shooting I recommend the building blocks of shooting video series which I include on the shooting resource page.
This article focuses on how to take a wrist shot. I believe it is important to master technique and accuracy before working on power. I will be adding an article on how to improve wrist shot power soon. I have bought a radar gun and will test every possible way to increase wrist shot power through technique and I will also be adding workouts and training, I will post the article after extensive testing and research. For now though lets focus on the basics
Wrist Shot Tips
This article will outline how to take a wrist shot in hockey, or if you already know how to take a wrist shot, it may provide you with some tips on how to improve your wrist shot.
When taking a wrist shot the puck should be drawn back behind or even with your back leg (wherever you feel most comfortable), think of it as throwing a ball, in order to get more power, you want to pull it back so you can get a lot of power. You can raise a puck off of the ice without pulling the puck back, however pulling the puck back gives your wrist shot a lot more power.
Location of Puck on the Blade of the Stick
In order to take a wrist shot the puck should be between the heel and middle of the blade. While you are executing the wrist shot the puck will roll forwards toward the toe of your stick. This will give the puck a spin, and also allow you to aim where you want to shoot.
Location of your Hands
When shooting your top hand should be holding the top of the stick, and your lower hand should be no more than half way down your stick, many players hand position differs and your hand position will vary depending on different types of wrist shots (close to the net, cutting in, angle, etc..). Some guides say to have your hands about twelve to fifteen inches apart, but this depends on how old (and tall) you are. A good guide is to touch your elbow of the bottom hand to your top hand and then grab the stick. You don’t want your hand any higher than that.
In this picture my bottom hand is close to the middle of the shaft. Anywhere between the middle and 3/4 of the way down is fine, and the position changes depending on where you are shooting from and the angle you are shooting from.
How to take a Wrist Shot Video
In this video I take you through the steps of the first type of wrist shot you should learn. When taking a wrist shot you can transfer your weight onto the foot closest to the blade of your stick, or the one furthest from the blade of your stick. You get the most power if you transfer the weight to the foot furthest from the blade, so that is the technique I show below. (other method shown below the video)
Now that you have watched the How to take a wristshot video check out shooting from the “off foot” below, the points about weight transfer and stick flex are the same for both methods of the shot
Wrist Shot From the Off Foot
There are two types of wrist shots, the method below shows you how to shoot from the off foot, you should practice both methods. You can see my article and video for more info on the two types of wrist shots.
When you begin to take the shot most of your weight or power should be on your front leg, while taking the wrist shot you should move even more weight to your front leg, and push off with your back and front leg, thus putting more power and energy into your wrist shot.
This picture is taken just before I start to shoot. You can see I am leaning over and forward a bit. I am just about to push off with my back leg. Using your legs is a great way to add more power and energy into your shot.
Some people do not know that the stick actually adds a lot of speed and power to your shot. When you are shooting if you lean into the shot you will load the stick, putting energy into the shaft, which is then transferred to the puck when you release your shot.
You can see the amount of flex that is on my stick, mid shot. This flex adds a lot of power to your shot. When that flex (potential energy) is released, it will launch the puck at the net. You can generate a lot of flex on your stick by buying a stick with appropriate flex (depends on your weight and size), leaning into your shot, and building the muscles involved in taking a wrist shot. Right now I am pushing hard with my bottom hand, while pulling back with my top hand, the puck generates resistance on the bottom of the stick which results in the shaft flexing.
Your follow through is very important, when you follow through you are essentialy aiming where the puck is going. A good follow through also ensures that you are getting full power from your wrist shot. By continuing to push through with your shot you will keep the puck on the blade of your stick longer, thus transfering more energy onto the puck, and building more speed on your shot. Practice a good hard shot, along with a powerful follow through. When you are following through you should roll your wrists over, and point at where you want the puck to go. After shooting it should look like you are looking down the scope of a rifle
You can see I have completed the wrist shot and this is the follow through. I shot high, and I am looking down the shaft of the stick at where I was aiming. My leg is up in the air because I put all of my weight onto my front leg. I pushed off with my back and front legs to drive more energy into my shot.
How to execute the Wrist Shot
To take the wrist shot have the puck drawn back, your hands in the proper position, and the puck near the heel of the blade of the stick. When you are properly set up begin to take the wrist shot, pull the puck towards the net with the blade of the stick. When the puck has moved a bit on the ice, you want to pull with your top hand, while pushing with your bottom hand, this generates flex on the stick and lifts the puck off of the ice. While the puck is off the ice and on the blade of your stick you will want to roll, or flick your wrist in order to get full power from the shot, and also get more accuracy from your wrist shot. You should point the toe of the blade of the stick at where you are shooting, and follow through. Learning to take a wrist shot can feel very awkward as it is an unnatural movement for the human body. When explained in words it sounds very complicated, however once you learn how to do it, you will never forget! A good way to learn the basics is to start with a light puck, once you have the basic motion and muscle memory of how to take a wrist shot, then try with a normal puck.
In this wrist shot I had my bottom hand a bit higher on the shaft of the stick. You can see I had the puck near the heel of my skate to start, pushed off with my back leg to transfer my weight into the shot, shot the puck and followed through.
I hope you enjoyed this article, how to take a wrist shot. I will be adding more articles, pictures and videos regularly. You can subscribe to my posts using the box to your left, or an RSS reader if you would like helpful hockey tips on a regular basis. I have also included a video to show you exactly what to do.
Wrist Shot Video for Beginners
In this video I show you every step involved in taking a wrist shot.
How to Take a Wrist Shot From Your off-foot
In the video below I show you how to take a wrist shot from your off foot.
Below are tips that will help a coach run a successful and productive hockey practice.
There are 10 key ingredients a coach should mix into each practice. Collectively these lead to enjoyment and learning for both players and coaches
Coaches should have a minimum of 50 pucks in their bucket.
Players must be on time, all the time. Coaches set the standard and lead by example. Parents must be encouraged to buy in.
Don’t waste ice time stretching. Stretching should be performed in the dressing room prior to the ice time.
The use of stations in practices leads to a dynamic practice. Stations keep participants active enabling them to achieve high levels of repetitions. Have players spend 3 – 8 minutes per station before switching. 2 – 3 stations are recommended. ( Must be a coach at each station )
Basic Skill Development (skating, puck control, passing, shooting) should comprise 90% of your practice time. Remember you can work skills in game-like drills. Skill Development should not be considered boring.
Positive and Specific Feedback are imperative. Consider the Head Coach who always stands at center ice and runs drills. How often during the practice is this coach able to effectively teach??? Teaching is done in the trenches (corners, lines).
Routines in practice are dangerous. Players will pace themselves and become bored very quickly. Routine practices develop great practice players. Strive to change things up, create an element of surprise, utilize variety, and generate enthusiasm. Players also enjoy time on their own. 2 – 5 minutes per practice should be sufficient. This enables players to be creative and try new things.
“Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I might remember, involve me and I’ll understand.”
Practice Execution by coaches is of principle importance. Great drills that aren’t executed properly by coaches are useless. Execution involves using all staff on the ice, having pucks spotted in the proper areas, informing players of the whistle sequence (1st whistle begin, 2nd whistle stop, 3rd whistle begins next group) and providing appropriate feedback. To assist in practice execution, name your drills ie. “Killer Bees”.
Relate what you do in practices to games and vice versa. “Players, we are doing this drill because in our last game we were unable to finish around the net.” or “This drill will assist you in keeping your stick and body away from the checker and in an effective scoring position.”
Hey my name is Jeremy I love hockey and have wanted to start a site with how to hockey videos and articles for a while now. I finally got into a position where I could dedicate some time to making a how to hockey website so that is what I am doing. I plan on adding a lot of instructional hockey videos over the winter and if all goes well this site will have a lot of good information about hockey by the end of the winter. You can subscribe to my posts if you want to get hockey tips as I post them and I will add an option where you can get the articles and videos by email as well.