How To Hockey

How to Take a Backhand Shot

How to Take a Backhand Shot in Hockey
In hockey a backhand shot is very important. Some players such as Mats Sundin, Patrick Kane, Evengi Malkin, and Sidney Crosby are known for having powerful backhand shots. Sidney Crosby is said to use a flatter curve on his stick (as did Doug Gilmour) which does help with backhand shots.
3 Steps to going topshelf on the backhand

Why backhand shots are important
A powerful backhand shot gives you more opportunities to score goals. You will not always have time to switch to your forehand and shoot. Sometimes a quick forehand to backhand deke is the perfect way to beat the goalie. One more advantage of a backhand shot is that many goalies find backhanders hard to read, making it difficult for the goalie to stop the puck.

How to take a powerful Backhand

Here is another video I did with step by step instructions for taking a powerful backhand shot.

For some pro examples (and another video from me) check out our article on getting MORE power on your backhand
When to take a backhand shot
The backhand is the perfect shot when you are cutting in front of the net and the puck is on your backhand, or when you are deking. Many players deke to their backhand and shoot, only to have the puck stopped by the goalies pad. A player with a good backhand shot will be able to shoot the puck over the goalies pad (or top shelf )and score more goals. A backhand shot can also be useful when you need to shoot the puck quickly (no time to move to your forehand and shoot). There are many times when you should use a backhand, or need to have a powerful backhand shot in order to score. By following the tips below, and a lot of practice, you should be able to perfect your backhand and score more goals!
Different types of backhand shots
There are two types of backhand shots that I like to use. In this article I will explain the most powerful backhand shot. This shot is good to use when cutting to the net, or if you want to get a fast, hard backhand shot on net. I have explained the other method of backhand in the article How to backhand topshelf
How to take a powerful backhand shot
The first step is to draw the puck back in your stance. If you are cutting in front of the net then you will be drawing the puck to your leg furthest from the net (see picture) If you are skating towards the net then you will be bringing the puck to your backhand side and pulling it back slightly. It is a bit easier to take a powerful backhand shot when you are cutting in front of the net because you have more room to draw the puck back and put power on your shot. When you are skating towards the net you almost have to cross your hands over and do not have much room to draw the puck back and build power.

how to take a back hand shot in hockey
You can see the puck drawn back, the puck is at the center of the blade, the blade slightly cupped over the puck, and weight is beginning to transfer forwards

Location of Puck on Blade

You must have the puck in the right spot on your blade. You DO NOT want the puck on the toe of your blade; this will make it very hard to get a lot of power on your backhand shot. When taking a backhander you want the puck to be between the middle and heel of your stick (the flat spot of the blade is ideal)
The next step is to move the puck towards the net, the motion of a powerful backhand shot is similar to a wrist shot (except for the release point), you start by pulling the puck towards the net, you want to do this quickly and with as much power as you can. Remember to also transfer your weight into the shot. You want to move your weight in the direction of the shot; this will give you more power. I find using your legs to push off really adds a lot of power to this shot. Once you pull the puck towards the net with the blade of your stick, you will want to lift the puck up off of the ice (while still on the blade of your stick) and push it towards the net. You do this by by opening the blade, and then pushing down with your top hand while pulling up with the bottom hand. I also like to quickly roll the wrist of my top hand to get a bit of a pop (see the video for an explanation)

Hockey back hand shot
In the first frame the blade of the stick has shifted in order to move the puck to the top right (players perspective) corner of the net, this is just before the player shoots the puck. In the next frame the player is starting to shoot. You can see his right arm has come down, and his left arm is pulling the stick towards the net.
The release point of a backhand shot
With a wrist shot you will let the puck roll off the toe of your stick, however with a back hand shot this is not the case. Most blades (unless you have a flat blade) have a curve on the forehand, this means that when shooting a backhand shot, the curve is in the wrong direction. For this reason it is important to release the puck from the middle of the blade of the stick. Try to keep the puck on the flat spot of the blade (between the heel and middle of the blade) If the puck reaches the toe it will reduce your accuracy and power.
The final stage of the backhand shot
In the final stage of the shot (just after the puck comes off the ice) you will add a snap of the wrists to give the shot a little more power. With a powerful backhand you will also roll your hands over to aim the shot (sort of like a snap and roll combined). This means that the palm of the hand that is lowest on the stick will be pointing up, and the palm of the hand on the top of the stick will be pointing down. Writing out every step of a backhand shot makes it sound difficult and complicated, but the entire shot should take less then a second to perform. You can also check out our video on how to take a backhand in hockey which is embedded in the article above.
hockey backhander
The player has completed the shot, shooting the puck top right. It is important to follow through with your shot, and just as with a wrist shot, point at where you want the puck to go. Follow through high for high shots, low for low shots. If the player were shooting from further away he would roll his wrists more, and the palm of his left hand would end up facing up.
The most important way to get a more powerful backhand shot is to practice. If you have trouble getting the puck off of the ice, practice with a lighter puck so you can get your technique down. If you already can perform a backhand shot then try using a weighted puck. This will strengthen the muscles used to take the shot, and once you go back to using a regular puck it will seem a lot easier to shoot.
If you enjoyed this article then keep an eye out for my next article. “How to backhand top shelf” this article will show you how get the puck up high when you are in close to the net. You can also subscribe to my articles in the box to the left, this means the articles will get sent to your inbox whenever they are posted to the site.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave comments in the box below.

Coach Jeremy

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