SHOOTING & STICKHANDLING

Here are a few Hockeyshot Tips to improve your shooting and stickhandling skills

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1. Snap Shot

Slowly pull your leg back while holding your foot with your hand. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Don't overstretch (if you feel to much pain, you are going to far). Good stretch to help with your leg flexibility.

A) Side to Front Snap Shot

The snap shot is quicker than a wrist shot and more accurate than a slap shot.The most important attribute of a good snap shot is the speed with which youcan release the puck. It's probably the most widely used shot in hockey today.

One of the most effective snap shot is the low snap shot. Try to keep the slap shot a few inches from the ice. At that height, your teammates have a good chance of deflecting the puck in the net and the goalie is easily screened by his own defenceman. The low snap shot is a great weapon especially when used at the point by a defenceman.

With your eye on your target, draw your stick back between your waist and your shoulder height. In this wind up (slingshot) position, your weight should be on your back leg. Drive your stick down stepping and leaning into the shot transferring your weight forward onto your stick through your lower hand. Your stick should strike the shooting surface 2 to 3 inches before the puck. The contact with the puck should be made in the middle of the blade or a bit off centered toward the heel. The bending and whipping return of the shaft and the forward motion of the downswing is what creates the powerful force. As the puck rises off the shooting surface, snap your wrists. Continue with a low follow through pointing at the target and resume a balanced position with your weight fully transferred on your front leg.

B) Back to Front Snap Shot

C) One Timer Snap Shot

  Download USA Hockey Magazine Snap Shot Article (150 kb)


2. Slap Shot

The slap shot is the most powerful and exciting shot in hockey. However, most of the time, the slap shot ends up hitting the boards. If you are to use the slap shot, you need to develop accuracy.

One of the most effective slap shot is the low slap shot. Try to keep the slap shot a few inches from the ice. At that height, your teammates have a good chance of deflecting the puck in the net and the goalie is easily screened by his own defenceman. The low slap shot is a great weapon especially when used at the point by a defenceman.

A) Slap Shot

B) Slap Shot One Timer

Improve your Slapshot Accuracy with these EASY steps

With your eye on your target, draw your stick back between your waist and your shoulder height. In this wind up (slingshot) position, your weight should be on your back leg. Drive your stick down stepping and leaning into the shot transferring your weight forward onto your stick through your lower hand.

Your stick should strike the shooting surface 2 to 3 inches before the puck. The contact with the puck should be made in the middle of the blade or a bit off centered toward the heel. The bending and whipping return of the shaft and the forward motion of the downswing is what creates the powerful force. As the puck rises off the shooting surface, snap your wrists. Continue with a low follow through pointing at the target and resume a balanced position with your weight fully transferred on your front leg.

Hockey Slap Shot Diagram


3. wrist shot

The wrist shot is probably the most effective shot in hockey. It is the most accurate shot and it can be released fairly quickly. This is the shot that a player should learn first. While not as fast as the slap shot, with practice, proper technique and upper body strength, the wrist shot can be a very powerful shot.

Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. For the wrist shot, move your lower hand halfway down the shaft to add power to the shot. Position your body at a 45-degree angle to the net. Bring the puck behind or even with your back leg lowering your shoulder as you reach back and down with your stick to position the puck. Keep the puck in the middle of the blade with the blade tilted over the puck (rotate your wrists). In this position, your weight should be on your back leg.

Sweep

the puck forward while transferring your weight toward your front foot and rotating your body forward. As the stick blade crosses your body, transfer body weight on your stick while pushing forward with your lower hand and pulling backward with your top hand. The puck is released when it reaches your front foot and your shoulders are square to the net. At the point of release, your wrists turn causing the stick blade to turn out and lift the puck. After the puck is released, follow through pointing the toe of your stick toward the target. The height of the shot depends on how much you rotate your wrists and how high your follow-through is.

The short wind up wrist shot

is similar to the description above except that the puck is positioned between your back leg and front leg. Starting with your weight on your back leg, you step directly into the shot transferring body weight on your stick while pushing forward with your lower hand and pulling backward with your top hand. The short wind up has a quicker release and should be used when there is little time to prepare and power is not necessarily required.

For the wrist shot advanced shooters

will position the puck on the back third of the blade. When the shot is released, the puck rolls toward the toe of the blade causing a spin on the puck, which provides a faster and more accurate shot.



4. Backhand shot

The backhand shot is the most difficult shot to learn. Most goalies fear the backhand shot because its trajectory is so difficult to read. A player will loose many scoring opportunities if he has not mastered the backhand shot. This shot is very effective when cutting in front of the goal or when the pass is made on your backhand side at close range to the net. A player should practice the backhand shot as much if not more than any of the forward shots.

Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. Move your hand down one-third the length of the shaft. Bring the puck just behind or even with your back leg. Position the puck on the back third of the blade (in the middle of the straight section close to the shaft). Roll your wrists to tilt the blade over the puck. Keep the line of shooting close enough to your body so that you stay balanced but far enough to provide good arm movement.

In the wind-up position,

Your body weight should be on the leg closest to the puck. With your head up looking at your target, move your arms across your body shifting your weight to your front leg (dip your front shoulder down and lean on the stick). You really have to roll your wrists as the shot is released and point the toe of the stick to the target. Follow through until your palm is pointing up. The higher the follow though, the higher the puck will rise.

  Download USA Magazine Backhand Shot Article (150 kb)


5. Hockey Stickhandling

Stick handling is one of the most important fundamental skills in hockey. You need good stick handling skills to play heads up hockey, to take and maintain possession of the puck, to win face-offs, to receive and make passes and to shoot the puck.

All the great puck carriers, great passers and great shooters can stick handle, position and shoot or pass the puck with their head up; this requires a lot of focused repetitive training. Because stick handling is such an integral part of hockey, stick handling should be one of the first things that a player learns and practices.

Hockey players can practice stick handling both on and off the ice. The important thing, especially for young players, is simply to have a stick in their hands and play with a puck. Street hockey games are a great way to develop stick handling skills but a player should also practice stick handling alone to focus on his technique and to learn new skills.

Stick handling can be practiced off the ice in your basement, garage or in your driveway. You can use a ball (tennis, golf or roller hockey) but a puck provides a better simulation. The more the puck and stick slide on the surface, the better it is for stick handling.

Learning stick handling

First, stick handle with your eyes fixed on the puck. Move the puck within a 12 to 18 inch span using a back and forth soft sweeping motion. Develop a comfortable rhythm, do not over handle the puck There should be very little impact and almost no sound. Practice side-to-side dribble, forward-to-backward dribble and diagonal dribbling. Master stick handling in a stationary position and then practice stick handling while moving forward, sideways and backwards.

  Download USA Magazine Stickhandling Articles (150 kb each)
  1. Gap control stickhandling
  2. Stickhandling protection
  3. Stickhandling in traffic


6. Forward Pass

Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. To set up for the forward pass bring the puck behind your back leg. Keep the puck in the middle of the stick blade. Rotate your wrist causing the blade to tilt over the puck. In this wind-up position, your body weight should be on the leg closest to the puck.

Passing Tip:

When making a pass you want to use a sweeping motion. Rather than "slapping" at the puck, begin with the puck on the heel of your stick and during the sweeping motion, the puck should spin to the toe of your stick and off to your teammate. Like shooting, remember to point the toe of your stick at your target at the end of your follow through to increase accuracy.

With your head up looking at your target, release the pass using a smooth sweeping motion (pull on your stick with your top hand and push on your stick with your bottom hand). Keep both hands out away from your body and keep adjusting your aim as your stick moves forward and your weight is transferred to your front leg. After the puck is released, follow through with the toe of the stick pointing at the target.



7. Backhand pass

The backhand pass is similar to the forehand pass except that it is made with the backside of the blade. Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. To set up for the backhand pass, bring the puck behind your back leg. Keep the puck on the middle straight section of the blade close to the shaft. Rotate your wrist causing the blade to tilt slightly over the puck. In the wind-up position, your body weight should be on the leg closest to the puck.

Passing Tip:

When making a pass you want to use a sweeping motion. Rather than "slapping" at the puck, begin with the puck on the heel of your stick and during the sweeping motion, the puck should spin to the toe of your stick and off to your teammate. Like shooting, remember to point the toe of your stick at your target at the end of your follow through to increase accuracy.

With your head up looking at your target, release the backhand pass using a smooth sweeping motion (push on your stick with your top hand and pull on your stick with your bottom hand). Keep both hands out away from your body and keep adjusting your aim as your stick moves forward and your weight is transferred to your front leg. After the puck is released, follow through with the toe of the stick pointing at the target.



8. Specialty Skills (tip ins, poke checks, one timers, saucer passes)

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