A recent study was taken indicating that more than 50% of all youth players could not take a straight wrist shot from the blue line into the top of the goal. The reason for this is improper mechanics and techniques that have been adopted by the players or that have been improperly instructed. The mechanics of shooting today are much different than that of even 10 years ago. In the early days of hockey, flexible sticks with straight blades that were made of solid wood forced players to cup the puck and roll their wrists. Today, sticks are made of composites and are much lighter, and in most cases have very extreme curves in the blades. Sticks today are basically designed to allow your mechanics to be incorrect and still get a descent shot off, or at least shoot the puck in the air which most people associate with a good shot, although that is not necessarily the case. A shot must first be accurate. The more quickly it is released the better. Power is the least important aspect of shooting, especially is your accuracy is compromised, but it can certainly come in handy when trying to clear a path to the net and intimidate the opposition.
Pass & Shoot like you throw: Passing or shooting the puck is no different than playing underhand catch with a friend. What this means is that your bottom hand should be by your hip, you are looking only at the target, and you step forward and toss the puck. One difficulty is that many players who shoot left handed, actually throw right-handed. It is not difficult, however, to throw underhand with any arm. Simply hold a puck in the hand that is your bottom hand on your stick (Left for left hand shots/ right for right hand shots), face a friend or teammate, and simply toss the puck back and forth. Note* When doing this you do not roll your wrist over, look at the puck, or reach way out to the side or behind you, which are the 3 most common mistakes players make when shooting.
Remember: Passing and shooting are exactly the same, as far as mechanics go, and Accuracy is the most important part of a pass or shot. In the age of radar guns, everyone is obsessed with taking slap shots and shooting harder, which doesn’t mean anything if you first cannot skate into position to shoot, or even hit the net. A 100mph slap shot off the glass is not as good as a wobbling flip at the net. Only one has a chance to score.
Steps to practice:
- Take off your glove of your bottom hand
- Pick up a puck in that hand and practice throwing it underhanded to your partners stick
- Each player do this until you can throw it directly to your partner’s blade, then put two hands back on your stick and begin passing the puck with your stick in the same manner that you were just tossing it. (Leave your bottom hand glove off)
- Finally, put your glove back on and continue passing. Start out 8 feet apart and gradually widen to about 30 feet.
The same mechanics must to be used when shooting, except for the fact that you use your legs a little more for power. Remember, the Bottom hand is the power hand so hold tight.
Developing improper shooting mechanics can take years to overcome and that is why it is so important to understand the elements of shooting. Many instructors today still teach old methods and most shooting videos are filled with inaccuracies. The important thing to know is that with any skill, there is only one way to perform that skill correctly. However, since everyone’s body is different, there are many different ways for players to develop each skill.
To Schedule a Professional Shooting Lesson call Steve Phillips @ (805) 358 – PUCK