How to Get a Harder Shot in Hockey
Beating a solid goaltender in hockey requires skill, precision and plenty of shot speed. Pure size and brute strength certainly help. Zdeno Chara, the record holder for slap shot speed as of May 2013, is also one of the tallest professional hockey players ever at 6 foot 9 inches. However, players of any size or skill level can add extra power to their shot by learning and mastering the basic fundamentals of the slap shot and wrist shot.
Slap Shot Speed Tips
Position your lower hand slightly below the midpoint of the blade shaft. Such a low hand placement increases the amount of stick bend and kinetic energy that the shot contains.
Stand at a slight angle to your target with your feet about shoulder width apart and your weight on the back foot. Starting with your weight on the back foot increases the amount force that you can put on the shot. The puck should be in line with the middle of your front foot.
Wind up by lifting the stick backwards until it is slightly above waist height. Unless you have perfect shooting form, lifting the stick higher than your shoulders sacrifices accuracy without adding more power.
Swing the stick downward toward the puck as you step into the shot and transfer your weight toward your front leg. Tilt the blade forward slightly to increase the power of the upcoming strike and to help keep the trajectory low.
Strike the ice about two inches behind the puck, with the center of the blade poised to strike the puck.
Snap your wrists forward as you make contact with the puck. Rotate your front toe toward the goal to maximize weight transfer and stay low to the ice as you follow through to avoid hitting the puck over the goal.
Wrist Shot Speed Tips
Move your hand to a position approximately halfway down the stick shaft to increase maximum power potential. Stand at a 45-degree angle toward the goal, which is a more open stance than your slap shot stance.
Bring the puck in line with your back heel. Starting with the puck further forward sacrifices power but allows you to snap off a shot more quickly.
Tilt the edge of the blade forward over the puck, cradling the puck toward the inner third of the blade.
Start the shot by pushing the puck forward with your lower hand and simultaneously pulling the top of the stick back with your top hand.
Rotate your body toward the net throughout the shot. By the time the puck reaches your front foot, your shoulders should be square to the target.
Snap your wrists forward when the puck reaches your front foot. As you snap your wrists, the puck will roll toward the edge of the blade. Then shoot toward the goal.
Follow through with your shot after the puck leaves the blade. Keep your follow-through swing low for a low shot or follow through with a higher swing to aim for the top of the net.
Dan Howard is a sports and fitness aficionado who holds a master's degree in psychology. Howard's postgraduate research on the brain and learning has appeared in several academic books and peer-reviewed psychology journals.