How to Take a Slapshot

The first thing that every kid wants to do when he picks up a hockey stick is taking a slapshot. There is just something cool about those big booming cannons, which blow a puck in the net before the goalie can flinch it. With their dreams of ripping a slapshot on the top corner just as like their idols do, they spend hours swinging their hockey sticks. For this, they must know how to take a slapshot.
How to Take a Slapshot
Here are some steps on how to get it right:

  • First, you will have to understand how a slapshot works. The hockey stick is taken, aggressively slapped, and then bent on the ice. This builds a tension and releases this tension on the puck in the target direction. This technique can easily create a puck speed of over 100mph.
  • Learn when you must take the shot. It will be very tempting to wind up on the one-timer heading when you are on the top of the hash mark, but you must always restrain yourself. The huge majority of time, something a little simple will also work fine. Always remember that the slapshots are supposed to be used by a defenseman when he is positioned near the blue line. This will give a tip by forward standing right in front of the net.
  • Keep pointing your feet towards the puck, which should be exactly three feet away from the skates. Remember that you must never point the skates at your target; this is one of the biggest mistakes made by the beginners. However, once you have built some skill in taking a slapshot, this will be possible for you. Later, if you are short of time in the play, or you are not able to position yourself correctly at the shot, then you can always take a shot by keeping your feet a little crooked.
  • Take a look at the net. Remember that you will not have enough time to get your puck off, if you spend maximum time of yours in aiming at the point. A casual glance will work fine just to get a sense of the direction where you wish to shoot.
  • Get the correct grip. If you are right handed, then you must hold the stick with the left hand at the top. Your right hand will be lower than how you normally carry it when skating or stick-handling. Always make sure that you keep your hands shoulder length apart on the stick. When the stick reaches the highest point, your hands will automatically separate and move down on the shaft. When you finish the shot, your hands will end up being length apart. (Most of the left handed hockey players will shoot on the left making all these instructions backwards. Your right hand will always be on the top because you will need your dominant hand for best control)
  • Wind up, but never do this to an extreme. Remember that if you pull back way beyond your head then this will not add power but it will sacrifice your time and accuracy drastically. Just pulling the stick up to your waist will work fine. During this time, you should be looking down at the puck so that you do not miss it. Especially for beginners, when you are trying to learn the overall movement, while doing the windup never get the blade of your stick higher than your waist. Once you have made a reasonable shot, you can think of increasing your windup. Remember that with good mechanics it is very easy to unleash a powerful slapshot with very little windup.
  • Before hitting the puck, take another look at the goal and aim when you windup. If you are going for the goal now, always focus on a certain spot on the net, and not just the entire net. If you are taking a shot and thinking that a teammate will tip it (this is recommended instead of an actual goal), then always focus on the ice and on the stick side of the teammate.
  • Make contact with the ice inches before you hit the puck. Most of the players will mostly hit on the puck, thinking that ice will help in reducing the speed on their shoot. If you perform it in the right way, hitting the ice with your stick, few seconds before contact with the puck, will cause the stick to flex and your shot will puck off like an arrow from a bowstring.
  • When you are making the contact with the puck, roll your wrist so that the thumb of your dominant hand (left hand if left handed, right hand if right handed) turns down towards the ice. This will add more accuracy to your shot.
  • Follow through your entire shot to where you will be aiming. Once you have made the initial contact, follow completely in the same direction where you wish the puck to go. This will contribute for a more accurate shot, and this will help in keeping your puck stable in the air. Your shoulders will be facing the net, your hips will twist towards the direction of the shot, and your front foot will turn towards the direction of the shot. After you are done following, your complete body and stick will be pointing towards the direction of your shot.

Tips:

  • Make sure that your teammates know when you are shooting. Players usually tend to get confused and end up facing the wrong side and get the puck back on their leg where there is no protection. This will leave a nasty bruise and the player will have to limp for a while.
  • Always make sure that you are careful while playing on the ice.


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