Developing a great snap shot helps you capitalize on scoring opportunities, and catch goaltenders off guard when you’re in front of the net.
This shot makes an excellent apition to your hockey skills arsenal. There are a number of things you’ll want to keep in mind to make the snap shot a natural part of your game.
When you are between the hash marks, or on the point, the snap shot stance can let you fake the goalie out as to whether you’re going to shoot on goal, or pass to your line mate. The snap shot is as much a mental strategy as it is a physical action, so practicing the fundamentals in some hockey drills is important.
Here are five of the most important elements of a snap shot to keep in mind:
1. Bend your knees
To prepare for the snap shot, think of your body and your stick like a spring that needs to be compressed, and then released to hurl the puck at the net. Loading your weight on your legs coils the spring, and prepares your body for the necessary weight transfer for a great shot. Get a good grip on the ice with your skate opposite your stick and carve the ice a little with your inside edge.
2. Perfect puck positioning
When you are making a snap shot, you want the puck to be at a comfortable distance beside you, in between the toe and heel of your skate. You don’t want to lean out too far, lose your balance stretching for the puck, and end up staring at the championship banners hanging from the ceiling. You also don’t want to lose the power of the shot by having the puck too close to your body. Hold your stick out so it feels natural, balanced, and so you can protect the puck from anyone trying to poke check it away.
3. Grasp the stick for ideal mobility
You want to be able to have fluid movement of your stick during the snap shot. With your shoulders squared, grip the top of the stick with one hand, and your shooting hand should be about one third to just less than half way down the shaft of the stick. You want to prepare your shot with the toe of the stick on the ice, and you can begin to apply downward pressure on the blade. Hold your lower forearm straight down. Hold the stick about six inches from your body for the best range of motion. And most importantly, make sure your stick is the appropriate length for your height.
4. Take advantage of your stick's flexibility
If your shot is beginning right beside you and you have loaded your weight on to the toe of the blade, start to glide the puck forward. As the blade of the stick touches the ice down towards the heel, don’t be afraid to build up a little curve in your stick. Not enough to break your stick, but just enough to build up the potential energy which will make the puck glide faster as you complete your shot.
5. Follow through and finish your shot
When you take your shot, complete the forward motion of the puck, releasing the energy of your stick as it uncoils its flex from your downward pressure. Keep the motion of the stick going forward and finish your shot with authority. The quick shot from a neutral stance will hopefully elude the goal tender and his defenders who might have been preparing to cut off a pass instead of a sniper snap shot.
Honing your hockey skills with a great snap shot can make a big difference in your mental game and should make a difference on the score board as well.
Out-think your opponents, catch them flat footed, and take advantage of:
- Your power
- Your stick's flexibility
- Proper stick grip position for mobility and control
- Perfect puck positioning with a great snap shot
The snap shot is a great combination of strength, finesse, and skill which you can be proud of.