Teach Yourself Great Wrist Shot Technique

There are many times where making an accurate wrist shot will be your best option to hit the net. You might have deked out a defenseman or two, or you might have just received a pass from a teammate. You may have studied some of the current great wrist shot artists, such as:

  • Joe Sakic
  • Phil Kessel
  • Alex Ovechkin
  • Hayley Wichkenheiser

There are two types of wrist shots:

  • The Quick Release – To surprise the goaltender, defensemen, and your Mom in the stands.
  • The Most Powerful Wrist Shot – When they know you're going to shoot, but they don't know where.

The types of wrist shots, with credit to Coach Jeremy Rupke and his mad skills, depend on:

  • Where you are, relative to the net.
  • The preparation status of the goaltender.
  • How well defended you are, when you have possession of the puck.

Here are the necessary steps to taking a great wrist shot, whether you are in Stealth Mode or Power Mode.

Quick Release Wrist Shot

You’re within the hash marks, chest pointed at the net, and the puck on your stick. You're on the power play, so the goalie is a little unsure if you're going to shoot, pass or drive around the net. The game is tied, so you want to score.

When you've decided to shoot, and accuracy is more important than power, getting the puck off fast is ideal. You won't get robbed by a defender, the goalie isn't quite sure what your plan is, and surprise – not strength is your biggest ally.

Chest pointed at the net, knees slightly bent, and puck on your stick starting just slightly behind your skate, you transfer your weight to your skate nearest the puck. Get some flex on your stick if you can, but more importantly, sweep the puck forward, give your wrist snapping motion when you are finishing the sweep forward, and follow through toward your target with a quick release. The follow through should end where you want the puck to go.

This shot is all about surprise, so if you score with this shot, make sure to smile and wink when you score. Subtlety is important, so don't ride your stick like old-school Tiger Williams.

Most Powerful Wrist Shot

The differences between the powerful wrist shot and the Quick Release are that in the Powerful shot:

  • You start with the puck further back, for a longer drag along the ice before you release.
  • You will transfer your weight to the leg opposite the puck, so you can get a long push forward to your shot, use your lateral muscles on your torso and legs, and really get a good flex and release in your shot when you snap your wrist and propel the puck forward, you shoot with some good force.
  • Ovechkin Shooting

The powerful wrist shot can still take your opposing goalie and defenders by surprise, but if you shoot at a variety of targets throughout the game with this shot, you can keep them guessing, and you can shoot from the blue line or towards the boards, and look like a real hero in the process. If you’re a defenseman, you'll want to master the MPWS big time.

The slap shot seems to get a lot of the headlines in hockey, but finesse players like Ovechkin, Crosby and Kessel make great use of the wrist shot, and tally lots of goals.

Practice your wrist shot often, from a broad range of angles and distances from the net. It doesn’t have the sound effects or break as many sticks as slap shots, but when you master it, it can be an effective goal scoring weapon for your arsenal.

Practice your wrist shot often, from a broad range of angles and distances from the net. It doesn’t have the sound effects or break as many sticks as slap shots, but when you master it, it can be an effective goal scoring weapon for your arsenal.

How to Make a Great Snap Shot

You robbed an opposing forward of the puck, and you've deked out his teammates. As you skate up the ice, you see that you're all alone. You cross the blue line, and the goalie has the audacity to come out to challenge you for the puck.

You deke left, and as you raise your stick to make a wrist shot, the goalie poke checks the puck from you, robbing you of a great scoring opportunity. If only you had practiced your snap shot, you could have tapped in the game winning goal.

It’s a good thing you found this article, because next time, you’ll know exactly how to make a great snap shot, and you'll make the best of your in-close scoring chances.

Here are four steps to a great snap shot.

  1. Puck Position

  2. You want to get a snap shot away quickly, because in most cases, you have a defenseman barreling down on you, or a goalie to contend with. Handle the puck in close to your body, at the most slightly behind your skate so you can build up some speed by dragging it forward.

    Like a backhand shot, the snap shot relies more on surprise than power. It's a great shot to make on a penalty shot as you cross the goal mouth, or after a battle in front of your opponent's net. Old fashioned snap shots were just choppy slap shots, with a foot high lift of the stick. You can bank on the slight raise of the stick, but leave the chopping for firewood.

  3. Sitck Position

  4. Instead of the old quick chop shot, push the puck forward and toward you, and then bring your stick down on the ice, just behind the puck. To build up some flex in your stick, you'll want to have your hand half way down the stick. Your chest should be facing your target.

    You want to strike the puck at the centre of the blade for good control. As you push forward with your bottom hand, pull back on the top end of the stick to maximize the flex.

  5. Weight Transfer

  6. Snap shots are best when you transfer your weight to your leg closest to the puck, whether you are skating or standing still. Time is of the essence, so build pressure fast on your stick and shoot ASAP.

  7. Scoring is a Snap

  8. Depending on the amount of height you need to score, a quick roll of your wrists upwards may be required. Roll your wrists back to make the blade of the stick angle back to give the puck some lift as it hurtles over the goaltender’s stick. Or, snap shot can be exceptionally effective if you feign a shot in one direction, allow the goalie to go into the butterfly position, and then snap the puck over the shoulder.

    To get really good at the snap shot, practice it frequently with Extreme Targets or with a bucket of pucks with a net kitted with a puck rebounder.

    Build up your snap shot targeting skills, wrist rolling muscle memory, and get used to making fast, accurate shots on goal.

How to Make an Effective Backhand Shot

If you have been admiring Sydney Crosby's or Patrick Kane's amazing backhand shooting techniques, or even if you want to get better at making backhand shots in general, you've come to the right place for some tips.

It's the least common shooting technique, but if you're in front of the net, and need to get a quick backhand shot off, you won't want to have the puck dribble off the heel of your stick, or look like a doofus by missing the net entirely.

Here are five steps to making a great backhander that should make you look good come game time, as long as you practice as often as you can. You will usually be making a backhander when you are skating in front of the net, and don't have the time or position for a forehand shot.

Other times you might be skating in from the opposing side of the net, and you have to deke around opposing defender. Lastly, there's the Gretzky-style around-the net backhander which looks really cool.

datsyuk taking a back hand shot
  1. Line the Puck Up on Your Stick

  2. The best place for the puck on your blade is in the middle, on the backside of your stick. You might need to push the puck ahead of you, or start the puck close at arm's length to the side of your stick, though it depends on the power you need in your stick.

    The further ahead the puck, the longer your sweep of the puck backwards, and the harder your shot will be. You'll want to have a good stance before you shoot though. Give the puck a little cupping coverage to make it feel cozy, and add the element of surprise for the goalie, so he doesn't know where the puck is at.

  3. Weight Transfer

  4. Most backhand shots are done when you are standing still. You'll want your stance to be with your feet shoulder-width apart for balance. You will likely not have time or need to do much weight transfer for a backhander, but build up some weight first on your leg opposite the puck, and as you shoot at the net, transfer your weight to the leg closest to the net.

  5. Flex that Stick

  6. Time is of the essence on most back handers, but try and build up some downward pressure on the edge of the blade, and build up some “potential energy” and get some flexing in your stick. As you swing the stick blade towards your target, the flex of the stick will release, and propel the puck back, and hopefully catch the netminder completely by surprise.

  7. Need Some Altitude?

  8. The angle of the blade on the stick will determine the height of the shot – the flatter the blade, the lower the shot. If you want to pop the puck over the goalie's stick, you'll need to angle the blade away from where you're shooting, and try to shovel the puck upwards. You might be able to catch one or two of Mama's cookies as the fall from the top shelf. Follow through matters too, but don't delay too many games by flipping pucks over the boards. That cute Puck Bunny looks better with her teeth intact.

  9. Follow Through to Finish Your Shot

  10. kane fallowing through on shot

    If you haven't already slapped the blade of your stick against the post, the goalie's jockstrap, or the netting, you should follow through, and point the stick where you want the puck to go. The higher you finish the shot, the higher the puck will go.

    There you have it, the perfect backhand shot. If you are a visual person, and need some images or videos, you can check out our friend Jeremy Rupke from HowToHockey.com, and he'll show you how it's done.

5 Steps to a Slapshot Goalies Will Fear

There aren't many things as satisfying to a hockey player as making a great slapshot which punches the twine behind a goal keeper and makes the goal light glow. A hat trick, a post-game plate of chicken wings, or the roar of the crowd might edge it out slightly, but a slap shot goal is up there in the list of hockey's greatest moments.

If you want to achieve these precious moments on a regular basis, you'd better learn how to make a really effective slap shot. There are subtle variations with this shot, depending on whether you are standing still by the puck, or skating down the ice with the puck towards the goal. We'll point off the subtle differences along the way.

Here are the five steps to a great slapshot. One that will make that satisfying “smack” against the ice. You might just hear the goalie whimper as the puck hurtles at him (or her) too.

Slapshot by Stamkos

Timing and Position

Standing Still

If you are standing still beside the puck, get into the classic hockey pose, with a firm grip on the end of the stick, and your pivoting hand about midway down the shaft. Knees slightly bent puck midway between your legs, one skate towards the net, the other trailing. Be prepared to make some weight transfer magic happen. Start with your weight loaded on your back skate, which should be just trailing behind the puck

Bring your stick up behind you about a 3 o'clock position, straight out behind you. You can lift your stick to 1pm even, if you're at the blue line, but you might not have the time for that much swing.

As you bring your stick back though, doing a quick check for Ming vases behind you if you're practicing in Mom's living room. (You aren't though, are you?). Checking for one of your teammates, or even a snarling, opposing defender.

On the Move

When you're skating hard for the net, choosing moment when you should make your slapshot can be challenging. You don't want to swing early and miss, or late and flip the puck over the glass. Instead, take your shot when your body is positioned over the puck about center of the stride.

The longer the stick is in contact with the puck, the more powerful the shot. The speed of your body to the puck will provide greater puck velocity towards the net, so let 'er rip!

From here, a moving shot or a standstill shot are the same.

Making Contact

You want to lift your stick and move the stick back on a downward arc, to strike the ice first with the edge your stick blade. Pivot your weight to your forward skate as you move the stick towards the ice.

You will want to make contact about the distance of a $100 bill in front of the puck. If you practice with an actual $100 bill, let me know when you are practicing! Start putting downward pressure on the stick.

Flex and Recoil

Your stick should start to flex and curve as you push along the ice. Think of it like drawing back an arrow in a bow. Make contact with the puck, as close to the middle of the blade of the stick. Slide the stick forward quickly, to take advantage of flexibility of the stick, then it will recoil.

Follow through

With your stick pointed to where you want the puck to go.

On low follow through finishes, you’ll end up with a low shot, and alternatively, when you raise your stick and follow through to point towards a top corner, think of that being where your puck will go as well.

If you find it difficult to make the right contact with a moving slapshot, try checking out our video on the stationary slapshot and perfect that first. Once you gain confidence on body, puck and stick placement, you’ll might be ready to shoot like Zdeno Chara, instead of looking like Alex Ovechkin in this video.