In hockey, there isn’t a much better feeling than completely getting into a slap shot and blowing it by a goalie. But like hitting a perfect drive in golf, ripping the perfect slap shot on the ice can be a matter of consistency- and many times slap shots can become very inconsistent. Here are some tips for improving the velocity and consistency of your slap shot:
Find the Right Hockey Stick
First and foremost, you want to find the perfect weapon that will help you achieve the hardest shot possible. Each player has a different body type and strength level, so you want to make sure your stick suits your game.
A bigger/stronger individual should be using a higher flex stick to get the most power from their shot (something in the 85-110 range; 67 for an intermediate). A player of smaller stature or strength should use a “lighter” or lower flex hockey stick (something in the 75-85 range; 60 for an intermediate).
Another added benefit, which can help add velocity to a player’s shot is choosing a “grip” hockey stick. The tacky grip allows you to keep your bottom hand firmly planted on the stick, while taking a shot. This is important because it ensures that there is no slippage of the hand. When the bottom hand slips during a shot, the player loses power that is needed to “load” the stick for a shot.
Longtime NHLer and shooting coach Scott Bjugstad has been advocating grip sticks for some time now. When we met him at an Easton hockey expo, he explained that a huge amount of velocity can be lost on shots when using a non-grip stick.
Have the Proper Technique
When taking a slap shot you want to make sure you attack the puck properly. The puck should be placed towards your back foot. The stick should hit the ice a few inches behind the puck, so you can really “lean” your body into the shot, which in turn allows the stick to flex and “load” for the shot.
Drive the blade of the stick through the puck striking it between the middle/heel of the blade. As you follow through, the puck will naturally roll towards the toe of the blade, which provides extra torque and spin of the puck increasing the velocity even more.
Practice Makes Perfect
It may seem obvious, but players like Alex Ovechkin didn’t just become one of the best pure shooters in the NHL by accident. It takes practice. Grab a stick, a sheet of practice ice, and a bucket of pucks- find a spot in your driveway or basement- and shoot. The more you shoot, the more consistent shot you are going to have. Sidney Crosby shot pucks every single day at his parents washing machine in their basement. Find a method of practice that works best for you and work hard to improve your game.
- As most hockey goalie parents know, goalie equipment can be incredibly expensive. If you are playing competitively, quality pro-level leg pads can range anywhere from $1,600-$1,900 dollars. The benefit of a pro-level goalie pad is that they can withstand the repeated abuse of pucks for someone who is playing 4-7 times a week.
- In the hockey industry, it is almost unheard of to find pro goalie leg pads for under $1,000 dollars, but at Sports Etc. we have a wide selection of pro-level pads, that may fit into your budget. Some of these pads may only be a year or two old, but are the same quality of current models. Below are a few examples:
- Bauer Reactor 6000 Pro Leg Pads– (Previously: $1,699.99, NOW $849.99) A softer faced pad with a traditional full knee roll design for any goalie looking for great versatility and flexibility, while still providing a firm blocking surface and strong seal on the ice. The softer face enhances rebound control, while the pro core inserts help customize a goalies desired pad stiffness.
- Brian’s GNetik Pro Leg Pads– (Previously: $1,699.99, NOW $999.99) The G-Netik has an E foam construction, which reduces weight and increases durability. Smart strap system and traditional strapping options allow for enhanced adjustability. A wide knee cradle creates an extremely comfortable landing platform for the knee. A straight thigh profile and squared roll is perfect for any butterfly goaltender looking for a nice seal on the ice.
- Reebok Premier XLT Pro Leg Pads- (Previously: $1,699.99, NOW $999.99) The Premier XLT features cross-link foam technology adding life to the rebound to direct pucks to the corner and allow goalies to recover. The elimination of bindings on the inside landing area provides a solid seal to the ice. No break on the outer flex allows goalie to maximize ice coverage.
- These are just a few examples of some of last years pro leg pads that are an incredible value. Don’t miss out because once these pads are sold, they’re gone! Visit us at www.sportsetc.net or call at 781-646-1600).
- The new Bauer OD1N Supreme 1S, S190 and S170 goalie pads have a new sizing system, that has been throwing people off a little bit. Instead of a traditional numerical sizing like, 33+1, 34+1, etc. the sizes run Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL. Below is the sizing system that Bauer is now using for their leg pads:
- BAUER SUPREME OD1N 1S SUPREME GOALIE LEG PAD SIZING
- SENIOR SIZING
- INTERMEDIATE SIZING
- JUNIOR SIZING
- With so many sticks to choose from, it can be difficult to find the “best value” stick. Especially with how routinely sticks can break, it’s important to find a stick that offers high-end performance at an affordable price. Many people just look at the highest priced stick, and assume it’s the best stick for them, but many times that is not the case.
1.) Warrior QR Pro Hockey Stick (Regular Price: $259.99, Sports Etc. Price: $169.99, 2 for $259.99)
- The Warrior QR Pro hockey stick is one of the best value sticks on the market. This “pro-stock” stick has all the qualities of a high-end stick, and is used at both the Division 1 College Hockey and NHL level.
- The QR Pro is a low kick-point stick, which is perfect for snapping off quick wrist shots, or snap shots.
- Sports Etc. offers this stick (normally valued at $259.99) for a discounted price of $169.99, or 2 for $269.99. You are essentially getting 2 pro-level hockey sticks for the price of 1, making it the best overall value hockey stick on the market today.
2.) True A 4.5 Hockey Stick (Regular Price: $139.99, Sports Etc. Price: $99.99)
- True is probably not the most well-known hockey stick manufacturer, but they certainly produce high quality sticks with the best of them. More well-known for their golf shafts, True Temper has begun producing one of the lighter “value” composite sticks on the market.
- At the $100 price-point, this stick is perfect for any men’s league or high school caliber hockey player. The A 4.5 has a mid kick-point, which is ideal for both wrist-shots and slap-shots.
- We have tried it, and we can honestly say the True A 4.5 is the best performing stick at this price-point. The puck really explodes off the blade and truly feels like a high-end stick.
3.) CCM Ribcor Titanium Hockey Stick (Regular Price: $119.99, Sports Etc. Price: $99.99)
- The CCM Ribcor Titanium is a SMU (special make-up) stick produced by CCM, which combines high-end stick technology at a lower price-point. Like the True A 4.5, the Titanium is much lighter than a normal stick at this price-point.
- The low-kick point is ideal for quick wristers or snap-shots, and the puck pops off the blade better than most sticks in this price range.
- We have had awesome feedback from Men’s league players that this performs above and beyond its price-point. The Titanium continues to be a staple for players looking for a quality stick at an affordable price.
4.) Sherwood EK 15 Hockey Stick (Regular Price: $259.99, Sports Etc. Price: $159.99, 2 for $259.99)
- The Sher-Wood EK 15 is similar to the Warrior QR Pro in that it is a high-end stick used at the collegiate level, but is available at a discounted “pro-stock” price.
- The EK 15 offers a low kick-point, which is perfect for a quick snap or wrist-shot.
- Sports Etc. offers this stick (normally valued at $259.99) for a discounted price of $159.99, or 2 for $259.99. You are essentially getting 2 pro-level hockey sticks for the price of 1, making it an incredible overall value.
5.) Bauer Supreme 170 Hockey Stick (Sports Etc. Price: $99.99)
- The Bauer Supreme 170 is an ideal men’s league hockey stick. It’s lightweight feel offers a higher-performing stick at an affordable price of $100.
- The higher kick-point is perfect for a heavy shooter, that enjoys laying into slap-shots, and looks for powerful shots at the net.
- When it comes to goalie equipment, three companies dominate the industry: Vaughn, CCM and Brian’s. Each company has perfected their craft in their own unique way.
- Vaughn has set the industry standard for goalie pads for decades now. Mike Vaughn has continued to stay ahead of the curve with new trends, and truly innovative technology.
- All pro pads are domestically made in Oxford, Michigan, which allows Vaughn to make THE most quality product in the goalie equipment industry. They simply do not sacrifice quality, and often use more expensive materials to construct their gear than any other company. The result is a quality goalie equipment that lasts longer and performs better. Trust us, we’ve seen it firsthand in their factory.
- A true testament to their success: a whopping 82% of pro goalies wear at least one piece of Vaughn equipment on the ice.
- NHL Goalies in Vaughn Pads: Jonathan Quick, Tuukka Rask, Jimmy Howard, Cory Schneider.
- CCM has the best variety when it comes to goalie equipment, specifically leg pads. They have two equally successful lines of pads: The E-Flex Series caters to the athletic goalie that is looking for a flexible pad to absorb rebounds, while the Premier series caters to the technically sound goalie that looks to direct and control rebounds.
- CCM has a tremendous amount of support at the NHL level, and they continue to make great strides in the goalie industry. The combination of CCM and Reebok into one entity has strengthened their brand exponentially.
- NHL Goalies in CCM Pads: Carey Price, Roberto Luongo, Corey Crawford, Marc-Andre Fleury.
- Brian’s has been making recent waves in the goalie industry with their unmatched goalie pad customization. You can transform any design, logo, and put it on the face of a Brian’s goalie pad. You name it, they can create it.
- Brian’s promotes themselves as “goalies only,” and they are just that- all of their focus and attention is catered to their goalie customers.
- Their smaller company size allows them to provide excellent customer service and attention. No change or tweak to your goalie equipment is too small for the people at Brian’s.
- NHL Goalies in Brian’s Pads: Craig Anderson, Jaroslav Halak, Eddie Lack, Scott Darling.
1.) Bauer Vapor Line
- The Bauer Vapor series has been a staple in the hockey skate industry for over a decade now. The Vapor line continues to be a best-seller because of its reliable, excellent fit. The narrow, tapered fit allows the skate to fit snugly on a players foot, which most hockey players desire to achieve the best performance.
- The new “trigger” holder from Bauer has also had a tremendous impact on the popularity of the brand. The ability to change out broken blades, or freshly sharpened blades on the fly has proven to provide excellent value to the skate.
2.) CCM Jetspeed Line
- The only skate that has been able to successfully put a dent in the Bauer Vapor line, has been the new Jetspeed skate from CCM. The fit is very similar to that of a Bauer Vapor, in that it is a narrow, tapered fit, which allows the boot to sit securely on the foot. Once you get this skate on someone’s foot, it has been an easy sell.
3.) Bauer Supreme Line
- The Bauer Supreme series has been Bauer’s second best-selling skate for a number of years now. The Supreme fits a little bit wider than the Vapor, so if someone has a “fuller” foot and wants a Bauer skate, this is generally the skate for them. The contoured fit around the ankle provides an excellent heel lock, while the spacious mid-foot area creates a comfortable fit.
4.) CCM Tacks Line
- The new CCM Tacks line mimcs the fit of a Bauer Supreme- the contoured boot locks the heel in place, while the slightly wider mid-foot adds space for those with “fuller” feet. The Tacks of a few years ago were extremely wide, and created a very sloppy fit, but have been newly redesigned for a more secure fit.
5.) CCM Ribcor Line
- The CCM Ribcor Line is one of the most comfortable “out-of-the-box” fits on the skate market. The slightly wider width allows for a generous fit, while the softer boot creates a forgiving and comfortable fit. Ideal for any player that values comfort over anything else.
For many players and parents, hockey is a long season that involves many hours spent in the rink, but during the off-season there are some awesome training tools that can benefit all hockey players, from beginner to experienced.
Here are some of the best and most popular off-ice training tools on the market today that help improve shooting, passing, stick handling and skating:
- The Boomerang Passer Practice Ice Passing System is made of high density polyethylene to simulate an actual ice surface. It can be set up on virtually any level surface. The off-ice sheet is pre-drilled for proper mounting and comes complete with all the required mounting hardware. In minutes you can mount the Passer to the sheet and you are ready to set-up on your driveway, garage or basement floor.
- The Boomerang practice ice is perfect for practicing passes, one-timers or stick handling.
2.) Pro Guard Slide Board
- Slide boards are designed to build the quick, explosive strides that you will need to become a powerful skater on the ice. Pro Guard’s Slide Board lateral training helps improve power, change of direction, balance, agility, speed, flexibility and endurance.
- Ask any player in the NHL what the most important aspect of training is, and they will always refer to power skating. It is THE most important aspect of any player’s game, and this tool is an excellent way to build strength and speed off the ice.
3.) Smart Hockey Balls/Pucks
- The Smart Hockey Balls are excellent for simulating the actual weight and “feel” of a hockey puck. This off-ice training tool is the best way to improve stick handling. These Smart Hockey balls can be used on any flat surface- use it indoors or outdoors, you pick!
The new Bauer Supreme 1S Goalie Skate is here and it could completely change the goalie skate industry forever. The completely unique and innovative technology ditches the traditional cowling for a new and improved holder, which sheds weight like you wouldn’t believe. The new VERTEXX edge holder also improves the attacking angle of the goalie by adding height, and removing the hindrances of a traditional cowling, allowing the goalie to keep their skate closer to the ice than ever before.
Here are some the highlights from Bauer:
The Supreme 1S has a lighter weight outsole to maximize quickness. An asymmetric design allows for a deeper stance. And the revolutionary VERTEXX EDGE holder gives goalies a greater attack angle for getting to pucks once thought unstoppable.
The Vertexx Edge holder is a goalie specific holder that eliminates the cowling and adds 5mm in height, giving it 10% better attack angle than the Vertexx 2.0 and 38% better than a traditional cowling. Combined with removable steel that’s ready at the pull of the trigger, goalies now get the upper hand.
Shed weight and speed increases. The Supreme 1S skates use the first-ever composite outsole to reduce weight by 11 percent, increasing stiffness for greater weight transfer and quickness, eliminating the need and weight of a cowling.
The new Supreme 1S Skates feature all of Bauer’s industry leading innovations to give you your most explosive stride to date. Entirely new and exciting technology includes C-FLEX Technology found in the tendon guard. This re-engineered tendon guard will feature custom inserts which vary in degrees of stiffness to allow you to choose how much flex can be exerted while skating. Popular additions from the Vapor 1X include Speed Plate footbeds and LS4 blades. You can get your hands on the new Supreme 1S skates NOW! #PlayExplosive
The new Bauer Supreme 1S OD1N goalie gear propels Bauer headlong in goalie innovation. Using cutting edge, proprietary technology to bring something new and exciting to the crease. The 1S OD1N gear will be available for purchase now! Want to design your own custom set up? Go here:
Bauer Supreme 1S Od1N Customizer and choose Sports Etc as your store!