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.