Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

Shooting and Scoring Tips

Today I wanted to highlight two fundamental aspects of shooting and in turn scoring. That is releasing the puck quickly and changing the angle of release.
Quick Release

I see a lot of players young and old step out onto ice and spend all their time ripping slapshots at the top corners. They bring their stick up over their head and practically scratch their back with the blade. Yeah there are players such as Brett and Bobby Hull, Al MacInnis, Zdeno Chara, and a few others that can absolutely blow the puck by the goalie. These players wind up to shoot and the shot blockers are pulling flamingos, the goalie is hoping it hits them in the pads, and before he/she can even react it’s in the back of the net.

If you can shoot like that, more power to you. But most of us have to rely on quickness to beat goalies. As I said before hockey is a fluent game. Players are crisscrossing in the offensive zone at incredible speeds and the puck is moving even faster. The goalie has to keep a hard focus on the puck and adjust his angle accordingly. If the goalie plays the angle correctly then even if he/she just stands in place there’s not much net to shoot at. But when the puck is moved from one side of the ice to the other(say from the corner to the slot), then the goalie also has to move to play the angle. When he/she moves then it opens up the five hole and both corners. That’s where you want to shoot.

Forget about that big wind up. Either use a one timer or catch the puck and release it all in one motion. If you take your time then the opposing team will get a stick on it and you allow the goalie to get set and move into position to play your angle. And now you’re looking at a big set of expensive pads rather then an open net. It’s more important to get the shot off quickly then taking your time and trying to get the hardest shot you can off.

Changing the Angle of the Puck as you Shoot

In the prior paragraph I wrote about getting the puck off as quickly as you can. As the puck is moved laterally the goalie must adjust his angles. While moving, the goalie is out of position and it’s easier to score. You can also accomplish a little bit of the same thing and make the goalie move without the puck ever leaving your stick.

Here’s how:

The goalie bases his position in the net based on the puck on your stick. Many players think it’s based on what they see through their own eyes but that’s sometimes a 4 foot difference and definitely a different angle. The goalie is prepared for a shot in a regular shooting motion. What I mean by that is the regular sweeping motion 3-4 feet away from a players body. But if you have the puck outside of that zone, say 5-6 feet, pull it into your body and shoot from close to your skates then you’re changing the angle for the goalie by 5-6 feet in a fraction of a second. Ryan Getzlaf does this better than anyone in the league. Every shot he seems to pull the puck into his body and fire. More often then not it handcuffs the goalie.

courtesy of Brett Henning

Filed under: General, Shooting

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