Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

Fundamentals of the Wrist Shot

Courtesy of
Brett Henning

Fundamentals of the Wrist Shot

Many players overlook the wrist shot. You grow up practicing it in your back yard, raising your hands when you actually raise the puck over the net for the first time. Then you put it on the back burner as you slice at the puck in your first attempts at a slapshot. But the wrist shot is your bread and butter, especially as a forward. You can catch the goalie off guard with a quick release and also hide the angle of your shot.

Players take this shot for granted but a few minor tweaks can add 5 to 10 mph to your top end speed. I created a Youtube video that highlights specific things (one of them I didn’t consciously realize until I was out of the game):

Drive Forward to your Target off the Back Foot: This isn’t basketball where you can have a fade away shot, totally off balance. You need to push/drive yourself off the back foot toward the net at the start of the shot.

Really create a torque by rotating your midsection: In golf, baseball, tennis, boxing, hockey, and many other sports the speed of the punch, ball, puck is largely based on how much torque you can create through the midsection/core of your body. The stronger your core muscles are the more balance and power you create.

Applying a lot of pressure to your Bottom Hand: This is the one that I didn’t realize was so important until catching Kovalev or maybe Kovalchuck mention it briefly in a mid-game interview. The more pressure you put on that bottom hand, the more work your stick does by flexing and snapping through on release. You’re paying 200 dollars for it so it might as well help you shoot faster. Shoot like you mean it. This is why, when you see a picture of a player releasing a wrist shot that he/she has that gritted teeth expression on their face. They’re putting everything they have into that bottom hand pressure.

Open your Front Foot: I have never seen a young player shoot a slapshot without opening their front foot to allow their hips to clear through. But many young players will keep that front foot closed when they shoot a wrist shot. This doesn’t allow you to fully employ the midsection torque noted above.

Snap your Bottom Hand at Release Point: Near the front foot at your release point you want to be snapping the bottom hand over.

Point Your Toe to the Target: For accuracy purposes you want to point the toe of your stick at the target. This should be stressed on low shots. Players that shoot high are already following through toward the top areas of the net. But when you tell them to shoot low they take 20% off the shot and baby it in there. The follow through is still high. You need to have the exact same motion, grit, and speed on the shot, only with a low follow through.

All of these above points must happen in fluid motion in a fraction of a second. You can see all of this on a new Youtube video I made that may clear up some questions.

Filed under: Shooting, , ,

One Response

  1. Ron Arbeau says:

    Passed this on to a Girl on my Atom team and a difference can be seen.

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