Hockey shot guide

Shooting is a key component in the game of hockey, and mastering the perfect, accurate shot can be challenging. Knowing how, when, and where to shoot can make or break your game. If you want to enhance your skill on the ice, it's critical that you understand the fundamentals of shooting and master drills or techniques that can help refine your precision and strength with every shot you take.  

This Ultimate Hockey Shooting Guide will give you all the information you need to learn how to improve hockey shots and become an expert shooter who scores more goals.

In this article, we’ll cover:

Ready to read more about specific hockey shot articles? Check out our pieces on slapshots, wrist shots, snapshots, and backhand shots.

Why is Shooting So Important in Hockey?

Launching the puck is a fundamental element of hockey. Scoring goals through shooting is the decisive factor in determining the outcome of games. There are several types of shots used in ice hockey: slap shots, wrist shots, snapshots, and backhanders. 

Slapshots involve using both hands on the stick to hit a puck as hard as possible with maximum power and accuracy – this is often considered the hardest shot type in hockey. Wrist shots require less power but more precision than slapshots, while snapshots rely on quickness rather than strength for accuracy. Backhanders are shots usually taken when close to the net due to their low velocity and lack of control over direction compared to other shot types.

Young players should focus on hockey shooting drills that focus on mastering techniques such as proper stance (with your front leg slightly bent) and correct grip (using your bottom hand near the blade). Then, with enough practice, players will soon be able to take effective wrist or slapshots from anywhere on the rink confidently, giving themselves a much better chance at success.

Through diligent technique and training, shooting can be perfected to assist in reaching an advanced level of play.  

What is a hockey shot called?

A hockey shot is when the puck is moved along the ice after being pushed by the stick. Shots are taken in an attempt to score a goal, and every shot is tracked as a “shot on goal.” There are multiple types of shots, including the slapshot, wrist shot, snapshot, and backhand. 

Why are shots on goal important?

Shots on goal are an important stat because they indicate how strong a team or player is. Shots on goal are any shots that are on target, meaning the shot either went in the goal, awarding the shooting team a point, or it was saved by the goalie. Note that any puck that doesn’t cross the goal line or that hits the crossbar or post is not considered a shot on goal.

The Mechanics of Hockey Shooting

Mastering shooting is a must for advancing your hockey game. Whether it’s a slapshot, wrist shot, or backhand, the mechanics of hockey shooting involve several elements that contribute to power and accuracy. 

Players must use their entire bodies to generate power in a hockey shot. The legs provide the foundation for developing force, while the core helps maintain balance and control during the motion. Set up with feet apart, slightly angled outwards, and one ahead of the other for stability when executing a shot.

Focus your eyes on the target area and push off from your feet using both legs. Simultaneously generate momentum towards the goal as you extend your arms fully for maximum velocity before releasing the puck – don’t forget to follow through. To ensure control over power and accuracy when shooting, keep your upper body positioned with elbows bent in a triangular shape – this will give you an edge over other players.

How do hockey shots generate power?

Despite such a large emphasis being placed on wrist action in hockey, hockey shots actually get most of their power from lower body action. Weight transfer from the back leg through the stick is part of the equation, and how the stick meets the puck adds more power. The stick comes out of a bow and releases energy toward the puck, thus generating and transferring power.  

Why is my hockey shot so weak?

There are several reasons why a hockey shot may be weak. For example, underdeveloped upper body strength can be partially to blame. Core strength and weak lower body can also be an issue. Technique is another major component to shot strength and accuracy. Only practice can improve your shot. Shot-specific shooting drills that focus on types of shots – like slapshots, and wrist shots – can help tremendously.

How Can I Make My Shot Better in Hockey?

A successful shot can be the factor that decides whether a game is won or lost. To become a better shooter, what steps can you take? To ensure success, hone your skills through hockey shooting drills and the following helpful tips.

1. Address technique first

Good technique is essential for accurate shooting in hockey. Ensure that when you’re about to shoot, your feet are shoulder-width apart and slightly angled toward the target. Keep your gaze on the intended goal and maintain a steady posture when aiming. When releasing the puck, follow through with a smooth motion of both arms so it reaches its intended destination.

2. Improve rotational power

The power behind a shot comes from rotating around your center of gravity rather than just pushing off with one leg or arm. To build up rotational force, practice exercises such as twisting sit-ups and Russian twists, which help strengthen core muscles used during shots like slapshots or wrist shots, making them more potent over time.


3. Strengthen the legs

Strong legs are essential for providing stability when shooting a puck into goal posts from further distances, like during breakaways or penalty shots at full speed, without losing accuracy in direction or velocity of impact upon reaching its intended destination. Working out with squats, lunges, and plyometric drills such as box jumps will increase muscle strength, leading to improved balance and agility on ice, allowing players better control over their shots at all times regardless of distance from the goal post being targeted by the shooter(s).


4. Incorporate shot velocity drills

Practice drills that focus on increasing speed and power when shooting toward the net. Focus on propelling the puck faster across the rink to make it harder for even experienced goaltenders standing guard near the crease to catch or save.  

5. Improve hockey shot accuracy

Improving your shot accuracy isn’t going to be easy – it will take work – but you can do it. Use the following tips to help get your next shot going exactly where you want it to go…in the net!

  1. Use visualization – Imagining where you want your shot to go works.
  2. Habits make perfect – Practice again and again, and make sure that the habits you’re developing are effective.
  3. Use wrist action – Your wrists can help you gain control, power, and accuracy.
  4. Follow through – Make sure you’re using high or low shots when needed, and follow through on either.

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