Types of hockey shots

Any hockey player knows mastering your shot is critical to improving your game and becoming a powerful scorer. Every shot has unique advantages and can be effective in specific situations on the ice. Read on to learn about the different types of hockey shots, their effectiveness, and when you should use them.

In this article, we’ll cover:

What Are the 4 Types of Shots in Hockey?

There are 4 main types of shots in hockey. Understanding their differences and how and when to use each will improve your game and help you become a more versatile player. The 4 types of hockey shots include:

  • The slapshot
  • The wrist shot
  • The snapshot
  • The backhand

Shot 1: The Slapshot

The slapshot is known for its power and speed. It can be an intimidating shot that makes any player a threat on the ice. The slapshot involves winding up with your stick raised over your shoulder before striking down on the puck with great force.

A successful slapshot relies on proper weight transfer from your back skate to the front as you swing through the motion. When your technique is perfected, the slapshot can be a powerful shot that’s difficult to stop. 

When to use a slapshot: Defenders commonly use slapshots for their sheer velocity during power plays, sending the puck sailing to the net.

Shot 2: The Wrist Shot

The wrist shot is synonymous with accuracy and requires a seamless approach rather than raw power. To make a wrist shot, cradle the stick blade under or behind the puck before using your wrist and forearm muscles to snap the puck forward as you transfer the weight from the back skate to the front leg during the release.

When shooting toward the net, the wrist shot offers greater control when you want an emphasis on puck placement. Executing a perfect wrist shot is essential for players who score goals.

When to use a wrist shot: Wrist shots are more accurate than slapshots. Use a wrist shot when you want a powerful shot with minimal setup.

Shot 3: The Snapshot

The snapshot combines techniques from both the slapshot in the wrist shot into a quick-release movement that’s ideal when time and space are limited. 

The snapshot starts with a short backswing — shorter than a slapshot – followed by a quick snap of the wrists to generate power and speed similar to what a wrist shot would send off.

When to use a snapshot: The snapshot is perfect when you need to get off a quick and accurate shot in tight spaces or under a defender’s pressure.

Shot 4: The Backhand

In hockey, the backhand is considered one of the most challenging shots for goalies to stop. It’s an unpredictable shot that requires players to shoot from their stick’s backside (opposite side of their dominant hand). 

A backhand is an effective tool in your hockey arsenal. Despite not being as powerful as other shots, like the slapshot or snapshot, the backhand can be deceptive since it’s challenging for goaltenders to figure out where it will send the puck.

When to use the backhand: Backhand shots can be used to shoot the puck into the net over the goalie’s leg pads, stick, or glove. They can be used to “roof” the puck, which means you’re shooting from close to the goal into the top of the net.

FAQs About Hockey Shots

How fast are hockey shots?

How fast a hockey shot is depends on the shooter’s skill level. Powerful slapshots can reach up to 100 mph or more. Backhand shots typically have a speed of around 50 - 70 mph. Wrist shots and snapshots can range between 60 and 90 mph.

What is the most used shot in hockey?

Wrist shots are the most commonly used shot in the game because they have a quick release and tend to be a fairly accurate shot. They can be used in various situations on the ice and have become an essential skill for any player’s technique.

What is the best shot in hockey?

The best shot in hockey depends on personal preference and individual strength. Every shot has advantages and disadvantages and should be used in specific instances. For example, the slapshot generates power, the wrist shot offers precision, snapshots use speed and accuracy, and backhands allow for deceptive plays that can outsmart a goalie. Ultimately, you should try mastering every type of shot to become the most well-rounded offensive threat on the ice.

What is the most effective shot in hockey?

Though it’s debatable for some players, the snapshot might be considered the most effective hockey shot due to its quick release and accuracy. While not as powerful as a slapshot, the snapshot can often catch goalies off guard since a minimal wind-up is required before the release.

Which shot is the hardest for a goalie to stop?

The hardest shot for any goalie to stop will depend on speed, angle, and deception. An accurate backhand from close range is often considered to be the most challenging for goalies to anticipate and react to. Shots that change direction mid flight due to a deflection or screen are also tricky for goaltenders to stop.

Other Types of Hockey Shots

While the consensus is there are 4 main types of hockey shots, another shot worth mentioning is known as the one-timer, which is a powerful and quick shot executed when a player gets a pass and immediately shoots without stopping or controlling the puck first. To be successful, this shot requires excellent hand-eye coordination and pinpoint timing to connect with the puck.

Shop Our Selection of Hockey Sticks to Master All Types of Hockey Shots

You can find all the equipment you need to up your game on the ice and master every type of hockey shot at HockeyMonkey. We offer a wide range of high-quality hockey sticks for players at all skill levels. So whether you’re looking to perfect your slapshot or to develop a deadly backhand, HockeyMonkey has a stick for every player. Browse our full selection of hockey sticks today.