A Guide to the Hockey Wrist Shot
To perfect a wrist shot, hockey players must master a robust and accurate shooting technique that can make a world of difference on the ice.
Keep reading to learn what a hockey wrist shot is, the key differences between it and the slapshot in hockey, and how to execute a powerful, accurate wrist shot that’ll change your game on the ice.
In this article, we’ll cover:
What Is a Wrist Shot in Hockey?
The wrist shot technique is fundamental to your hockey game. It’s used at all levels of play and involves a quick flicking motion with both wrists. The key to a good wrist shot is keeping control of the puck on your stick blade throughout the entire process. This results in a powerful shot that can be difficult for goaltenders to predict or block.
Your hand position, weight shift, and a solid follow-through are all essential components of a successful wrist shot. Rather than sheer power like a slapshot, the wrist shot prioritizes accuracy over speed, making them perfect for situations where precision matters more than force.
What is the Difference Between a Slapshot and a Wrist Shot?
Hockey wrist shots and slapshots are two of the most popular techniques in hockey. Both can be effective and score goals, but their differences set them apart.
The slapshot is known for power and speed. To execute one, wind your stick behind you and forcefully strike the puck with a slapping motion. This results in incredible speed and high-velocity shots that are hard for goalies to stop. The downside to a slapshot is you might have to sacrifice accuracy for speed and power. Slapshots also require more time to set up than other shots because of the wind-up motion.
A wrist shot, by contrast, focuses on accuracy and precision instead of power and force. To make a wrist shot, you use your wrists and forearms instead of winding up – hence the name, wrist shot. Cup the blade around the puck and quickly flick it towards the target. Using wrist movement alone results in greater control over where a shot goes while still allowing you to maintain enough speed for scoring opportunities. The wrist shot can be especially effective in close-range situations.
How to Shoot a Wrist Shot
The wrist shot is an essential skill for any hockey player to learn. It’s one of the most accurate and effective ways to score a goal. To master your wrist shot technique, follow these steps:
1. Find proper placement of top hand
Grip the stick halfway down its length – or slightly higher – with your top hand. Ultimately, stick placement can depend on your personal preference and comfort level. Placement lets you control your stick while you generate power during the shooting motion. Ensure your fingers are wrapped around the stick, and your thumb points down.
2. Find proper placement of bottom hand
Position your bottom hand lower on the stick than your top hand. Generally, you want a distance of about 12 - 14 inches between your hands. The distance can vary based on individual preference, but keeping them close together offers more control and accuracy as you execute your wrist shot.
3. Start puck on heel-to-middle of blade
Place the puck near the heel-to-middle part of your blade to start taking your wrist shot. Starting in this position means you’ll have better control over the direction and lift as you release your shot.
4. As you shoot, transfer weight from back to front foot
To generate the most intense power, shift your weight from your back foot to your front as you move through the shooting motion. Think of it like swinging a golf club or baseball bat. By transferring weight onto the back leg before you initiate forward movement towards the puck, you gradually transfer body weight throughout the entire process until you extend to the release point.
5. Let your hands follow through
Follow-through is critical for accuracy and power when using a wrist shot. As you release the puck, let your hands move forward and upward, pointing toward your target. This motion helps guide the puck’s trajectory while adding extra force behind it.
Helpful Tips for Shooting a Hockey Wrist Shot
Some helpful to improve the accuracy of your wrist shot technique include:
- Practice proper body positioning: Your body should be positioned with your knees bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. Your weight should be evenly distributed between both legs. This stance lets you get the most power possible during your shot.
- Maintain good grip strength: A firm grip on your stick helps control the puck. Don’t hold it too tightly, though, as this can limit mobility in your wrists, hindering your accuracy.
Aim low: When shooting at the net, aim for the lower corners rather than the higher ones. It can be more difficult for goalies to stop low shots because of a limited range of motion when crouching down.
- Use visualization: Visualizing your shots before you take them has been proven to increase confidence and performance. Try seeing a mental image of you executing the perfect, successful wrist shot, especially during practice.
- Watch the pros: Watching videos of NHL or college players taking wrist shots can help you mimic their form, timing, and follow-through as you perfect your wrist shot form.
How Hard is an NHL Wrist Shot?
NHL wrist shots can be pretty impressive. How much power a professional wrist shot hockey player generates depends on several factors, including strength, technique, and equipment. While wrist shots may not have the same raw power as slapshots, an accurate wrist shot can still pack quite a punch.
What Is the Secret to a Good Wrist Shot?
The secret to a great wrist shot in hockey is mastering the fundamentals and practicing consistently. Here are some key technical elements that can help you improve your hockey wrist shot.
- Proper hand positioning: Proper hand placement is crucial for generating power and accuracy. Position your upper hand roughly in the middle of the stick and the lower one just about a foot down.
- Focus on your weight transfer: Transferring weight from the back to the front foot during your shooting motion helps generate more power behind the shot. Practice this movement constantly until it becomes second nature.
- Puck control: Control is essential throughout the puck’s journey. Maintain control from heel-to-middle of the blade to ensure better accuracy when you release the puck toward the goal—work on keeping contact with the puck as long as possible before you release it.
- Snap your wrist at the release point: Snapping or rolling your wrists at the end of your follow-through can add extra velocity and lift to your shot. A quick, flicking motion can make all the difference between an average wrist shot and one that results in a goal.
Shop Our Selection of Hockey Sticks to Improve Your Wrist Shot
Now that you know everything you need to about maximizing your wrist shot potential, it’s time to get the perfect stick to help improve your shots. A high-quality hockey stick that matches your style and skill level can be a game changer, literally. Hockey Monkey offers an extensive range of top-notch hockey sticks from leading brands in the industry.
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