Hi Hockey Fans,
Moving the puck quickly and accurately is so important in hockey as the game moves at such a high pace. We need to pass the puck quickly and accurately to get it around the ice and shoot with velocity and accuracy to score goals. I group these skills together as I believe there are a lot of similarities between the two. If you can make a hard and accurate pass, you can do the same on your shot. Here are 3 simple steps to quickly improve your passing and shooting:
- Look – This is the most important thing that every hockey player has to keep in mind. Would you ever fire a gun blind-folded? No! You would look at your target and aim for the bulls-eye. Passing and shooting are no different. We want to condition our brain to see a target before we start our sequence. For passing, we want to train our brains to see a teammate’s blade. For shooting, we want to train our brain to look for the corners of the net. Once we have identified our target with our eyes, let’s work on keeping our eyes glued to the target the whole way through.
- Sweep & Point – Many minor hockey players start off slapping the puck as it allows them to generate more force into the puck. Unfortunately, slapping the puck instead of sweeping decreases our accuracy. We want to ensure that we are as close to our target as possible as hockey is often a game of inches. Thus, we want to pull the puck back and keep it touching the blade. We will sweep through the puck and follow through by pointing our blade at our target. For passes, we keep our follow through low so the puck stays as flat as possible. For shooting, we are allowed to follow through higher, but we should still ensure that we point our blade even if we are shooting high. Leaving the blade open on the follow through usually results on pucks going over the net. So, once you have looked and identified your target, sweep and point with speed!
- Weight Transfer – While not as important for passing, we still need to know how to adjust our body in order to deliver a hard pass. My general rule of thumb when shooting is that you lift the leg closest to your stick after your shot. Thus, if you are a left hand shooter, you would lift your left leg after you deliver your shot. This is the basic wrist shot technique. If you lift the opposite leg, you would be performing what we commonly refer to as ‘the Kessel.’ This is a shot that we typically learn when we get older and are able to use our flex to its full capacity. Just remember that when you are shooting, you want to use your whole body to generate power, not just your arms.
That’s it! If you focus on your eyes, arms, and legs every time you practice your passing and shooting, you will notice a difference in your accuracy and velocity. Remember to pick the right stick to ensure that you are getting the most out of every shot!