If you ask hockey players why they play hockey, they usually come back with the reply, “because it’s fun!” The part of hockey that ranks #1 in the fun factor category is scoring goals. I am close to 50 years old and I still love scoring goals, in the occasional old man game that I participate in. There aren’t many pucks tickling the twine, but when it happens, I feel awesome!!
As a long time youth hockey coach, I’ve spent countless hours researching how I can help my players improve their shot accuracy and release quickness. What I’ve found is that there are all kinds of hockey tactics and hockey strategies geared toward scoring goals, but it comes down to one simple concept, persistent shooting practice, both on and off the ice.
In a perfect world, the ideal way to work on your ice hockey shooting drills is on the ice. However, most don’t have the money to regularly rent ice to work on they’re hockey shooting drills. The good news is that improving your hockey shot can be done in an off-ice setting, right in the comfort of your own home. A garage or unfinished basement will usually do the trick.
Here are 5 ways to improve your shot accuracy...
- Effort - Before you can even begin to work on improving your accuracy, you must first possess the puck. Winning races to the puck and battles along the boards come down to one thing… EFFORT!!
- Look Before You Shoot – Go watch any youth hockey practice in your area and focus on where the players’ eyes are when they release their shots. Most are looking down at the puck and then, after the release, their eyes come up. When practicing at home, establish the habit of once you get the puck into your shooting position, look at the target, step forward and release the shot.
- Off-Ice Stick Handling & Shooting – If you want to score more goals, you need to be able to handle the puck under pressure. Regularly, work on off-ice stickhandling drills that will give you the ability to control the puck better, get it into a shooting position quickly, and get more pucks to the net.
- Become a Perfect Passer - Big time goal scorers in ice hockey know a little secret. They’ve figured out that they have to become a dishin’ magician when it comes to passing. They know that if they make perfect passes coming up the ice, they have a better chance of getting the puck back in the offensive zone.
- Exhale Before You Shoot – I remember years ago, watching athletes compete in the Olympic Biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. These athletes work on improving shot accuracy by becoming masters at relaxation techniques. They are so in tune with their bodies that they fire each shot when exhaling and in-between heart beats. Studies have indicated that athletes perform best when in a relaxed state, also referred to as being “in the zone.”
Hope this helps and remember to Work Hard and Dream Bigger than Everyone Else!!
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