How to Improve Wrist Shot Power and Accuracy
The wrist shot is one of the first skills you learn as a hockey player. It’s an incredibly important shot because it allows players to shoot in stride, with a quick and powerful release. Sticks today are technologically advanced in ways that allow players to generate even more power and accuracy from their wrist shots. With proper training, your wrist shot can go from being a basic skill to a lethal weapon that allows you to quickly release heavy shots in tight spaces with pinpoint accuracy.
Many NHLers today – from Alex Ovechkin and Nathan McKinnon to Leon Draisatl and Auston Matthews – use their wrist shot to create great scoring chances from anywhere in the offensive zone. And with a little practice, you can too.
Everyone’s wrist shot is a little different, but getting the basics down and working to improve them over time will help you find your ideal shooting motion before too long. Here’s a quick refresher of what goes into a great wrist shot, followed by some training equipment and at-home drills you can use to pack some added power and precision into your wrister.
Components of a Wrist Shot
There are several key components that go into executing a wrist shot, and it all starts with how your body is positioned in relation to the stick, puck, and net. Let’s break it down from head to toe.
First, the eyes.
- It’s important the eyes are looking at your target anytime you’re shooting. This will have the best impact on your accuracy and will help the rest of your body act accordingly.
- When you have the puck and are getting ready to shoot, scan the net, pick your spot, and let it fly.
Next, we have the hand positioning, which is also essential to releasing a powerful and accurate wrist shot.
- Make sure your hands as they’re positioned on your stick are not too close together or far apart. Hip-width apart is generally considered a good place to start.
- The top hand controls the blade and stick and pulls back when you shoot, while the bottom hand pushes down into the ice to generate force. The bottom hand is also important to your aim, as your follow-through has a big impact on where the puck goes.
- Keep your hands away from your body to add power to your shot. If they’re too close to your body, it will be that much harder to pull and push with your top and bottom hands while shooting. This is a difficult strength to develop, but being able to shoot with your hands close to your body and far away is a great skill to beat defenders and goalies.
The position of the puck relative to your body is also important in winding up and releasing a powerful shot.
- The puck should in most cases be about a blade-length away from your skates. This allows you to generate as much force as possible with the stick.
- Load the puck starting slightly behind your back foot and then release it from heel to toe as it comes off your stick toward the net.
Your legs are what generates a big chunk of the power behind your shot, as well.
- Make sure you have a good knee bend and that you push toward the net when shooting. Having a strong base to shoot out of is going to be a huge asset. One of my coaches used to say, “You can’t shoot a cannon out of a canoe.”
Finally, your feet. These obviously guide where you’re skating but they also help guide your shot in the correct direction.
- If you’re aiming for the right side of the net, the toe of the leg you’re transferring weight onto should be pointed toward the right side of the net. For left-handed shooters, this would be the toe of the left foot in most cases.
- Your weight should also transfer from your back foot to your front foot while shooting to generate power and accuracy in your release.
Wrist Shot Training at Home
Now that we’ve refreshed all the key aspects of a strong wrist shot, let’s take a look at different ways you can practice year-round. Since ice time for getting in wrist shot reps can be hard to come by, training at home is often the best way to get in consistent practice – but it’s important to always train the right way. If you do, it’ll make shooting the right way on the ice that much easier, all because of muscle memory.
A great way to work on your wrist shot power and accuracy at home is with a shooting tarp. Our shooting tarp’s five-pocket design with realistic scoring areas helps simulate putting shots on net and makes sure pucks are easy to retrieve so no training time is wasted. Made from heavy-duty UV-coated vinyl, our hockey shooting tarp can be used in the garage, basement, backyard, or any other training area.
It's also a good idea to train on synthetic ice, especially because shooting while wearing skates on an ice-like surface is the closest you can get to an in-game situation. Practicing shooting with skates on is important for your mechanics, as well. You’re at least a couple inches taller with skates on, and your body moves much differently than it does while wearing shoes.
Our synthetic ice is made to replicate skateable ice in any climate or environment and is UV-protected for indoor or outdoor use. Made from highly engineered high-density polyurethane (HDPE), our synthetic ice has superior glide capabilities and is designed with self-lubricating materials to help maintain its shape and slipperiness for years after first use. There’s simply no better way to get an ice-like experience in any setting.
Hockey Shooting Drills You Can Do at Home
You’ve got the basics down and your training area set up. Here are three drills to help you work on wrist shot power and accuracy at any time or location. For all of these drills, if you miss the pocket, take the puck back and shoot the leftover ones until all of them have made it into the pockets. This will be extra work, but it’s the best way to be accountable and to follow through on your actions and improve.
10 Stationary Shots at Each Corner and the Five-Hole
Taking stationary shots is a great way to warm up your mechanics before skating, and since you’re standing still, you’ll have to use your body mechanics and stick flex to get power behind the shot. Practice staying low to maximize weight transfer from back leg to front leg as you release.
20 Moving Shots Out of the Corners
Attacking the net from each corner helps practice the differing mechanics that come with shooting out of each turn. Practice shooting off the leg closest to the puck so you can get your shot off as quickly as possible, and don’t forget to rotate targets on the net as you move through your reps. Make sure to get some low shots in to simulate shooting with traffic in front of the net.
Shooting Off a Pass
Adding a pass to the equation forces you to work on getting a shot off quickly since you have to receive the puck so close to the net. Remember to practice good technique here: receive the pass, look at your target, and let the shot go. This drill also helps you get used to receiving less-than-ideal passes, which is sure to happen during in-game situations. If you don’t have a training partner to feed you pucks, a passing machine is likely the way to go.
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