How to Perfect Your Slapshot
Whether you’re a mite or an NHLer, the slapshot is one of the most important tools to have in your arsenal. Not only is it the best way to pack some extra power into your shot, but it’s also especially useful for defensemen looking to get pucks on net from the point to either score or to generate a deflection or rebound.
What makes a great slapshot is a lethal combination of efficiency, power, and accuracy. You have to be able to get the shot off on time while also making sure it’s well-placed and with enough force behind it to put pressure on the goalie.
Getting to that point consistently takes years of practice – but you also have to know where to start. Here are some tips for improving your slapshot at home either during the season or in the offseason.
One of the most common reasons a slapshot might miss the mark is because the feet are poorly positioned in relation to the body and the puck. We’re all familiar with the feeling of being “handcuffed” by a poorly placed one-timer pass that’s either too close or far away from our body or too far in front of or behind our front foot.
To generate the most power on your slapshot, start with the puck in front of you and slightly behind your front foot. Focus on shifting your weight forward while moving the stick and your body through the puck. When the blade of your stick makes contact with the puck, your body and bottom hand should be directly above the puck.
Another common mistake when taking a slapshot is to put your bottom hand too low on the stick, which can be easy to do because it makes it feel like you’re exerting the most arm power possible. However, most of the power in a quality slapshot comes from the flex of the stick and from the weight transfer of the body – not from the arms. Holding your bottom hand further down on the stick limits its ability to flex, which also limits power.
Instead, start with your hands on the stick slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Allowing the shaft to flex through its midsection during a slapshot will help generate more power.
In most cases, less is more when it comes to the backswing. It can be easy to want to take a massive backswing to feel like you’re really unloading on the puck, but it’s the efficiency you should really be focusing on.
The stick blade should move in a straight line toward your target, rather than coming around in an arc like it would in a golf swing. Start with a low backswing at about shoulder height and focus on your straight-line velocity. As you get more comfortable, start increasing the range of your backswing. Work on generating as much power as possible with a low backswing, as you won’t always have time in a game to wind up a big clapper. It’s all about having a tight and efficient range of motion.
As you make your backswing, shift your weight to your back leg. Remember to keep your knees bent. If you’re too upright, the force of your weight transfer will go down into the ice rather than toward the target. As you begin your forward swing, push off your back leg and let your hips slide forward toward your target.
Remember to keep the entire motion in a straight line. As the stick blade makes contact with the puck, the weight transfer to the front leg should position your hips directly above the puck for optimal power and accuracy.
As you contact the puck, it’s important to note that the blade of your stick should actually hit the ice about five or six inches behind the puck. This gives the shaft more time to flex and increases power. Keep your bottom arm straight and strike the puck between the middle and the heel of the stick blade.
Always look at your target as you’re contacting the puck, and follow through after the puck leaves the stick. As with your backswing, a lower follow-through will help keep the shot lower and more controlled and will increase the odds of either hitting your target or getting a scoring chance off of a deflection or a rebound.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It’s one thing to read these tips and to memorize them, but repetition is ultimately the key to consistency and success – and Sniper’s Edge’s versatile product collection makes it easy to train like a pro anytime, anywhere.
Our shooting tarps and Ultimate Goalie training tool help simulate in-game situations, while our stick weight and training pucks and balls help build the muscle and hand quickness needed to continue developing your game from one season to the next.
Our products are rugged, battle-tested, and simply fun to use. You play the way you practice, so make sure you’re practicing the right way with Sniper’s Edge.
Shop our products today.