The slapshot is one of the easiest moves to learn when you are new to the game of hockey. However, a truly effective slapshot technique will distinguish the amateurs and hobbyists from the serious professionals. Developing and improving your hockey slapshot will take time, technique, and most importantly, lots of practice. Developing your slapshot technique will focus on a combination of hand placement on your hockey stick, weight leverage, accuracy, the power and heft behind your shot, and what type of slapshot you are delivering. Here, learn three great tips for improving your hockey slapshot and enter your next match with more confidence.
One of the definitive measures of a professional hockey player is that when he delivers a slapshot, it gets to where he wanted it to go. If you are in a situation where you have to choose between brute power and accuracy, sometimes less is more. You may sacrifice some of your ability to deliver an accurate slapshot if you are focusing on putting all of your weight-bearing power behind it. Rather, focus on the movement of your wrist, the placement of your hands, your stance, and what type of slapshot you are delivering (forehand, backhand, dominant foot, secondary foot) and finesse rather than drive the puck towards its intended destination. This can take quite a bit of practice to deliver finesse under pressure, but it will change the balance of power in your next hockey match to your clear advantage.
For most slapshot maneuvers, you will start with the weight on your back leg, whether you are taking a slapshot off your dominant or secondary leg. But as you deliver the slapshot, you will want to fluidly transfer your weight over to your front leg so that you are moving with, rather than against, the direction of your slapshot. As you improve your hockey slapshot with the goal of beginning to combine finesse with power, this is one of the most critical moves to master. Your movement towards the direction of your slapshot will carry its own energy and weight forward and translate into a stronger, more confident, more powerful and more accurate slapshot. A professional slapshot will have a strong initial stance, a seamless transfer of weight, and a clear and confident follow-through.
Finally, a third great tip for improving your hockey slapshot is to continually monitor your stance. While this can be difficult in the heat of a match, with practice you will begin to be able to take even a few critical milliseconds to accurately position yourself for the slapshot you want to achieve. Keep your hand position about midway down on your hockey stick, and focus on hitting the ice first, and then the hockey puck. You should try to hit the ice at least three inches behind the puck and up to five inches. Your hockey stick may appear to "bend" as you do this, and this is called "loading the puck". Let the stick do most of the work from here.