The slap shot is a crowd pleaser. While more goals are scored off wristers around the net, a big windup and
thunderous slap shot is fun to watch and perform. Seeing a puck sizzling toward the net from a distance is a
thrill. Watching the puck beat the goalie and flip the water bottle into the air is even more satisfying. And
everybody loves a scorer who takes a great pass and turns it into a one-timer—where the pass is received
and a slap shot taken all in one motion—sending a blistering slap shot past a helpless goalie.
The Hockey Slap Shot Explained in Four Steps
1. The Preparation
- Take an athletic stance with feet about shoulder width or slightly wider, knees bent.
- The puck should be located several feet in front of you, lined up near your front foot to begin.
- Your body should be perpendicular to the goal, facing your dominant side.
- Slide your dominant hand down the stick a little to separate the hands.
2. The Windup
- Vary the windup. Raise your hockey stick blade between waist height
and straight up depending on how much power you want on your shot.
- As you wind up, shift your weight onto your back leg slightly.
3. The Slap Shot
- As you begin your shot, with your weight more on the inside edge of your back skate, shift your weight
forward to the inside edge of your front skate.
- Swing your stick forward, impacting the ice with your blade slightly before it hits the puck.
4. The Follow-Through
- After contact, follow through so that your body turns to face the target.
Mechanics for a Great Slap Shot
The correct position and setup to take a slap shot can help create a more powerful and accurate shot. Keep your
knees bent with kneecaps over toe caps for body control. Stay low in your athletic stance while keeping your
head and chest up—too many hockey players don't do this. That can affect your accuracy and power, so it's
important to stay down throughout the slap shot. The dominant hand placement down the stick can also help
provide power and accuracy for the shot. Experiment with the placement of the lower hand down the stick, but
start about halfway down the shaft. You don't want it so far down that you take the shaft flex away, as that flex is part of what builds power during
the shot. The location of the puck is also important. The puck should begin lined up with the front skate, but
as the weight is shifted back to front, driving through the shot, the body will move forward relative to the
puck's position, meaning that at impact, the puck is actually closer to the middle of the stance where the stick
flex can impart the most power to the puck.
How to Create Slap Shot Speed and Power
The weight transfer and rotation of the hips and torso during the slap shot are where a lot of the power of the
shot is achieved. Begin by shifting the weight to the back leg as you wind up on the back swing. As your stick
accelerates down and through the puck, your weight should drive forward to the front leg. At impact, your hips
and trunk should rotate through from perpendicular to the target to facing the target. Many inexperienced hockey
players think it's all in the arms and that stick speed delivers the power to the puck, but a good transfer from
the back leg to the front leg and the rotation of the hips and torso on impact is where most of the power is
generated. Another important part of delivering power from the stick to the puck is the impact. The blade of the stick should impact the ice a few inches behind the puck
with the bottom hand powering the stick through the shot. That will flex the lower part of the hockey stick
before the blade impacts the puck, transferring all of that energy into the shot.
All of this is made more difficult when moving or when receiving a pass. The ability to launch a slap shot
during an odd-man rush, or trying to turn a pass into a one-timer adds more moving elements to the shot.
Fortunately, when you're handling the puck and decide to let a slap shot fly, you and the puck are traveling at
the same speed. But, the attempt to shoot a one-timer is incredibly difficult to perform and comes only with a
lot of practice time on the ice to perfect the shot.
Slap Shot Accuracy is Better Than Power
While everybody talks about the screaming slap shots that hit triple digits on the radar gun, people won't talk
about them for long if they never hit the net. It's better to keep your slap shot on target until you learn to
control it if it is always hitting the boards 10 feet either side of the goal. Back off the power a little bit
until you find the sweet spot that allows you to control the puck. Practice shooting for a corner of the goal
and work on hitting corners until you can do it with a high level of success. Once you have mastered putting the
puck in the net, then work on adding power to your shot. One slap shot technique that improves accuracy is the
follow through, which helps keep the shot on target and determines the height of the shot. A low follow through
helps keep the shot low, while following through high gets more air under the puck.
Work on your slap shot consistently to add velocity to your shot, but remember that a slap shot that isn't on
target doesn't have as much value as a shot that produces rebounds and scoring opportunities. It makes sense to
spend time on all the types of shots you're more likely to take in the game, because most pucks that find the
net are actually wristers cleaning up the garbage off a blocked slap shot, and other short opportunities.