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rist Shot- Make sure that your body weight starts on the back leg, then transfers through to the front leg as the shot progresses. The puck should roll from the back portion of the blade to the toe as the stick sweeps from the back swing through the follow through.


If you are looking for an article that shows the "A-B-C's" of how to take a shot, you're reading the wrong thing. But the next few pages are designed to take your shot to the ultimate level. Don't think that it will be easy because, like anything else good, it takes lots of practice to make these skills effective. I will explain and illustrate the proper techniques used to transform your shot into a formidable weapon that every goaltender you face will be talking about.

The Hull family has been known for its formidable scoring ability and devastating shots for three generations. Now I am going to let you in on the secrets that have made my father, uncle and brother some of the most feared shooters ever to lace up a pair of ice skates. I had action photographs of all four shots taken so that you can see where the critical parts of the shot mechanics occur and just how they can be exploited. There are four major elements that need to be learned and developed if you want to have a hot shot: initial puck position, weight transfer, hand speed and follow through.

Slap Shot- Make sure to meet the puck in the middle of the stick blade. Hold the stick tightly with both hands. Note the bend in the shaft of the stick as contact is made with the puck.


PUCK POSITION

I have watched many players of every caliber consistently place the puck in the wrong position relative to their bodies, then take a weak shot and wonder why. Coupled with that, shooters position their hands incorrectly on the shaft of the stick. These two elements can disable the strongest of shooters.

The first thing to realize is that, like golf, the puck must be situated in different positions for different shots. The puck starts slightly behind the shooter's rear leg (leg furthest from the target) and near the heal of the blade of the stick. For the snap shot, the puck starts about 8 inches behind the lead skate and is situated 2-3 inches back from the tip of the blade when shot. The puck is placed 2 inches inside the lead skate for a slap shot and is met in the middle of the blade on impact. The backhand shot is exactly the same as the wrist shot except all action takes place on the back side of the blade.

Positioning the puck should not be taken lightly. You can get all the other parts of the shot down perfectly and still not be able to shoot because the puck is in the wrong position relative to your body. Study the action photos closely and note where the puck is positioned at the start of each shot.

Weight Transfer- This is the secret to a "heavy" shot. The more body weight you can transfer through your stick and into the puck the harder your shot will become.


WEIGHT TRANSFER

Weight transfer gives the shooter the energy needed to from the body, to the arms, then down through the stick, to the puck. The stick is used as a lever while the body acts as a fulcrum to transfer the energy produced from the weig ht transfer, combined with the shooting motion (down swing of the stick on to the puck), into forward energy, or a shot. That sounds way too much like science class but that is what actually happens.

I wanted to give you the scientific description because it might help. But for all of you who want the layman's terminology, here goes nothing'. Your weight starts in the "ready" position which means half your body weight resting on each leg, knees over the balls of your feet, chest over your knees. Head and chest looking up and out. As you draw the stick back (back swing), your weight should follow so that your body leans away from the target. At the apex of the wind up about 75% of your body weight should be on the leg furthest from the target. Once the down swing begins, your weight should rapidly shift toward your leg closest to the target. If you are using the weight transfer theory correctly, the force should bring 100% of your weight to your lead leg and your trailing leg should naturally rise out and away from the direction of the shot as a counter balance.

Backhand Shot- The most difficult of shots, the backhand will take as much as 50% more practice time to master. Be patient, follow the instructional steps in this article and you will be scoring off the backhand before you know it.


HAND/STICK SPEED

Hand/stick speed is the next element you must improve if you want to have a monster shot. First, make sure you have a strong upper body, including stomach muscles, if you want to succeed. 50-100 push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups per day will do just fine. Oh yeah, wrist curls too. Get a 5-pound weight, tie a skate lace to one end and attach a 15-inch piece of hockey stick shaft to the other. Raise and lower the weight by rolling the lace up on to the shaft, between your outstretched arms. Do a few sets palms up and then palms down. That will build up your forearms.

Now that you are strong enough to increase your stick speed, it is just a matter of getting a big bucket of pucks then shooting as hard as you possibly can until you can't hold the stick any longer. After that, rest for a few minutes then start again. Sorry, repetition is the only way to develop strength, speed and accuracy, so get to work!

FOLLOW-THROUGH


Follow-through is your aiming mechanism. The height and direction the blade of your stick follows through to where the puck will travel if you've got all the other elements of shooting down. Follow-through high and the puck will fly high off the court. A low follow-through will keep the puck close to the court. Point right, the puck goes right.
Point left . . . well, you get the idea.

Notice that on all the shots the follow-through is typified by the shooter perched on the lead leg with the body bent forward, and the stick pointing directly at the target. You will be happy to know that you can kill two birds with one puck by working on your hand speed and your follow-through while shooting a billion pucks at four targets. Top right, top left, bottom right and bottom left. Once you can call your shot on an open net from about 20 feet out in the slot, you can try it with a goaltender in the net. It should only take you an additional billion pucks to reach Gretzkydom, but just think--you're gonna pass
one heck of a lot of players on the way there!