How to Take a Wrist Shot - Video, Advice, Technique, Etc
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09-12-2012, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St Paul, MN
Thinking about this, it's much more difficult than I initially thought.
To understand the wrist/snap shot, look at the components involved. By manipulating the components, you can change the release point and consequently the height of the shot. Left-right is as simple as pointing to the target, but height is not as simple as pointing high or low.
UPPER BODY MECHANICS
There are three components to the upper body in the wrist shot. They happen in order, from biggest muscles to smallest: torso/shoulder rotation, then forearm push-pull to release, and the wrist snap is the last action at the finish of the shot.
- this is just twisting from the waist up, both at the torso and at the shoulders. Beginners will try and shoot the puck only with this force, which is referred to as "slapping" at the puck. It's a starting point but lacks power and accuracy.
Mimic this by holding your stick with both arms straight out and without moving your forearms or wrists. Even as simple as sitting in a chair with both feet on the ground then twisting the upper body to face left or right.
- this is pulling back with the top hand while pushing forward with the bottom hand. This is going to generate a lot more power in your shot and is the first components of the "release" of the shot that I will talk about later.
Mimic this by holding the stick in front of you with both arms extended and pulling with the top hand and pushing with the bottom hand. See my video for a demonstration.
- this is rotating the wrists to close the blade at the end of the shot. Closing the blade at the end of the shot can help control the height as well as add a little extra spin "flick" to the shot to help the puck rotate and fly through the air like a frisbee.
Mimic this by using a motion similar to using keys to start a car (if you're left handed, otherwise the right hand). I'll have to describe this in a video at a later point in time. It's important and can be practiced simply by flicking the puck in the air (the same you'd use to try and shelf it from the crease).
LOWER BODY MECHANICS
I understand less of the lower body and that's because I am learning golf now and trying to apply that. *I'll just say that your natural skating momentum should provide the majority of lower body power, which is why you can and should practice shooting off both feet and from all angles to the net.
The hips are important of course as they start the rotation that follows up through the torso and athe shoulders. *A lot of this is timing and determines how much power you can get: facing the net you get less hip/torso/shoulder rotation than being perpendicular to the net, but obviously it's better to get a quick shot off than to maximize your power, giving the goalie a split second to square up to the shot.
When it comes to the height of the shot, I believe there are a few factors that come into play:
First is the release point of your shot...and by that I mean the forearm push-pull. The further back in the shot (i.e. behind the body) you start the push-pull, the lower the shot will go. This is because the blade is closed behind your body and open in front, so releasing the puck as it crosses the middle of your body will shoot it low unless you're using a shovel for a curve. Unfortunately, the earlier you release the puck, the less power you get on the shot (less contact time with the puck and less imparting of your energy into the shot), which is why we love to rip high shots at the corners.
Second is the timing of your wrist snap and how exaggerated it is. As the puck crosses the body the blade opens up, so the wrist snap to close the blade up can be done earlier or to a greater degree to keep the puck low. Honestly, this is so much a feel thing and can potentially change the left-right direction of the puck (because you're closing the blade) that I usually prefer the early release to messing with the wrist roll when shooting low. If I desperately want to keep the puck on the ice (like a hard pass from our end to the far blue line), I might try and really roll the wrists.
The third is just your particular curve and toe shape. An open curve will naturally go higher because of the loft of the blade. You'll have to control the height by releasing earlier or exaggerating the wrist closure. If you take a full shot with a Drury copmared to a Forsberg, it will go to the upper net. Some folks think this is why you should use closed blades, but I feel open blades allow for more power on the shot because you can load the stick a little more (and maybe there's less friction on the ice...I dunno). It depends on your shooting mechanics and preferences, where you shoot from (slot vs point), etc. A squared toe MIGHT add a little more snap and contact time on the closing of the blade, but it might be in my head.
For accuracy, it's as easy as wherever you point your stick left to right is where the shot will end up. Luckily in hockey (unlike golf) the puck is on the blade for a LONG time (relatively speaking), so naturally wherever you point the stick is where the puck will go. So long as the length and lie of the stick are good for you, it should be easy enough to figure out right away. Of course being able to go post and in on the go takes thousands of shots worth of practice and muscle memory. But for you just worry about getting passes in the right direction.
Get the right flex for your height/weight/strength and don't worry much about it. You want to cup the puck at the start of the shot, meaning turning the blade over so it pushes the puck up against the ice, and you want a little pressure on the ice itself to get some stick flex, but you don't have to dig in. Think of shooting ALONG the ice rather than ON TOP of the ice. The ice surface will be a part of the shot, adding a little friction to the blade, but you don't have to smash it into the ground.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
I would say you want to:
- learn the basic shoulder rotation and left-right movement
- learn the forearm push-pull and play with the release point
- learn the wrist roll snap and play with the timing
- put it together in motion and work of hitting targets
Each of those steps might take several weeks or even months to really understand and ingrain in your muscle memory. It took me two years to really get all of it down, although I didn't have the benefit of this giant mind dump that I made
Okay, that should be plenty to work on for like six months
Oh yeah, my video:
Last edited by Jarick: 09-12-2012 at
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