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Help me learn how to load a stick.

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10-26-2011, 10:35 AM
  #1
Baggy Spandex
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Help me learn how to load a stick.

Hello all! I'm asking this in frustration.

When I play with players that know how to properly load their shot and snap it off correctly, I notice nothing in common to my snapshots. I don't get that solid "pop" sound from the blade, and a solid spin on the puck. Many times it feels like I'm slapping at the puck too much.

I basically pull in a bit from the toe and try and load up and snap quickly. I feel like I'm not getting the velocity that I should. Should I be releasing the puck at my feet? Ahead or behind me a tad? I also feel like I should be getting a bit more out of my wristers, but, as silly as it sounds, I find it hard to load a stick up a good amount when in motion and with the blade sliding along the ice.

I'm by no means a beginner, and can shoot fairly well, but I feel like I'm missing out on a ton of velocity and "pop", if that makes sense.

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10-26-2011, 10:47 AM
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vapor11
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Practice putting your body weight into the shot..I found that helped the velocity of my wrister.. start off with the puck a little behind you and put your weight into it while bringing it forward for the release.. for your snap make sure your snapping your wrists and not just slapping the puck

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10-26-2011, 11:08 AM
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SERE 24
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I can't explain it as well as it probably should be, but a while back I started consciously making sure I was putting some downward pressure in my lower hand during the load-up and felt like that added some significant velocity to my shot.

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10-26-2011, 11:10 AM
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ponder
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Practice a tonne WITHOUT a puck, just go through that shooting motion and really focus on getting some whip out of your stick. I find when practicing pretty much anything it's good to really overdo/exaggerate the motion at first, then tone it down later. Just try to get a tonne of flex during the shooting motion, without a puck, focus on getting your weight down into your bottom hand, so you're pushing down into the ice at the same time you're sweeping forward. Start off with snappers where you transfer your weight from your inside to outside foot, and once you have that done progress to snappers where you have your weight on the inside foot the whole time (the leg kick variety). Also, use a whippy stick at first (or even always).

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10-26-2011, 11:20 AM
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Durbo20vT
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try the above, and also slide your lower hand a tad further down the shaft when shooting. should help some with velocity...

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10-26-2011, 11:33 AM
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Use a lesser flex stick when you first start out. It is a natural way to learn how to load a stick, I have found. As you get the feel, bump up to higher flexes.

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10-26-2011, 11:43 AM
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Hey you got me going on this one...going to write up a big entry and post it in a bit.

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10-26-2011, 02:21 PM
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Wrote up a massive blog entry about this, so take a look.

Basically, you want to use a whippy stick at first, make sure it's cut short enough that you can bring the puck in close to the body, lean into it a bit but you shouldn't have to really lean on it to get some whip, then pull back hard with your top hand while pushing with your bottom hand to release that whip energy. I also added a bunch of other stuff like snapping the wrists since they're all related.

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10-26-2011, 03:11 PM
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ponder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Wrote up a massive blog entry about this, so take a look.

Basically, you want to use a whippy stick at first, make sure it's cut short enough that you can bring the puck in close to the body, lean into it a bit but you shouldn't have to really lean on it to get some whip, then pull back hard with your top hand while pushing with your bottom hand to release that whip energy. I also added a bunch of other stuff like snapping the wrists since they're all related.
Great post, I basically agree with everything except how much pressure you should put down into the ice. I personally shoot harder when I *do* get my weight on my bottom hand, down into the ice. I don't snap a crazy number of sticks either, and use mostly 75/77 flex sticks despite being 6' and about 180 lbs. Otherwise I basically shoot as you've described, and I consider myself to have a pretty good shot.


Last edited by ponder: 10-26-2011 at 03:18 PM.
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10-26-2011, 03:21 PM
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Thanks! I mostly meant when you're trying to he-man the stick and bend it in half. Obviously you gotta put some pressure into the stick. I really want to try and make some videos this winter to illustrate some of the crap in my head!

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10-26-2011, 03:44 PM
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Baggy Spandex
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Wow guys, thanks a ton for the responses! At work now, but I'm going to scan through these posts (and Jaricks blog entry) and come back in later tonight.

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10-26-2011, 05:01 PM
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ponder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Thanks! I mostly meant when you're trying to he-man the stick and bend it in half. Obviously you gotta put some pressure into the stick. I really want to try and make some videos this winter to illustrate some of the crap in my head!
Yeah, it's pretty subjective for sure, there's obviously a sweet spot between not enough downward pressure and too much downward pressure, you certainly have to make sure you've still got some good forward velocity and aren't just bending the stick instead of actually shooting. I just feel that most people with weak shots err too much on the side of not enough pressure, too much sweeping at the puck with their arms, and not really getting their whole weight into the shot. I mean, look at how much flex Kessel gets out of his stick on a snap shot before even making contact with the puck:



He's definitely putting a tonne of pressure on his bottom hand to be generating that much flex (as well as using a whippy stick, and doing a great job with that push/pull motion that you described), and he's got one of the best shots in the world. I think you can see it in this Cammalleri video too, he just really gets a tonne of weight/pressure down into the shaft (slow mo at the 1:00 mark):





Interesting side note that I just picked out looking at these two videos, it looks like Kessel is using a mid kick (shaft stays pretty straight down by the blade, really flexes on both sides of his bottom hand), while Cammalleri seems to be using more of a low kick (shaft flexes quite a lot down by the blade, less flex by his lower hand). Not really significant to this discussion, but I just noticed this and thought it was kind of cool how you can see the different flex profiles.


Last edited by ponder: 10-26-2011 at 05:11 PM.
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10-26-2011, 09:13 PM
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El Tigre Chino
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This is a good video about how to load the shaft and generate power. There's a few other videos with Kovalev doing some stick handling drills.


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10-26-2011, 09:22 PM
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Those are valid points but you've got to crawl before you can run. The point is that you need to learn the technique before you can start trying to really transfer the force. Once you get a good shot and some whip with a whippy stick, move back up in flex, and you will almost always get a harder shot with a quicker release. But you want to really get that shot down first.

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10-27-2011, 04:33 PM
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Well here's some info. I'm 6'1" off skates, 170lbs or so. I'm using a one100, 87fl cut down to around the bottom of my chin on skates. Wanted to try more of a mid-kick stick, so I gave this one a shot. I've only used it once in a game situation, so I haven't had a bunch of puck time with it. Slappers are fine with me, I have zero problems with them. I can load it to hell, especially on one-timers. This particular stick really launches one-timers.

My main thing is wrist and snap shots. I can't seem to figure out what to use to load the stick up. Am I supposed to use downward pressure onto the ice in a quick motion before the puck? With a snap shot, is the stick loading up at all when making impact on the puck?

Also, it seems I need to adjust my stance when shooting. I'm constantly shooting off of my inside foot rather than my outside foot. The only time I'm taking a proper shot for power is with my slapshot/one-timer. In this case I shoot properly, shifting my weight from inner to outer foot. For some reason when I try to shoot like this on a wrist/snap shoot I feel incredibly unstable, and I'm a good skater. Maybe it's more mental than anything.


Last edited by Baggy Spandex: 10-27-2011 at 04:40 PM.
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10-27-2011, 10:56 PM
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It all comes down to technique in the end but keep in mind the one100 is from the Supreme line



I have a Supreme one20 and a vapor x20 and it is a noticeable difference in the way the sticks are constructed.. the Vapor has nice smooth corners and fits nice in my hand while the Supreme feels alot bulkier and stiffer in my hands

Just practice until you feel confident in your shooting ability.. growing up my slapshot was terrible so I avoid it(still do)..But I got proper technique now and can get some juice on my slappers

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10-27-2011, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessel View Post
It all comes down to technique in the end but keep in mind the one100 is from the Supreme line



I have a Supreme one20 and a vapor x20 and it is a noticeable difference in the way the sticks are constructed.. the Vapor has nice smooth corners and fits nice in my hand while the Supreme feels alot bulkier and stiffer in my hands

Just practice until you feel confident in your shooting ability.. growing up my slapshot was terrible so I avoid it(still do)..But I got proper technique now and can get some juice on my slappers
I've owned quite a number of Vapor and Supreme sticks, agree about the shaft shape (Supreme is boxier, though I actually like that personally), disagree about the stiffness though. Between similarly high end, same flex rating Supremes and Vapors, the Vapors always feel noticeably stiffer to me. The Vapors are low kick sticks, built to be stiff in your hands, whippy right down by the blade, so I never really feel the flex the same way I do with mid kick Supremes, which flex at your bottom hand. I like mid kicks personally, grew up using wood sticks and they flex more similarly to woodies, just feels right to me, and I feel like I get more power out of them on all shots.

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10-27-2011, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponder View Post
I've owned quite a number of Vapor and Supreme sticks, agree about the shaft shape (Supreme is boxier, though I actually like that personally), disagree about the stiffness though. Between similarly high end, same flex rating Supremes and Vapors, the Vapors always feel noticeably stiffer to me. The Vapors are low kick sticks, built to be stiff in your hands, whippy right down by the blade, so I never really feel the flex the same way I do with mid kick Supremes, which flex at your bottom hand. I like mid kicks personally, grew up using wood sticks and they flex more similarly to woodies, just feels right to me, and I feel like I get more power out of them on all shots.
You are probobly right about the stiffness as I have only used the one20 and x20.. I really want to try a high end but I only play pickup once or twice a week and have went thru 4 low end sticks since last winter so I am hesitant about spending $100-200 on one

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10-28-2011, 12:02 AM
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I've played with many low-kick sticks, but the same issue remains. Either way, I just need to learn how to load the stick in stride. I keep bringing it up, but there's a noticeable "pop" when a skilled shooter takes a snapshot. I'm lacking that.

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10-28-2011, 12:40 AM
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ponder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baggy Spandex View Post
I've played with many low-kick sticks, but the same issue remains. Either way, I just need to learn how to load the stick in stride. I keep bringing it up, but there's a noticeable "pop" when a skilled shooter takes a snapshot. I'm lacking that.
For me practicing without the puck was huge, just getting the feel of loading and unloading. Make sure you're getting some decent weight down into your bottom hand through the shooting part of the motion (not really through the pull-in, but throughout the forward shot, starting right at the end of the pull-in). Using a whippy stick really helps too. Mostly it's just tonnes and tonnes of repetition until the proper weight transfer becomes natural.

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10-28-2011, 12:47 AM
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vapor11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baggy Spandex View Post
I've played with many low-kick sticks, but the same issue remains. Either way, I just need to learn how to load the stick in stride. I keep bringing it up, but there's a noticeable "pop" when a skilled shooter takes a snapshot. I'm lacking that.
I think that pop you are talking about is just the sound of the puck hitting the blade.. When you go for a snap to get some velocity on it you do almost a half slap shot..luckily for me I learned how to shoot with wooden sticks

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10-28-2011, 01:27 AM
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I can get my stick to bend a bit on my shot, but I'm not sure how much bend is the right bend.

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10-28-2011, 08:56 AM
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Jarick
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First I'll say that I don't like the Supreme series of sticks because I don't like the mid kick point. I take mostly wrist and snap shots and I need it to bend between my hands, not below my hands. The Vapor has kick points above and below the bottom hand which I prefer. I played around with some sticks at the store yesterday and with those wrist/snap shots I can get more flex with less effort with the Vapor series sticks, and that translates to more "pop" on the ice. I've had a few One95's and use the Vapor X60 now and definitely prefer the latter.

For shooting in stride and on ice, this is an AMAZING video:



Notice that he's not bending the stick in half on every shot. He's focused on transferring his forward motion into the shot and getting rid of the puck quickly.

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