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Shooting Overview

As I was growing up and even when I was an assistant coach, shooting was one of the most under taught subjects. Some coaches would spend half an hour or more every practice working on systems to get players open at the top of the circles. Meanwhile, they'd completely neglect the fact that their players couldn't score a goal from the top of the circles because they never developed their shots. While it is a "glamorous" part of the game and spectators often overemphasize it (especially a really fast shot), it is still an essential skill for all players to have. It must be taught correctly from an early age to form good habits and reinforced throughout a player's life.

Shot Types

1) Wrist Shot
2) Backhand Shot
3) Snap Shot
4) Flip Shot
5) Slap Shot

Shooting Concepts

To go along with the various types of shots, there are a few concepts that apply to taking your shots.

1) Head Up! - You must have your eyes up when shooting to see where you want to shoot the puck. Do not stare at the goalie. Instead, look at the open net behind the goalie, usually in the corners of the net. Your body will follow your eyes and you'll hit the net rather than the goalie. No matter how hard you shoot, you can't score goals if you keep banging the puck into the goalie.

2) The Puck Has Eyes - You must train yourself to look from the viewpoint of the puck. The puck is on the ice. Sometimes you will be able to see the upper shelf over a goalie's shoulder, but the puck usually can't. You'll either hit his shoulder or shoot over the net. The puck can also be wide to your left or right. If the puck is on your backhand, it will have a totally different scoring angle than if it's on your forehand. You need to adjust your target to compensate.

3) Scoring Angles

4) Shoot Low - Arms are quicker than legs. A goalie can get his glove or blocker into position much faster than he can get his legs into position. The goals in the top corners are often more impressive to observers; however, shots in the bottom corners are much more effective most of the time. At the end of the game, the scoreboard doesn't track impressiveness, it tracks goals. Shoot low and score more goals. As an added bonus, low shots are much more likely to give off rebounds, further increasing scoring opportunities.

5) Follow Your Shot - Rebounds are great opportunities to score goals. Many inexperienced defensemen (and even some very good ones) will forget about the shooter once he has released the puck. Use this lack of concentration to your advantage by following your own shot to the net and looking to pick up a rebound where the goalie will usually be down and have a bad angle.

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