How to Play Hockey

Shooting, Passing and Stick Handling - Part 3

By Kyle MacKenzie


The Slap Shot

  • A slap shot can be taken while either standing still, like a defenseman positioned just inside the blue line, or on the move skating toward the puck. The latter is more effective and more powerful.
  • With knees slightly bent, approach the puck and try to place it just inside your forward foot about two feet in front of you.
  • Be sure your power hand (right if you shoot right, left if you shoot left) is at the centre of the shaft or slightly below centre. Be sure your body is squared to the puck.
  • As you start you backswing, shift your weight onto your back foot. Once your stick is on its way toward the puck, shift your weight onto your front foot and transfer the power through the stick as it hits the puck. You want your stick to hit the ice about an inch before the puck. This causes the shaft to flex and adds power to the shot.
  • Once you have made contact with the puck, be sure to follow through.
  • For a raised shot you have got to open up your stance and for a lower shot you must keep low in a closed stance.

The Wrist Shot

  • The wrist shot is one of the most accurate and effective shots to use in a game.
  • When setting up a wrist shot you want to place the puck at the heel of your blade. Pull the puck back with the toe of the stick until it is past your back foot. With the puck on the heel, slide the stick forward and let the puck roll from the heel to the toe and release. You will want to flex the stick with your power hand to create the power in the shot.
  • Similar with a slap shot, if you want to raise the puck you will have to open up your stance, or closed it if you want to keep it low.
  • Follow through. After you have released the puck, the tip of your stick should be pointing roughly to where you want the puck to go.

The Snap Shot

  • When taking a snap shot the focus in on the motion of the wrist.
  • With the toe of the blade, pull the puck diagonally toward your back foot. When the puck is in shooting position snap you stick forward toward the moving puck, as if you were feeding yourself a one-timer.


Saucer Pass

  • A saucer pass is similar to a wrist shot, only much softer. The idea is raise it off the ice a couple inches so it can pass over opposing teams sticks and land just before it reaches your teammates stick.
  • Again, start with the puck at the heel of the stick and roll it smoothly until the puck releases at the toe of the blade.

Pass Along the Ice

  • If there are no opposing player between your teammate and yourself, a hard pass along the ice is most effective.
  • The important thing to remember when passing along the ice is to keep the puck flat. If a puck is on its side or uneven, it could bounce off your teammates stick and could result in a turnover.

Receiving a Pass

  • Imagine the puck is an egg. You want to cradle the puck as it hits your blade. In other words, as it hits your blade, cushion the puck my moving your stick with the puck so that it doesn’t hit a solid surface and bounce off.

Stick Handling

  • The only way to enhance your stick handling skills, and the same for all other hockey skills, is practice, practice, practice.
  • Keep the puck at the centre of the blade and cradle it back and forth with either side of the stick.
  • When on the ice, it is very important to keep your head up, which is why it is important that you are confidant in your stick handling. You don’t want to be looking down at the puck because you need to be aware of where your teammates are, and where the opposition is.
  • You do not have to be on the ice to practice your stick handling, all you need is a stick, a level hard surface (concrete or asphalt), and a small solid ball. You can use a golf ball, or an actual off ice Swedish Stick handling ball, which can be purchased for a small fee.

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