Contrary to what Hollywood conveys in its reel versions of hockey, the slap shot is not the most important weapon in real hockey. However, if you want a shot at the leading role, follow advice from Chris Bergeron, who has produced top stars at one of the top college programs in the country, Miami of Ohio.
“It shouldn’t be the first thing you work on when you hit the ice, but if you can develop a good [slap shot], then it’s just another advantageous way to score goals,” says Bergeron, assistant coach for the RedHawks. “A slap shot will not be the difference between making a team or getting cut, but it will create a well-rounded player.”
Below, Bergeron provides a script to help you nail your slap-shot audition.
Instruction is written for right-handed shooters; lefties perform movements in opposite direction (obviously).
• Grip top of stick with left hand, making sure palm is not covering knob
• Place right hand slightly lower than a forearm’s length away from top hand
• Position left foot in front at a 45-degree angle, with knees bent; puck should be off front foot in the middle or back of your stance
• Draw stick back and shift weight to right foot
• Transfer weight from back foot to front foot while executing shot
• Finish follow through by shifting weight off front foot
Coaching Points: Don’t chop down at puck // Hit puck with center of stick blade // Avoid hitting too far behind puck or you’ll just hit ice // A low follow-through results in a low shot; a high follow-through creates a higher shot
Best situations to use a slap shot
• Since it’s the slowest shot in a hockey player’s arsenal, it’s most deadly when you have time and no defender is covering you
• Receiving a pass and slapping the puck while it’s still in motion—i.e., performing a “one-timer”
• If a goalie isn’t paying attention: the shot takes a long time to execute, so a goaltender has time to adjust his position if he notices you’re attempting one