Slapshots are named after the slapping sound that’s produced when a player raises the stick backwards up until their waist and then hits the puck. A slapshot in hockey, more specifically in ice hockey, is a power play to get points and intimidate the opponent. It’s not necessarily un-allowed, but it does take out a lot of power from the player attempting it.
Slapshot is the toughest one of the types of shots attempted in hockey. This is because it takes 4 different steps attempted perfectly to get the puck flying into the net for a point. The 4 individual steps come together to produce maximum energy and impact to move the puck, this is the reason why it’s the toughest.
To master a slapshot, it’s important to focus on stance, posture, weight transfer, energy, the puck’s location, and the accuracy with which the puck is hit. Being a hockey player, focus more on getting the puck into the goal rather than making a big show of hitting it. In this article, I’ll guide you on how to successfully take a slapshot without draining much energy, as well as the things you can expect while attempting it.
How To Take a Slapshot? 4 Simple Steps
Step 1: Stance and posture
To take a slapshot, in preparation I should:
- Stand like an athlete with my legs at a considerable distance from each other
- Keep the feet far apart and knees bent
- Keep my body low near the ground, head, and chest up
- Line the puck a few feet away from my front
- Place my hands at a considerable distance on the stick to stabilize movement
Step 2: Hauling the stick up
The next step is moving the stick backward in order to prepare for hitting the slapshot:
- Take the stick to an upright position by hauling it with both hands, swinging on one side (the side of my dominant hand)
- Wind up the stick till it’s at shoulder length (or more)
- Shift the weight on the opposite leg (if I’m hauling the stick leftwards, I’ll shift the weight rightwards)
Step 3: Preparing for the slapshot
- Line the puck 2-3 feet away from our front
- Use my weight to bend the stick to my will in the opposite direction to how I hauled the stick up first, using as much power and energy as possible
- Increase speed before hitting the puck
- Shift body weight forward, to the stick and then to the puck
- Hit the puck with as much energy as I can muster (the stick blade will hit the ice before it hits the puck)
- Roll the wrists so that all the energy goes into the slapshot
Step 4: The aftermath
After striking the puck, roll the bodyweight back to the leg that it wasn’t on previously, which will help us move forward, causing less energy loss. After watching the puck score (or miss), prepare to move forward with the match. With the stick pointed towards the direction of the puck, we now go back to sliding through the ice.
How do I create the speed and power needed for a slapshot?
A slapshot can speed up the puck up to 160 km/h, so there are a few key aspects we should keep in mind in order to create the perfect speed for a good slapshot. The right weight transfers and positioning plus body rotation can increase the power and speed stored in the slapshot from a 7 to a 10. As my stick speeds down towards the direction of the puck, my weight should shift from your back leg to your front leg.
After hitting the slapshot my body should stand perpendicular to the target, rotated while doing so. My bottom hand (or the dominant hand) should be placed lower on the stick as compared to the other hand, and the distance of both should be substantial. This will give us more control over the stick’s movements and create more power into it hitting the puck.
What are the tips for mastering and improving a slapshot?
Anyone can hit a puck, but it takes practice, know-how, and tips to get a perfect slapshot. As mentioned before, weight transfer should be fluent and shift to the direction of the shot to ensure maximum power. The stance should be like an athlete with knees bent, body low, head up, and stable distance between my feet.
As far as accuracy is concerned, a player should always prioritize accuracy overpower, as accuracy is what will gain us the point, not the useless show of power. Focusing too much on power often takes away from accuracy. Hit low and accurate shots, and make sure the stick isn’t raised very high up before hitting the puck, as it takes away from the slapshot’s power.
Another important trick is to hit the ice first and not the puck. Most players try to hit only the puck, believing that hitting the ice will take away from the force. This assumption is flawed, as we should hit the ice 3-4 inches behind the puck, allowing us to flex the stick before impact.
Puck location is another component necessary to be considered when attempting a slapshot. The puck should be placed 3-4 inches away from the front of the body to hit easily. Hit the puck from the center of the stick’s blade to get the most power.
Lastly, work on your form and practice a lot, hitting a slapshot from different angles, positions, and distances away from the goal. A player must work on form, velocity, and the amount of power to be put into their slapshot. The perfect equipment also makes a difference, so players must practice with different stick lengths to find the most suitable one to hit a slapshot with.
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Is a slapshot harder than other hockey shots?
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There are some difficulties we might encounter while attempting a slapshot. Because of the violent and grandiose nature of a slapshot, most of the time, scoring accuracy is compromised because of focusing only on speed or power, rather than aim and momentum. Slapshots also take much longer to execute, increasing the risk of the opponent stealing the puck away while the player is preparing to hit the slapshot.