What Is Wrist Shots in Hockey? (Master It In 4 Simple Steps)


Wrist shots are one of the most common shots in ice hockey since they are easy, fast, and also good in terms of accuracy. In comparison to other shots such as the slap shot, a wrist shot is oftentimes more efficient with regards to the fact that it’s more accurate and requires less setup.

What do wrist shots in hockey mean? In wrist shots, you exploit your lower bodyweight to deliver a powerful shot. It’s called a ‘wrist shot’ because it uses the arm muscles (including the wrist and forearm) to propel the puck forward. Weight is transferred from the back legs to the front ones.

There are other factors as well that contribute to a powerful wrist shot that we will shed light on in this article, such as the flex of the hockey stick, the way the hockey stick is held, and the follow-up of the player after striking the puck.

There are four basic parts to delivering a powerful wrist shot, which include, the setup/preparation, the weight transfer, the wrist shot, and finally, the follow-through. The player can make minor adjustments here and there within these parts to modify the accuracy and strength of their wrist shot.

How To Take a Wrist Shot in 4 Simple Steps?

Step 1: Preparation

First of all, the location of the puck is very important to deliver a wrist shot. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and place the puck at a little distance away from your back feet. By keeping the puck back, you basically get more power. It’s similar to how while throwing a ball, you’d pull it back first to increase power.

Keep the puck between the heel and middle of the blade of your hockey stick. Bend your knees so you are able to transfer weight from the lower body more easily. Make sure your hands are not too close to your body – keep them shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Weight Transfer

In order to transfer the weight from your upper body to your lower body (i.e., back leg in this case), you move your upper body and hips back. Now, you pull the puck forward, while transferring the weight from the lower to the upper body and hips, which are also moved forwards.

This essentially transfers the weight to the front skate, as you finally position your front foot towards the target.

Step 3: The Wrist Shot

With the puck still positioned between the heel and blade, drag the puck forward while keeping your hands away from your body. The top hand should be positioned in front of the puck.

Now, to finally deliver the shot, you push with your bottom hand towards the target while you pull the upper hand towards your body.

Step 4: Follow-through

With the follow-through part, you can adjust whether you want to shoot high or low. The follow-through is done while you shoot the puck with your bottom hand. You roll over your wrist and keep the stick towards the target, you leave the blade open to shoot high, and keep it closed to shoot low.

How Does the Stick Affect the Wrist Shot?

The stick can greatly vary the speed, power, and accuracy of the wrist shot. While shooting the puck, if you lean into the shot, a ‘flex (potential energy)’ is generated which transfers into the puck. This adds extra energy to the puck to deliver a powerful shot.

Why Is the Follow-through Important in a Wrist Shot?

The follow-through makes a big difference in determining where the puck will land after you’ve shot it. It also increases the speed of the puck as it keeps it on the blade of the stick for longer, which gives you the opportunity to load the puck with more energy and power.

An important part of the follow-through is to know where you want the puck to land. While rolling your wrists over, you position the stick to the point where you want the puck to go.

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How Should You Hold the Stick While Taking a Wrist Shot?

Wrist shot in hockey

The correct positioning of the hands while taking a wrist shot involves keeping the top hand right on top of the stick, and keeping the bottom hand anywhere between the middle of the stick.

The exact positioning of the lower hand can vary depending on the player’s age group, built, and height. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to exceed the middle of the stick too much when it comes to the lower hand.

Which Side of the Stick is Used for a Wrist Shot?

For a wrist shot, you’re supposed to use the concave side of the stick. because if you use the convex side of the stick leads to what is called a ‘backhanded shot.’

How is the Wrist Shot Different from a Backhanded Shot?

The backhanded shot is basically the reversed version of a wrist shot. In a wrist shot, the puck is positioned in front of the blade of the stick. In a backhanded shot, it’s placed at the back of the blade.

How is the Wrist Shot Different from a Snapshot?

The biggest difference between a wrist shot and a snapshot lies in terms of the positioning of the puck with respect to the blade of the stick.

During the entire process of a wrist shot, from placing the puck on the ice, transferring energy between your upper and lower body to following through, the puck remains in contact with the blade. In a snapshot, the blade is separated from the puck.

There’s a lesser amount of ‘drag’ involved with the snapshot too. In a wrist shot, you have to go through a whole setup of positioning the puck in front of the blade, transferring energy, etc. while the snapshot involves just holding the puck and shooting right away. This also makes snapshots faster than wrist shots.

What is the Advantage of a Wrist Shot Over a Slap Shot?

The wrist shot has a faster setup as compared to a slap shot, which adds an element of interest and unpredictability to the wrist shot.

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