When a hockey player has trouble lifting his shots, it’s likely the result of one or several different things:
- Muscle strength – Shooting a hockey puck effectively requires a certain degree of strength, especially in the forearms. These “shooting” muscles develop over time with proper practice, but can also be strengthened with routine exercises that target your forearms, biceps and shoulders.
- Follow-through – Following through on your shots is very important for shot accuracy. If you follow through low then your shots will stay low, close to the ice. If you follow through high, pointing to the upper corners of the net, you’ll be able to lift the puck and shoot with greater accuracy.
- Curve Depth – Deep curves allow you to lift the puck more easily because they create a slingshot effect on the puck as it rolls from heel to toe when you take a shot. Slight curves require a bit more effort on your part in order to lift the puck.
- Face angle – Open face angle curves are comparable to pitching wedges in golf and they will help you lift your shots more easily than closed face curves, which are analogous to a 1 iron in golf. With proper technique, you ought to be able to lift the puck with a closed face blade as well, so it's important to focus on practicing good technique, rather than trying to put a band aid on the issue by using an open face blade.
- Shaft flexibility – If your hockey stick shaft is too stiff then it won’t flex properly when you shoot the puck. Your shaft is supposed to help you propel the puck by flexing and then whipping forward to launch the puck with greater velocity. If your shaft is not doing this work for you then you’re forced to compensate by trying to generate shot power with sheer strength, which will cost you accuracy and the ability to lift the puck with ease.
You may need to address 1, 2, or perhaps all 5 of these factors in order to solve the problem that you’re having with lifting the puck as you shoot. It’s worth it to make adjustments as needed in each area in order to achieve optimal results.