How to Improve Your Snap Shot
Snap shots are known as the option between slap shots and wrist shots because the puck is "slapped", similar to the motion of a slap shot, but with a lesser degree of wind-up. There are basically two ways to take a snap shot:
- Lift your blade up about 6-12" away from the puck and follow through to take a "mini slap shot". This is an effective method for taking one-timers in a tight space.
- With the puck resting on the toe of your blade, rotate your stick so that the heel is lifted off the ice as your toe cradles the puck and then quickly snap your wrists to rotate your heel back to the ice and release the shot from the toe of your blade. It looks somewhat similar to a wrist shot but it sounds like a slapshot.
The second method takes more time to master because you have to develop strength and quickness in the forearm muscles that are used when performing the shot. But it is also the best option when you need to release the puck quickly and powerfully, so it is a very important skill to develop.
The best way to improve your snap shot is to simply practice. Don't just shoot aimlessly though – make sure that you're shooting to score every time. Pick corners, aim for the inner edges of the posts, practice shooting from tough angles on the sides of the net and release the puck as quickly as possible. Have someone pass to you so that you're forced to settle the puck quickly before releasing your shot.
Also, learn to shoot from the toe of your blade. Hockey blades are stiffer than ever these days, so they can handle the additional torque on the toe as you load up a quick snapshot from the end of the blade rather than the heel or middle. With a little practice, you'll be surprised at how quick and powerful your shot will be when you shoot off the toe. Accuracy and shot power are very important, but a quick release will catch the goalie by surprise so make sure you spend time practicing shot quickness.