A wrist shot is a kind of ice hockey shot that uses the muscles of the arm and forearm to propel the puck forwards into the goal. It is a clever tactic that often defeats goaltenders due to the lack of wind up required to execute the shot. If done correctly they will never see it coming. It is made by using the concave side of the blade on an ice-hockey stick and snapping the puck off it with precise timing. It is not as powerful as many other shots in ice hockey, such as the slap shot but the element of surprise more than makes up for it. A wrist shot is a vital weapon in every ice hockey player’s armoury so let’s take a look at how to build the skill.
Mastering the wrist shot
There are four main elements to an excellent wrist shot and we are going to look at each of these in turn: starting puck position, weight transfer, stick speed and follow through.
1. Puck Position
Correct positioning of the puck is very important. If you don’t get this correct then you will never achieve a good wrist shot. The puck should be situated at the heel of the blade of the ice hockey stick.
2. Weight Transfer
This is the secret to a powerful shot. The more weight you can manage to transfer through your body, the harder your shot will become. You don’t get to take a swing at a wrist shot so you have to make up with that lack of power here. At first your weight should be evenly distributed across your body. As you make the wrist shot, transfer your body weight from your back leg (the one farthest from the target) to the front leg as you progress through the shot. The puck rolls along the concave side of the blade as your weight is transferred to end up on the tip. At the final point the puck is snapped off with a flick of the wrist. Ideally you should end up with 100% of your weight on the front leg, with the back leg hanging off the ice as a counter balance.
3. Stick Speed
To move that puck at speed you are going to need to be able to move your ice hockey stick at speed and that takes training. Daily rounds of pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups will improve your muscle strength and endurance too. Next stop is the practice ice. Get shooting as hard as you can and don’t stop till you cannot go on. Rest for a few minutes and start the process again.
4. Follow Through
This is the all important aiming training. What is the point after all of whacking a puck through the sound barrier if it goes wide of its target? The puck will follow the direction where you point your stick at the end of the shot. Keep your eyes focused on your target and don’t be tempted to give all your attention to the puck, your stick, or the puck’s flight through the air. Great news here is that you can train on this while working on your stick speed. Choose different areas of the goal to shoot into – top left, middle, top right, bottom left and so on. The next step is to do it with a live goaltender in place – how many times can you outwit him with your improving wrist shot?