There are a number of popular moves in hockey known for their power and/or speed. One of the most effective of these is the snap shot, which is often considered to be the goal-scoring shot in matches and is a favorite among top players. A combination of two other moves, namely the wrist shot and the slap shot, the snap shot in hockey isn’t too accurate or powerful but is still one of the most lethal shots in the game.
Many professional hockey players love the snap shot for its quickness and deceptiveness, an effective, match-winning combination. Since a perfect snap shot doesn’t require any preparation or positioning, the goalie has little time to react. National Hockey League (NHL) players who have frequently used the shot include Phil Kessel, Alexander Ovechkin, and Joe Sakic.
There are a few things to keep in mind when taking a snap shot. Your body should be preferably turned towards the goal and the puck should be on your shooting side. To shoot the puck, the stick needs to be bent diagonally so that it stores enough power and the “snap” action should be done as quickly as possible, without much thought.
Why the snap shot is so effective
So, what makes the snap shot so effective? If executed correctly and quickly, the maneuver gives the goalie and defenders little time to react.
Since there is minimal movement involved, it is very hard to spot a snap shot as it is about to occur. The puck remains stationary during the shot and the stick is raised no higher than knee level. Hence a lack of visual cues for the goalie is also a reason for the shot’s effectiveness.
Getting ready for the shot
Before making the actual shot, there are a few things you must do to prepare yourself. Positioning your body is important. Although the shot can be taken in any position, it works best if you’re facing the goal.
Next, make sure your top hand and bottom hand are roughly shoulder-width apart. More distance between them means more bending ability. Lastly, the puck should be on your shooting side so that you can shoot quickly.
How To Take The Snap Shot?
Taking the perfect snap shot requires some key steps. Here is a list of them:
- Position your top hand and bottom hand correctly.
- Thrust your top hand forwards and outwards, while simultaneously drawing your lower hand in toward your body.
- Shift your weight to your strong/shooting side, force your stick downwards and bend it so that it stores energy.
- Pull your top hand towards your body quickly and push the bottom one outward, powering the puck away.
What is the best type of stick for the snap shot?
Flexing your stick is necessary for a good, powerful snap shot. The flex of a stick determines how stiff the stick is. The higher the flex rating is, the stiffer the stick will be.
Thus, a more flexible stick will be better at shooting snap shots than a stiffer one.
How to practice & improve your snap shot
If you’re thinking about practicing and improving your snap shot, here are a few ideas to get started:
- You can practice bending your stick without actually shooting a puck. This makes you more familiar with the alternate hand movements and helps in increasing your shooting speed. You can also try shooting a puck at different angles from your stick.
- Positioning defenders in front of you and practicing shooting between them helps you find the best possible shooting path in different scenarios.
- Practicing shooting at different angles from your body is also useful. It helps you adapt to different situations in a real game and enables you to shoot your best shot – from any angle or position.
Other types of shots in hockey
Besides the snap shot, hockey has a few other popular shots as well. The slap shot is a fast, powerful shot that allows players to score from a greater distance from the goal. As opposed to the snap shot, the slap shot requires preparation and time, giving defenders the ability to intercept it.
Another popular goal-scoring shot is the wrist shot. Similar to the snap shot, this shot’s strength doesn’t lie in speed, but in its ability to surprise defenders and the goalie with a sudden, quick shot.
The backhand shot comes in handy when the puck is towards your backhand side and allows you to deliver a swift, deceptive shot. It works best when you’re near the goal.
What is the hardest shot ever made in hockey
Hockey shots can pack a lot of power. According to the official NHL record, the hardest shot was made by Zdeno Chara in 2012 in the All-Star Skills Competition in Ottawa. The puck was fired at a whopping 108.8 mph!