Why You Should Continue to Work on Your Wrist Shot

Tyler Fiddler General Hockey Tips Leave a Comment

As as coach, I’ve worked with players ranging from U7 up to U18, and the one common message I always preach is to continue to work on your wrist shot. One of my pet peeves is seeing minor hockey players during practice continuously load up for the big slap shot over and over again during a shooting drill.

Throughout my summers working as a skills coach, I’ve got to work and learn from  a lot of great hockey minds. One of the words of wisdom that stood out to me is, “you can’t just tell players what to do, nowadays players want to know why and how”.

After receiving that piece of advice, it got me thinking about what data I could provide to show players why developing their wrist shot is one of the keys to becoming a succesful goal scorer.

Why you should work on your wrist shot

Simple answer, it’s the most used shot in hockey. Below is the shot breakdown from some of the best players in the NHL from the 2019-2020 regular season:

PlayerWrist ShotSnap ShotSlap ShotBackhand
Connor McDavid13942516
Leon Draisaitl104571825
Auston Mattews167284331
Jack Eichel161212314
Nathan Mackinnon182445033

When looking at the information, one thing that stands out most is Connor McDavid – arguably the best player in the world – took 5 slap shots the entire season. With the game becoming faster and faster, the ability to get your shot off quick becomes essential to scoring goals.

In saying that, as a forward, the majority of your slap shots will be on the powerplay. Think of players like Alex Ovechkin or Patrick Laine who are the “trigger men” on their respective teams power play units.

In a 5 on 5 setting, the pace of the game is so fast and defensemen are improving stick positioning and gap control. Thus, slapshots are becoming ineffective because it’s harder to take a big wind up to get your slap shot off.

If you want to score more goals, you can see developing a lethal wrist shot is a key component. When breaking down the goals scored by shot, we see the majority of goals are scored via the wrist shot. Below is the goal breakdown from some of the best players in the NHL from the 2019-2020 regular season:

PlayerGoals from Wrist ShotGoals from Slap Shot
Connor McDavid222
Leon Draisaitl195
Auston Mattews287
Jack Eichel274
Nathan Mackinnon236

How to work on your wrist shot

Simple answer: repetition. The more you practice your shot, the better it will become. Some things to remember when taking a wrist shot:

  • load up;
  • weight transfer;
  • head up and;
  • follow through

In season, a couple ways to get extra repititions with your wrist shot are:

  • Be the first person on the ice:
    • If the zamboni finishes early, or your coach gives you a few minutes of free time to start practice, grab a bunch of pucks and work on your wrist shot
  • Be the last person off the ice:
    • If your coach ends practice early, don’t be in a rush to get off. Take the free time after practice to work on your wrist shot.

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