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By Greg Siller - Pro Learning Systems

I play roller hockey and I am a very successful goal scorer. However, I cannot score on my slap shot. I have a wicked wrister, but that's it. I want to complete my game and learn how to shoot a very fast slap shot. I have no problem getting my slap shot accurate, it's just the speed that I can't get. I think it has something to do with the puck placement when I shoot, or the way I hold my stick, or something. I need help!! I've seen many of my teammates release very fast slappers, and I am much stronger than them! Please help. --Pat

Pat. One way to look at the slapshot is that it is really just an extension of a snap shot, except that you cover more than twice the distance during your backswing. The basic mechanics of a slapshot include 5 steps. (1) Identify your target (the open areas of net--not the goaltender!). (2) With your feet a little wider than shoulder width and your hands 20 to 30 inches apart, bring your stick blade back to at least shoulder height (or even straight up) and roll your wrists away from the target. During this step, your weight should shift primarily to your back skate. (3) As you move your stick blade downward to contact the puck, your weight shifts to your front skate. Just prior to contacting the puck, as your bottom hand/wrist is pushing/flexing toward the target, pull your top hand toward your chest. This adds additional leverage to your shot. (4) Your stick blade should, first, contact the playing surface, 1 to 2 inches behind the puck before you actually hit it. This action bends the shaft of your stick which will create an additional force on the puck once you contact it. (5) As you contact the puck and follow-through with your stick blade toward the target, your eyes should focus on the open areas around the goaltender (your target). Rotate your upper body so that your chest is facing the target. The height of the puck will primarily be controlled by the height of your follow-through.

The action of flexing your wrists, shifting your weight toward the target, flexing your stick (by hitting slightly behind the puck), pulling your top hand toward your chest just prior to hitting the puck, and rotating your upper body toward the target, helps propel the puck at speeds that can approach 100mph! How's that for speed! The slap shot is complicated, requires strength and a coordinated effort, and plenty of practice to perfect. Keep working on these 5 steps and soon you will be rocketing pucks past just about any opposing goaltender.

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