Goal scorers get off more high-quality shots than non-goal scorers. Elite goal scorers not only create strong deceptive shots, but they also give themselves better scoring opportunities by manipulating goalies and defenders by changing shot angles. By developing a strong shot from any angle on the ice, this creates an advantage as most players are unable to do this.
Oftentimes it’s not just because of goal scorers’ ability to find open ice and or that they get more opportunities, it’s because they don’t limit themselves to waiting for the perfect shot in the perfect spot. Goal scorers have the ability to generate more goalscoring opportunities because they know and have confidence in the ability to get off a high-quality shot regardless of what position they’re in. While we love seeing players refining their shot by shooting thousands of pucks in the backyard or driveway, many players fail to take their goalscoring ability to the next level because they’ve only practiced perfect shots. Their shot might be hard and accurate, but only under perfect conditions.
If you watch pure goal scorers like Alexander Ovechkin or Auston Matthews, you’ll see that not only do they take more shots than other players, but they have the confidence to release the puck even in awkward positions. This is because they’ve developed their imperfect shot. The shots that are taken off-angle, at an awkward body posture, or with a challenging puck position. The shots that most players are uncomfortable to take. Elite shooters are able to do this from years of practice and it creates such an advantage when playing in high intensity games. Let’s take a look at why that is:
Elite goal scorers are deceptive shooters.
Having the ability to change where your shot is coming from is the ultimate move to score more goals. Watching goals from Patrick Kane or Auston Matthews is a masterclass in how changing a shot angle leads to more goals.
Goal scorers love this for two reasons:.
- 1. Being able to shoot from multiple shot angles, specifically pulling the puck inside and releasing closer to your body, allows you to more easily shoot around defenders. A good defenceman will have his body in between you and the net and stick trying to take away pass options. By dragging the puck inside, they’ll rarely shift their body to adjust - allowing you to more easily shoot around them and also use them as a screen.
- 2. Goalies are taught to position themselves to the puck. This means that if a player drags the puck into their body, the goalie is going to make a shift to adjust to where the puck is. This is advantageous to shooters, because as goalies are shifting one direction - it’s more challenging to stop a puck in the opposite direction. Furthermore, in a goalie’s shift, they’ll occasionally “overshoot” the puck creating an even greater scoring opportunity in the far corner.
To develop into a true goal-scorer, you need to develop both the ability and confidence to be able to shoot anywhere, anytime. Not only does this give you the ability to get more shots on net, and ultimately increase your opportunity to score - but it’s also going to make you a purer shooter that’s able to convert on those opportunities.
DRILL #1: IMPERFECT SHOT
In this drill, we’re going to use the HockeyShot Elite 4-Way Passer to give us a puck in an uncomfortable position.
Setting the rebounder behind us, we’re going to start with a pass into the rebounder and as soon as the puck returns close to our stick, we want to get off a shot. We don’t want to just wait for the puck to be in the sweet spot.
The goal of this drill is to be able to take a puck that’s awkwardly timed or at a challenging position from our body and turn it into a goal-scoring opportunity. This is a challenging drill even for elite players - but allows elite shooters to become elite goal scorers.
- It’s okay to start with slow passes off the rebounder, we want to continue to emphasize balance, good shooting postures, and maintaining technique.
- Even though we want to get this puck off our stick as quickly as possible, we still want to ensure we’re generating force down into our stick to create that flex.
- Make sure you’re challenging yourself with uncomfortable passes. Our goal is to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
- With every shot, we want to emphasize that we’re following through towards the net.
DRILL #2: SHOT ANGLE RELEASE
In this drill, we’re going to challenge our ability to both shoot through traffic and change our shot angle release.
Start by taking some warm-up shots and feel where you’re releasing the puck. Start to practice putting the puck into a new position to create a different release angle. Once you feel confident generating flex in different release angles - we’re ready to take that to the next level by setting up this drill. We’ll set up the HockeyShot Rush Defender and a target to shoot through.
We want to create a challenge to be able to drag the puck into our body to release from a completely different angle. Of all the focuses in this manual, this is the most advanced – but is also the most valuable tactic for helping you rack up goals next season.
- We still want to ensure we’re maintaining our ability to drive down into the stick and create the flex we need to maximize shot velocity.
- Take your time with your drag and release. We want to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. We can focus on a faster release once we’re confident getting pucks off with a new release angle.
- Work on your goal scorers’ twitch and create the “punch through” as soon as you’re ready to release.
- Continue to create bigger drag and shots. Always be pushing to limits of how you can change the angle.
- Imagine the goalie coming over with your drag. Focus on shooting to the opposite corner as frequently as possible.