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How to Take a Snapshot - Off-Ice Tutorial

Skill Drills

The snapshot is a very important shot in hockey. When players first start playing they will learn how to perfect the wrist shot, the backhander, and later the slapshot.

Some hockey players will naturally learn the snapshot, but others have to be taught, and in my opinion it is better to learn the different techniques, where to use a snapshot, and how it can help you score more goals. In this tutorial we are going to show you how to take a snapshot, the different types of snapshots, the advantages of a snapshot, and when you should take a snapshot (the best chance of scoring a goal)

Two Types of Snapshots

When I was a kid I was taught how to take a snapshot, I was taught the old school way of shooting, but now I use the evolved version of the snapshot. This is just what I have observed, but there does seem to be a big difference in the two shots so I thought I would clear things up here (for the older players and younger players)

Old School Snapshot

The old way of taking a snapshot was basically a slapshot, but with very little set up time. Instead of doing a full wind-up and hammering the puck, you lift the blade of the stick about a foot off the ice, and then quickly shoot. For this method the steps are

  • Bring the blade about a foot off the ice
  • Quickly shoot (snap)
  • Hit the ice a few inches behind the puck to load the stick
  • Ensure you transfer your weight
  • Roll the wrists in the follow through and point the toe of the blade to aim where the puck goes.
  • For the most power you still need a bit of a wind-up, and transfer weight onto the foot furthest from the blade of your stick (you have to step into the shot which takes a bit more time) You can read my article on the two types of wrist shots for more information on transferring your weight onto different feet.

The New Snapshot

The new snapshot is a method that I see a lot of NHL hockey players using and also high level players. This shot requires almost no set-up time, and relies heavily on proper technique, and the flex of the stick to generate power. The advantage of this shot is that you can go from stickhandling to shooting almost instantly. With a quick release you can score more goals because the goalie will not have any clues that you are going to shoot and you will be able to catch them off guard and out of position. I will list the steps of the snapshot below

Snapshot with set-up

  • Draw the puck back a bit to set it up
  • Pull the puck forwards, and towards your body a bit. With a lot of practice you can use the toe of the blade to pull the puck in
  • The puck will now be moving on an angle towards your body, and closer to the net
  • Now is the time to really snap and shoot the puck
  • he puck will be a few inches in front of the blade of your stick, this is the tricky motion that you have to master
  • Pull back with your top hand quickly, while also pushing forwards with your bottom hand, this motion will cause the stick to flex, which will give your shot more power
  • When you hit the puck, you should then roll your wrists over for extra power and accuracy
  • Follow through low and roll your wrists over a lot to close the blade and keep the puck low, follow through high and keep the blade slightly open to shoot high.

Snapshot with no set up

This shot is easy to do while skating in on the goalie, for extra points do not break your stride while shooting, this will really surprise the goalie.

Instead of pulling the puck back to set up, and get more power you can use the position of your body
Stickhandle with the puck on your shooting side, and move the puck forwards and backwards, this will allow you to shoot at any second you want.

When you are ready to shoot simply step towards the net with the foot closest to the blade of your stick, this will line the puck up with your front foot
Now all you have to do is repeat the actions explained in the snapshot with a set up (without the set-up part) and you are good to go. Remember to lean into the shot, and the trick is the quick snap, this will give you a powerful shot, and a quick release.

The Advantage of a Snapshot

Snapshots are important to learn because they can be very deceptive, and require very little set-up. If you perfect the snapshot you will be able to shoot without giving any clues to the goaltender, if the goalie is not prepared for your shot you will have a much better chance of scoring.

When to use a snapshot

A full wrist shot will give you the most power, but it takes longer to set up, many players can get a fairly powerful snapshot, but your wrist shot should always be harder. For this reason the wrist shot should be used when you are further away from the net, and you need to get the puck to the net quickly.

For the snapshot you should focus on accuracy, and still have a decent amount of power on it. The best time to use a snapshot is when you are in close to the net. The closer you are to the net, the less time the goalie has to react, and the more scared the goalie will be. If you are in close to the net a quick snap through the legs, or in the bottom corners will beat most goalies. If you have a quick goalie you can fake a shot, and if the goalie goes down, snap a shot up high.