Having a powerful backhand shot is very important in the hockey world, and we've learned some tricks of the trade from the professional players with the best backhand shots.
Keep reading for our step-by-step guide to improving your backhand and getting more power into your shot, then click here to see some video clips of how it's done by those top pros, including Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Patrick Kane.
In another video, we showed you how to lift the puck with your backhand and roof it into the net from just outside the goalie's crease. Here we teach you how to put power into your backhand for a shot from farther away, and the keys to doing that are getting the puck in the right location, adjusting the orientation of your blade, and then unleashing your power.
Location of the Puck
The process of developing a strong, hard backhand shot begins with proper location of the puck. By watching the pros, you'll see that the strongest mid-range backhand shots are released near their front foot or no farther back than the middle of their spread legs. Releasing the puck there allows you to leverage the most potential energy from your body.
If you release the puck at your back foot, you're only able to utilize the strength of your forearms and wrists, but if you wait to send it at your front foot, you're able to transfer power and momentum from your legs and back in addition to your hands.
Start by cupping the puck with the toe of your stick in order to get it where you want it if it's too far from your body. With your hands rolled over your stick to cup the puck, pull it closer as you start to bring the puck forward toward your front foot, then unroll your hands quickly and launch the shot — all in one fluid motion.
The Right Blade Orientation
If you don't have to reposition the puck and you want to get the post power behind it, many of the pros pull the puck forward, then pause for a tenth of a second as they open the blade of their stick, and then they put everything into their shot. That split-second preparation charges up their energy as their hands and blade get into position.
Unleash Your Power
The final step is to give it all you've got at the point of release. After rolling and unrolling your wrists as you maneuver the puck and then pausing to get ready, this is the final snap motion at the very end — powered by a push from your legs and body as well as one hand that is now pushing down at the back of your stick and the other snapping toward the net.
The farther away you are from the net, the more you'll want to roll your wrists upon release to keep the puck trajectory low. If you're at about the hash marks, you can leave your stick blade a little bit more open.
In summary, the process involves loading up on your back leg, pulling the puck across, opening your stick blade, and snapping the shot off.
A Power Backhand on the Move
For powerful backhand shots taken while aggressively on the move, there is another tip to help channel your energy into the shot when you don't have time to set up. Once again, look to the pros to see how they use their skates to help transfer their weight into a backhand shot.
As you're skating across, first protect the puck as you make your move, then use the edges of your skates to cut toward the net. When the majority of your energy has shifted toward the net, then transfer your weight and unleash your shot. This technique takes a little more practice, as you'll need to perfect the timing of when to release your shot while your energy level is highest.
Watch our how-to video and then study the clips from the pros that we've put together for you to learn from. We've also got lots more articles, videos, and product reviews on our website to help you improve every aspect of your game.