Guest post by Jeremy Rupke from Howtohockey.com
Ice hockey is an ever growing sport in the United States. There are a lot of players who are now making the move from ball hockey, street hockey, and roller hockey to ice hockey. While there are a lot of similarities between ball hockey and ice hockey, there are a few speed bumps that players will encounter when making the switch. I have found when making the switch from roller hockey to ice hockey these are the biggest problems
- Learning how to properly use edges when turning
- Learning how to hockey stop
- Learning to shoot a hockey puck
In this post I will be showing players the difference between shooting a ball, and a puck, and what they can do to make an easy transition. The reason players have a tough time firing a puck is because of permanent muscle memory. When learning a new task you are training your muscles to complete a task, with enough repetition your muscles will be able to perform the task automatically. You see the problem is you have trained your muscles how to shoot a ball, and they don’t know what to do with a puck. Luckily you have me 😀
The Difference Between a Ball and a Puck
By taking a look at the difference between a ball and a puck, we can see how the shooting style would change
You can see that the ball is more than twice the size of a puck, a different shape, and much lighter. All of these differences will have an effect on how to get the best shot.
The Difference Between Shooting a Ball and a Puck
There is a big difference between how a ball is shot, and how a puck is shot, lets take a look at the method I use for both
How I shoot a ball
- Keep the blade of the stick more upright
- Use a quick snap when shooting
- Follow through and aim
How I shoot a puck
- Pull the puck back to build speed
- Cup the puck
- Pull the puck towards the net, letting the blade of the stick become more upright
- Put spin on the puck to keep it from wobbling
- As the puck comes off the ice, roll the wrists and aim
There is a reason I shoot differently with a puck, and a ball. The ball is taller than the blade of my stick, and round, so if I pull it back and try to cup it, there is a chance my blade will roll right over the top of the ball and I will lose it.
A puck is heavier than a ball, and disc shaped, so I need to pull it back a bit to build more speed on my shot, but with a ball being lighter and having the rebound effect, a quick snap will usually get enough speed on the ball.
Shooting a Ball vs. Shooting a Puck
- A ball is light, which means a quick snap will get it going fast. A puck is heavier so you will need to pull it back to get speed, or snap it with a lot of flex on your stick to get speed
- A ball is round, which means no matter how you shoot it the ball will fly straight. A puck is disc shaped, which means you need to put spin on it to keep it from wobbling
- A ball is tall and round, so if you try to cup it like a puck it can roll under your blade, causing you to lose the ball.
- To raise a ball all you need to do is get under the ball and lift it up, with a puck you need to figure out how to get a disc shaped object off of a flat surface
From reading the summary, you may be thinking that learning to shoot a puck may be very hard, but it is actually not that hard if you already know how to shoot a ball. The motions are similar, but you will need a few tweaks to perfect it.
Final Tips for Shooting a Puck
Here are a few tips on how to shoot a puck, for more detail you can see my article how to take a wrist shot
- Get the feeling of the puck moving from the heel of the blade to the toe
- Practice pulling the puck back and cupping it with the blade of the stick (see picture above), then slowly pull it forwards and notice how the blade becomes upright. When doing this in fast motion the puck will come up on the blade of the stick (about the mid point of the wrist shot) then roll your wrists to put more spin on the puck.
- Remember to snap / roll the wrists to keep the puck from wobbling, add a bit of extra speed to your shot, and get better accuracy
I hope that these tips will help you make the transition from ball hockey to roller hockey. If you have been practicing shooting but the puck keeps wobbling you should read this great article that teaches you how to stop a puck from wobbling
Jeremy “Red Light” Rupke loves hockey and has been playing since he could walk! If you are learning to play hockey you can find large collection of hockey tips on his blog. Jeremy writes about how to improve shooting, dekes, stickhandling, skating, and also reviews hockey products.