If you ask hockey lovers what is the most fun about the game, most will answer that it is the goals.

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The players who shoot them are valued and famous. In many cases, the number of goals scored is also one of the most important variables determining the amount of a particular player's contract. Because of this, coaches and players try to understand the patterns of finishing, analyzing the individual parts and focusing on them in practice.

We start with a simple saying in coaching :"no shoot, no goals". There are players who work hard on their shots and finishes, but do not realize the important fact that you need to get into the shooting position (chance) first. Statistics show that the most diligent shooters often score. It is no coincidence that Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars, Chicago Blackhawks‘ Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko of St. Louis Blues are among the NHL's top scorers in the 2016/17 season. There is a definite connection between the frequency of shooting and the goals scored. As a result, Brent Burns pushed the level of goals scored by a defender very high.



The ideal space for finishing depends on whether you are right handed or left handed, which are the two dominant types of shooting. Every player should know their "best" finish and try to use it in the game.The combination of suitable positions with different types of shooting is the key to the success of the best. Patrick Laine of Winnipeg Jets favorite is at the top of the left circle while Alexander Ovechkin likes to use a similar place but slightly closer to the goal. Contrary to this, Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay Lightning has recently been looking for the mirror image of this at the right circle.

alexander steen


The types of shots have gradually evolved with the game and solve finishes in different game situations. In the NHL, players use different types of shooting and, for the sake of clarity, I associate a player who is a typical example of each type. Alexandr Ovechkin has a perfect wrist shot, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins dominates backhand shooting and Montreal's Shea Weber the slap shot, such as Vladimir Tarasenko and "shoot from the first" Steven Stamkos. Practical experience shows that players do not have the right foundations. Most of the players will learn the technique very well but only for the one type that they usually use. If we specifically change their shooting method, they have big problems, especially with backhand shooting, tipping in, playing the rebound and fast shooting without preparation.



Another important parameter is readiness - rate of fire, not in terms of power, but in readiness and rapid preparation. It is clear from practice that this element significantly increases the chance of scoring a goal. This part of the game is very difficult for players to practice! They all shoot accurately in slow motion with the initial stick handling but when this dribbling stops and speed is increased accuracy is gone... Another factor is the fact that most of the shooting exercises are done with carrying the puck rather than with controlled passing, try to pass it a little forward of the player, behind them or to their legs... 

accuraccy shooting


It is one of the decisive parameters. I found that players only hit some part of the goal well while with other places they have problems. Most players try to practice accuracy off-ice. Is that the right way? Wouldn't it be more effective to combine shooting with another previous activity? And will not the position on skates change the coordination in regard to accuracy? The best shooters constantly try to improve their shooting and movement accuracy, whether Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews of Toronto or Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid of Edmonton Oilers, whose imaginative training videos can be found online. The most vital parameter of shooting is that it is important to pay close attention because without this parameter there cannot be a goal!

Super skills Chara


Shooting power is a parameter that is very underestimated in practice. It should be remembered that this parameter gives the goalkeeper less time to intervene. Players with a very hard shot are dangerous from almost any position, angle and even from a long distance. Power must be worked on,both technically and in physical fitness , by strengthening the muscles of the forearm and the main body ,especially the rotating of the torso. The fastest shot in the current NHL is from Boston’s Zdeno Chára at 175 km / h, behind him is Shea Weber at 170.5 km / h, and worth mentioning is the Finnish youngster Patrik Laine at 164 km / h.

scoring under presure


Scoring from different positions and angles under pressure in space and time is already a concrete match situation. The player must be resilient and strong in these difficult conditions. If players prepare for these situations in practice, they are then able to use them immediately in a match! 

price goals chart inside


Everything can be done almost perfectly in training, but there are other factors in an actual game, especially the psyche. Against the specific and often last opponent – the goalkeeper - the best shooters can correct their finish according to the style of catching and movement of the goalkeeper. Nowadays, the goalkeepers do not move too far from the front of the goal area because they have to cover not only the shot or react to a possible pass to another position but also cover the rebound. Goalkeepers are better prepared for lateral movement and in some cases are no longer perpendicular to the shooter. In modern hockey, the success of shooting is increased with the art of screening the goalkeeper’s view so that the goalkeeper cannot read the shot or pass. If the player finishes from a cross pass that passes through the longitudinal axis from one half of the playing area to the other, the chances of scoring the goal is increased by up to ten times. Very effective is also tipping in just in front of the goalkeeper or enormous emphasis in the area in front of the goal. 



When someone scores everyone sees it but few can imagine what work is involved. Of course we can do everything well in training in isolation but in the game it is necessary to combine it all . In addition to this, other further important factors come into play which are different to a training situation, especially the psychological factor ,nervousness or stress, as well as the deployment of the player in the game , teammates, game organization, tactics, match development, and many other factors. I am convinced that only careful daily work throughout the entire career of a player can give that player excellent shooting skills. It is necessary to work intensively especially in sensitive period in the player ‚s career and it is necessary to create the right foundation. This requires very skilled trainers to put this effective methodology into practice. It is an area where I see the greatest possibilities for advancement. Treat yourself to a specialized shooting camp with multiple coaches, which reaches at each stage all the elements of shooting technique with emphasis on the technicalities involved in the skill.

Illustrative photos:

Jaromír Pytlík




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