I have to admit that when I first starting coaching, I was a little too focused
on asking my teams to get more shots on net than their opponent. It was a
mainstay of my pre-game speeches and often repeated the line, “There’s no
such thing as a bad shot” to my players.
And while most of us would agree that outshooting your opponent is never
really a bad thing, it isn’t the most important thing.
I can count many games where we outshot our opponents 20-15 but 10 of the
shots we took hit their goalie square in the chest, while 10 of our opponent’s
shots required our goalie to fight to see the initial shot and control the rebound.
So while we may have won the stat of most shots on net, half of our shots
So I wanted to share a few ideas with you today on how to shot more effectively
instead of focusing entirely on the number of shots you generate.
SHOTS FROM THE SLOT:
This is the most important stat I track for our team’s shooting and defending.
We track how many shots we take from our opponent’s slot and how many
they are able to get against us from our slot. Nine times out of ten, when we
get more shots from the slot than our opponents, we play an excellent offensive
game and usually end up on the winning side of the scoreboard.
SHOTS FROM THE POINT:
This is one I like to track both for and against as it tells me how involved our
defense are getting in our team’s offense and gives me an idea of how much
offense our opponents are able to generate and from where. I like to see my
Ds involved in the offense – especially when they have cannons for shots. When
we are generating around 10 shots from the point in a game, it tells me that we
are getting sustained puck pressure in the opposition’s zone and our forwards are
doing a good job of changing the point of attack by moving pucks from down low to
up high. Just getting the shots off from the point is important – but more important
is that they hit the net, there is traffic in front and hopefully they generate a scoring
SHOTS ON 2 on 1s:
This is a small point but a significant one. I consistently tell my players that we MUST
get a shot off when we have 2v1 opportunities in practices and games. There is
nothing more frustrating than seeing two players head down the ice on a prime
scoring opportunity and watching them make one or two too many passes instead
of generating a scoring chance. When it comes to 2v1s, players must have a
shot/rebound mentality and look to get the goalie moving east/west with a shot off
the far pad or a pass to the backdoor for a tap in or one-timer.
SHOTS WITH A PURPOSE:
Girls hockey players tend to want to get off the “perfect shot” instead of getting
a shot off quickly. This is especially frustrating to watch with players battling in
the slot and Ds with a clear lane to the net. Players in the slot must fight to keep
their sticks on the ice and get hard shots off as fast as possible that force the
goalie to track the puck and react quickly. Instead of trying to place the puck in
the net, players should try to shoot the puck through the back of the net. It doesn’t
matter if the goal is pretty, it matters that it goes in. With Ds at the point, the main
focus should be getting the shot through on net as quickly as possible. Most of the
time, this doesn’t require a massive wind-up. I spend a lot of time teaching Ds to
get off shots with half backswings so that they can contribute more on the offense
and have less shots get blocked by shinpads.
In girls’ hockey, where effective offense is at a premium, I will still encourage
players to get more shots on net whenever possible. But I will spend even more
time teaching them what effective shooting is all about.
Work Hard. Dream BIG. Shoot With A Purpose.
Your friend and coach,
PS – For a step-by-step guide, to help you take your shooting and stickhandling
to the next level, check out our Total Female Hockey Elite Shooting and Stickhandling
Video Series. It’s an 8 week program guaranteed to have you shooting more
effective for the rest of this season – and beyond. Check it out by clicking below:
Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS
Director, Total Female Hockey
Girls Hockey Director, PEAC School For Elite Athletes