After a great weekend in Pittsburgh at USA Hockey’s ADM Symposium (and one of Tangradi’s pre-season games) and a busy Summer of travel in general, I’m finally back and getting resettled in Philadelphia.
Despite the popularity of these posts, I don’t write a lot about how specific off-ice training methods transfer to specific on-ice skills. My fear is that players will say “I need a quicker first step” and only do a few thing that I recommend for speed training, or in this case, “I need a harder slap shot” and only do the exercises in this article. The truth is that ALL players should be following a comprehensive training program and using single goals as a means of designing your plan will inevitably create imbalances and ultimately fail in helping you realize your true potential. I say that as a preface to this post with the hopes that you’ll understand that this the exercises referenced below were simply pulled from a more complete program to demonstrate how these components will help transfer to an on-ice ability.
Tips for Improving Slap Shot Power
Hockey players, especially young ones, frequently seek out ways to improve their shot power. In reality, shooting a harder slap shot often comes down to mastering the technical components (e.g. foot positioning, puck placement, stick contact point, hand position, hip drive, etc). That said, a lot of progress can be made by removing physical barriers and improving both general and movement-specific strength and power.
From a barrier standpoint, shooting requires a great deal of mobility through the hips and thoracic spine (upper back). Two great exercises to improve and maintain optimal mobility in these areas are:
Side-Lying Diagonal Arm Arc
Purpose: Improve thoracic rotation range of motion
One basic rotational power exercise is:
Front Standing Med Ball Scoop
Purpose: Develop rotational power, emphasizing weight transfer, hip rotation, and upper body follow through.
(well-groomed playoff beard optional)
A more dynamic variation of this quality:
Side Standing Med Ball Shotput with Rapid Step Behind
Purpose: Develop rotational power in a more dynamic environment. This more closely mimics the changing foot positions where power will need to be generated on the ice (think of adjusting feet to take a one timer).
To your success,
Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.