Perfecting your hockey slap hit

The slap hit is one of the most valuable distribution skills in hockey – allowing you to send a hard, fast and flat-to-the-ground ball.

It’s also highly accurate, unlike hitting where the stick is high and there is more that can go wrong before your stick even touches the ball.According to the Ryde Hockey Club

According to director of Coaching Tim Collier if you want to get this shot right, it’s important to get very low. Your stick also starts the movement on the ground.

But to make it really effective, you need to add some trickery to fool the opposition.

Once more with deception

Once you’ve mastered the basic slap, the next stage is to add some deception. Cock the wrists and bring the hand through through earlier to send a trick shot that will deceive the opposition. See 3:06 into the Ryde hockey video clip for more info on this. This will send the ball further to the right. “Hugely effective as you start to play at higher levels,” says Collier.

To deceive in the other direction, keep the wrists cocked back and bring the hands through later. See 4:09 in the Ryde training video.

“It’s a hugely effective passing technique and all full-backs and half-backs really need to be able to do this,” says Collier.

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VR Raghunath

Defender V R Raghunath in a Galvanised Hockey training video suggests that the top hand on the stick should be strong and supporting the shot, and the bottom hand should be softer and guiding. The body power should be going through the stick. This video also has some fantastic examples of the shot being used in a match.

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Hands apart or together

Like so many things in hockey, there are different views on this. Larry McKintosh, performance coach at Ryde Hockey, suggests putting the hands together at the top of the stick to get more control and power. Hands together is also easier if you want to add deception. His advice is about one minute into this video.

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Trapping the ball before a slap hit.

This is a fantastic slow motion video of player Jagdish Gill, from Canada, trapping and then slapping the ball.

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What I love about this is how you can see exactly how he receives the ball before slapping. He is pushing the head of the stick forward to trap the ball safely and stop it bouncing off his stick and his arms are extended. Here’s a screen-grab of the stick position as he receives the ball.

Ragdish gill

He takes a few little steps to move into the correct position and it’s also worth noting how massively wide his stance is as he slaps. Here’s another screen grab of that.

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Move all the way through

This Just Hockey video isn’t the best for demonstrating the slap hit, but it does have some drills that coach the move. What’s best about this clip is that coach Sophie Nottle points out that you have to move your body all the way through the slap hit or the ball will bobble making it difficult to receive. She coaches the importance of moving your body weight all the way through and finishing off the slap. At 6:06 you also get a close up of how to angle the wrists and stick for a deception shot, if you’re stills struggling with exactly how to do this.

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Using the slap shot to score

Finally, here’s a coaching video (unfortunately shot on a windy day) that has some good tips.

When you are using the slap as a distribution passing move, tt’s important the stick is flat so that the ball stays flat on the ground. This is acceptable when shooting on goal, but not when passing to a team mate.

However, you can angle the stick for an effective goal shooting shot called the ‘chip shot’ . For more on how to do this chip shot on goal go to 7:05 in this video.  A useful shot if the goal keeper is coming out to smother your angle, you can go up and over the keeper.

At 7:45 Cairns Hockey show you an effective goal-shooting slap that works when the keeper has put their hands down and you want to fire over their head. Follow through with full body rotation and a slight angle on the stick which will fire it into the roof of the goal.

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