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Striking: the technique of the elite

Striking: The technique of the elite?

Sports physiotherapist

The slap shot is the weapon of choice for National Hockey League defensemen to score goals from the blue line. The reason this type of shot is used is quite simple: it propels the puck towards the goal more quickly than the wrist shot. Let’s see what elite players do differently than recreational players when executing this shot.

Researchers at McGill University compared the hit shooting of five university-level players with that of five recreational players. Using a variety of technologies, they were able to observe the movement of the bat and the sequence of activation of different body parts during the pitching motion. Unsurprisingly, the techniques used by the two groups turned out to be different.

Firstly, the elite players’ sticks hit the puck with greater speed than the recreational players’. When the stick movement is deconstructed, the researchers observe that this difference in speed does not come directly from the pendulum movement, as the angular velocity is similar. It’s more a question of the speed of translation of the blade, which is greater in the elite, in other words, the movement of the stick towards the target. So it’s the speed of translation that makes elite players’ paddles come into contact with the puck at greater speed than recreational players.

This difference can be explained by the fact that different shooting techniques are used. Indeed, the movement pattern used by the two groups is different. The sequence of body movements for the elites begins with the trunk and hip, followed by the arms and forearms. Below is a summary of the movement sequences used:

In a previous article, we explained the importance of improving your casting speed to increase accuracy. To do this, you need to optimize the technical execution of the gesture by practicing the sequence of movements used by the elite. This way, you can beat the goalkeeper at speed, even if he’s ready to receive your throw.

Written by Maxime Provencher, M. Physiotherapy

References :
Woo, T. Loh, J. Turcotte R. & Pearsall, D. The ice hockey slap shot, elite versus recreational. ISBS 2004, McGill University

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