How to Beat the Goalie: Tips & Tricks

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beat the goalie
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To beat the goalie you need some skill and a whole lot of luck. These tips tell you how.

By Warren Tabachnick

As a hockey player, you want to beat the goalie and score goals. After all, that’s the whole point of the game, right? Especially in hockey, scoring requires some skill and a whole lot of luck.

Did you know that most pucks that make it across the goal line are scored within a foot off the ice? Statistically speaking, shots that are made within 12 inches of the height of the crossbar result in vastly fewer goals. And a good many goals occur from 10 feet or less from the breadbasket.

So the persistent question in the mind of every hockey player is, how do I beat the goalie and score more goals? A number of factors must be considered. It’s worth mentioning that because goaltenders are better equipped to move their hands rather than their feet, it’s always best to keep the shots low.

Quick Release

Perhaps the most effective way of beating the goalie is the quick release. The wrist shot (or snapshot) is an especially sneaky shot that often evades a goalie. With this type of shot, the puck rolls off the toe of the stick. Your stick should be pointed in the direction you want the puck to ultimately be.

Similar to the wrister, a backhand shot is often a great way to light the lamp. It’s a tricky shot that can be unpredictable in the eyes of a net minder. In fact, it’s considered by many to be one of the hardest shots for a goalie to read. When taking this type of shot, keep the puck between the middle of your stick blade; the flat area of the blade is best. For maximum power and effectiveness, be sure to put your weight into the shot.

Shooting in stride is another way to get the puck past the goalie, as they can be unsure of when the shot will be released.

Although they can produce tremendous velocity, a slap shot requires considerable wind-up which allows the goalie a bit of time to prepare. So unless there is a bit of traffic in front of the net where the goalie is screened, you’re probably better off using one of the methods above.

Keep It Low

With any of these techniques, you’ll want to get as close to the net as possible and keep those shots low. If you shoot right, keep the shots to the right (and vice versa).

The bottom line: Although a lot of backhand shots end up high, your best chance of scoring happens when the shots are low, which allows for the puck to be deflected by a teammate or even an opponent’s skate. Work on strengthening your backhand shot. It’s the one type of shot that can be the most difficult for a goalie to read.

These tips may not guarantee you the ability to score, as these days mostly every goalie places a greater importance on technique and keeping in shape. But with a bit of practice and a lot of focus, your chances of getting on the scoreboard are more likely.

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