One-Timers: Perfecting Your Shot

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One-Timers
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One-Timers: Perfecting Your Shot

One-timers are considered by many to be the most lethal shot in hockey. Today’s goalies are bigger, better and faster, making them essential.

By Warren Tabachnick

To many, the one-timer is the most lethal shot in hockey. In today’s game, this shot is more essential than ever. Back in the day, one-timers were often not in a player’s repertoire because goaltenders were not in the shape they’re in today and their pads were smaller. These days, goalies are bigger, better and faster, making the one-timer a necessity.

For the uninitiated, a one-timer is a type of hockey shot that occurs when the shooter lines up the shot while the pass is being executed. In most game situations, when receiving a pass the shooter must first stop the puck and settle it before taking the shot. For the majority of goalies, stopping this type of shot is difficult because of the speed at which it is deployed.

Hockey fans can see one-timers in pretty much every NHL game, especially during power plays. The player about to receive the pass positions themselves in a spot with the best shooting angle. Their stick is held high, locked and loaded and waiting for the pass. Without missing a beat the shooter blasts a shot, catching the goalie by surprise. It’s the fastest way to launch a shot as the shooter requires no time to tee it up.

In the NHL, perhaps the best example of a player who has perfected the one-timer is none other than Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. Ovi makes it look so easy when in reality this type of shot can be difficult to achieve. The stars must all be aligned: the timing has to be right; the goalie caught unaware or out of position; and the pass must be smooth as silk to keep the puck from rolling.

One-timer shots happen lightning fast, as the shooter dispenses with the usual half-second to control the puck. With a little luck, the biscuit ends up in the basket before the goalie has a chance to square up and block the shot. Goalies that see the shots coming at them almost always make the save. With all the shot blocking going on these days, it’s getting harder to score goals. That’s exactly why the one-timer is now one of the most important shots in a hockey player’s arsenal.

As you can see, all of this makes the one-timer one of the most important shots in the game (not including tip-ins.) The element of surprise makes a big difference; the harder the puck is passed, the harder the resulting one-timer will be. Most shooters of a one-timer look for a pass to their feet.

For the rest of us, a one-timer doesn’t happen by magic. Coach Jeremy at hockeyshot.com says it takes a lot of practice to perfect and execute correctly. “Your wind-up should be short.” Also, “practice shooting one-timers while moving.”

Follow these steps to deliver the perfect one-timer:

  • Hands Away: Your hands should be kept away from your body. Otherwise, if they’re too close or too far away, you will experience a loss of power in your shot.
  • Grip: Your hand should be kept a bit lower on your stick compared to how you normally would take a wrister or snap shot.
  • Weight Transfer: Body weight should be transferred from your back foot to your front foot.
  • Timing: Passes should be made so they land between your feet. Timing is everything when it comes to one-timers! 

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