Shooting while skating…same as walking and chewing gum?

-By Scott Dutertre, IHA Skills Coach- 

We have all heard the phrase “walk and chew gum at the same time”.  Simple enough to do.  But if we translate this to hockey we have a hard time shooting a puck and skating at the same time.  I equate shooting on the move to being a musician.  Take a drummer, for example.  Their arms and feet have different jobs.  This is what hockey players need to do in order to have success shooting a puck while skating.  We need to have that separation of our hands and feet in order to become a more deceptive shooter.  This is a simple technique that I use in my camps that can be used for beginners through pros.

I like to set up players so that their toes are square to the boards.  When you skate to the net, you do not turn your body to shoot if you are trying to be deceptive.  The top hand is in front of their body while the bottom hand and puck are behind their body.  Using the bottom hand to flex the stick, players follow through and snap the puck against the boards.

After a few reps of stationary shooting, players start marching slowly on the spot.  This is the point where we want to start to separate the hands and feet.  While marching, we want to start shooting the puck while our skates move before, during, and after the shot.  Gradually speed up the foot movement and shooting until you can move your feet rapidly and shoot the puck with power.

The final step is adding the striding component to the movement.  Similar to the marching movement, players stride in as if they are skating in slow motion.  Keeping the hands and puck still in a shooting position without stickhandling, shoot the puck to the net while keeping a constant striding rhythm.  As in the marching, once you are comfortable shooting with long, slow strides, start to increase the speed and stickhandling movement until you are comfortable shooting at full speed.