How many times have you seen it: a player gets the puck with a wide open net, nothing in their way, they take a few moments to stickhandle and by the time they load the shot, the defense is crashing down on them and the goalie slides across the crease to make the save?
Those precious few wasted seconds cost them a scoring chance, something that will haunt them for a long time, especially if they’re not a player with regular scoring opportunities.
To fix this, I like to focus on drills that teach under-handling the puck. By that, I mean catching the puck on your forehand or backhand and quickly releasing the shot. This quick release takes away the valuable seconds the defense and goaltender need to take away a scoring chance.
These three drills not only make the players more comfortable quickly releasing their shots, but they help build the habit of doing so. This translates well into games because when they feel the puck hit their stick in a game, they will instinctually fire on the net when they know they’re in the right position to do so.
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