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Shark Forward Tony Granato
Sharks Forward Tony Granato talks about the wrist shot.

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Wrist Shots

Unlike the slapshot, no one clocks the speed of the wrist shot. While it can still be a relatively fast shot (80 or 90 miles per hour is not out of the question), the quick release and control is why some players like it. Sharks Forward Tony Granato told us, "Accuracy is one of the most important things and quick release is another...with the speed of the game and the tremendous goal tending in the National Hockey League, quick release is important." Unlike the slapshot, the wrist shot doesn't require any wind-up. The wrist shot also appears to be easier to control and players can generally put it closer to where they want it to go.

Contact Time

Without the wind-up that is required for the slapshot, where does the energy for a wrist shot come from? Part of the energy comes from the player pressing down on the stick and then releasing it quite suddenly (with a flick of the wrists). The stick stores the energy and the wrist movement releases it. The other consideration is the time that the puck is in contact with the blade of the stick. For a wrist shot that time is much longer than it is with a slapshot. According to physicist Thomas Humphrey, "how fast a player can make the puck go depends on not just the force that the stick exerts on the puck, but the amount of time that the stick is in contact with the puck."

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San Jose Sharks Forward Jeff Friesen demonstrates a wrist shot.

Physicist Thomas Humphrey
Exploratorium physicist Thomas Humphrey discusses the difference between slapshots and wrist shots.

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Shooting a backhand shot may appear to be fairly simple, but many players are at a disadvantage due to the curve of the stick. The stick's curve is a self-centering mechanism which gives the player control over the puck. The curve also helps the stick get under the puck, giving the player the ability to put more loft on the puck. When shooting a backhand using a stick with a great deal of curve, the danger of the puck rolling off the side of the stick (due to the convex nature of the back of the stick) becomes a problem. Likewise, trying to lift the puck on a backhand can also be affected.

High Speed of One-timer
San Jose Sharks Forward Jeff Friesen demonstrates a one-timer

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Another exciting shot in hockey is the "one-timer." This shot directly involves two players: one passes it and the other slaps the puck while it is in motion. The main advantage of this shot is the relatively quick release; even though the player is winding up, he does so before the puck arrives. The shot also can also come close to the speed of a regular slapshot, making it difficult to stop. These factors and the rapid change of direction that occurs when executing a one-timer can wreak havoc on an opposing goal tender. The goalie's only solace is that these shots are rare--this may have to do with the special conditions that one-timers require.

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Shooting the Puck:2-of-2

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