• Background Image

    News & Updates

    shooting

March 21, 2018

How To Flex Your Stick (And How To Shoot Harder)

It’s a little-known secret that the puck flexes the stick.

Yes, the ice also flexes your stick. But with today’s sticks, almost every shot, pass, and stickhandle results in stick flex.

When you understand this key distinction – you can actually leverage your stick to its full potential. And then you can stop wasting your effort on power bleeding mechanics (like leaning on your stick).

It helps to know the situations where the puck flexes the stick. And distinguish when the ice also flexes the stick.

The saucer pass and shot share similar mechanics. In particular, the puck follows the same blade rhythm: It moves heel to toe.

To dial-up power, today’s shooter can do three things:

  • Move the pivot point forward
  • Generate more rotation
  • Use ice to create stick flex

Moving the pivot point forward means that the stick’s force producing part of the lever has a large range of motion. Thus can generate more power (since power = force x velocity and velocity = speed/distance). You can see how the pivot point is closer to the body with a saucer pass, but with a shot, the pivot point gets moved further ahead of the body along for the pulling hand to pull for a longer distance.

I mention that a shot is not a translation. Like a two foot broad jump. People who focus on weight transfer as THE variable get this part wrong. Instead, the shot is a rotation skill. Like tennis, baseball, and javelin. Adding rotation by arranging your feet so that your hips turn adds more power. With a rotation, think of it as increasing the length of your lever. It also increases the force end of this equation because force production that starts near your centre (core) compounds as it travels down the kinetic chain.

Here we see MacKinnon using almost no rotation. Just a push – pull lever motion. In comparison, notice how much rotation Laine gets.

The ice does generate stick flex. It’s sort of like pushing a bendy 4.5 ft bamboo rod through a 4 ft window. You push the rod forward. (Credit to Jeremy Rupke for this analogy). Player mess this up when they think they need to push down into the ice. The real way that you increase the flex of the stick is to make the window smaller by tipping your hips and tilting your shoulders. I understand why people call this “leaning on your stick” because that’s what it looks like. This is an illusion similar to the “Toe Off illusion.”

Understand that the there is a Power – Quickness Tradeoff. Going back to the MacKinnon vs Laine comparisons, you see that MacKinnon releases the puck quicker but with less power. Vice versa for Laine. But you do see that MacKinnon still gets stick flex! That’s just the nature of sticks today.

It helps to understand this distinction so that you avoid doing something that bleeds your power, balance, and quick release.

Some say that every skill you add to your talent stack roughly doubles your odds of success. Hockey is about being adaptable to situations. And the more tools you have, the more situations you dominate.

Learn how to dial your power up and down while maintaining the mechanics of shooting Wizards. You do this by understanding the mechanical principles that lead to more shot power.

If you’d like to learn this step-by-step, I’ll tell you how I structure this in the Shooting Mastery Course and with my coaching clients:

  1. We start by feeling the movement principles of the Hip Engine, the Inner Spring, and Tipped hips, and the Kinetic Chain. This is without a puck and stick. It’s just about feeeeeeeeel.
  2. Then we add the stick back in and start to play with the idea of leverage. How to position your body, your feet, your hands for maximum stick leverage.
  3. Then we add the puck back in – and cover basic drills that incorporate the movement principles. We keep the demands low so that the player focuses on the feeling.
  4. As the player hones in on the right feeling of the movement principles, we add more game specific footwork and movement patterns.
  5. Then we create the NeuroLinks so that players identify when to use their new mechanics to exploit opportunities and get results.

That’s how I approach it. I’d love to hear how this goes for you. And if you’d like some help implementing this plan, or you’d like to take advantage of the refinements I’ve made over my years of coaching, playing, and research, you can register for the Shooting Mastery Course here. Either way, please reach out to me and tell me what you think of this article: [email protected]

-Jason

 

April 18, 2015

Hacking Movement Quality, Expert Performers and What You Need to Know to Move Like Them

One pattern that has stood out to me recently is related to the idea of movement quality. The term gets thrown around a lot, but how exactly is “movement quality” exploited by expert performers? How can a skills coach teach better skills? How can a strength and conditioning coach have gym “movement quality” transfer to performance?

One answer is: teach the “proximal to distal gradient”

WTF is the “proximal to distal gradient”?

Read More

May 28, 2014

Scott Bjufstad: Shooting

I already effused my praise for this guy in another video he did for Easton. His advice is up to date, practical and valid. This is a great video to watch for advice on shooting.

March 26, 2014

Finally! Real Innovation in a Hockey Stick!

Finally! Real Innovation in a Hockey Stick!

It’s been a while since hockey gear has gotten me excited. When I was younger, I definitely fell for some of the marketing mumbo-jumbo that many hockey companies put on their gear. With regards to hockey sticks, companies will have a “loading zone” with marked decals…or they’ll supposedly have two flex points…or they’ll make one designed for “pure power” and another designed for “quick release”. All these things are great IDEAS, but I was always curious if the IDEAS were a result of the marketing team or a team looking at how people shoot.

It seems that the team that put together this V Series for Easton has actually looked at how players shoot. They’ve innovated the reinforced toe, which I think is crucial. As mentioned on their video, most players are actually shooting off the toe, and using the flex of the BLADE to get whip and a quick release. I really notice that the best shooters on my team use their toe much more than the weaker shooters, so reinforcing the toe for its use in quick release shots is a great idea.

The other innovation that I think is great is their dual lie patterns. I know they’ve been around, and pros have been using them for a while, but I’ve been stuck with very standard blade patterns my whole life. I’ve basically been using a blade pattern that’s about 25 years old. The dual lie patterns take into account the different mechanics a player uses to stickhandle/receive passes, and to shoot. With my pattern, I’ve played around with my stick lengths to try and get one lie that work for both. It makes sense to have a blade designed with two lies. (One time I shot with a pro’s 2-lie stick and was absolutely blown away…but didn’t want to get attached to his curve because I knew I wouldn’t be able to use it)

The flex profile of the stick which causes it to flex more lower down is pretty interesting, considering that the very first Easton Synergy had a tapered profile so as to make the stick more flexible higher up (I think). Anyway, the flex profile that they’ve adopted isn’t something I really understand. I can’t really comment on it because of this.

If you do understand it and wanna let me know, comment below!

 

 

March 17, 2014

The Ubyssey Series: Improve Your Hockey Shot

The Ubyssey Series: Improve Your Hockey Shot