Tips on improving your tips
Being able to tip the puck effectively is a skill at which most goal scorers excel. And since scoring goals is something that many girls hockey teams struggle with, I thought I’d share three quick tips on how to tip the puck more effectively.
TIP #1: Push out from the goalie
Many players are taught to stand directly in front of the goalie when screening.
That’s fine if you’re simply looking to create traffic in front and take away their ability to see the puck. But if you want to tip the puck, it doesn’t work too well.
The most effective tips are the ones that change the most direction before going in the net. The closer you stand to the goalie, the less time and space the puck has to change direction once you’ve tipped it.
Instead of standing in the crease, players should practice pushing out a stick length away from the goalie when screening so that pucks can change direction more before hitting the net.
TIP #2: Keep your blade pointing straight ahead
We all love to see those tips when the forward opens their blade to ramp the puck up into the top corner past the goalie – but those goals are few and far between.
First and foremost, players need to do a much better job of having their stick on the ice when battling for position in front of the net. The most effective way to tip the puck is to start from a tripod position – feet planted wide with the stick in front of you so that the toes of your skates and your stick blade are all pointed straight ahead.
Having the stick pointing forward allows you to tip pucks on either side by quickly shifting the stick to that side. Think about it. If you stand with your stick on your forehand side, you’ll have a very tough time getting your stick on any pucks that come through on your backhand side. If you are in the tripod position, it’s easy to shift the blade over and redirect the puck off either side of your body.
TIP #3: Turn once the puck goes by
This one is simple but rarely done.
As soon as you lose sight of the puck after the shot, you want to turn and face the net. I see far too many players who are too tight to the goalie, who don’t turn after they’ve lost sight of the puck, who watch rebounds come out five feet in front of them only to be facing the wrong direction with no chance of getting a second shot off.
When you are pushed out from the goalie, have your stick on the ice and spin as soon as the puck goes by, you’ll find yourself scoring some easy goals where all you have to do is bang home a quick rebound.
I did refer to these as “gift” goals because they are just waiting for you to score them. However, now I refer to them as “smart” goals because it seems that only the smartest players are in the right position and have the right timing to score these door-step goals.
I hope these tips for tipping help you score a few more goals in your next game.
Please feel free to share this message with any players, friends, teammates or coaches who you think might benefit from the information.
Work Hard. Dream BIG.
Your friend and coach,
Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS, is the founder and director of Total Female Hockey.