Goal scoring is something that is lacking across all levels of girls’ hockey. Quite often, girls are more concerned with making one more pass or picking the perfect spot to shoot instead of just getting the puck to the net. Here are some basic tips for goal scoring that I share with my rep teams and hopefully help you and your players to put more pucks in the net this season.
1. Finish Every Puck – in practice, finish all your rebounds in the back of the net or at least get a follow-up shot. It might make the goalies a little mad, but it will definitely help you score more goals in games.
2. Be Willing To Pay The Price – Games are won and lost in the battles in front of the net. Drive the net and create traffic. I often tell my players to “snow” the goalie’s pads every time they drive the net. Make sure not to do this after the whistle though. I also teach them to be a “leaky” goalie which means that when they are trying to screen the goalie and tip pucks, they need to square up to the shot as if they are playing goalie, and then let the puck go through. Going to the net hard means that you’ll be on the receiving end of a few more slashes and hooks, but the extra goals will make it all worth it.
3. Shoot Like You Mean It – Stop trying to feather the puck into a small little corner of the net. Pound it in like you’re trying to shoot it through the back of the net.
4. Show Your Blade – Whenever you are in the scoring area, move yourself into a position where the passer can see your forehand. You want your blade to be perpendicular to the direction the puck is traveling so that it’s easier to see and easier to get a quick shot off.
5. Be Patient – Let’s be clear...you want to shoot when you are in the scoring area. But remember that goalies can usually make the first save if there isn’t traffic. So if you’re driving wide and no one is coming with you on the rush, don’t just wire the puck on net. Be patient – delay, carry it behind the net – and make sure that your shot has a net drive going after the rebound. In this case, you want to be shooting for the far pad or 5 hole.
6. Have A Sense of Urgency – I know...I just told you to be patient. But when you’re in tight and you get the puck in the slot, you don’t have time. You need to get your body and stick in a position where you can fire the puck quickly. Make sure you are over top of the puck and shoot it as hard as you can.
7. Get Your Head Up – it helps to know where you are shooting. Once you are a good enough shooter to pick your spots with your eyes on the target, you need to focus on being more deceptive. Look at spot you want to shoot at, and pass it to the back door instead. Look at the person you want to pass to, and snipe it off the far post instead. Girls hockey players need to be a lot more deceptive, which means that every player on the ice needs to be ready to receive the puck at ALL times.
8. Believe It – Everyone is a goal scorer. Scoring goals is a mindset. They don’t need to be pretty, they just have to go in. When you start to think you are a goal scorer, you act like one and then all of a sudden, you are one.
To learn more about getting to the next level, visit www.totalfemalehockey.com. Kim McCullough, M.Sc., YCS is a highly sought-after expert in the development of aspiring hockey players and has played and coached at the highest level of women’s hockey in the world for the last decade. She is a former NCAA Division 1 captain, strength and conditioning All-American and played in the NWHL/CWHL for seven years. She is the Director and Founder of Total Female Hockey and is currently coaching the Toronto-Leaside Jr Wildcats of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).