A wrist shot is a type of ice hockey shot that involves using arm muscles (especially those in the wrist and forearm) to propel a puck forward from the open-faced, concave (inner curve) part of the blade of a hockey stick. Generally, when the puck is shot in a similar manner using the convex (outer curve) side of the blade, it is referred to as a backhand shot. The advantage of a wrist shot over a slap shot is that there is an element of surprise in that the minimal amount of setup for the shot doesn't let an opponent on to the fact that a player is about to shoot, and a wrist shot is far more accurate than a slap shot. The reliance on wrist and forearm muscles to propel the puck causes the wrist shot to be less powerful than the slap shot, but it is much more accurate. The snap shot is a sort of mix between the wrist shot and the slap shot in that the shooter can have a small wind up to use other muscles and the flex of the shaft of the hockey stick to propel the puck, so it is often stronger than wrist shot, but not as strong as the slap shot, but it is also more accurate than the slap shot and less accurate than the wrist shot.
The wrist shot has several phases:
- The bottom hand slides down the shaft of the stick and brings the blade behind the back leg (the leg furthest away from the target).
- Weight is transferred to the front leg as the arms "sweep" forward.
- The puck is then "rolled" along the blade of the stick, ending with a little "flick" of the wrist, which accelerates the puck, thanks to the curve in the stick.
- As the puck is released in the forward motion, the follow through of the stick determines the height and direction of the shot.