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A backhand slapshot is a type of shot used in the sport of ice hockey. Despite the similar name and execution, the result of the shot bears little resemblance to the traditional slapshot due to the awkwardness of the motion involved.
To execute the shot:
- The player winds up their hockey stick to the side of their top hand (left hand for a right-hand shot). For a so-called backhand slapshot, the wind-up is awkward at best, requiring either a scissoring of the hands resulting in a golf-like “chip,” or rotation of the shoulders with the arms and wrists moving very little.
- Next the player violently "slaps" the ice slightly behind the puck. In a traditional slapshot the player uses body weight to bend the stick, storing energy in it like a spring. This bending of the stick gives the slapshot its amazing speed. On the backhand, less power can be generated because of the awkwardness of the motion and far less bend can be imparted to the stick.
- When the rear of the stick blade strikes the puck, the player rolls their wrists and shifts weight so that the energy stored in the stick is released through the puck. On the backhand (as opposed to a traditional slapshot from the forehand), energy transfer is less efficient through the wrists and forearms.
- Finally, the player follows through, ending up with the stick pointed towards the desired target.
If done properly this shot can take the goalie off guard.
The backhand slapshot is weaker than other shots, and because of the violent motion involved and the awkward nature of the swing somewhat less accurate. It also takes longer to execute if the player controls the puck; a player usually cannot take a backhand slapshot while under any significant pressure from an opposing player because the opponent could easily interfere during the windup. The backhand slapshot is most commonly used as a desperation move to shoot or clear a loose puck as a player approaches the puck and when he or she has no time to collect the puck.
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