Practicing your shooting at home is a terrific method to maintain and enhance your shooting skills on your own time, whether you’re stuck at home due to a pandemic or simply trying to make the most of time away from the ice. If you approach dryland training with a strategy, getting started with basic shooting drills is simple, and here are some pointers to help you get started.
All shooting practice is beneficial.
As long as you continue to create positive habits, practicing is time spent developing. Remember that your setup doesn’t have to be perfect while practicing shooting at home: work with what you have. Adapt your setup to make it your own if you don’t have the space or resources listed below. Your work will improve your photo, regardless of whether you use a certain setup or not.
Choosing a Location, Surface, and Backboard
The most difficult part will be locating the appropriate location. Ideally, you have a 10′ by 20′ hard, level area at home (a regular two-car garage is around 20′ × 20′). Bigger is better, but this will provide you more room to practice shots from all angles and distances. Move your target/goal to the base of the long side while practicing shooting from the side, so you have more room on the sides to practice from an angle. Move the goal to the short side when practicing head-on slapshots, so you have more shooting distance.
To make a shooting pad with an ice-like dryland surface, use HockeyShot synthetic ice tiles or a plastic shooting board. Adding an ice-like cover to your home training environment is well worth the effort, whether you can make a whole mini-rink using HockeyShot tiles or just a tiny square to set up your shots. Suppose you can’t change the surface in your home, the harder and smoother, the better. The best cover is poured concrete (as in a garage), but blacktop or asphalt, or even hard-packed soil, can suffice if that’s all you have. From there, you can make a DIY hockey shooting pad out of any hard, smooth material you can find in your garage or at a home improvement store. The following are some of the most popular DIY shooting pad materials:
HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) sheets
Tiles for the floor
Sheets of linoleum
Plastic that is rolled up
Markerboard / whiteboard
Boxes that have been flattened (in a pinch)
The perfect backstop is soft, so dangerous rebounds don’t come back at you or fly off and smash into a window. It should also provide you plenty of coverage if you miss a shot (but never forget). Even if you think you’ve completely covered the area behind your target with a backstop, think about what can happen if your puck or ball is redirected: What might it damage? Then make the necessary adjustments and compensations.
Backstops: What to Use:
Golf or fishing nets are examples of large netting.
Garden fencing or chain fencing Spare goals or goal nets An old mattress
Backstop Ideas That Aren’t Good:
siding for a house
Anything put in front of or near windows or automobiles is referred to as a garage door.
Practicing in a Small Space – Dorm/Apartment
You might not have access to a garage, driveway, or yard. So, if you’ve locked in your apartment or even a dorm room, how can you practice shooting drills? While you may think of mini or knee hockey as just a game, breaking down basic shooting techniques into targeted exercises, rather than the free-for-all nature of typical mini-hockey games, can help you develop your talents. Mini hockey also fits well in even the tiniest dorm rooms (if your beds are pushed to the sides.)
While you might not be able to pull off a full slapper in your cramped walk-up, you can surely practice wrist shot and snapshot mechanics. Make as much space as possible surrounding your practice area, set up a tiny target (using the backstop instructions above), and work on wrist shot fundamentals.
Set a goal or a target for yourself.
Shooting at a regulation-sized goal is the most effective way to improve your shooting skills at home. With a full 6′ x 4′ dream and a variety of magnetic targets and shooting screens attached to the goal frame, you have practically unlimited alternatives for dryland shooting training.
However, not everyone has access to or space for a regulation goal. A mini-goal or skill net can provide more targeted training in many circumstances, especially in small areas. In a pinch, make do with what you’ve got: an empty box, a bucket, or storage container, or be creative with flipped-over indoor or outdoor furniture.
Pucks and Balls for Shooting at Home
Keeping with the “use what you have” motif, use most of what you have, or even a combination of pucks and balls. A regular puck will work nicely if you have a hard, smooth shooting pad, such as HockeyShot tiles or even HDPE. A low-bounce street hockey ball or an inline hockey puck is preferable if you’re shooting from a rougher surface.
Drills for shooting: high, low, left, and right.
Unless you have access to skateable synthetic ice tiles at home, your shooting workouts will be limited to accuracy drills on a shooting pad from a standing posture (not moving). To increase your accuracy, add smaller targets to a larger goal, such as a full-sized goal or even a mini-goal. To simulate the openings a goaltender might leave open in real play, combine your position relative to the destination with target placement to create a range of shooting situations. In a half-circle around the goal, break down your space relative to the goal into zones:
Low Angle, Left
Left, High Angle;
High Angle; Right,
Left, High Angle;
Before going on to the next, set up your shooting pad in each of them and shoot 10 reps (or however many pucks and balls you have on hand before needing to retrieve them). If you have more space, double the number of shooting zones by adding distance to each of these zones (near and far).
Each time you shoot from one of these zones, you must move your targets. Shoot only at targets in (or reflect the area of) the upper right (1 hole) corner in one set of all five or ten zones. Shoot from each zone at the upper left (3 holes) corner on the next set, and so on.
Keep a Record of Your Success
That’s 250 shots if you perform ten reps from each zone, aiming for all five “holes.” If you don’t keep track of your hits between sets, you won’t know if you’re improving your accuracy. Write down, or mark in notes on your phone, how many correct hits you had each time you advance to a new zone, and tally them at the conclusion.
What’s the status of your dryland training? Send us pictures of how you practice at home, and we’ll share them with our audience.