Redirects, Deflections, and Tips are pure skill. It is a skill that can ultimately only be improved with repetition. In the truest sense, the best way to bet better at tipping pucks, is by tipping pucks.
“It's a little bit of skill, a little bit of art. You need to have good hand-eye coordination, but I think the will of standing in front of the guy shooting the puck is the biggest part of it. It’s something you need to practice to get good at.” - Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks
5 Types Of Tips:
- Net Front – Square/Stationary (also known as a low tip)
- High Slot – Square/Stationary (also known as a high tip)
- Moving (L to R, R to L, H to L, L to H)
- Side of Net -- Strong Side /Across body
- Off Balance (get your stick on it anyway you can)
Keys to success:
- Courage – willingness to get to the dirty areas
- Communication verbal & non-verbal with shooter
- Timing – read the shot release
- Eye Hand coordination
- Keep Hands away from body
- Have a loose stick
- Keep eyes on the puck
- On square tips (low or high) separate upper body and lower body. Be strong low.
- On low tips (net front) mirror the goalie and take away his eyes
- Keep blade open
- Do not “swing” at puck
- Drop your bottom hand on the stick for better stick control
- Can also “choke up” on stick with top hand
- Ideally, you are trying to redirect puck with the lower half of stick/heel of blade
“It’s similar to bunting (in baseball). You’ve got to get a feel for it. There’s definitely an art to deflecting it. It’s a touch and a feel that you have to practice. It’s like any part of the game.”
How to practice:
In addition to the on-ice drills shown, there are several ways to practice your eye hand coordination and improve this skill.
Without a partner:
- Stand 10-12 feet from wall. Using a tennis, wiffle, or street hockey ball – shoot the ball at the wall and try to tip as it comes back towards you. Try different angles and change distance. Also try shooting forehand and tipping backhand and shooting backhand tipping forehand.
- Parisi Drill – stand facing a net (or wall) 15 feet or so off the a wall…(works great in garage). Using forehand and/or backhand “pass puck” off wall so that it comes toward you at waist level. Try to knock the ball down and then shoot at net.
- Go to the batting cages…. yes, the batting cages…. bring your stick and stand in the batters box (strong & weak side) as well as on the plate, and try to deflect the pitches. You may get a few strange looks…..
- Juggle with your stick/blade. Place the ball/puck/golf ball on the blade of your stick and loft into the air and then try to catch it as it comes down.
With a partner:
- Have your partner shoot pucks/ball at net as shown in the videos. Can be done on or off ice.
- Parisi Drill – Have partner sauce pucks towards you from 15-20 feet. Try to knock puck down with blade and then quickly shoot it. (try without stickhandling first as well).
- To challenge yourself even more, use a broom stick, or thin PVC piping and/or a smaller ball. Squash balls are great (small and soft).
- Ask the baseball coach at your school, or your local team, if you can you use the batting cage/pitching machine to do the same. Again, try all angles. Moving. Stationary etc.
Lets Break it Down!
In this clip, Gabriel Landeskog does a great job of getting in front of the net, and you can see he is fully watching his teammate shoot. He opens up his blade so he is able to have more surface area to tip the puck. His great hand-eye coordination allows him to tip the slapshot into the back of the net!
You can see Barclay Goodrow take away the goaltenders line of sight. He is outside of the crease and he is not afraid to be right in the shooting lane. This courage allows him to redirect the puck and score a goal!
In this clip, Nazem Kadri skates in front of the net with his eyes on his teammate shooting the puck. As the shot comes in, Kadri keeps his blade open, which gives him more surface area to tip the puck into the back of the net!
A great tip from David Backes. As his team moves the puck low to high, he moves into position to be between the point man and the goalie. As the shot comes from the point, he opens up his blade and is able to tip the puck into the back of the net.
Gabriel Landeskog does a great job of getting in front of the net, creating traffic in front of the goaltenders eyes, faces the point shooter and tips the puck with his blade open.
Dwayne Blais from National Skills Development Association breaks down tipping and gives us excellent coaching points & concepts to keep in mind when you are tipping a puck.
Joe Pavelski is one of the best at tipping pucks in the game. How is he so good? Practice!
Here are a few clips of Joe practicing with his teammates.
Here is a simple reactionary hand eye coordination drill that can be done all over the ice. A teammate or a coach flips a puck to another teammate, they knock it down and fire off a quick shot.
If there are not enough nets, the player can knock the puck down and then pass the puck back to their teammate instead of shooting the puck!
Here is an example of a drill where 2 forwards crash the net, then get the puck to the point where the defense goes d to d and fires a puck on net to be deflected.