I have a giant bruise on the top knuckle of my right index finger. It looks like I tried to punch someone and mostly missed.
Of course, since I’ve never punched anyone in my life, that’s not what happened. What happened was something changed in the way I hold my stick, pass, or shoot. I’m not sure which it was, but basically, I don’t hold my stick tight enough with my lower hand. This is fine for stick handling, but because I don’t tighten my grip before passing or shooting, my hand rotates and I end up pushing the stick forward with not much more than my now very bruised knuckle.
I’ve noticed this for months now. It just took a very achy knuckle during my second practice of the day yesterday to recognize this isn’t normal. I asked our coach-whose-shot-you-never-want-to-stand-in-the-way-of (even though I’ve been told to stand mostly in the way and screen for her, eek) how tight she gripped her stick with that hand when she shoots. The answer: really tight.
So I tried gripping really tight. That did the trick. No more pushing on the knuckle, no more pain, no more bruising. I sent a couple passes to no one in particular down half the length of the ice. They slid hard and fast the entire way.
Maybe this will help me shoot harder. This, and more practice with weight transfer and getting my legs into the shot. We got a few tips about that at practice yesterday, and also earlier in the week at the Tuesday night clinic I’ve been going to. “Fall into it,” said one of the Tuesday night coaches.
It’s amazing how many little things factor into one motion. Someday, when this all clicks together, I’m sure I’ll wonder why I found it so difficult. People will ask me how to shoot and I’ll say, “I don’t know, you just kind of go like this…”