Glossary: Shoot Left, Shoot Right?
Lefty vs. Righty
You might think the question is whether your player is left-handed or right-handed. But what it actually means is which hand is lower on the stick and which side of the body he or she shoots from—which does not necessarily correspond with the hand the player uses for writing. To “shoot left” means your left hand is lower on the stick and your right hand is on top. To “shoot right” means your right hand is lower and your left hand is on top. Interestingly, most Canadian players shoot left, while Americans tend to shoot right. (Poke around online on this topic and you'll see that experts disagree on whether having your dominant hand on the bottom or the top is better for shooting and stickhandling. Click here for an interesting article from The New York Times about this subject.)
Before the introduction of the curved stick in the 1960s, both left and right shooters, Americans and Canadians, used the same stick. Today, players who shoot left use a stick that curves right, and players who shoot right use a stick that curves left. This slight curvature allows players to get off a stronger shot from one side of the body. If, in a panic, you borrow a stick with the wrong curve, you’re essentially dooming your kid to shoot backhand for that whole game or practice.
See It In Action
In the 2010 Olympic Final, the left-shooting Canadians triumphed over the American team. Watch as Sidney Crosby shoots left to win the Olympic gold and become a Canadian hero.
Knowing this little bit of hockey lingo helps you temporarily solve the problem of the forgotten stick. The long-term solution? Always take the stick out of the car when you get home. And assign your player to remember his or her stick. Believe me, a session or two with a borrowed stick is sure to improve your kid’s memory.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Rose Conry for this story. Rose, an intern with the Grow the Game Initiative, studies journalism at Northwestern University. She loves all sports and sails competitively with the university’s club team.
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