The Physics of the Slap Shot

High-speed camera reveals that a powerful slap shot is all about timing.

0 April 2, 2014
by Design Engineering Staff

Click for full image (photo credit: SmarterEveryDay)

Click for full image (photo credit: SmarterEveryDay)

Everyone, with the possible exception of goalies, loves a good slap shot but how they deliver one of the fastest moving objects in all of sports can be a bit of a mystery. On his popular YouTube channel, SmarterEveryDay, Alabama-based rocket scientist and mechanical engineer, Destin Sandlin, investigates exactly how the slap shot can launch a puck at speeds up to 113 mph.

Using a high-speed camera — combined with a little intellectual curiosity, scientific method and engineering know-how — Destin digs into the physics behind the shot’s characteristic speed and power.

According to Sandlin, an effective slap shot isn’t so much about a player’s hand speed. Instead, it comes down to their intuitive ability to pre-load the stick by first striking it against the ice (just shy of breaking it, of course) and then releasing its stored energy in a timely fashion as it impacts the puck.

Check out the video for the full details.

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