Three steps to a better pass:
- Visualization: Imagine/visualize your stick parallel to the bottom of the pool
- Practise: Slow movements, pushing through the middle of the puck with your arm, keeping your wrist “locked”
- Slow it down: Start slow, develop the muscle memory, the feeling and the timing, then add power (not speed)
Hydro UWH (Liam) has a great “deep dive” (pardon the pun) tutorial. The key point starts at 12m50s – keep your wrist locked, start with your stick parallel to the bottom and the “throttle action” will then take care of itself:
Passing Tutorial – How to flick the Puck – Underwater Hockey
Don’t neglect your backhand flick! Here’s a tutorial on that:
How to Backflick an Underwater Hockey puck
- Sloooow, minimal, movements, visualizing your stick staying parallel with the bottom of the pool (your arm will naturally rotate off the bottom – don’t force this, it will come naturally)
- Feeling the weight of the puck on your stick, all the way through the movement
- Getting the puck to spin up onto its side
- The maximum distance with the absolute minimum energy
What also helps me is: with my wrist locked, and the puck on the front of my stick, moving my stick sideways to get the puck spinning.
Do this slowly, watch how the puck naturally wants to spin up onto its side. The puck needs time to get spinning and tip onto its side, give it that time!
Extend the exercise by rolling the puck all around your stick.
When you get the basics of your pass sorted, and you feel that the muscle memory is there, try adding extra spin by pulling your stick to the side, similar to the “rip” action on the backhand flick. I feel that this adds extra height and distance to my pass.
Snappy/wristy/fast movements are generally counter productive to a long, high pass – instead give the puck time to spin and lift off the bottom.