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8 Skills You Can Learn From David Pastrnak (Shooter/Sniper Identity Study)

Updated: Feb 1

This week I decided to do something a little different.

I am constantly studying the best players in the world.

So this week I wanted to bring a deeper insight into what I am teaching my guys in my programs.

I studied 5 Pasternak games and looked at some of the key details he uses to score and make plays.

I picked 10 findings that I think will help you score more goals yourself and as a line.

How To Use This Lesson

I consider him a Shooter/Sniper Archetype.

So if you are in that role, then this will be perfect for you.

If you are not, then I would study this to expand your Identity.

We can always learn from the things that other archetypes do.

Because you never know when you will be asked to play a new role, best to be prepared before you get the call.

The frame I want you to watch this from is one of studying to expand your Identity.

Watch these clips and look to expand what's possible in your game.

See how you might be able to stack a few of these skills into your game and add them to your visualization, training, and practice routine

Avoiding Highlight Brain

I was intentional about picking plays that we can all learn from as opposed to dangles and toe drags.

I don't want to give you Highlight Brain.

Highlight Brain is something I termed for when a player has watched so many hockey highlights that they assume the game is all about goals, dangles, and insane plays.

In reality, when we watch full games, we are reminded that the game is much more about positioning, battles, and team tactics.

Yes, these big plays do happen, but even the top players only make a big play like that 1 out of 10 plays.

The problem with Highlight Brain is we get too down on ourselves if we don't make a highlight reel play every shift.

Sure we can strive to have a great shift every shift, but Highlight Brain makes us feel bad and ruins our confidence because it creates a clear comparison gap.

Just like when we go on Instagram and see models, and rich people in lambos.

We assume that most people are like this and then feel bad about where we are in life.

We don't realize that this is a fabricated version of reality.

Watching too many highlights gives us a fabricated (fake) reality.

The solution?

Watch more full games.

Watch full players' shifts and notice what one player does for a full shift.

Ok, now let's get into the Patrnak Breakdown...

Early Career Backstory & Mindset

Key Points

  • Started with figure skating

  • Played a lot of sports as a kid

  • Was not forced by his parents to play (played because he loved it)

  • Got up early and skated every day

  • Play hockey every day after school

  • Loves making friends from hockey

  • Have fun and do things with 100% effort

I know many of these points were not original.

But sometimes it can be helpful to hear them from a different source.

You can tell that when Pasta plays, he is having fun.

He likes to smile, he likes to be relaxed.

These are things that you may find to help your game too.

The Key Skills

I will share these in rapid-fire action.

Hopefully, you can steal a few of these and implement them into your Identity this week!

How To Shoot a World-Class One-Timer

I thought at first that this was going to be another pointless video of an NHLer telling us old advice, but there are some key nuances that he mentions that are worth exploring.

#1 -> Be Able to Shoot From Any Angle And Off Feet

So learn to practice one-timers and quick releases from all angles.

Most players have angles that they don't feel comfortable shooting from.

If you want to be a great scorer, this is not acceptable.

So start practicing catching from all angles and get uncomfortable so that you can get comfortable in those areas.

Shooting Off Feet

#2 -> Shoot From The Toe (Creates A Corkscrew)

Growing up I always thought we were supposed to shoot from the heel to toe.

Then I learned that the best players shoot from the toe on their snapshot and wrist shot.

Only now am I realizing that the players with the best one-timers shoot off of the toe of their stick too.

This seems to create a corkscrew effect.

Meaning that the puck begins to roll over as it moves toward the net.

I believe this is why goalies have trouble saving Ovechkin's one-timer too.

You can see how the puck turns over as it moves towards the net.

This also happens with Ovechkins' wrist shot.

Maybe this is just from his curve?

But I can't help but think this is something to experiment with as a player.

Let's continue on with the study...

The A/B Shot Option

#3 -> Option A: One Timer

#4 -> Option B: Soft Ankle Release

What did you notice when you studied these clips?

What I noticed is that Pasta has developed 2 core release options off of the power play office area.

He has the option to one time, and the option to push the puck into the middle and do a soft ankle release.

This allows him to never be trapped into just a single play.

Steal this and add it to your shooting by always having 2 main A/B options in every shooting situation.

#5 -> Shooting At Unexpected Times

We all know deception is a key element to all of the best players' games.

This is a great skill to master.

I simply call it a hidden shot.

He essentially doesn't show any signs of shooting and then whips it at the net.

There's always a chance these ones can go in.

Don't be afraid to mix these kinds of shots into your game.

#6 -> Finding The Cross Seem Play

Most players would force this puck into the net.

But when you notice everyone has shifted towards you, then the far side has opened up.

Never be afraid to move the puck against momentum.

It will give your team a great chance to score.

#7 -> Shooting For Tip (Not Forcing Shots)

You don't always have to shoot to score.

If the opponent gets in the lane, then shoot beside him towards your players.

Many powerplays love to run a middle bumper, so don't be afraid to use him.

It will get you more points over the season.

#8 -> Winning Puck Battles

This is another key skill.

If you study a full game of Pastrnak, you will notice that he makes a lot of smart plays to win battles.

Scoring goals requires having possession.

So you must learn to win puck battles quickly and efficiently.

See what he does in this play.

Thanks For Reading

If you found this valuable, make sure to subscribe to the newsletter so you get first access to all of my latest Identity Letters (like this).

If you have any thoughts or questions, leave them below.

Appreciate your time.

See you at the NEXT LEVEL,


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Who is Corson Searles?

I am a former player & mental/performance advisor for AAA, junior, college, and pro hockey players. I am obsessed with dissecting atheletic performance potential, lifestyle design, and hockey development.


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