The Science Of The Slapshot: Stanley Cup Slo-Mo Physics

The slapshot is the fastest shot in hockey. One satisfying thwack and the puck goes flying at incredible speeds. Except it’s not really one thwack, it’s two, and our buddy Destin at Smarter Every Day has both the science know-how and the super high-speed slow-motion cameras to show you exactly how it works.

Turns out that as the stick hits the ice first it bends back a little, storing potential energy. Then, as it is lifted, it springs forward off the ice, giving the puck a powerful flick that’s actually faster than the hockey player’s follow-through would otherwise be. The wide-angle lens and 3200 frames per second frame rate do a perfect job of illustrating it.

Also, covered in this video: How the flex on hockey sticks is rated, and what happens when you crush a hockey puck with 80,000 pounds worth of force (spoiler: awesomeness). The whole video is a must watch for any hockey fan. It’s one thing to know the rules of the sport you love; it’s another to know the rules of physics it follows. [Smarter Every Day]