In Hockey, the game stick is the heart of the game. More than 30% of performance relies on the stick. Your stick determines the stance you take in a match. An improper or uncomfortable posture will cause weaker performance. So we must know how to choose a hockey stick in the market.
One must remember that there is no absolutely perfect hockey stick. Instead, it depends on one’s personal choices, such as the player’s Age, Height, Performance, Skill level, Stick length, weight, etc. The ideal field hockey stick length is 24 Inches to 38 Inches, weighing about 535gm to 680 gm. However, it is daunting to find which hockey stick is best for you.
Go through the article to learn how to select the right Hockey Stick. Besides, the readers will be familiar with other necessary information and FAQs. So, let’s start.
Types of Ice hockey sticks
These are amazing for beginners. A wooden stick weighs around 800 grams, which is twice a composite stick’s weight. If you start learning Hockey with these, your handling will get much better.
The second best thing is – that these are inexpensive. You will get one of these for around $20. It helps the starter to begin a hockey career comfortably without spending much money on the equipment.
The durability of the one-piece wood stick is excellent. Many complain about the blade losing surface while the shaft being as good as new. You can resolve this matter with a simple upgrade to your budget. Go for the fiberglass wood blade stick.
Finally, wood sticks are better for practice and learning. I already said it is best for learners. For professional players, wooden sticks are not suggested. It drops performance after a sequence of matches.
One piece/ Composite Hockey Stick
One piece stick is a composite hockey stick where the manufacturers fuse the blade and shaft together. Most professional hockey players use a one-piece stick. Even 90% of the NHL players use composite sticks.
Generally, manufacturers make these hockey sticks from carbon fiber and fiberglass blends. It makes the Hockey stick fabulously lightweight. The weight gets around 400 grams, which is nearly half of a wooden. Therefore, these sticks are incredibly lightweight, well-balanced, and high performing to handle more challenging shots.
However, these sticks include foam core blades. The construction is specifically appropriate for flat grounds like plastic tiles or ice ground.
Besides, the price of composite sticks is higher than other hockey sticks. It may raise around $200 -$300. Nowadays, manufacturers are trying to minimize the cost as much as possible. Furthermore, these sticks last less time than wooden sticks.
Two-Piece hockey stick
Two-Piece hockey sticks are similar to one-piece hockey sticks in terms of construction and material. These sticks also use carbon fiber and fiberglass. But the main difference is that these sticks are separable in shaft and blade. Therefore, some people call it a blade-shaft combo. Isn’t it mind-blowing?
Suppose you brought an expensive composite. Accidentally, it broke from the middle. On the other hand, the blade is still intact. Can you fix that? No, can’t. You can manage to pull the pieces together. But this will not help you on the ground. Two-part sticks play the magic in these situations.
One of the best sides of two-piece sticks is that it has enabled players to select their preferred blade among foam-core composite, wooden and ABS-reinforced blades. Besides, if the blade is damaged, you can customize the shaft or the blade any time soon. Moreover, these sticks are suitable for rough surfaces. However, the stick’s joint tends to loose after hours of play.
Right Stick Length
The higher number you go, the stiffer the stick gets. That means you will need more force to bend the stick. A stiffer hockey stick will help you to make more complex shots. In contrast, lower flex sticks require less pressure and are softer to bend. But they produce delayed shots with lesser power.
A proper stick length enhances handling. If you hand a senior stick to a 5-year-old child, will he be able to handle it comfortably? You already imagine his struggle.
This happens when you pick an unsynced stick size. The standard size should be reaching your chin bottom. How would you measure a hockey stick? Follow four simple steps.
- Stand straight,
- Hold the stick perpendicular to the ground and parallel to you,
- Only the toe head of the stick should be touching the ground,
- Follow the end of the grip.
According to the experts, the grip end should be between the nose and chin. It is the proper length. The stick that goes past your nose is long. The one below the chin is short.
There is no ideal size. You can prefer short or long, depending on the style of your play. The forwards prefer short sticks for excellent handling. Conversely, the defenders go for long sticks. It helps them to pull a puck from the opponents.
Flex is an indicator of how stiff or flexible your stick is when you apply force to it. The flex rating defines the required force to bend a hockey stick one inch. For instance, a stick needs 85 lbs to turn one inch; then it is an 85 flex. A proper flex is essential to boost the shot’s velocity.
However, there is no ideal flex for any player. You have to try out different flexes to find your proper balance. However, I have provided a chart below for your greater convenience:
|Age Group||Player Height (cm)||Player Weight (cm)||Recommended Flex|
|7 – 13 (Junior)||130 – 155||30 – 50||30 – 55|
|11 – 14 (Intermediate)||150 – 165||45 – 55||45 – 65|
|11 – 14 (Intermediate)||155 – 175||50 – 65||50 – 75|
|14+ (Senior)||165 – 175||55 – 80||65 – 80|
|14+ (Senior)||175 – 185||70 – 90||70 – 90|
|14+ (Senior)||185 – 195||90 – 105||85 – 105|
|14+ (Senior)||195 –||105 –||95 –|
One can determine the right flex interval by the following procedure:
|Player Height||Player Weight|
|Values||194 cm||90 kg|
|Optimal Flex Range||(194- 100)=94||90|
The angle between the shaft and the blade is the lie. A number 5 lie has an angle of 135 degrees.
Lie varies on your stance. Some stance styles may require a higher lie. Oppositely, some stances might need a smaller lie.
How would you understand the proper lie? Just take the hockey stance. Observe the toe bottom. If it lies flat, it is a correct lie on that stance.
The taller players need a lesser lie. If you love to keep the stick near you, a smaller lie is a better option. Strikers love to use sticks with a lower lie.
On the other hand, a bigger lie will allow you to reach more distance. Defensemen prefer a wider lie.
Finally, The grip is crucial. Your performance can hinder due to poor grip. The curve is also useful. If you want to dribble or hit a curved shot, you should find a suitable curve. NHL has a limit of 19mm or ¾ inch curve.
How to pick the perfect hockey stick
When you choose a hockey stick, you must know which length and weight are perfect for you. Generally, defenders and midfielders should pick long hockey sticks so that they drive further, and the rest of the players may take the stick shorter for better performance. Besides, there are several factors that players should take into account, such as personal preferences, what you expect from your hockey stick, etc.
Therefore, I have listed some guidelines for selecting the perfect hockey stick to help your primary research. However, it is wise to keep trying different hockey sticks to find your ideal one.
LEFT OR RIGHT HOCKEY STICK
Since 90% of the world population is right-handed, in maximum cases, people shoot lefty. In fact, 65% of players shot lefty during the 2018-19 season, indicating that these players are right-hand dominant. In reality, only 10% of them are naturally left-hand dominant. Therefore, it’s essential to know the benefits of the left-hand shoot and how to decide whether you should play righty or lefty.
Generally, Right-dominant players use a left-handed stick, and left-dominant players use a right-handed hockey stick. The general consensus is that a player should place his dominant hand on the top of the stick. Therefore, a right-hand-dominant person tends to shoot lefty and vice-versa. The reason is that players have maximum strength and flexibility in their dominant hand. So, putting the dominant hand at the top of the stick will give the player more control over the stick and puck.
If you already know your shooting preference, it should be considered first. Otherwise, a broom can be used to determine whether a person is right- or left-handed. Take a broom, and begin sweeping. Observe which hand you prefer to use for sweeping. People usually do most of their tasks with their dominant hand, which is also an indicator.
However, one should remember that there is no specific rule on how one should play Hockey. Therefore, make sure you are comfortable with your shooting regardless of sides. If you can’t decide your dominant hand, go with a stick that makes you shoot comfortably.
ONE-PIECE OR TWO-PIECE HOCKEY STICK?
If you frequently play indoor Hockey where the surface is plain and smooth, a one-piece hockey stick would be ideal for you. Moreover, you will be able to deliver great shots since these sticks are lightweight.
In contrast, if you play on rough surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, it would be better to go for a two-piece hockey stick. So, you can customize the stick whenever needed.
THE RIGHT HOCKEY STICK HEIGHT
The proper height of the stick is essential to deliver excellent shots. However, it also depends on one’s playing position on the field. For instance, shorter sticks are easier to handle the puck. Therefore, dangler Hockey players prefer shorter sticks to avoid an opposing player while keeping the puck under their control.
In contrast, longer sticks are more common with defensemen as they need longer reach to encounter shots from the attackers.
However, players often find it difficult to accurately measure the stick’s height. In the section mentioned earlier, I have provided the process of measuring the height of a stick. Besides, one can use the below formula for an ideal stick height: Player’s height – 15 cm = stick height.
For the readers’ convenience, I have provided the standard height chart below:
Height and stick chart for choosing the best hockey stick
|Player Height||Stick length|
|Up to 3’5″||24″|
|3’6″ to 3’7″||26″|
|3’7″ to 4′||28″|
|4’1″ to 4’3″||30’’|
|4’4″ to 4’6″||32’’|
|4’7″ to 5′||34’’|
|5′ 1″ to 5′ 3″||35’’|
|5′ 4″ to 5′ 6″||36’’|
|5′ 7″ to 5′ 9″||37’’|
|5’10” and above||38’’|
Most importantly, one should check if the person feels comfortable with the stick while selecting a new hockey stick. If you buy a longer stick, but feel uncomfortable with it, it will bring no success.
There is no textbook for the right stick or wrong stick. The discussion ends with your preferences only. The more comfortable you get, the better you can perform.
You should combine your preference and tactics to choose the best stick. It may take time in the beginning. Remember, a good start will lead you to a prosperous career.