Buying a Hockey Stick

Selecting a field hockey stick

 

A hockey stick must:

Be well balanced.

Comfortable.

Complement a player’s style and team position.


Considerations when purchasing a stick.

Type of player (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

Length of the stick.

Balance and weight.

Flexibility/ stiffness.

Shape of stick.

Toe design.


Balance and weight.

Customer must get a feel for the stick.  Depending on preference weight may be evenly distributed or concentrated in the sticks toe or head.

Generally forwards prefer a lighter stick for better control and movement, while defenders prefer a heavier stick for extra hitting power.   In the new synthetic sticks with their stiff shafts weight no longer equates to hitting power (as is the case with the basic wooden sticks).

The basic test to determine correct weight of stick if for customer to hold it in the left hand, level with the shoulder for 30 seconds with relative ease.


Length

Junior sizes: 28, 30,32,33,34,35 inches.

A junior player’s stick should roughly reach the hip joint of the player (not the waist).  Junior players tend to take sticks that are too long for them, making it more difficult for them to develop their skills.

Senior stick.  As a general rule men will need a 37.5 inch or 39 inch and 36 inch stick for women.


General stick size for height:

130cm – 30 inch

130-137 cm – 32 inch

137 – 145cm  – 33inch

145 – 153 cm- 34 inch

153-160 cm – 35 inch

160-170 cm – 36 inch

170-178cm – 37 inch

178 cm plus – 38 inch


Flexibility and stiffness

A beginner is better off with a flexible stick that absorbs shock.

When selecting a good synthetic stick you want one that hits the ball hard but also retains feel on the ball that is appropriate for player concerned.

Forwards who shoot at goal, and defenders who hit ball over long distance, tend to want a stick that has maximum possible power (stiff).

Players who receive ball in tight area want more control and feel (flexibility)


Materials

Fiberglass:  A basic reinforcing material that adds strength and durability.  Fiberglass sticks are more flexible than carbon sticks.


Carbon (or graphite):  One of the most effective stiffening materials.  The more carbon the stiffer it will be.  Increased stiffness allows for increased hitting power.


Kevlar (or Aramide):  Adds strength while dampening the vibration to the hands.  The more Kevlar the less shock felt.  Kevlar is a man made organic fiber produced by DuPont in a variety of applications such as bulletproof vests, tyres and range of sporting goods.


The curve

Size and position of the curve is the personal preference of the player.

More advanced players may favour a bigger curve to assist with their aerial skills.


Toe design

Short:  Is the most common toe length, and is usually used on offense.  It helps the player turn the stick over the ball and is designed for balance, maneuverability and control.

Midi:  The most popular and appropriate shape for beginners and midfield players.  About 1cm longer than the Short, it provides a larger hitting surface.

Maxi: Preferred by defense players.  It has larger receiving area.

Hook:  Good for grass surface.


Understand the level of the player

It is paramount to understand the level of the player.  Is the purchase beginner, intermediate, advanced?   Is he/she junior or senior or provincial or national?

A beginner might be best suited for a low budget wooden stick.

A school or junior club player may choose from an intermediate composite stick.

More advanced players may prefer the top end composite, specialized sticks