How do I choose the right hockey stick?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Ice Hockey : One Thread
I'm 23, and I got into playing ice hockey this year. I've had no formal training in the sport, and I'm interested in learning about choosing the best stick. What are the ways of determining proper ice hockey stick length and lie. Right now, I'm using a stick that comes up to about chest height when i'm standing on skates (about 8 inches below my chin). Is that too short? Is there a way to determine stick lenght without just using some rule about how far the stick should come up when standing on skates. In other words, are there ways to determine the optimum stick length with regards to the proportion of my body when it comes to, say, working the puck close to my feet or other things like that. To further clarify, is there a position that I can put my body in, in which I can determine the proper length of my stick by the ease at which I can handle the puck within that position. One person told me that I sould be able to bring the blade of the stick in toward my feet and handle the puck close to my feet with ease and with my hands still in line with my body. Is that the case? What's the best length and lie?
Thank you for your help, Ngn
-- June (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 12, 2001
Your stick may be a little short. Most people choose a stick length that is up to their chin when they stand in skates. Some people (like defensemen) prefer a longer stick. You may prefer something shorter. But try a longer stick for a bit, and see if you like it. You may enjoy the bigger reach and better leverage on shots.
Good luck, Rana
-- Rana (email@example.com), December 12, 2001.
Good question, and of course lots of different and reasonable answers to be had. For my money, I say go with the slightly shorter stick. A stick that reaches your nose when you're on tiptoes or in skates is probably a bit too long, and will encourage beginners to stand too erect -- already a tough problem, if you're jsut starting out. The "expert opinion" on this seems to change every few years, but recently the changes have consistently been towards shorter sticks. The acid test for stick length (IMHO) is this: Standing with your skates on, with your knees bent in a hockey stance, you should be able to pass your top hand across your stomach without the tip of the blade coming up off the ice. The motion is the one you'd make in order to take a pass on your forehand from someone almost directly behind you, but slightly to your forehand side. With a long stick you end up with only the heel of the blade on the ice as you pass the butt-end of the stick back and forth in front of you. Can't take a pass that way. In general, good puck control, a good wrist shot, pass-receiving and good hockey posture all suggest a stick reaching no higher than your chin when on tiptoe. I cut mine down to mid-chest, in fact, and my puck control and shooting accuracy have improved significantly. That said, though -- I keep a long, awkward stick that I use when on defense. Stand in our crease and poke-check 'em at the red line, that's my fave way to play D...
-- Clutch Munny (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 25, 2002.
A lot of the answers to these questions depend on what position you are playing and how serious you are about the sport.
When you go to the shop to purchase a stick, the most important thing is to find one you are comfortable with and gives you an acceptable amount of flex. The weight is important, but also important is the curve of the stick - if you are a beginner, you really don't want a stick with too much curve.
As for how tall the stick should be, when you are standing in shoes or socks, the stick should come between your chin and nose. When you get into skates, I prefer a stick around the top of my breastbone - about an inch or so under my chin. Defensemen typically prefer a longer stick to reach out and poke the puck away from rushing forwards.
-- Cory (email@example.com), October 18, 2002.
Speakin of puck
watch out for redlof
-- imme (¿¿¿??@greenspun.com), January 21, 2003.
Stick length-what is proper-is of great subjective debate. I have had back surgery and as an adult male-prefer the stick to be at my lips on skates...and it is the length-between the chin and the lips that I cut my 7yr old sons stick to-for the following reasons vs going below the chin as some suggest.
1. It is at most opt times-necessary to keep the head up-going to short encourages a bent over position to extreme's-my son is already in a power skating position akin to a short track speed skater when he chases the puck-but if you are stick handling in this position- when hitting starts for kids and you have not learnt to look around- you will be creamed by any other player with a half-ass understanding of body leverage/timing-and has a feel for taking guys out as they cross either the red line or the blue line-head down- because of a short stick length-beyond reason and it is a lot easier to get used to a stick of moderate lengths-then it is for a kid or an adult to get over a concussion by getting caught looking at the ice- and I have seen 11yr olds when hitting starts here in Manitoba...with mutliple concussions-so the risk is real and parents have to be proactive in any way they can-stick lengths included.
2. Back posture...my son when his stick was just below his chin- actually complained at 7yrs of age-of back pain and refused to be double shifted.
3. When aggressively forechecking-you will see young kids often lose their balance in trying to poke check with to short a stick-same as in shooting-because they are bent over to begin with-some will not have the recovery ability in time to keep their balance-ditto backwards skating...it is impossible to skate backwards if your bent forward to much so your stick can make contact with the ice properly...infact I have seen this myself-in 7and9yr old hockey and in higher levels in the A-1 divisions-because parents think because Waynen Gretzky went with a very short stick-so should every one else.
Wayne Gretzky is one in a million-had Dave Semenko ready to kill anyone who hit him back before the instigator rule came into effect- and very seldom was every hit.
Go see a DoubleA game and see how much the game has changed in this regard-or ask Eric Lindros-how he feels from keeping his head down-to many times.
4. Fatigue...when you are using a short stick-as long as your shifts are short as well...you energy levels should be okay-but if your caught out there on one 200ft rush and trying to come back-especially for little guys-if your stick is to short-you can't get proper hip flexion/extension-and your illipsoas muccles come into play more then your quads and you will find your youg fella tiring somewhat more then if his skating position was more advantegous-then being bent over trying to extend oneself-with a short stick...not a good combination-when trying to teach fundementals about having kids come back on the backcheque-as hard as they go to the net to score goals for their parents in the stands-who often put to much emphasis on how many goals their kids gots rather then setting goals for them-on improving all around play.
NB. I have also had my son-who after only 1.5yrs actually playing hockey made the St. James Super 7 All Star team to play in the City Championships in Winnipeg for the Chidrens Wish Tournament-because of his skating and hockey skills...all around hockey skills-I tried and experimented with hockey lengths with him...even wasted money on a aluminum and Carbon shaft Eastons-and to long a stick creates all kinds of problems as well...you will notice if your kid has taken any power skating lessons-they derive power from body positioning low- like riding a bicycle bent over the bars a little-feet wide with the stride-that if the stick is to long...you will immediately see the heel of the stick on the ice and the toe up high...like a boat with to many people sitting in the back-they will lose stick handling ability-passing ability-will not be able to pick up the puck very well in stride-and anything close to their body will be suicide-and their shot tho at times will look stronger-on a consistent basis-the puck will role of their stick blade with much less accuracy and control-not what you want.
So the happy compromise for kids-IMO-is to the chin or to just above the chin-in skates-a wooden reinforced shaft style stick vs a true alloy or shaft is fine...I like the Easton "ULTRA RAS J-50" just fine for kids-who pick sticks more for color on the shaft and coolness factor more then anything-don't let them con you into an expensive stick in this way-and I would cut a backup stick to the exact same specifications....I have heard black tape on the knob of a hockey stick-creates undue rotting of gloves due to the resin in the tape itself-and lots of parents therefore use white-FWIW-I believe in a smaller knob-so that the end of the sticks shaft is gripped correctly in part of the palm of the glove for better control and leveageability- and black tape offers superior grip vs white stick tape on the shaft as well- in this regard.
PS...narrow your kids selection of sticks when going to the store...down to two...at most three or you will be there all day-and when you find success with a particular pattern or make as I did this year when my kid started ligting up the league 2nd half of the year- stick with the stick and length-vs looking for something that will possibly make take them to "another level'...that 'another level' will come from your kids hard work-and good instruction-not from the name on the side of the stick.
-- robin tymkin (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 26, 2004.
I play roller hockey and I am a bigginer with no formal anything. I have been playing once or twice a week for 2 summers now. I read all of this type of info and bought a stick that came to my chin on skates. I am 6'2 barefoot so about 6'5 or something on inline skates. I could poke check and smash sticks really well but my stick handliing and shooting sucked with this stick. Today I forgot my stick and had to borrow my buddies which is about 6 inches shorter then mine. I WAS ON FIRE, I scored 5 goals when I usually score 1 or none and my stickhandling, shooting, control, everything doubled. I was calling it the MAGIC stick by the end of the day. For me a shorter stick made a HUGE difference. I could handle the puck at my feet, tight in the boards, everywhere. Since I am playing roller there is no hitting and I don't need to worry about any of the above post. All I need is to be able to shoot, pass, and handle the ball with the maximum ability and the shorter stick worked wonders for me. Also the shorter stick had a straighter blade then my big stick which had a pretty big hook in it. I am going with a short stick with a slight curve from now on! And I am going to cut down my big stick.
-- hal jung (email@example.com), June 30, 2004.