In the stick buyer’s guide, we aim to break down the complexities of hockey sticks. Making it easier for you to decide which to buy.
What Are You Looking For?
To assess the options available and make the right choice the player must first assess their playing style.
- The skills they use most
- The skills they find easiest
- The skills they want some help with
- The feeling they want when they hit and control the ball
It is important to understand that the hockey stick and player must be regarded as a partnership. Without a player the stick is an inanimate object and without a stick the player is unable to play! Thinking of the stick in this way is helpful to emphasise that there is no “best stick”, but rather “the best stick for a given player”. Every brand and range has a model that is technically the best, but that doesn’t make it the best or right option for every player. We will break it down in the Stick Buyer’s Guide.
Understanding that the player’s style and aspects of technique is influenced by the shape / profile of the stick is a main part to the Stick Buyer’s Guide series of articles. The ability to extract the best of that stick is influenced by the lay-up, shape and model.
“Is this the best stick for me?”
The Stick Buyer’s Guide Basics
There is a lot that goes into picking a stick ‘Choosing Your Shape‘ ‘Choosing Your Model‘ and ‘Weight and Balance‘. We are going to go into more detail on these areas in further stick buyer’s guide posts. But to start, it is important to always remember that no two sticks are the same, no two brands are the same, percentages are meaningless, there is no such thing as “the best stick”. While this means you have to think a bit harder it’s worth it to get the right result – the best stick ‘for you’.
- Consider your playing style, whether you want to compliment or develop. That helps you choose the shape.
- Consider what you want the contact between stick and ball to feel like in your hands. That helps you choose your model. Forget “hitting” or “power” at this point, if you can’t control it or you don’t like the feeling when you hit it then you won’t be able to hit well anyway! Power capability of a stick is only as good as the player’s ability or desire to achieve it.
- Consider the weight and balance that works for you. A lower balance for more emphasis behind the ball or a higher balance for a lighter and faster moving head?
Most of all ignore the marketing – it’s just that. If you are able to visit a store, try some sticks out by dribbling and not hitting (it is more personal, more consistent, more meaningful) and finally if you’re down to a final two or three pick the one you like the look of best!
If you are buying online take some time at training to have a look at other peoples sticks, see what you like the look of and ask experienced players or coaches their opinion. Try a few sticks out but always remember a brand new stick will feel different to one that has been used for a few months.
Finally remember you will not be able to get a stick that feels exactly the same as you old stick, give your new stick a few sessions to feel ‘right’ it is no use going between an old stick and a new one.
Good luck choosing your new stick 🙂 always remember you make the stick perform not the other way around!