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HOCKEY STICK BUYER’S GUIDE

HOW TO CHOOSE A HOCKEY STICK

These days there are so many different types of hockey sticks available to buy that it can become overwhelming when it comes to picking out and buying the right hockey stick.

In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about hockey sticks, covering hockey stick sizes, weights, materials, bow types and head shapes. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to confidently buy a hockey stick that is sure to meet your needs and requirements.

PARTS OF A HOCKEY STICK

A field hockey stick is usually broken down into three main parts - the handle, the bow and the head. The handle which can also be called the "shaft" or "grip", is the area where the stick is held by the player. The bow of a hockey stick refers to the part of the stick that curves. Larger bows tend to generate more power, whilst smaller or straighter bows provide a higher level of accuracy.

The head of the field hockey stick is found at the bottom of the stick - the opposite end to the handle. The head should be rounded on one side and flat on the other. The ball is hit with the flat side of the hockey stick, which is sometimes called the hockey stick "face".

The head can be subdivided into two different parts - the toe and the heel. The heel is the bottom of the stick and it connects to the toe, which is the area of the stick that strikes the ball.

HOCKEY STICK SIZES

Hockey sticks are available to buy in a wide range of sizes, from shorter junior hockey sticks through to longer hockey sticks designed for senior players who are well over 6ft tall.

A somewhat traditional method to gauge what size hockey stick you need is to measure the length of your leg, from the ground up to your hip, and find a stick that is approximately the same height/length. Your playing style can also be an important consideration; with a longer stick tending to provide more power on shots and passes, whilst a shorter stick is often touted as easier to dribble with.

The image below shows the ideal hockey stick length in inches, in relation to the hockey player’s height. For more information on choosing the right hockey stick size, please see our complete hockey stick size guide here.

HOCKEY STICK SIZES

How much should a hockey stick weigh?

The majority of senior hockey sticks weigh between 535g - 625g (18.9oz - 22oz), whilst the official rules published by England Hockey state that:

“The total weight of the stick must not exceed 737 grams”

Many people find dribbling and changing direction with the ball is easier with a lighter stick, whilst a heavier stick can produce more force and power in shots and long passes.

Junior hockey sticks are lighter to make stick handling easier for younger players.

HOCKEY STICK MATERIALS

What are hockey sticks made of?

Field hockey sticks can be made using a range of materials. Official documentation produced by England Hockey states that:

“The stick and possible additions may be made of or contain any material other than metal or metallic components provided it is fit for the purpose of playing hockey and is not hazardous”.

This guidance followed the introduction of aluminium hockey sticks in the early 90s which significantly increased hitting power but also led to an increase in injuries, before the FIH banned the use of metallic components.

Hockey sticks were historically made using hardwoods including ash and hickory, and to this day wooden sticks are still the most commonly used in the sport. Composite materials such as fibreglass and carbon were first permitted in 1992 and since that time they have become more and more advanced.

Each material used to make hockey sticks has pros and cons which we have covered below:

What are the pros and cons of wooden hockey sticks?

Wooden hockey sticks provide the best value for money, and are often used by children and beginners. Wooden sticks tend to weigh more than hockey sticks made of synthetic materials, but some players argue that this gives them a better “feel” when dribbling or striking the ball. Whilst wooden hockey sticks are typically the most affordable they also tend to be less powerful and more prone to wear and tear.

FORZA W100 Hockey Sticks are made using mulberry wood, reinforced with fibreglass. This combination of materials gives the sticks greater durability and performance than a traditional wooden stick.

What are the pros and cons of fibreglass hockey sticks?

Fibreglass sticks provide more power and are lighter than wooden hockey sticks. Easier to control and handle, fibreglass provides a high level of performance at an affordable price. Heavier and not as stiff as carbon, the combination of control and power makes fibreglass sticks popular with many players.

With a high level of mechanical strength, fibreglass can elongate more than carbon without breaking, which in turn provides greater comfort and less pressure on a player’s grip. The downside with fibreglass sticks is that they are more expensive than wooden sticks, and don’t deliver the same level of performance as carbon sticks although that is reflected in the price difference between the two options.

Tested by Hockey Wales, FORZA F100 Hockey Sticks are 100% fibreglass. Providing a high level of control and dexterity, the sticks feature a PU embossed grip for enhanced comfort.

What are the pros and cons of carbon hockey sticks?

Carbon hockey sticks are often used by top-level players. Stronger and lighter than wooden or fibreglass sticks, carbon sticks transfer power more efficiently to the hockey ball which is why many elite players favour them.

Carbon hockey sticks are not usually recommended for junior players, or beginners, as the high level of stiffness can result in injuries to the hands and wrists. More liable to break than fibreglass, carbon is often combined with an additional material such as kevlar to provide an enhanced level of durability. This combining of 2 or more materials to create a ‘hybrid material’ that benefits from the different properties is now common practice to offset the brittleness of carbon.

FORZA C95 Hockey Sticks are made with 95% carbon. Reinforced with kevlar, the C95 composite hockey sticks provide power and strength, combined with a high level of durability.

HOCKEY STICK BOW TYPES

A stick's bow is the arc/curvature that can be seen running from the handle to the toe. The depth of the arc or bend commonly falls within the 20mm–25mm range for most field hockey sticks, although that hasn’t always been the case. The maximum arc at one point was 50mm when enhanced bows were the preferred option for many, but in 2006 the FIH (hockey’s governing body) updated the maximum bow limit to 25mm

The “bow point”, sometimes also referred to as the “maximum bow point” is the location on the stick, where the bend or curve of the stick is greatest. The bow point is usually referenced in terms of the distance from the bottom of the head of the hockey stick, to the point where the stick arc is the greatest.

When it comes to choosing which bow to opt for, age, skill level, and personal preference will all affect which design you choose.

The more bend the stick has the easier it is to deliver lifted shots, aerials, and drag flicks. Less bend will enhance control and decrease your likelihood of unintentionally lifting the ball.

In this section, we will take a look at the different types of hockey stick bow designs available, and examine the benefits and potential drawbacks of each.

Hockey Stick Bow Designs
Product Product Image Bow Point & Bend Material Head Shape Features Use
LOW BOW low bow hockey stick 200mm
24mm bend
95% Japanese Carbon
5% Kevlar Aramid
Hook – toe of the head crooks slightly to create a pocket for the ball. Tapered Slim Head Aerials, drag flicks, 3D skills & maneuverability
PRO BOW pro bow hockey stick 300mm
24.5mm bend
95% Japanese Carbon
5% Kevlar Aramid
J Head – Larger playing surface which offers better control Thick Edge Hitting Zone Handling & power. Large surface area to stabilise contact with ball.
MID BOW mid bow hockey stick 415mm
22mm bend
95% Japanese Carbon
5% Kevlar Aramid
Midi – Shorter than J Head. Suits a quick stick. Thick Edge Hitting Zone All round performance

What is a low bow hockey stick?

Low bow hockey sticks have a bend with a depth that is typically 24mm. The arc is situated relatively close to the stick’s toe, at approximately 200mm from the stick base, with a more acute/sharper angle than other designs. It’s this close proximity to the base of the stick, lower down than other designs, that gives it the name “low bow”.

Allowing for a greater "sling" of the ball, low bow hockey sticks are great for players who regularly perform drag-flicks and aerial passes or shots. The low position of the arc provides a greater "loft angle" and the ability to get the ball in the air.

With this bow design, experienced players can enhance their drag-flicks and aerial shots without hindering the ability to hit low passes and shots. If you are a forward who likes to perform flicks and shoot for the top-corners of the goal, then a low bow stick is a wise choice.

What is a mid bow hockey stick?

Mid bow hockey sticks have a more gradual, less pronounced arc than other designs. Using a more traditional design that is great for all round performance, mid bow hockey sticks are popular with midfielders and defenders who look to intercept and block the ball frequently.

Predictable and consistent, the shape of a mid bow hockey stick changes gradually along the length of the stick. The mid bow is great for any player with a "quick stick" style of play. If you are a defender or midfielder that likes to tackle, intercept and pass the ball along the ground, then a mid bow stick is a great option.

what is a pro bow hockey stick?

Pro bow hockey sticks have arcs that are not as angled as low bows, but not as long and gradual as mid bows. They are effectively a “happy medium” between the 2 designs, offering some of the benefits of both low bow and mid bow sticks.

Pro bow hockey sticks possess a larger playing area which makes them ideal for dribbling, control and power. The balanced performance offered by pro bows makes them ideal for players looking to perform flat shots and passes, in addition to aerial shots. A great all-around stick for intermediate and advanced-level players.

HOCKEY STICK HEAD SHAPES

What hockey stick head shape do you need?

Another design feature to consider when researching hockey sticks is the shape and design of the stick’s head.

Hook-style hockey stick heads are extremely popular with attacking players. The hook design creates a “pocket” to trap the ball easily, making it a great design for those players who like to dribble and execute drag-flicks and aerial shots.

J Head hockey sticks provide a slightly larger surface area to contact the ball than other designs. This makes J Head sticks excellent for handling, power and interceptions. J Head sticks are popular with midfielders and defenders.

Midi hockey sticks are great for all-around performance and suit a quick stick due to the relatively short length of the head. With a thick edge and hitting zone, midi sticks are ideal for midfielders and players who don’t specialise in one particular shot, pass or element of the game such as tackling.

Since the 1990s, shorti field hockey sticks have become less popular, with many top-level international players, having never used a stick with a shorti head design. This is partly due to the introduction of composite and synthetic hockey sticks, and also the development and popularity of artificial hockey pitches which have impacted how the game is played.

OTHER HOCKEY STICK FAQS

Can you buy left-handed hockey sticks?

No, it’s not possible to buy a hockey stick that is specifically designed for left-handed players. Left-handed hockey sticks are not allowed because of safety issues. It is said to be more likely for players to collide with each other, and there are concerns about players being hit with the backswing of a left-handed stick.

Whilst sticks are designed for right-handed players only, both hands are used to grip the handle, with the left hand nearest to the top. This often allows left-handed players to guide and control the stick without any problems, even though it is designed for right-handed players.

Can you use both sides of a hockey stick?

No, unlike ice hockey, you cannot use both sides of a hockey stick in a regulation game. You can only use the flat side of the hockey stick to make contact with the ball, if the curved side of the stick is used, then a foul is incurred.

Where can you buy hockey sticks?

At Net World Sports we stock a wide range of field hockey equipment, including hockey sticks. Our range includes great value wooden hockey sticks, reinforced with fibreglass, 100% fibreglass hockey sticks and hockey sticks that are made with carbon fibre reinforced with Kevlar.

  • Mulberry wood reinforced with triple fibreglass
  • Standard bow design for all round play
  • Available in 5 sizes
  • Excellent value for money
  • Perfect for junior players & beginners
  • Elite fibreglass construction
  • Available in 2 colours
  • Mid bow stick available in 2 sizes
  • Tested by Hockey Wales
  • A great stick for intermediate & advanced level players
  • Made with 95% carbon & 5% Kevlar
  • 2 Colour options, 3 bow types & 2 sizes
  • Approved by Hockey Wales
  • Used by elite & pro-level hockey players

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