When purchasing a stick, there are various factors to consider: length, weight, skill level, composition, and bow (or bend) of the stick. All of these are important factors that affect your performance. A well-chosen field hockey stick will complement your abilities and actually boost your game. So, where to begin?
It is critical to have the right size stick when doing both basic and advanced skills. The length of a players stick can a small factor which determines whether or not a pass is completed, a tackle is made, or a mistake is made. A defender or midfielder may choose a longer stick to have more reach during tackles, while an attacking player may prefer a shorter stick for greater handling and control. Sticks can range in length from 28" to 37.5" or more. Ideally, the stick should reach the top of your hip bone. If you need more help on stick length, you can read our full article about it here.
The weight of field hockey sticks often ranges from around 500g to 680g. This is mostly a matter of personal preference. As an example:
- Lighter weight sticks are often developed for offensive players, allowing for a faster backswing and improved stick handling abilities. E.g. dribbling & 3D skills.
- Heavier weight sticks are primarily developed for defensive players and may help to increase the strength and distance of your strikes, which is perfect for clearing balls and passing.
Hockey sticks are often made of one (or a combination) of three materials: fibreglass, carbon fibre or kevlar/aramid. Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages.
Carbon fibre: Carbon sticks are often ideal for expert / high level hockey players. Carbon sticks are both robust and light, allowing for powerful shots. On the other hand, Carbon has one disadvantage: it is difficult to handle and requires a lot of skill to utilise efficiently. Since carbon sticks are more brittle, it essentially means there is more bounce off the stick in your first touch. It may take some getting used to, but the extra power you can gain from a high carbon stick is often worth the trade-off in poorer first touch.
Fibreglass: Fibreglass is an excellent choice for novice or beginner players since it is both sturdy and simple to manage. This makes learning field hockey easier for individuals who are just starting out. Fibreglass is 'softer' than carbon fibre, meaning controlling the ball is often far easier. However, fibreglass sticks often lack power when hitting. The price of fibreglass sticks are often much more affordable, so another reason for players who are just starting with field hockey to consider these as a first stick.
Aramid or Kevlar: Kevlar is the heaviest of the materials and is often used in combination with the materials above to add additional strength to the stick. Kevlar also helps to absorb a significant amount of vibrations. This feature prevents the stick from jarring the arm and will overall make your experience more comfortable (especially in the cold weather).
Other Factors to Consider
When selecting a stick, the bow (or bend) is also another factor to bear in mind. The most common bows you will find are what we call 'Mid' bows and 'Low' bows. The difference here is essentially the amount of bend/curve that the stick has. The bow point is another specification to pay attention to, as it determines where the bow is positioned on the stick.
Bows are very much a personal preference and can often take some getting used to, especially if you switch between a Mid bow and a Low bow. The best way to determine which bow is right for you is to establish the kind of player you are and therefore what skills you do most. Different skills can often be easier with different bows. If you need help selecting this, we have put together a short stick quiz that will help you select the right hockey stick for you. Take the quiz here.
We suggest that you take your time in choosing a stick. At the end of the day, the stick will have a significant impact on your performance. The most vital thing is that you are comfortable with your stick as it will allow you to focus on what matters most - playing the game! If you have any questions or need help finding your ideal stick, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.
Rival Hockey is a UK based brand of premium quality carbon fibre field hockey sticks. Each hockey stick is specifically tailored to a different style of play. So no matter if you're a defender, midfielder or attacker, we have the best field hockey stick for you. Shop our collection of hockey sticks today!