Field hockey isn't for the faint of heart. It's a sport that's as action-packed as it gets with a lot going on at all times. It's one of those sports where there's consistent engagement and effort from players. That means that the equipment you use needs to be top notch, so that you can focus on your game and not worry about anything else.
Defenders are the unsung heroes of field hockey. They may not get all the glory compared to other positions, but they still have one of the more critical jobs in the game. Without experienced defenders, there's not enough to stop the other team from scoring their way to a win.
As a defender, you need to have the right type of field hockey stick, if not the best field hockey stick for defenders. However, you need to make sure to take the time to get the right stick, not just any stick you like the look of based on the colours or patterns. The right stick can be a very powerful tool, so continue reading to find out how to choose the best stick.
Best Field Hockey Sticks for beginner defenders
Here it's all about having an easy field hockey stick to manage. There are so many other things that need to be worked on with a beginner, that you need to focus on getting the basics right at the start.
No matter what you should always consider the carbon fibre construction of the stick. For beginners, consider getting a 70% carbon fibre stick. This is not as rigid as other models and that's a good thing for those that are just starting out. The reason for this is that sticks with higher carbon fibre percentages are are extremely rigid, so although they give more power, they are much harder to control the ball.
There’s a lot more give to these types of sticks which leads to better ball control. Ball control is one of the most, if not the most important skill to learn in field hockey early on. Having one of these 70% carbon fibre sticks will really help train beginners in how to best handle the ball, and to get a feel for the game.
As a defender, having that ball control will allow you to better handle your overall defensive zone. You may ask, why not lower than 70% then? Surely the lower the percentage, the easier it will be to control? Yes and no… A lower carbon fibre percentage stick will lack power, which is critical when playing field hockey. Professional players typically use very high carbon sticks to get the most power possible out of the stick. So starting with a 70% and working your way up slowly is a great option to get the best of both worlds.
Hockey sticks for defenders with experience
Once you've left the beginner stage, you can look at the best field hockey sticks closer to 95% carbon fibre. These carbon sticks are geared best for advanced players who have learned how to master ball-handling completely.
With a higher carbon stick, you are rewarded with that extra power needed to give you an edge against your competition. As a defender, this could mean making that all important long pass up the pitch which could then lead to a goal. It is recommended to go for a 95% carbon stick rather than 100% as the remaining 5% is made from Kevlar, which heavily reinforces the stick and stops it from breaking. As a defender, you’re going to experience some heavy tackles, so making sure your stick is durable is vital.
What bow is best for defenders?
This all comes down to the type of playstyle you have as a defender. As you experience the game more and build up your skill, you start to notice that there are a few different types skills or passes that you use the most.
Mid Bow sticks have long been the most common type of stick used by traditional defenders. In short, these sticks are relatively straight without much curve. Mid bows are all about power and control of the ball. Typically, if you are the type of defender that goes in for hard crunch tackles, big hits and hard slaps, then a mid bow might be for you.
As well as this, be sure to look out for a mid bow stick with a reinforced head. This will mean you have even more power in your hits, as well as full confidence in tackles.
These require some experience to properly handle. The difference between a mid bow and low bow is that these have a more aggressive curve towards the bottom of the stick, which typically aids the flicking action. Now you may be thinking, why do I need to be able to flick the ball as a defender? One word, aerials!
Aerials are one of the most powerful skills you can master as a defender. They allow you to flick the ball over the heads of your opposition and get out of tricky situations easily. Once mastered, aerials can be used to flick the ball as far as your strikers, opening up many goal scoring opportunities.
As well as this, be sure to look out for a low bow stick with a groove in the head of the stick. This will further aid the flicking action for aerials, as well as increase your general ball control and dribbling skills.
How to decide?
In the end, choosing the right hockey stick is a personal experience. A stick that works for a teammate, might not necessarily work for you! Especially given that you play in different positions. So is there an easy way to find the perfect stick for defenders? Luckily, there is!
Here at Rival hockey, we’ve put together a helpful 60 second stick quiz. The stick quiz is designed to match you with your perfect stick, by quickly analysing your play style and skills. By answering a few questions about how you play, you will then be matched with a stick that is scientifically designed to improve your playing ability! Ready to take the quiz? Click the button below.
But why should I take your word for it?
At Rival, we've been matching players with their perfect stick since 2020. But don't just take it from us, here's what some our players have to say about it.