By Stephan Farley
They say that a bad artist blames his tools. When it comes to recreational hockey, it is true to an extent. Completely undermining the importance of your tools (your hockey stick, for example) would be a mistake for your sporting career. You need to have the right equipment if you intend to improve the level of your game.
Important Factors to Consider
Hockey sticks are usually divided into separate categories, depending on the age group of player. These categories are youth, junior, intermediate and senior. Depending on which category you lie in, you can pick a stick accordingly.
Hockey sticks were initially only made of wood but those days are almost history. Can you imagine Roger Federer playing with a wooden racket? It is quite the same with hockey. Newer varieties are usually made out of a composite material which offers durability and great levels of performance to players of all types, sizes, and age groups.
The first thing you should look at when you shop for a hockey stick is the flexibility of the stick, or “flex.” Choosing a stick that is ideal for your height will ensure that you can comfortably dribble the puck without the stick being too stiff. The flexibility is generally measured in flex and each age group has a different number. So an intermediate player (age 11 to 14), would ideally choose a stick with 60-65 flex. However, ensure that you balance your weight and mimic the motion of playing a shot so that you can get a “feel” for the stick. In addition to this, you should know that various brands have their own measurement of flex. Easton might have an 80 flex stick while Reebok might give it an 85 for the same.
The second most important thing to consider is the blade. Each time you go into a hockey store, you pick up the stick, check the name printed and then look at the curve, right? Ensure that you have carefully analyzed the type of blade you are going for depending on how you play hockey. A basic rule of thumb to follow is that when you get into position, there should be no space between the curve and the ice. This is also known as the lie and a major factor in improving or degrading your stickhandling and passing skills. Moreover, your position also plays a role.
Obviously, there are other factors, such as the weight, grip, shape and size, which play a role too. But the above two are perhaps the main things that you should consider.
Keep in mind these points before buying a good hockey stick. It should be flexible and have the right blade as well as curve. Choose a high-quality hockey stick for long-term use.
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