Few things are as important to the game of hockey as sticks are. They help players do everything from passing, to shooting, to playing defense. Without them, the game of hockey as we know it simply could not be played.
While things like the flex of a stick, the kick point and the material are important, arguably nothing is as important to a stick as its size. Using an incorrectly-sized stick can make doing everything on the ice much more challenging.
But how can you size a stick and know what is best for you? Well, that is exactly what this guide is going to take a much closer look at. Read on to learn all about the sizing of hockey sticks, and how to identify the best one for you.
How Are Sticks Measured and What Sizes Are Available?
Before we get into finding the right size for you or your child, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how sticks are sized and the various sizes that they come in. Hockey sticks generally come in four different sizes: youth, junior, intermediate and senior.
Youth sticks are for those between ages 4-8, junior sticks are normally for those 7-12, intermediate sticks are for 10-15 year-olds and senior sticks can be for everyone 14 and up.
Not every hockey stick will fall perfectly within one of the categories, and some can be customized, but most you see will be in one of those four sizes, so ensure you are aware of them. And how are these measured? Thankfully, it’s quite simple.
The sticks are simply measured from the top of the shaft, to the blade, when they are standing up. However, the way different manufacturers or companies will measure their sticks can actually differ slightly.
For example, some will measure it straight down the shaft to the heel of the blade, while others will use the toe of the blade for measurements. Always be aware of which sizing option is used when shopping online, as it can make a difference.
How to Determine the Correct Stick Size?
Now that you know how sticks are measured, it’s time to learn what the correct stick size is for you. In order to find your correct stick size, you should stand on your skates with the stick out in front of you, with the toe blade on the ground.
You generally want the end of the stick to sit somewhere between your chin and your nose. A stick that is too long can be clumsy to hold and use (especially when stickhandling), and can be difficult to skate with.
On the other side of things, a stick that is too short can make it hard to take pucks away from your opponents and can hurt your skating posture, as well as limiting the power of your shots.
If you find that a stick is slightly short or slightly too long, all is not lost. Most sticks can be cut down or extended to size, to ensure you end up with the perfectly-sized stick to help you play your best.
Some Players Prefer Shorter or Longer Sticks
While this rule is a good one in general, it doesn’t always work for everyone. Some people prefer sticks that are longer than the norm, and others prefer them to be a little shorter. For example, Wayne Gretzky always preferred to play with a stick on the short side.
In general, players who prefer a longer stick are generally defensemen or forwards who play defensively. A long stick allows players to better clog up passing and shooting lanes and makes it easier to steal the puck from opponents.
Also, a longer stick allows for a more powerful shot, which is what most defenders need as they are shooting from further away than forwards. A longer stick should reach up to about eyebrow level for players in most cases.
On the other hand, shorter sticks are often used by stickhandlers and those who generally play a faster game. The stick is lighter and much easier to control due to this size. A shorter stick should often measure up to around your throat or right under the chin.
While it always makes sense to begin with a stick that is right for your height or age group, if you find you prefer one that is shorter or longer, that isn’t a problem as long as it is how you are comfortable and it helps you play better.
I hope this guide has helped you learn how to choose the right-sized stick for your needs. Using the wrong stick can seriously hurt your play, so it is worth it to try and find the right one.
Is there anything I forgot to mention in this article that you think would have been valuable to include? If so, let me know in a comment down below.About Kale