How To Buy The Best Field Hockey Stick
Learn how to find the best field hockey stick for you, from 2012 Olympic U.S. Womens Field Hockey Team Member Katie O'Donnell!
Field Hockey Stick Questions:
Since just before the 19th century, modern field hockey had evolved in England
and today, it has developed into a universal sport. Other than your own expertise,
your field hockey stick is your most valuable asset on the field. It not only
compliments your skills, but it also contributes to your performance by allowing
you to execute outstandingly come game time. Sports Unlimited recognizes just
how important finding the right field hockey stick is. With brands such as Cranbarry,
TK, Grays, Brine, STX and more, we’ve got you covered! In order to narrow down
some of your options, you should consider the following features before making
- Level of Play
- Toe Design
Is the most expensive field hockey stick the best one for me?
Field hockey sticks can, admittedly, get a bit pricey.
But the key thing
to know is that the most expensive stick is not necessarily the best field
hockey stick for you or your child! If you or your little one is just
starting out in field hockey, and still learning the game, you may be short changing them by buying the most
That's because, typically, the more expensive
hockey sticks have a high carbon content, making them pretty powerful, but
also really stiff. This stiffness and power makes it a lot harder to
stop the ball, control it, and maneuver it on the field, making that
expensive stick pretty difficult to use for newer players.
More affordable hockey sticks are usually
constructed with either wood, fiberglass, or aramid, materials that deliver
a lightweight, less rigid, and also less powerful stick. These
sticks make it easier to stop the ball at the head, and control the
ball across the field. In this way, those sticks are much more
forgiving for younger and developing players.
At the end of the day, if you or your child is just starting
out in field hockey, look for a more affordable, more forgiving field hockey stick. Once they start playing, they will begin to
understand which stick works best for them, and they can move on to more
expensive, more advanced level sticks.
Top of Page
What size stick is right for me?
Field hockey sticks come in a wide
range of lengths, to fit any size or age player on the field. Ranging
from about 28" to 38" long, field hockey stick length can
drastically affect your game and your comfort on the field.
instance, a stick that is too long will be clunky and difficult to maneuver, and
may limit your agility on the field. On the other hand, a stick that's
too short may not let you get enough power behind your shots and passes,
limiting your range on the field.
There are two standard methods for finding the
appropriate stick length for your body; the U.S. Method, and the
Dutch Method, found below:
It's important to keep in mind that,
generally, the suggested length will vary
slightly by manufacturer, but all methods will produce similar results. Also,
stuck between two lengths (for example, 35" or 36"), you should consider
your child's position:
If you're still unsure, consult your child's coach for further clarification.
- On defense, a longer stick is useful to provide
a longer reach and to allow the player to drive the ball further.
- On offense, a shorter stick improves a player's stick handling skills
Top of Page
What are the parts of a field hockey stick?
Shaft / Handle / Grip
The top end of the field
hockey stick typically features a high-tack grip or tape to let you
easily swing and maneuver the stick.
The end of the
field hockey stick that makes contact with the field and the ball. The
head is flat on one side (face) and rounded on the other, to give you a
wide surface area to shoot, stop, and pass the ball.
The bend of
the head where it joins the toe of the stick.
Where the head
upturns, creating a striking area for the ball. Toes come in a variety
of styles and sizes offering different benefits to players of varying
skill levels and positions.
groove in the head of the stick, the scoop aids in ball control,
cradling, and other maneuvers.
The slight bend in the
stick from handle to head. The bow cannot exceed 25mm.
Top of Page
Which toe design is right for my game?
stick's toe is curved and designed to complement that way a player
strikes the ball and handles the stick. Smaller toes provide maximum
maneuverability and agility, while limiting striking surface and
power, while larger toes provide plenty of striking and receiving
area for the ball, while reducing the stick's overall
Typically, field hockey stick toes
come in four shapes:
Shorti - A very common toe
length, great for quickly turning the stick over the ball. Generally
used by offensive players for its balance, maneuverability, and
Midi - By far the most widely
used toe shape for beginners and (as the name implies) midfielders.
Slightly longer than Shorti toes, Midi toes allow for a larger
hitting surface without reducing agility, making flicking,
receiving, and reverse play easier and more comfortable, especially
for newer players.
Maxi - The largest standard
toe, Maxi toes are preferred by defensive players for their wide
striking and receiving surface, along with solid power.
Hook - A J-shaped toe, the
Hook is a two-piece head that allows for extra surface area,
designed to increase ball control for better drag-flicks and reverse
Top of Page
Which stick bow is right for my game?
Almost every advanced composite stick you'll see has
a bow in the shaft, meaning the stick bends slightly from the handle to the
toe. Most sticks feature a 20mm bow, but others can range up to 25mm.
The bow can also shift from stick to stick, altering the when the center of
the stick falls, and changing the way it plays.
For instance, a standard
bow benefits every area of the game equally, while a more dramatic bow
creates a more dramatic head angle, to assist in dynamic controls and lifts. Bow choice
should depend on preference, age, and skill level.
Understand the three types of bows to get a better idea of which
stick is right for you:
20 - 25mm, with a regular bow, the highest point of the bend falls
in the middle section of the stick. This makes for well-rounded
performance, assisting in every aspect of the game from ball control
to advanced maneuvers.
With a control, or
mega bow, the center of the bend moves closer to the to toe, to
provide extra power when lifting the ball and drag flicking. Meant
for more advanced players, this bow allows for dynamic control and
competitive level maneuvers.
Measuring 25mm, the
late bow, or low bow, places the bend at the furthest end of the
stick, right before the head. The late bow is meant for elite level
players, and delivers extra assistance when controlling the ball,
lifting the ball, performing aerials, and drag flicking.
Top of Page
How does a stick's material affect its performance?
Field hockey sticks were once all made
out of wood, but those days are no longer. While you can still find
solid wood sticks out there, most modern and higher-level sticks are
composite, or made of a combination of materials. Varying
levels of composites alter the performance, weight, power, and
stiffness of a stick, as well as its price. So to make sure
you're getting the right stick for your skill level and needs, it's
important to know what each material offers, and what it is designed
Designed for stiffness and
rigidity, greater carbon content in a stick gives it harder hits and
Carbon content can run as high as 90% of a stick's
make-up, although even a 50% carbon stick is still going to give you
are inherently less-forgiving than other materials, and require
greater skill to maneuver and wield. They also tend to be a little
heavier than other sticks.
Sticks with more carbon
content are recommended for advanced and elite-level players.
Found in almost every
composite field hockey stick on the market, in some level,
fiberglass adds durability, power, and feel to a stick.
nature to carbon, but more economical, fiberglass delivers the feel
of a high-end, high-performance stick without the high price tag.
Fiberglass sticks also tend to be lighter, and less rigid than
carbon-heavy sticks, making them more forgiving and better designed
for young, new, or developing players.
Modern wooden sticks still exist,
although most are wrapped in fiberglass to add strength and power.
Known for their
natural feel and solid control, as well as their lower price
tag, modern wooden sticks
are great for young and
Top of Page
How does a stick's weight affect its performance?
Although, these days, most field
hockey sticks are fairly light and easy to maneuver, there are still
variations in weight that make a stick more appropriate for a player
or position. Typically, manufacturers provide approximate weights
for the 35" or 36" versions of their sticks, but to find the weight
of your size stick, simply add or subtract about 10 grams for every
inch. Once you have the weight of the stick, assess which position
the stick is designed for:
19 - 20
ounces (approx. 540 - 565 grams) - Designed for forwards, a
lightweight stick doesn't interfere with, or hold back rapid stick
21 ounces (approx. 595
grams) - Designed for midfielders, a mid-weight stick benefits both
defensive and offensive maneuvers.
22 - 24 ounces (approx. 620 - 680 grams)
- Designed for backs, the heavier sticks put serious power and
distance behind your shots, making them great for clearing the ball.
Top of Page