2012 Field Hockey Sticks - How To Buy?
Choosing a field hockey stick with the right materials, length, and toe design is crucial to your game. Our guide is here to help you identify what is best for your position, playing style, and ability level.
Materials and Stiffness
Field hockey sticks are made primarily of wood, usually mulberry or hickory. High-quality wood enhances a stick's overall strength and stability. Sticks made with composite and fiberglass are legal at the collegiate and high school levels. Wood and synthetics offer varying degrees of stiffness, which affects shock absorption and power. Manufacturers sometimes add reinforcing materials with a variety of purposes. Reinforcements do everything from increasing durability to enhancing flexibility.
- Beginning players should look for a flexible stick with good shock absorption.
- Advanced players may prefer a stiffer stick for increased power.
Manufacturers sometimes add reinforcing materials with a variety of purposes. Reinforcements do everything from increasing durability to enhancing flexibility.
- Applied either as a sleeve or taped to one side.
- Adds overall strength and durability.
- Reduces wear.
Carbon Fiber Tape
- Applied to both sides of the stick as a stiffening agent.
- Enhances stiffness at the handle for more powerful hits.
- Also sold as Graphite Tape.
- Applied to both sides of the stick.
- Enhances stiffness and reduces vibration.
- Increases shock resistance and power transfer.
- Kevlar is woven into a full-length sleeve for all-over impact endurance.
- A stick with high Kevlar content delivers greater shock absorption and a smoother feel.
- Made from Kevlar, carbon, and fiberglass.
- A durable, woven material sealed with high-strength glue.
- Wraps around the stick for vibration reduction and strength.
- Applied to the flat side of the stick.
- Advanced aerospace technology that provides strength and vibration reduction.
Different toe designs provide specific performance for forwards, mid-fielders and backs.
A stick's toe curve is designed for the way different players need to strike the ball. There are four basic toe designs:
- The most common toe length, usually used on offense.
- Helps the player quickly turn the stick over the ball.
- Designed for balance, maneuverability and control.
- The most popular and appropriate shape for beginners and midfield players.
- About a half-inch longer than the Shorti, it provides a larger hitting surface.
- Makes flicking, receiving, and reverse play more comfortable.
- Popular with defensive players.
- Combines a larger receiving area with the hitting power of a Midi head.
- A J-shaped construction.
- Larger stopping surface for receiving and defensive work.
- Particularly good for grass surfaces.
Field hockey sticks range in length so you can choose a field hockey stick based on either your height or your comfort level. Some players prefer a longer stick while others can maneuver better with a shorter stick.
Stick Length by Height
When choosing a field hockey stick, select the length that you can control comfortably. Place the index finger of your right hand on your right hip bone. Place your middle and ring finger next to your index finger. The top of the stick should approximately reach the side of your ring finger.
Consult this chart to help you determine which stick length is right for you:
|31"||4'3" and under|
|32"||4'3" - 4'6"|
|33"||4'6" - 4'9"|
|34"||4'9" - 5'|
|35"||5' - 5'3"|
|36"*||5'3" - 5'7"|
|37"||5'7" - 5'10"|
|38"||5'10" and up|
*Most commonly used length
Stick Weight by Position
Just like toe design, the weight you choose will be based on your position. It is best to consider your role on the field and style of play when selecting a weight.
- Backs: heavier stick, 22 to 24 ounces. Weight lends distance to hits and keeps your stick in play against attacks.
- Midfielders: average stick, approximately 21 ounces. A mid-weight stick accommodates both defensive and offensive plays.
- Forwards: lightweight stick, 19 to 20 ounces. Select a weight that won't interfere with rapid stick work.
- New and young players should choose a basic stick reinforced with fiberglass, carbon fiber, or Kevlar tape.
- Over time, experienced players develop a feel for the synthetic material or reinforcement that best meets their needs.
- As skill and physical ability improve, your position will influence the stick styles in your collection.
Building a Stick Collection
Dedicated players own a few different sticks as back-up for breakage, variables in playing conditions and surfaces, and different plays.
- Field hockey sticks do break. It is better to have your own broken-in stick in waiting than to borrow an unfamiliar stick during game play.
- Some sticks work better for some circumstances. No single stick does everything for everybody on every playing surface.
- You should have a minimum of two sticks with you whenever you go to play. For frequent play on both natural and artificial turf, you will probably want a minimum of four sticks, two for each surface. If you switch positions, you will probably want one stick for each position and an all-purpose backup.