They say that a bad artist blames his tools. When it comes to a sport such as ice hockey, it is true till an extent. Obviously, a player like Lionel Messi can beat an average football player even if he is playing barefoot. But if he does that in a tournament, he is putting himself at an unnecessary advantage. Completely undermining the importance of your tools (your hockey stick for example) would be a mistake for your sporting career especially if you intend to be a professional. You need to have the right equipment if you intend to improve the level of your game. This article will take you through some of the factors which every aspiring hockey player should consider before buying a hockey stick.
Important factors to consider when buying a hockey stick
Hockey sticks are usually divided into separate categories depending on the age group of players. 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 slowly fading. 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 that you should look at when you go out to purchase a hockey stick is the flexibility of the stick. Choosing a stick that is ideal for your weight 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 if you are an intermediate player (age 11 to 14), choosing a stick with 60-65 flex would be a good idea. 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.
Blade or the curve
The second most important thing to get right 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, here should be no space between the curve and the ice. This is also known as the ‘lie’ and can play a great role in improving or degrading your stick handling and passing skills. Moreover, your position also plays a role.
Obviously, there are other factors such as the weight, grip, shape and size too which play a role. But the above two are perhaps the main things that you should take care.