THE GAME PLAN
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It seems simple but deciding the correct Hockey Stick length for your player can make a big difference in their performance and enjoyment on the ice! Since the length of a hockey stick directly impacts a player’s performance, it is critical you select the correct stick length. Deciding where to make the correct cut is based on various factors including your level of experience, position, flex level, player style, and player strengths.
Level of Experience
If you are new to the sport, we always recommend selecting your stick based on your height! Since you have not developed personal preferences or your own specific playing style on the ice yet, it is best to cut your stick so that it is proportionate to your body. For most players, we recommend the height of a hockey stick always measure between your chin and your nose. For beginners, we suggest a hockey stick comes just beneath your chin when you are on skates. Don’t forget, you need to measure your stick WITH your skates on!
If you are an experienced player, you need to think of your skills, position, and improvement areas! Analyze your stick handling, passing, and your shot reach! The length of your stick impacts all these things and is completely dependent on your personal player preferences. For example, if you want to add power to your shot then consider that cutting your stick will decrease the flex with every inch you remove, and you may want to keep a little extra length to snap that puck. If you prefer to dangle and carry the puck in tight traffic areas, you can improve your control of the puck and keep it in closer to your body by using a shorter stick.
Now, let’s get into the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can figure out which length better suits you or your player!
Short Hockey Stick
The length of your hockey stick is really based on personal preference and playing style! However, shorter sticks are usually preferred by players who love to dangle, typically forwards. These players play with a low center of gravity. A shorter hockey stick allows for more rapid movement since the puck is closer to your body. This also will help you keep the puck out of reach of a defenseman’s reach. On the other hand, using a shorter stick can reduce your reach. As a defensive player, reach is crucial especially when poke checking other players and intercepting shots. Defensive players usually want all the extra reach they can get!
- The puck is closer to your body which allows for better stickhandling
- Blade is lying flat right in front of your skates which increases mobility
- Forces you to bend your knees which can improve power skating
- Can reduce shot power because there is limited flex in your stick
- Potential to cause back-pain if too short because you must bend over to shoot
- Might miss passes from teammates due to the shorter reach, defensive reach is limited
Long Hockey Stick
A longer hockey stick is usually preferred by defensive players! The longer stick allows you to intercept passes, take larger poke checks, and achieve an overall greater reach. On the other hand, using a larger stick can make stickhandling more difficult and often get in the way when trying to dangle or shoot. Therefore, most offensive players don’t prefer a long hockey stick.
- Great for defense players since you can reach players that are at a further distance
- Can get more power since there is more stick and more flex to shoot the puck
- Longer passing lane which means it is easier to reach passes from teammates
- Limited puck control since the puck is further away from your skates
- Stick can get in the way if you are trying to pull the puck close to you
- Blade does not sit flat on the ice (consider lie of the blade when purchasing)
So, what is Hockey Flex?
The hockey flex is the commonly used measurement that describes the amount of pressure needed to bend the stick an inch. When deciding the appropriate stick length, you must also consider the amount of flexibility you want your stick to have. A stick with a higher flex will be much stiffer which allows for more power behind your movements. However, if the flex of a stick is too high a player will not be able to flex the stick properly which can interfere immensely with playing. Players often forget that cutting your stick will impact the flex of your stick. If you remove inches from your stick you should expect the stiffness to increase. If you add an extender to your stick, the flex of your stick will decrease.
For new players we suggest playing with a stick that is directly below your chin! For experienced players, we suggest purchasing a stick and just playing with it on ice. Take shots, attempt stick handling, and place your hands at different points of the hockey stick to find your ideal placement. The best way to find out if you should play with a shorter or longer stick is to try both! Once you find the perfect length, mark your stick with some tape or a sharpie!
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