Parent's Guide to Buying a Field Hockey Stick
Choosing a field hockey stick can be confusing and frustrating, since there are so many choices. It is even more difficult if you (the parent) have never played before, or this is your child's first involvement with the sport. We hope to provide you with some helpful hints, but if you still have questions, feel free to call us at 1-800-693-6368. There are not any hard fast rules, but hopefully the following can lead you in the right direction to a successful field hockey season and career.
The length of your field hockey stick is very important. We have listed 2 methods for choosing a field hockey stick length on our field hockey stick page, one giving height measurements, while the other is the Dutch method. U.S. companies say to hold the field hockey stick at your side and recommend purchasing a stick that reaches 1 to 2 inches below your waist. The Dutch method tells you to hold the head of the field hockey stick under your armpit and purchase a stick that ends near the middle of your knee cap. Every manufacturer's suggested length will vary slightly, but all methods will produce similar results. If you are stuck between two lengths (for example, 35" or 36"), you should consider your child's position. On defense, a longer stick is useful to provide a longer reach and to allow the player to drive the ball further. On the other hand, a shorter stick improves a player's stick handling skills on offense. If you are still unsure, you should consult your child's coach for further clarification. Wondering why you can't find any left handed field hockey sticks? Well that is because left handed field hockey sticks do not exist. All field hockey sticks are made to be played right handed.
Types of Toe Designs
A stick's toe curve is designed for the way different players need to strike the ball. Here are four basic toe designs to consider before purchasing a field hockey stick:
CARBON: One-piece head allows for quick manueuvaerability around the ball. Used by majority of college players and the U.S. National Team.
MIDI: Multi-laminated, two-piece head. Slightly longer allowing for extra surface in reverse stick play. Used by majority of top international players, and growing in popularity in the U.S.
MAXI: Combines a larger receiving area with the hitting power of a Midi head. Popular with defensive players.
HOOK: J-shaped construction. Multi-laminated, two-piece head that "hooks up". Extra surface for receiving and for increased ball control. Excellent for drag-flicks and reverse stick control.
A stick's weight should be determined by the player's position. Here are the recommended stick weights based on the position played:
FORWARDS: should use a lightweight stick, 19 to 20 ounces. Select a weight that won't interfere with rapid stick work
MIDFIELDERS: should use an average weighted stick, approximately 21 ounces. A mid-weight stick accommodates both defensive and offensive plays.
BACKS: should use a heavier stick; 22 to 24 ounces. The weight lends distance to hits and keeps your stick in play against attacks.
Field Hockey Stick Components
CARBON: Provides stiffness and power to the stick. As a general rule, the more carbon content the stick has, the more powerful hits it will deliver, but there is a trade-off. Greater skill is required when controlling the ball on your stick because carbon is rigid and less forgiving than other materials. Both the Grays GX9000 Turbo Composite Field Hockey Stick and the Mohinder Legend Composite Field Hockey Stick contain a large carbon content providing superior power and stiffness.
ARAMID: Acts as a vibration dampener and adds strength to the stick. The rigidity of carbon causes vibration in the handle on ball strikes so aramid is added to balance this. Both the Brine Guru Series C1000 Field Hockey Stick and the STX 85/10 V3 Composite Field Hockey Stick contain aramid to decrease vibration in the stick handle.
FIBERGLASS: Adds a great deal of durability to any stick and is a component of almost every stick. Contains some of the same properties as carbon but is a more economic way of giving you the feel of the highest performing sticks. The Cranbarry Break Away Composite Field Hockey Stick is composed entirely of fiberglass providing great power and durabiity.
WOOD: You may be wondering "what happened to the good old wooden sticks?" Wood tennis racquets, wooden lacrosse sticks and wooden shoes were all great at one time, but technology has since advanced dramatically, creating composite sticks that are lighter and more powerful. We can only wish they were around in our day. Most sticks that have wood in them are now wrapped in fiberglass to add strength and power. Wooden hockey sticks provide a great touch and feel. The Grays G500 Elite Carbo Field Hockey Stick contains high quality mulberry wood for great ball handling control. Field hockey sticks can 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 your child. If your child is just beginning to learn how to play field hockey, you may be short changing them by buying the most expensive stick. The most expensive sticks have a high carbon content, making them quite powerful, but they also require a great deal of skill to control the ball. Less expensive sticks are usually constructed in a way that's much more forgiving, thus allowing your child to both hone his or her skills and increase self confidence. We have created a Youth / Beginner Field Hockey Stick page with several field hockey stick recommendations. You might also consider checking out our field hockey stick packages, which can include shin guards, stick bags and field hockey balls at a great price. In summary, if your child is just starting, stick with a less expensive, more forgiving field hockey stick. Length is a critical aspect to get right; and at this point, color may be your child's highest concern. Once they start playing, they will begin to understand which stick works best for them. Good luck in your decision, and hopefully by the time your child is ready for the most expensive field hockey sticks, she has a job.??Here at Sports Unlimited, we carry a vast assortment of Field Hockey sticks and other equipment by major brands such as Brine, Dita, STX, Mohinder, Harrow, deBeer, CranBarry, and Grays.