Every professional hockey player knows that their equipment can make or break a game. From the right skates to the best protective padding, each piece affects their performance on the ice. But what about the length of their sticks?
The length of a hockey stick is essential in determining a player’s skating style and skill level. A shorter stick allows for greater maneuverability, while a longer one provides more reach and power. However, finding the perfect length depends on various factors including playing position, height, and personal preference.
“The problem with having an incorrect stick length can greatly hinder development as well as limit both offensive and defensive abilities.” – Elliot Purcell, USA Hockey
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of choosing the right hockey stick length and how it can impact your game. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your skills, understanding the basics of stick sizing will give you an advantage on the ice.
So, let’s dive in and discover what factors to consider when deciding on how long a hockey stick should be!
The Importance of Choosing the Right Hockey Stick Length
Maximizing Your Performance on the Ice
When it comes to playing ice hockey, your stick is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. It can make all the difference when trying to execute a perfect pass or score a goal. However, choosing the right hockey stick length is crucial for maximizing your performance on the ice.
A stick that’s too short can limit your reach and reduce your ability to control the puck, while a stick that’s too long can slow down your movements and hinder your shooting accuracy. These issues can ultimately impact your overall performance on the ice, making you less effective as a player.
That’s why it’s essential to find the ideal hockey stick length that suits your style of play and physical attributes. A general rule of thumb is to choose a stick that reaches up to your chin when standing without skates on. This allows you to maneuver with ease and have optimal control over the puck during gameplay.
Preventing Injuries and Strain on Your Body
Aside from optimizing your performance on the ice, selecting the right hockey stick length can also prevent injuries and strain on your body. When using a stick that’s too long or too short, it places unnecessary stress on certain parts of your body, resulting in discomfort and potential injuries.
If your hockey stick is too long, it can cause added weight which puts extra strain on your wrists when attempting a slap shot. On the other hand, if it’s too short, this forces you to hunch over, leading to back pain along with improper balance and movement on the ice.
Finding the correct stick length will enable you to have proper posture and alignment throughout gameplay, helping to minimize any chance of injury and allowing you to move with fluidity and ease, during games.
“The length of the stick directly affects a player’s performance in terms of mobility, balance, and leverage.” – Coach Jim Johnson
With so many variations of hockey sticks available today, it can be challenging to choose the right one. By taking into account your height, position, and playing style when selecting a stick, you can ensure that you’re using equipment that maximizes your potential on the ice, while minimizing any chances for injury or strain on your body.
Remember, investing time and effort into finding the right hockey stick now, can positively impact your overall gameplay and experience as a player in the long run.
Factors that Affect the Length of a Hockey Stick
Your Height and Arm Length
When trying to determine how long your hockey stick should be, it’s important to consider your height and arm length. Generally speaking, taller players will require longer sticks than shorter players. The same goes for arm length – if you have particularly long arms, you may also need a longer stick to ensure you can reach the puck effectively.
According to former NHL player and coach Ron Davidson:
“The rule of thumb is that the end of the stick should come somewhere between your nose and chin when you’re standing on your skates.”
This is just a general guideline and some players may prefer a slightly longer or shorter stick depending on their personal preference and playing style. It’s also worth noting that certain positions in hockey may require slightly different stick lengths – for example, defensemen may benefit from using a longer stick to help poke check and block shots better.
Your Position and Playing Style
Your position on the ice and playing style may also play a role in determining the appropriate length of your hockey stick. Forwards who focus primarily on stickhandling and shooting may prefer a shorter stick to give them greater control over the puck, while defenseman who prioritize blocking shots and making passes may opt for a longer stick that allows them to cover more ground.
“Players like Bobby Orr played with short sticks because they wanted to keep the blade close to their body at all times, which allowed them to weave in and out of defenders. Jean Béliveau would use a longer stick so that he could get maximum leverage when taking wrist shots.”
In addition to these considerations, there are various types of curves and flexes that can also influence your decision when choosing a stick. Players who prefer to take slapshots, for example, may benefit from using a stick with a stiffer flex rating, while those who focus on wrist shots and snap shots may prefer a more flexible blade.
The Type of Skates You Wear
Believe it or not, the type of skates you wear may also affect the ideal length of your hockey stick. If you’re wearing skates with a particularly aggressive forward pitch, you may find that you need a slightly longer stick to compensate for the way your body is angled forward. Similarly, if you wear skates with a flatter profile, a shorter stick may help offset the extra height you get from your skate blades.
There are many factors that can influence the best length of your hockey stick. While general guidelines such as the stick coming up between the nose and chin are helpful, ultimately it comes down to personal preference and play style. By taking into account your physical attributes, position, playing style, and even your skates, you should be able to make an informed decision about what stick length is right for you.
How to Measure the Correct Hockey Stick Length for You
Using Your Body Measurements
The most accurate way to determine the proper hockey stick length is by measuring your body. This involves standing straight and holding the stick with the blade on the ground, perpendicular to your body. The top of the stick should reach just below your chin.
If you are unable to measure yourself, there are general guidelines based on age and height that can be used as a starting point. Children under six years old typically use sticks between 18-20 inches in length, while players between seven and twelve usually require a stick between 30-46 inches in length. Teenagers and adults may need longer sticks ranging from 50-64 inches depending on their height.
Testing Out Different Stick Lengths on the Ice
While using body measurements or age and height recommendations can give a good indication of stick length, it’s important to test out different lengths on the ice to find what works best for you. A stick that feels too long or short can impact your performance on the ice.
One way to try different stick lengths is to borrow sticks from teammates or rent them at a pro shop. Skating around with each stick will give you an idea of which length allows for the most comfortable puck handling, shooting, and passing. Pay attention to how much you bend forward or extend your arms to reach the puck, as these movements indicate whether a stick feels too long or short.
“The right stick length affects your skating posture, your stride, your ability to handle polka and even shot power,” said Kevin McLaughlin, executive director of USA Hockey’s Office of Hockey Development, to ESPN. -source: ESPN
Playing around with different stick lengths can take time, but the effort is worth it for improved performance on the ice. Many players change their preferred stick length throughout their career as they grow or fine-tune their skills.
Using body measurements to determine the proper hockey stick length and then testing out different lengths on the ice are the best ways to find the ideal fit for your playing style. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust until you find what works best for you!
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Hockey Stick Length
Choosing a Stick Based on Looks Instead of Functionality
When it comes to choosing a hockey stick, many players make the mistake of selecting one based solely on its appearance. However, what looks good doesn’t always work well when playing. A common error is choosing a stick because it simply looks “cool” or trendy without considering how it will affect your performance on the ice.
The length of your stick should be determined by several factors such as your height, weight, and style of play. It’s important to find a stick that feels comfortable in your hands and allows you to maneuver easily around the rink. Don’t be swayed by marketing hype or flashy designs if they don’t match your needs on the ice.
“Looks can be deceiving, especially when making decisions about equipment in sports where form follows function.” -Christine Brennan
Ignoring Your Physical Attributes and Playing Style
Your physical attributes play a crucial role in determining the right size for your hockey stick. A longer shaft may provide more range for taller players while a shorter shaft is better suited for those who are smaller in stature. Keep in mind that sizing varies depending on each manufacturer and model so take the time to research different options before making your final decision.
Your playing style also plays a part in finding the correct stick length. For example, forwards generally require shorter sticks with less reach to enable their quick movements, whereas defensemen tend to prefer longer ones to help them block shots and clear passes. Knowing your position and personal preferences can help you select the optimal stick length for your game.
“The wrong stick could impair your ability and potentially lead to injury.” -Kris Letang
Not Considering the Type of Ice Surface You Play On
Another factor that can affect stick length is the type of ice surface you play on. If you frequently skate on larger sheets of ice, a longer stick may be more beneficial as it provides greater reach and helps you maintain control when passing or shooting at different angles.
On the other hand, if you mainly play on smaller rinks, a shorter stick could work better in tight spaces where quick movements are necessary. Consider the arenas where you will most often compete to help determine the appropriate length for your hockey stick.
“Stick selection should first consider your position, then move toward blade features based on skill level… Lastly, think about how many games a year you play, and the types of surfaces you typically play on.” -Gary Samuels
Not Asking for Expert Advice
If you’re unsure about what size hockey stick you need, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from an experienced coach, equipment manager, or fellow player. Having someone who has experience with selecting sticks weigh in can provide additional insight into what options will suit your needs best.
In addition, some retailers offer custom fittings for hockey sticks which take into account various aspects like body measurements, preferred grip, or even the curve and flex in the blade. These personalized fittings can provide a higher degree of precision and control while playing, leading to improved performance on the ice.
“Asking for expert assistance always results in a safer choice…” -William BradleyIn conclusion, choosing the right hockey stick length can make all the difference in improving your game. Avoiding common mistakes such as buying one just because it looks cool or not considering your physical attributes, playing style, and ice surface can help you find the perfect fit for your needs. Don’t hesitate to seek out advice from those with more experience if you’re unsure, and take advantage of custom fittings when possible. With the right stick in hand, you’ll be hitting your targets and skating circles around your opponents in no time!
Expert Tips for Selecting the Perfect Hockey Stick Length
Consulting with a Coach or Trainer
If you are just starting out in hockey, it is important to consult with a coach or trainer about selecting the perfect stick length. A coach can assess your playing style and recommend a suitable length based on that evaluation.
When selecting a hockey stick length, coaches typically look at several factors such as height, body structure, strength, and position played. For example, defensemen often require longer sticks than forwards due to their need to block shots and keep opposing players at bay.
“A good rule of thumb when picking a stick length is to ensure that the handle comes up to around your nose while standing in skates,” says Dan Lazar, an experienced hockey coach.
A coach can also provide advice on grip placement based on your hand positioning on the stick.
Trying Out Different Brands and Models of Sticks
Another great way to determine the ideal hockey stick length is by trying different brands and models of sticks. This allows players to not only experiment with varying lengths but also understand how certain materials affect stick flex and feel.
Making sure the stick feels comfortable in your hands is essential for maximizing puck control and performance on the ice. Therefore, it is recommended that players try out several options before settling on one particular type of stick.
“The best stick for you is the one that suits your style of play and preferences,” says Colin McDonald, a former NHL player who has switched through many stick brands during his career.
With advancements in technology, there are now several types of hockey stick designs, including mid-kick, low-kick, and hybrid sticks. These various designs allow players to experiment with differing levels of flex and kick-point, both affecting the shot grip and release.
Being effective on the ice is all about finding the right combination of stick length, weight, curve, flex, and shaft design. And through careful evaluation and experimentation, players can find a stick that meets their needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What factors should be considered when deciding on the length of a hockey stick?
When deciding on the length of a hockey stick, factors such as the player’s height, position, and style of play should be considered. Forwards may prefer a shorter stick for better stickhandling, while defensemen may prefer a longer stick for better reach. Additionally, players should consider their skating stride and the angle of their blade on the ice when determining the ideal stick length.
How does the position of the player on the ice affect the ideal length of their hockey stick?
The position of the player on the ice can greatly affect the ideal length of their hockey stick. Forwards may prefer a shorter stick for better control and maneuverability, while defensemen may prefer a longer stick for better reach and defensive positioning. Goaltenders may have a preference for a shorter stick to allow for quicker movements in the crease.
Can using a hockey stick that is too long or too short negatively impact a player’s performance?
Using a hockey stick that is too long or too short can negatively impact a player’s performance. A stick that is too long can make it difficult for a player to properly handle the puck, while a stick that is too short can limit their reach and defensive capabilities. Finding the right stick length is crucial for optimal performance on the ice.
What is the standard range of lengths for hockey sticks, and how do players determine the best size for them?
The standard range of lengths for hockey sticks is between 48 and 60 inches. To determine the best size for them, players should stand upright with their skates on and hold the stick vertically with the blade on the ground. The top of the stick should reach between their chin and nose for forwards, and between their chin and mouth for defensemen. Goaltenders may prefer a shorter stick for quicker movements in the crease.
Do professional hockey players typically use longer or shorter sticks than amateur players?
Professional hockey players typically use longer sticks than amateur players. This is because they have better control and handling skills, and can benefit from the added reach of a longer stick. However, stick length is ultimately a matter of personal preference and can vary greatly between players at all levels of the game.