Choosing the right hockey stick can greatly impact your performance on the ice. One important factor to consider is the flex of the stick. But what does that mean?
A hockey stick’s flex refers to its ability to bend when pressure is applied, also known as its stiffness. A player’s ideal flex depends on their height, weight, position, and playing style. It affects their shot power, accuracy, and release time.
With so many options and brands on the market, finding the perfect flex can be overwhelming. This is where we come in, providing you with tips and guidance to help you make an informed decision.
“Just like a carpenter needs the right tools, hockey players need the right stick to succeed.” -Wayne Gretzky
In this guide, you’ll learn how to determine your preferred flex, why it matters, and how to choose from the various materials and styles available. You may even discover that experimenting with different flexes could enhance your game.
So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, join us as we explore everything you need to know about choosing the optimal flex for your hockey stick.
Understanding Flex in Hockey Sticks
The Basics of Flex
When discussing hockey gear, the term “flex” refers to how much a stick bends when force is applied. A stick’s flex rating will typically range from 30-110, with lower numbers being stiffer than higher ones.
The flex of a hockey stick can be described as either being mid-kick or low-kick. Mid-kick sticks are designed for players who put more power into their shots, while low-kick sticks provide better accuracy and quicker release for those who rely on their wrist strength and speed.
It’s worth noting that a player’s height, weight, and playing style all play a role in determining the optimal flex of their stick. In general, taller players may prefer a stiffer stick due to increased leverage, while smaller players might benefit from a softer flex that allows them to generate more power despite less overall mass.
The Impact of Flex on Your Shot
The flex of your stick can have a major impact on your shot. By storing energy in the shaft during a windup and then releasing it upon contact with the puck, a properly-flexed stick can help create a powerful and accurate shot. Too stiff or too soft of a flex can lead to inconsistent results.
In addition, different flex profiles can affect the way the stick behaves during certain types of shots. For example, if you’re taking a slapshot, a high kick-point stick (one where the majority of the bend is located towards the middle of the shaft) might provide the most power. Conversely, for snap shots or quick one-timer passes, a low kick-point stick might be preferred thanks to its faster release.
If you’re unsure what type of flex is right for you, consider experimenting with different models to see which feels the most comfortable and conducive to your playing style. As always, it’s a good idea to get input from coaches and more experienced players as well.
Types of Flex Profiles
There are several different types of flex profiles available on the market today:
- Square: Refers to sticks that have a consistent width throughout the shaft. These can offer greater stability but may be less responsive during shots.
- Tapered: The majority of sticks currently in production feature a tapered design, where the diameter of the shaft gradually decreases towards the blade. This allows for easier handling and better release.
- Dual Kick-Point: Some manufacturers offer sticks that feature two bend points, allowing for different levels of flex depending on where you hold the stick. These types of sticks tend to be more specialized and might not be suitable for all players.
“Your hockey stick is like an extension of your body…you want it to feel just right.” -Trevor Gretzky
Choosing the right flex profile comes down to personal preference and intended use. It’s important to evaluate what kind of shots you take most often and how you prefer to handle the puck before making a purchase.
Remember that finding a stick with the correct flex and kick-point can help maximize your power and control on the ice. Don’t be afraid to switch things up if your current setup isn’t providing the desired results!
The Importance of Choosing the Right Flex
When it comes to purchasing a hockey stick, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is choosing the right flex. The flex of a hockey stick refers to how much the shaft of the stick can bend when force is applied to it. Your choice of flex can have a significant impact on your performance and your risk of injury.
The Relationship Between Flex and Your Performance
The flex of a hockey stick plays a critical role in your ability to perform on the ice. A stick with too little flex may not store enough energy to provide sufficient power for your shot, while a stick with too much flex could cause accuracy issues and reduce the speed of your shot.
A well-chosen flex, however, can help you harness the full potential of your shooting power. It allows you to flex the stick correctly, store energy during your wind-up, and unleash that stored energy towards your target with precision.
The Effect of Flex on Your Accuracy and Power
Your selection of flex also has an effect on your accuracy and power by helping you control where your shots go. A stick with less flex generally results in more accurate shots, especially for wrist shots and backhands. This improved accuracy occurs partly because you are better able to feel the puck as you shoot since there’s less give in the stick, making everything feel more predictable and consistent.
In contrast, a stick with more flexibility generally enables greater power generation on slapshots – although at the cost of accuracy. As such, if you want maximum power but tend to miss the net often, borrowing a teammate’s whippier stick might be worth considering. On the other hand, if you’re missing oomph behind your shots, try switching to a stiffer stick with less flex.
The Role of Flex in Injury Prevention
Hockey is a physical sport, stressing the body in countless ways. Injuries are always possible, and preventing them should be one of your top priorities as a player.
Choosing the right flex for your playing style can play an essential role here. Too little flex raises the risk of wrist and arm injuries since it requires more force to load while shooting. The use of much stiffer sticks than normal could lead to blisters or even cuts on the hands due to excessive vibration when passing or receiving the puck.
If you’re new to hockey or have a history of joint pain, consider starting with a stick that has greater stiffness because they will absorb some shock – plus flexibility isn’t everything when it comes to holding a strong grip on the ice.
The Importance of Proper Flex Selection for Youth Players
For youth athletes who are still developing their skills, decisions about the proper hockey gear can make a significant impact on their confidence level. Choosing the right flex will help aspiring players learn how to shoot correctly, develop specific strengths, and prepare them for the future as they continue to grow and improve.
The goal is not only about choosing what feels “good” but testing different options until you find what works well.
It’s important to note that children will typically need less stiff flexes as they tend to be lighter and have lower strength levels. For example, if young kids begin using a senior-level stick with too much flex this places strain on your joints and muscles leading to potential overuse injuries.
Final Thoughts: Ultimately, there is no single perfect stick for everyone. When deciding which stick to purchase, don’t worry about mathematical formulas or charts claiming to do everything for you. Trying out each variation of the flex independently helps you to feel and understand your stick better. Perfecting your technique with the right equipment is what will help lead to long-term success as a hockey player.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Flex
Height and Weight
One of the major factors to consider when choosing a flex hockey stick is your height and weight as they determine how much force you can put into the shot. If you are taller or heavier, you may want to go for a stiffer flex stick as it will provide more power from your shots. On the other hand, if you’re smaller or lighter, you should choose a stick with a softer flex as it will allow you to get more speed on your shots.
According to former NHL player and coach Tim Turk, “if you’re too light or weak, the blade will become floppy and you won’t have control over the puck”. Therefore, it’s essential that you choose a stick suitable to your size and strength for optimum performance and better control while playing.
Your playing style also plays a crucial role in determining which flex stick is best for you. A player who relies on quick wrist shots needs a different flex point than one whose shots come from longer fluid motions and quick releases.
If you prefer finesse and accuracy over power, then you need a stick with lower flex points (60-75) as it helps improve control and allows for more accurate shots. In contrast, if you’re all about the power, then a higher flex stick between 85-110 would be ideal since it has less bend but packs more power in your shots.
“When you take your shot you load up the shaft, then you release the energy like a rubber band snapping back, sending the puck flying towards the net,” said Paul Willett of Hockey Giant Inc. – This means that the kind of release you need depends on how fast you load the stick. So, make sure your playing style is compatible with the stick’s flex to maximize your performance on the rink.
Choosing the right flex hockey stick is based on individual preferences and a balance between height/weight ratio, playing styles, and position. Always test different sticks before purchasing and select according to what feels comfortable in your hand and produces optimal performance while playing. Keep these factors in mind and take control of your game-play like a professional hockey player.
Flex and Your Style of Play
Your stick is an extension of your arms on the ice, and it’s crucial to pick out the right type of hockey stick for your playing style. It all starts with understanding what flex means in terms of a hockey stick.
The flex of a hockey stick refers to its stiffness which can vary between sticks. The lower the number, the more flexible the stick is. When choosing the right stick for you, consider how hard you shoot, your position, and personal preference.
Flex for Forwards
If you’re an attacking player like a forward, you want a bit more whip or torque from your stick. In general, forwards tend to use less massive blades that help them increase their speed and maneuverability to create offensive opportunities.
A lower flex stick would be ideal as it allows players to bend the stick for harder shots while also helping generate more shooting power when taking quick snapshots. Most NHL players use sticks with a flex range of 75-95, depending on their body weight and shot style.
“A low flex point (80-85) will provide the best feel and performance to snipe corners,” said Dan Lovinger, Senior Product Manager Bauer Hockey – Sticks & Protective Equipment.
Flex for Defensemen
Defensemen need a stiffer, heavier blade than most forwards because they’re not known for blazing speed rushes or breakaways. Since defensemen mostly focus on preventing opposing goals, they require greater durability to withstand possible blocks and hits, making it tougher for opponents to come close to goal area.
Defensemen typically carry a higher set of weights percentage-wise so their added back-pressure adds extra force behind shots, along with better control to manage rebounds offensively. Some defensemen choose to use mini sticks that allow for better control of the puck, while others prefer using longer styles.
“As a defenceman, I like it as stiff as possible so that it does not end up wobbling when you shoot or pass,” said Erik Karlsson, former NHL Defenseman.
Flex for Goaltenders
As a goalie, the flex rating is irrelevant compared to other factors such as the shaft length and blade shape. Typically, stick manufacturers design goalie sticks just for them, with stiffer build quality and heavy weights since their frequently asked to make long-range clearing passes from crease areas. Sometimes special resin coatings are added to these sticks to increase grip sensitivity, which helps goalies simply hold on to pucks better.
The most significant changes in new-age goalie-sticks generally come about concerning those related directly to performance, defense optimization, weight limitations, aerodynamics, and general attention to detail regarding hand-placements.
“A lot of people put stock into materials such as foam-core construction but what’s most important to me is how the blade/fibers interact with the puck. The feedback I get from Bauer’s sticks is outstanding,’ stated Jonas Hiller, Swiss professional hockey goaltender.
Your style of play dictates the best type of stick for peak performance on the ice. Make sure you research precisely whether a flexible or rigid stick suits your body motions and shooting ability as well as physical exertion. Take cues from professionals as they have years of experience under their belts, and finally – test out a few sticks before settling on one! Good luck on hunting down the perfect hockey stick!
Testing Flex: Finding the Perfect Stick
When it comes to choosing a hockey stick, one of the most crucial factors is the flex. The flex refers to how much the shaft of the stick will bend when force is applied to it. But what flex hockey stick should you choose?
The answer isn’t simple as there are many variables to consider such as player height, weight, position played and personal preference.
“Flex is probably one of the more misunderstood aspects of buying a stick,” says Dave Jensen, Bauer’s senior manager of hockey stick research and development.
So how can you know which flex is right for you? By testing different sticks – both on-ice and off-ice.
On-Ice Testing Methods
On-ice testing is essential as this is where you’ll be using your stick during games. During on-ice testing, you want to evaluate how well various flexes of stick perform in real situations such as shooting, passing, and puck handling.
To perform on-ice testing, get several sticks with varying flex ratings and play some pickup or practice games with them. Pay close attention to how each feels, particularly compared to your current stick if applicable. Consider:
- How well do you shoot with each flex rating?
- What about wrist shots versus slapshots?
- Can you feel the puck well enough to handle it easily?
- Do certain flex ratings allow you to snap off better passes?
- Is there any difference in accuracy between the different flex ratings?
Off-Ice Testing Methods
While on-ice testing is critical, it doesn’t give the entire picture. Off-ice testing is also crucial, as this lets you focus more specifically on elements like how a stick feels in your hands and its weight, which can be challenging to evaluate during game situations.
“Off-ice analysis is critical because it helps isolate specific performance attributes of hockey sticks,” says Brand Manager for Warrior Hockey Keith Perera.
When performing off-ice testing, make sure to try out various flex ratings similarly to on-ice testing. You will want to move, roll or shoot with each stick while taking note of what feels right – typically according to an individual’s preference or feel through the shaft. Pay extra attention to:
- The overall weight of the different sticks; is there any particular rating that seems too heavy or light?
- The “kick” point or breakpoint of the stick. This refers to where along the length of a stick the highest energy transfer occurs between the blade and the shaft. It affects when the puck gets released from your stick, so finding one suited to your shot style can make all the difference.
- The grip or coating material covering the stick. What do you prefer?
You should get feedback from your coach or another experienced player who’s familiar with your playing style. They’ll offer valuable insight into whether you’re using the optimal stick for your size, position played and skill level. Ultimately, it takes time and lots of experimentation to find the perfect flex. Be patient, test out sticks thoroughly before investing in a new one and trust in yourself that you’ll know when you’ve found one that works well for you.
Common Misconceptions About Flex
Higher Flex Equals More Power
One common misconception about the flex of a hockey stick is that higher flex equals more power. While it may seem logical that the stiffer the stick, the harder the shot, this is not always the case.
The truth is that flex is all about finding the right stiffness that works for your individual playing style and size. A player’s strength also plays a role in determining the proper flex, as well as the type of shots they take most frequently.
“Flex doesn’t dictate how hard you can shoot; it dictates where you release the energy in your shot.” – Joel Edmundson, St. Louis Blues defenseman
Lower Flex Equals More Control
Another common misconception is that a lower flex will result in better control over the puck. However, this isn’t necessarily true either. When considering flex and control, we must look at a variety of factors such as technique, grip, curve, and blade lie, but ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and playstyle.
It’s important to note that selecting a lower flex does reduce shot velocity, which could affect certain players’ styles of play. It is crucial to find the correct balance between flexibility and stiffness while maintaining the necessary precision skating skills to play confidently and effectively on the ice. U.S. Women’s National Team Player Kelly Pannek says:
“At the end of the day, picking what’s comfortable for you based on your ability level will maximize comfort and give you confidence when taking shots”
Flex Doesn’t Matter for Beginners
Some beginner or casual players may think that choosing the right stick shouldn’t be a high priority since they are not playing in competitive settings, but the stick’s flex should not be overlooked.
Selecting a stick with an incorrect flex can cause discomfort and inefficient play style. Entirely ignoring the fact that different types of sticks exist does more harm than good since players would then have no frame of reference for how to experiment with their own preferences.
“The reason why you want the right flex is so it works as another limb of your body.” – Eddie Lack, former Vancouver Canucks goaltender
All Sticks with the Same Flex Rating are the Same
As previously mentioned, selecting the correct flex is unique to each individual player, based on their height, weight, strength, technique, etc. Therefore, it is essential to understand that choosing two sticks with the same rating might not always result in the same feel or experience while playing. It’s recommended to test out several sticks from varied brands before settling down, making a long-term investment in what you think suits you best!
“Something I’ve learned about sticks over time is that despite having almost identical specs on paper, they definitely tend to differ.” -Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames Forward
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a flex hockey stick?
A flex hockey stick is a type of hockey stick that has a flexible shaft. The amount of flex in the shaft varies based on the stick’s flex rating. Flex hockey sticks are designed to store energy when you shoot or pass, allowing you to get more power and accuracy behind your shots.
How do I choose the right flex for my hockey stick?
Choosing the right flex for your hockey stick depends on your height, weight, and playing style. A general rule of thumb is that a player should choose a stick with a flex rating that is half of their body weight in pounds. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should use a stick with a flex rating of around 75.
What are the benefits of using a flex hockey stick?
The benefits of using a flex hockey stick include increased power and accuracy on shots and passes, better puck control, and reduced risk of injury. The flexible shaft allows you to generate more force with less effort, making it easier to shoot and pass accurately. Additionally, the flex helps absorb shock from the puck, reducing the strain on your hands and wrists.
What is the difference between a low and high flex hockey stick?
A low flex hockey stick has a lower flex rating and is more flexible than a high flex hockey stick. This means that it takes less force to bend the shaft and generate power on your shots. High flex sticks have a higher flex rating and are stiffer, requiring more force to generate power. The choice between a low and high flex stick depends on your playing style and personal preference.
Can I adjust the flex on my hockey stick?
No, you cannot adjust the flex on your hockey stick once it has been manufactured. The flex rating is determined by the materials and construction of the stick, and cannot be changed after the fact. However, you can choose a stick with a different flex rating to suit your needs.
What are some common misconceptions about flex hockey sticks?
One common misconception is that a higher flex rating means more power, when in fact it means the opposite. Another misconception is that flex rating is the only factor to consider when choosing a stick, when in reality it is just one of several important factors. Additionally, some players believe that they can improve their shot by using a stick with a flex rating that is too high or too low for their body weight, which can actually hurt their performance.