Choosing the perfect hockey stick can make a world of difference in your game. There are many factors to consider, but one of the most crucial is the flex. The right flex not only helps enhance your performance but also reduces the risk of injury.
When it comes to choosing a flex that works for you, factors such as height, weight, playing style, and position come into play. Failing to choose the correct flex can lead to ineffective passes, weak shots, and discomfort during gameplay.
“A good stick provides better control, accuracy, power, and a smoother pass or shot.” -Mario Lemieux
In this guide, we’ll look at some important factors to keep in mind when selecting a hockey stick. We’ll delve into the different levels of flex available on the market, their pros and cons, how to measure yourself correctly, and which level would be best suited for your needs.
Gone are the days where picking up any old hockey stick will do. Choosing the right flex can take your game from amateur to professional, so read on and discover everything you need to know about finding your perfect NHL-worthy stick!
Understanding the Importance of Flex in Hockey Sticks
A hockey stick is an essential piece of equipment for any player. The type of stick you use and its flex can make a significant impact on your performance on the ice. Choosing the right flex for your hockey stick can improve your shot, puck handling, passing accuracy, and overall gameplay.
How Flex Affects Your Shot
The flex of your hockey stick determines how much energy it will absorb when you shoot. It refers to how much the shaft of the stick bends while holding the blade stationary against the ice.
If you have a stiff stick, more effort is required to bend the shaft during shooting. The opposite is true with a flexible stick; less force is required to generate a better shot. Most elite players prefer intermediate or high flexibility sticks to perform accurate wrist shots and other techniques requiring precise control.
“Choosing the correct flex is vital for getting the most from your shot.” -Joel Ward
The Role of Flex in Stickhandling and Passing
Finding open teammates and making crisp passes are critical aspects of effective team play in hockey. Correcting your stick’s flex influences both your moves and your pass delivery skills.
A softer-flexed stick allows for quicker response while handling pucks. As a result, accurate dribbling movements allow for closer puck-handling without fumbling the stick often seen during aggressive plays. Therefore, players feel more confident when using flexible sticks because they provide greater control.
In addition, the flex also affects your passing speed and accuracy. Soft flex helps create a snappy wrister that zips out of the gate with precision. Also, by evoking a whip-like action, a lower-stiffness stick enhances each movement of the body used in the swinging action.
The Impact of Flex on Your Wrist Shot, Slap Shot, and Snap Shot
Each different shot in hockey requires a different form and movement to achieve maximum velocity. The flex rating of your stick impacts the mechanics of these movements while shooting the puck.
If you’re looking to land powerful wrist shots that zip past goaltenders into corners, mid-flex sticks are an excellent choice because they offer improved accuracy during snapshots.
For slapshots, players usually opt for larger blades featuring heavier stiffness profiles. High-flex sticks store varying levels of energy as they load up on prior motion; combined with gravity’s help, rapid acceleration adds up before hitting the ice, releasing massive kinetic energy required for delivering high-powered slappers at speeds beyond 100 mph.
“When I first started playing Pro Hockey, my flex was too stiff, which amplified my errors. A better fit let me focus on other aspects of my game.” – Jon Matsumoto
Finally, when utilizing a snap-shot technique, look for something balanced between stiffer and flexible shafts like medium flexibility (around 80). The payoff is likely to lie in using a quick release to outrun defenders or opponents guarding the net.
What quality determines the type of hockey stick you should use? It depends mainly on how hard you want to shoot, pass, and handle the puck. Choose a higher rated flex if your main goal involves generating tremendous power behind your shots but don’t neglect lower-stiffness sticks that aid critical features such as agility, reaction times, and control. In the end, you will have a tool crafted perfectly suited to support your pliant play style, allowing you to reach greater heights both on and off the ice.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Flex for You
Your Height and Weight
Hockey sticks come in varying lengths, but that’s not all there is to consider when it comes to your height. The flex of your stick will also be affected by how tall or heavy you are. Since taller players have more leverage when shooting, they can use a higher flex rating without sacrificing power. On the other hand, shorter players may need a lower flex rating since they don’t have as much leverage. Additionally, heavier players may want to use a stiffer flex since they generate more force when taking shots.
Your Position and Play Style
The position you play on the ice should also determine what type of hockey stick flex works best for you. For example, forwards who rely heavily on their wrist shots might prefer a softer stick with a little more give. Meanwhile, defensemen who take hard slap shots from the point could benefit from a stiffer stick with less flexibility. Your play style also factors into this equation: if you like to take quick snapshots rather than holding onto the puck, a softer stick may help enhance your release speed.
The Level of Flexibility You Prefer
Flex ratings range from 50-110 and beyond, with the lower end being a more flexible stick, while the higher end offers more stiffness. Players’ preferences depend on their strength, game situation, playing style, and position. It’s important to experiment with different flex options until you find one that feels comfortable. Keep in mind that too rigid or too soft won’t serve you well in terms of shot power and control.
The Type of Blade You Use
Blades come in various curves and depths, and they impact the way you shoot the puck. If your curve is lower, you could benefit from using a stick that flexes more since your shots will have less spin and power. Alternatively, if you prefer a mid-to-high curve, stiffer sticks may give you the best results since they help generate force better on release. It’s essential to figure out your preferred blade type before choosing a hockey stick flex.
“Choosing the right hockey stick can make all the difference in how comfortable you feel on the ice, and ultimately, how well you perform.” -John Tavares
These factors are just some of the things to consider when selecting the correct hockey stick flex for yourself. Play around with different options until you hit upon one that feels most natural. Remember, it takes more than merely buying gear; practice and technique go hand-in-hand with picking the right tools. With some experimentation, you’ll find the perfect fit to elevate your game and performance.
Busting Common Myths About Flex Hockey Sticks
Flexibility is a critical feature when it comes to choosing a hockey stick. This feature can impact your performance, power, and precision on the ice. However, there are several myths associated with flex sticks that can distort players’ judgment about what type of stick works best for them.
Myth: Stiffer Sticks are Always Better
The degree of flexibility in a hockey stick defines how much it bends during play. It moves perpendicularly to the ice surface, storing energy as it falls back into shape, catapulting the puck forward at the exact release point. Although some experienced players love stiff sticks because they offer more control, it’s a common myth that stiffer means better. In contrast, research suggests that this is not entirely true.
In a study performed by the University of Waterloo, researchers found that players who used less stiff or intermediate sticks had lower rates of injury compared to those using rigid ones. Since less strict sticks tend to have a higher degree of bend, the force generated through collisions tends to be reduced, which can help prevent injuries, especially wrist and shoulder sprains.
If you’re an intermediate player looking for speed, consider selecting a stick with a semi-progressive or progressive curve, which usually allows greater accuracy in shooting. Professional athletes might prefer an even more significant bend (such as whips curves) since these types of sticks can generate more velocity, making quick-thinking plays easier.
Myth: Flex Doesn’t Matter for Beginners
An athlete’s level of proficiency shouldn’t dictate whether they ought to use flexible hockey sticks or not. Often overlooked, young players can benefit from utilizing hockey sticks designed explicitly for their skills, regardless of whether they’re beginners or already skilled veterans. When paired with the right degree of flexibility, beginners can enjoy better control and precision, which are both highly essential attributes when learning how to play hockey effectively.
Therefore, casual or Olympian athletes shouldn’t ignore utilizing a more flexible stick variant. According to experts, one’s level of proficiency has an almost negligible impact on how much flex somebody desires in their product.
Myth: One Flex Fits All
A common myth is that any old stick will suffice for all players, regardless of age, weight, height, skill-level, or position, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Hockey sticks have individual customizations based on each player’s needs to enhance their performance. Moreover, various positions require different stiffs since they offer unique advantages depending on what you’re doing them.
Forwards typically prefer a shorter stick because it allows them greater agility and range of motion compared to what defenders typically use (longer versions). This amply demonstrates how personalization of hockey sticks contributes significantly to enhancing team dynamics and player performance.
In contrast, Defensemen often choose longer sticks because it provides better reach in poke-checking and assists clears up the ice surface during gameplay (like Bill Bourne). As such, defense-style blades tend to have less curvature than those designed for forwards. Goaltenders also use specific stick variants as they shoot and distribute pucks frequently, requiring variations like paddles, flamed heels, width, lie, etc., to fit the tasks they perform regularly.
“When it comes to selection, people need to ask themselves, ‘How would I customize my equipment for a better experience?” -Andy Chigumba, Hockey Coach.
Flexibility dramatically influences how well you can perform more accurately and create opportunities when playing hockey. It enables folks to tailor their sticks explicitly to their needs, increasing individual and team effectiveness. Unfortunately, many myths have cropped up over the years regarding hockey sticks’ flexibility that has further muddied the waters of selecting a product that suits you best. This article aims at helping debunk common misconceptions about flex hockey sticks, which should make making an informed decision easier for gamers in teams out there.
How to Test and Determine Your Ideal Flex
Selecting the right hockey stick for your gameplay is important, but it can be a challenge. One of the most crucial factors to consider is the flex of the stick. The ideal flex will differ according to the player’s height, weight, shooting style and position on the ice. Here are two methods to help you determine your ideal flex:
Using the “Flex Test” Method
The simplest way to test your stick’s flex is by performing the “flex test.” This method checks how much the stick bends when putting pressure on it. Follow these steps:
- Hold your stick upright with one hand near the top and one hand about midway down the shaft.
- Bend the stick gently using only your bottom hand until the blade lifts slightly off the ground.
- Take note of where the stick starts to bend – it indicates the point at which the stick’s flex rating begins (e.g., 75, 85).
This method gives an idea of the range of flexes suitable for each individual player. Hockey players who are bigger and taller or enjoy taking slapshots would prefer stiffer sticks as they provide more control over their shots. In contrast, those playing forward positions that require more wrist action prefer sticks with a lower flex rating as they give them ease of maneuverability to accelerate quickly in open spaces.
Getting Advice from Experienced Players and Coaches
“Something different works for every person based on body size, strength, technique, personal preference and so forth,” says Kevin McHale, director of sports marketing and communications for Bauer Hockey.
As essential as the flex test is, determining one’s appropriate flex is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Even professional hockey players often experiment with different flexes over time to fine-tune their gameplay. Receiving advice and insights from experienced players, coaches or sports store employees is also wise.
Matt Guarente, Director of Operations at Total Hockey Training Centre seconds this notion saying,” It’s best to get someone who knows what they’re talking about to assess your game first-hand, and tell you the exact stick that would fit.”
An expert opinion can take into account numerous factors – not just height, weight and style of play but also experience level, ice conditions, and individual techniques while playing on a team as well as accommodate for any injuries sustained during play.
In determining what flex hockey stick to use; a blend of personal preference, crucial body measurements, player position, technique, strength and hand placement should be considered before making a final decision. While it may take some time to find the perfect fir, arming yourself with proper knowledge will allow you to choose which features cater most effectively satisfy all elements of your ideal stick design.
Top Flex Hockey Sticks on the Market for Every Player Level
If you’re a beginner or recreational player, it’s important to find a hockey stick that is easy to handle. A good flex rating to start would be between 50 and 60. This range provides adequate flexibility to control the puck while not requiring too much strength.
The Bauer Nexus N2700 is an excellent choice for beginners. Its mid-kick point helps generate power when hitting slap shots while the lightweight design enhances maneuverability. The CCM Ribcor 63k also offers great value for its price point. It has a low kick point that maximizes accuracy and speed, making it perfect for sniping goals.
“Choosing the right hockey stick is essential in developing your game. Make sure you try a few different types before deciding on one.” – Mike Modano
For intermediate and advanced players, finding the right flex level can make all the difference in performance. Typically, these levels of players have better strength and shooting technique than their beginner counterparts. A good flex rating for this group would range from 70 to 85. This range allows for maximum energy transfer with minimal effort required.
The Bauer Vapor Flylite stick combines both responsiveness and feel for those who prefer quick releases and high-end technology. Another excellent option is the Warrior Alpha DX Pro stick. With various flex options, dynamic strike face material and rotationally constructed shafts; stick handling at top speeds will be no problem.
“Having the right equipment can bring confidence and enhance performance in any sports environment. Choosing a flexible enough stick paired with accuracy with every shot can take your game to new heights.” – Patrick Kane
Choosing the right hockey stick and finding the proper flex setting is crucial in taking your game to the next level. With many different options out there, it is essential to take into consideration each player’s ability and skill level when selecting a new stick. Whether you are buying for yourself or a younger sibling or friend who has just started playing, make sure to invest in equipment that will allow growth and development without hindering performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What factors should I consider when choosing a flex hockey stick?
When choosing a flex hockey stick, consider your position, style of play, and skill level. Forwards generally prefer a lower flex stick for easier shots, while defensemen may prefer a higher flex for better control. Your playing surface and height are also factors to consider, as well as your budget and personal preference for material. It’s important to choose a stick that allows you to perform your best on the ice.
How does my playing style impact the flex hockey stick I should use?
Your playing style can impact the flex hockey stick you should use. If you’re a player who takes a lot of slapshots, a stiffer stick may be best, as it can provide greater power and accuracy. If you’re more of a finesse player, a lower flex stick can help with stickhandling and quick shots. It’s important to choose a stick that complements your style of play and allows you to perform your best on the ice.
What is the difference between a low flex and high flex hockey stick?
A low flex hockey stick has a smaller number, typically below 85, and is easier to bend. This makes it ideal for players who rely on wrist and snap shots. A high flex stick has a larger number, typically above 100, and is stiffer, making it better for players who take slapshots and need more power. The flex number can also affect the stick’s weight and durability, so it’s important to choose the right flex for your playing style and needs.
Should I choose a composite or wood flex hockey stick?
Composite sticks are generally lighter and more durable than wood sticks, but they can also be more expensive. Wood sticks are heavier but can provide a better feel for the puck and may be preferred by some players. Ultimately, the choice between composite and wood flex hockey sticks comes down to personal preference and budget. It’s important to try out different types of sticks to find the one that feels best for you on the ice.
Can I test out different flex hockey sticks before making a purchase?
Yes, it’s important to test out different flex hockey sticks before making a purchase. Many stores offer stick demos or allow you to try out sticks on the ice. This allows you to get a feel for the stick’s flex, weight, and overall performance. Testing out different sticks can help you make an informed decision and choose the right stick for your playing style and needs.