As a hockey player, there are many things that contribute to your on-ice performance, and one of the most important is having the right equipment. It’s not just about buying top-of-the-line skates or helmets; it’s also about taking care of the tools you have, like your stick.
Taping your hockey stick might seem like a minor detail but, in reality, it can significantly improve your game. Hockey players tape their sticks for a variety of reasons – better grip, added protection, increased durability, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, learning how to properly tape your stick can be a game-changer.
“Taping your stick allows you to tailor your gear to your personal preferences, so you can feel confident when you take the ice.”
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the time and effort to tape your stick, the answer is yes. The benefits of taping go beyond enhancing your grip and control over the puck – it also protects against chips, dents, and other damage that can compromise your stick’s integrity and shorten its lifespan.
So, if you’re looking to up your game and get the most out of your hockey stick, read on to discover why taping is an essential part of any player’s routine.
Protect Your Stick from Damage
If you’re a hockey player, you know the importance of keeping your gear in good condition. One item that often goes overlooked is the stick. Protecting your stick from damage not only ensures it lasts longer but can also help improve your game.
Use Protective Tape
The easiest and most effective way to protect your hockey stick is to use protective tape. This type of tape has specific features designed to enhance the durability of your stick. It’s relatively cheap and you can buy it in sports stores or online.
One significant advantage of using protective tape is its ability to absorb shock and vibrations during play. Shock absorption helps keep the structure of the stick intact and prevents cracks and breaks. The vibrations come from contact with other sticks, pucks, and boards, so having proper tape will minimize their effects.
Another beneficial feature of protective tape is grip enhancement. Depending on the brand and style, some tapes offer better traction than others. Stronger grip means fewer slips, resulting in more accurate passes, shots, and overall control of the puck.
It’s essential to apply protective tape correctly to make sure it works as intended, though. Start by cleaning the stick surface thoroughly, including any bumps or ridges. Remove any old tape residue, dirt, or debris before applying new tape. Applying new layers over the dirty surface could worsen the damage cause by wear and tear.
Keep Your Stick Away from Hard Surfaces
Avoid hitting your hockey stick against hard surfaces such as metal goalposts, cement floors, or walls. The force behind each hit can create small dents or big fractures that gradually weaken the stick overtime and change its shape.
In addition, leaving your stick leaning against walls or letting them fall on the ground can also damage them. Any unintentional impact could bend or break the shaft, which is a relatively expensive piece to replace compared with tape.
If you don’t have enough space, consider using stick racks that can hang from walls or ceilings safely. You can use Velcro straps to tie your sticks together and hang them as a group. However, if you’re traveling, make sure you pack your stick in sleeve, so it doesn’t come into contact with any hard surfaces during transport.
“Taping the blade of my hockey stick makes all the difference for me. It helps keep the puck on the end.” -Chad LaRose
Taking proper care of your hockey stick will affect how well it performs during games and last over time. Using protective tape is a smart investment that provides shock absorption, grip enhancement, and overall durability. Always make sure you clean the surface before applying new layers of tape, and avoid hitting the stick against hard surfaces and store them correctly when not in use.
Improved Grip and Control
A critical aspect of playing hockey is maintaining control of the puck. This requires a good grip on your stick as you shoot, pass or handle the puck. A proper grip ensures accuracy and power in your shots. Without it, your passes can go awry and be easily intercepted by opponents.
Choose the Right Grip Material
The first step in ensuring better control when playing hockey is to select the right type of tape for the blade of your stick. The most common materials used in tapes are cloth, friction-enhancing synthetic fabrics and rubberized textures. Each material offers unique characteristics that benefit different players’ needs.
Cloth: This type of tape provides excellent grip and durability, making it an excellent long-lasting option. It’s ideal for those looking for protection against the wear and tear of everyday usage.
Synthetic Fabrics: These tapes allow for increased friction between the stick and the puck, offering increased puck handling ability through improved stability. However, these types will require more frequent replacement due to their limited lifespan compared to cloth alternatives.
Rubberized Textures: Rubberized textured grips provide hockey players with amazing puck handling abilities. This is because they offer enhanced traction which leads to greater spin on the puck accelerating sweeter shots and better passes.
“The texture (of the tape) must help me keep my hand where I want it.” – Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Olympic Gold Medalist in women’s hockey
Use Grip Enhancers
In addition to the type of tape utilized, another way to enhance grip on sticks is by using grip enhancers like resin. Resin increases suction between gloves and handles, providing superior control during gameplay.
Grip wax is a natural alternative to resin. It can be applied directly onto sticks and improves grip without leaving residue on gloves or the ice.
“I use stick wax, some guys don’t like it… I just think there is no downside to using it” – Tyler Seguin, NHL All-Star forward
Properly Fit Your Stick
Fitting your stick properly helps in maintaining optimal control of the puck. A well-fitted stick will enhance strength and precision when shooting or passing, making you more effective as a player.
The first step in fitting your stick is determining its ideal length, which should measure between your chin and nose while standing on skates. Additionally, aside from the length and flex, finding the right blade curve for your playstyle can improve your shots and passes greatly so try experimenting with different blades until you find one that works for you.
Proper taping, enhanced grips aids, and a fitted hockey stick are necessary elements for any aspiring hockey player’s game. Ensuring players have complete control over their stick leads to increased accuracy, stronger shooting, and smarter gameplay around the rink ultimately leading to an improved performance and greater chance at victory.
Enhanced Shot Accuracy
The hockey stick is an essential piece of equipment for any ice hockey player. It allows players to control and shoot the puck with precision and accuracy. However, some players may wonder why they need to tape their sticks. The truth is that taping a hockey stick can significantly enhance a player’s shot accuracy through proper curve, flex, and length.
Find the Right Curve
The curve of a hockey stick refers to the angled blade. The right curve can make all the difference in shot accuracy. If the curve is too low or flat, the shot will have less lift, but it will be easier to handle on the ice. Conversely, higher curves allow for greater lift and more power when shooting the puck. Ultimately, finding the correct curve comes down to personal preference and playing style.
“A well-curved stick can help you raise the height on your shots… adjust and see what feels comfortable for you.” -Hayley Wickenheiser
Try experimenting with different curved blades until you find what works best for you. When testing out different shapes, focus on how the curve impacts your ability to lift the puck off the ice and how it affects your passing skills. Consider consulting with a coach or experienced player who can offer guidance on this important decision.
Choose the Correct Flex
The flex of a hockey stick refers to its stiffness. A stiffer stick offers more power, while a more flexible one provides better handling and accuracy. Choosing the right flex depends on several factors, such as your body weight, position, and playing style.
If you’re a smaller player or play forward, a lower flex (around 70-85) may be appropriate for you. Defenders or heavier players might prefer a stiffer stick (around 90-100). However, everyone’s preferences are different. It is best to experiment with a few options and find out what works well for your style of play.
“You want to have the right flex in order to get the most power from your shot.” -Allison Hirsch
Be sure to test various flexes before you make a final decision. Consider how it feels when handling the puck and shooting. You may also want to consult a coach or equipment specialist who can help guide you through the selection process.
Get the Right Length
The length of a hockey stick is another important consideration that affects shot accuracy. A properly sized hockey stick allows players to maintain better control over their shots while maximizing power and precision. The recommended sizing varies depending on factors such as height, position, and playing style.
“The blade will be slightly off the ice, and your hands should fall at waist level… having a longer stick helps because it provides more leverage for those wrist shots or snapshots.” -Eric Lindros
To determine the appropriate length, start by standing upright with your skates on, then hold the stick upside-down so that the tip touches the ground between your feet. When using this method, the optimum length ranges between your chin and your nose, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference and playing style.
Testing different lengths and asking for advice is essential. Consider speaking to an experienced player or coach to see which option suits best for your needs.
Taping a hockey stick is crucial not only for grip but also for enhancing shot accuracy. Obtaining the correct curve, flex, and length enables players to achieve optimal shot lift, power, and precision. Take the time to experiment with the variables that work best for you, and don’t hesitate to seek guidance from experienced players or coaches.
Prevent Puck Spin-Outs
Choose the Right Blade Pattern
One reason why you should tape your hockey stick properly is to prevent puck spin-outs. But did you know that choosing the right blade pattern can also help with this issue? The blade pattern plays a crucial role in handling the puck, shooting accuracy, and preventing spin-outs.
If your blade has too much curve, it will make it harder for you to control the puck and cause spin-outs. However, if it’s too straight, shooting accuracy may be compromised, and receiving passes may be more difficult as well. Therefore, balancing the curvature of the blade is essential.
To choose the right blade pattern, consider your playing style, position, and preferences. Forwards usually prefer curves for quick shots, while defensemen need less curve for accurate passing and clearing the zone. Additionally, some players use different patterns for different situations such as power play or penalty kill.
Use a Sticky Wax
Taping your hockey stick won’t only give you better grip and protection but also prevent spin-outs. However, sometimes regular tape isn’t enough, especially during intense gameplay where sweat can make your hands slip on the handle. Therefore, using a sticky wax or resin can increase adhesion and reduce spin-outs.
The primary purpose of a sticky wax is to provide an extra layer of tackiness over the tape. This way, even if there’s moisture, sweat, or water on your gloves, your hands will still have a good grip on the stick. A sticky wax can also make frequent tape changing unnecessary since it adds longevity to all types of tape.
Using a sticky wax is straightforward. Rub the wax evenly onto the blade and handle after taping, then let it dry completely before playing. Sticky waxes are a popular choice among professional hockey players because they reduce spin-outs, improve grip strength, and extend the life of their tape. Some popular brands of sticky wax include Buttendz, Tacki-Mac, and Howies.
“The most important accessory in hockey is what you put on your stick to make it yours.” -Keith Tkachuk
Taping your hockey stick is essential for many reasons, one of which is preventing spin-outs. Choosing the right blade pattern is significant since it improves handling, shooting accuracy, and reduces puck spin-outs. Using a sticky wax or resin is another effective method that enhances grip strength, reduces tape changes, and prevents slipperiness during gameplay. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional player, ensuring proper stick maintenance is crucial.
Customize Your Stick to Your Preferences
Hockey is a sport where players have their preferences when it comes to the equipment that they use, and one of the most important pieces of equipment is the hockey stick. Players can customize their sticks in several ways to make them comfortable for themselves. Tape on a hockey stick may seem like a small thing, but different types and colors of tape can completely change how a player feels about their stick.
Add Custom Graphics
Want to add some personality to your hockey stick? Adding custom graphics is a great way to give your stick a unique look. Some companies offer pre-made graphics or let you upload your own design. You can print any image onto sticky vinyl paper and cut out the shape using scissors or a utility knife. Once you’ve cut out the graphic, peel off the backing, apply it to your hockey stick, and smooth down any air bubbles with a credit card or squeegee.
“When I was younger, I would draw superheroes all over my sticks. It made me feel cool,” – Brett Hull
Change the Butt End
The butt end of the stick is the top-most part, used to rest against the palm of your glove hand. Changing the width of the butt-end can help you become more accurate while shooting. It’s especially vital for players who prefer having a higher hand position on their stick than others. There are various sizes (thin, medium, thick) and types (foam, rubber, wood) available. This customization will depend on your playing style and comfortability.
“I always try different things with my hockey sticks, changing the shape of the blade, size of the knob at the end, even shaving down parts of the shaft.” – Sidney Crosby
Use Different Colors of Tape
The most common form of customizing sticks is using tape on the blade. Changing the color allows players to differentiate their stick from others and also makes it easier for teammates to spot them during games. Colored tape can help professionals customize their hockey sticks to reflect a particular team, enhance grip levels, or create personalized patterns.
“When I think about my career and especially playing juniors, who doesn’t love a good wax job with different colored waxes?” – Wayne Gretzky
Add Personalized Text
If you want your hockey stick to send a message, putting some words or phrases onto the handle is a fun way to go about it. Adding a nickname, “good luck,” and more encouraging quotes could motivate someone every time they pick up their hockey stick. This simple customization may not be as flashy as the other options, but its personalization will surely mean something special to everyone that uses the stick.
“I write little notes on my shafts sometimes. When you look down and see ‘Do this for (insert name),’ it gives extra motivation.” – Brenden Morrow
Customizing your hockey stick to fit your preferences is an excellent way to provide a sense of ownership while adding unique flair to regular equipment. After all, there’s no better feeling than stepping out onto the ice with confidence in your gear. These customization tips exist so that players feel confident, comfortable and powerful when pursuing one of the sport’s most challenging sports.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do hockey players tape their sticks?
Hockey players tape their sticks to improve grip, protect the blade, and customize the feel of their stick. The tape provides a better grip, especially when the blade gets wet. It also protects the blade from chipping, which can affect puck control. Additionally, players may add extra layers of tape to create a knob at the end of the stick to prevent it from slipping out of their hand during play.
What are the benefits of taping a hockey stick?
Taping a hockey stick has several benefits, including improved grip, protection for the blade, and customization of the stick’s feel. A better grip means better control of the stick, which leads to better puck handling and shooting accuracy. Protecting the blade from chipping prolongs the life of the stick and ensures consistent performance. Customizing the feel of the stick helps players feel more comfortable and confident on the ice.
How does taping a hockey stick affect puck control?
Taping a hockey stick affects puck control by improving the grip on the blade. The tape provides extra traction, especially when the blade gets wet from ice or sweat. This extra grip allows players to handle the puck with more precision and control. Additionally, taping the blade can protect it from chipping, which can also affect puck control by changing the angle and shape of the blade.
What is the proper way to tape a hockey stick?
The proper way to tape a hockey stick varies depending on personal preference, but there are some basic steps to follow. Start at the heel of the blade and wrap the tape around the blade in a spiral pattern, making sure to overlap each layer slightly. Once you reach the toe of the blade, cut the tape and secure it with a knot or wrap it around the blade. Some players add extra layers of tape at the top of the blade or create a knob at the end of the stick.
Can taping a hockey stick improve shooting accuracy?
Taping a hockey stick can improve shooting accuracy by improving grip and control of the stick. A better grip means better control of the stick, which leads to more accurate shots. Additionally, taping the blade can protect it from chipping, which can affect the angle and shape of the blade, leading to inconsistent shots. Customizing the feel of the stick by adding extra layers of tape or creating a knob at the end of the stick can also help players feel more confident and accurate on the ice.