|The most common failure in sticks is splintering
or breaking of the blade after long periods
of use. Breakage of the shaft is relatively
uncommon with recreational players, but much
more frequent with muscular players in highly
competitive leagues who put great stress
on the stick while shooting or passing.|
Some high-end sticks have replaceable
The shaft is aluminum or some
and is guaranteed for years of
They may be cheapest in the long
players who tend to break lots
The chief things to consider
in buying a
- Length. Rule of thumb: standing in street
shoes, with the tip of the blade touching
the floor, the end of the shaft should reach
your chin. If it's much longer than that,
you may have to saw off the excess to have
a proper stance while playing. For kids,
seek junior sized sticks, whose blade size
is proportioned to the shaft length.
- Weight. For most kids, beginners and recreational
players, lightweight is better.
- Flex. Competitive players with great upper-body
strength tend to like stiff shafts. For kids,
beginners and recreational players, it's
much easier to get off a good shot if the
shaft has more flex.
- Lie. This is the angle between the blade
and the shaft, looking from the top. The
lower the number, the greater this angle.
Lies of 5 and 6 are easiest to find; 7 is
harder. It's usually easier to get leverage
on shots if the puck is closer to the body,
so a higher lie may be best for beginners.
- Curve. The curve helps to put extra spin
on the puck when shooting. Beginners are
best starting with a stick that is relatively
straight, except for a curve at the tip of
the blade. Some experienced players prefer
a curve that begins midway between the heel
(where it joins the shaft) and the toe (tip)
of the blade.
- Left vs. Right. Should you shoot left (stick
held to your left, with the curve facing
forward) or right (stick to the right)? This
is a key question. If you're right-handed,
you should learn to shoot left. Why? With
a wrist shot, much of the power comes from
pulling your top hand back (if you shoot
left, this will be the right hand) rather
than from rolling the bottom hand forward.
Also, frequently you'll have to use the stick
with one hand, which will be the top hand.
Left-handers should shoot right. About 2/3
of players at all levels shoot left; nonetheless,
more than a few learn to shoot from the "wrong"
side and stay that way.