The stick that suits you is the one that has the right combination of size, materials, bow, weight and balance.
For a child: position the stick vertically, head on the ground, in front of the child who is standing up straight. Choose a stick where the top of the stick meets the child’s hip bone, then play a bit with the ball to ensure it is comfortable. Watch out for them bending their back uncomfortably, or playing with straight legs. They should be playing in a squat position without pain.
For an adult: the standard size is 36.5‘’. Some sticks are available in 37.5”or 38.5”, sizes that give more reach and power. These are normally used by higher level players. A player measuring more than 5’9” or 1.8m will be able to choose a 37.5 ”or a 38.5” while ensuring that the other characteristics of the stick (composition, bow etc) are also adapted to their level of skill.
We find sticks 100% wood, wood with fiberglass reinforcements (and sometimes carbon), 100% fiberglass, fiberglass with an increasing carbon% up to 90 or 100% carbon (often with 5-10% aramid when the% carbon is very high).
Fiberglass is harder, stiffer, lighter and more abrasion resistant than wood. We will have more power, but less control, a feeling of more stiffness.
Carbon is even lighter and stiffer, so brings even more power but less control if the level of technical competence is not sufficient.
Aramid is used in addition to carbon, in the shaft to absorb vibrations and/or in the heel for its high abrasion resistance. This is very useful for sand-based pitches.
Beginners will prefer wood. As they learn, children will switch to fiberglass and then to a reasonable percentage of carbon. Beginner adults can normally immediately start with fiberglass. Experienced and elite adults will choose the right carbon level for their type of game (desired balance between control and power).
What Weight / Balance?
Most adult sticks (sizes 36.5 ”-37.5”) weigh between 520g and 580g. A child stick will have a weight around 400g. Note that there may be differences of 20g to 30g on the sticks of the same model due to the manufacturing process. For equal weight, it is the distribution of mass in the stick that will be decisive. The balance point is where for example a finger could be placed and the stick is perfectly horizontal. It can be located:
Towards the handle, the stick will give an impression of lightness. This will facilitate the manoeuvrability of the stick
Towards the head (we say that the weight is in the head), the stick will give the impression of having more material in it. This will increase its power.
If you favour manoeuvrability, choose a light stick and a high balance point. If you are looking for power, choose a heavy stick and a balance point nearer the hook of the stick.
A hockey stick is not straight but has a bow which is characterised by:
Its maximum height (the vertical space between a stick placed on a flat surface and this surface) and by the place where this height is at its peak, measured from the end of the head of the stick, called the point of maximum curvature.
Beginners will opt for a«standard bow» stick.
More experienced players will graduate to a«mid-bow stick», enabling a bit more skill without compromising the control too much.
An experienced or expert player will choose depending on their priorities:
Control the ball, pass or shoot
Dribble, use 3D skills and rapid movements
Hit on the reverse
If a player is looking to do more 3D and drag flicks skills they will use either a «low bow» or an extra/ultra low bow. The lower the bow the harder it is to perform basic skills like stopping, pushing and hitting