As I watched our first week of summer skill sessions, I
noticed that too many players are using a stick that may not be best suited for
better/proper puck handling or shooting.
Some are using a stick too long - some use a stick with too stiff of a
flex - and far too many have a curve that
I feel inhibits their stick handling as well as passing/receiving.
STICK LENGTH - the length of a player's stick has become more of personal style and preference than in previous years. With skates off and the toe of the stick on the ground, the stick should come to anywhere from your chin to the top of your nose. Remember - by cutting your stick length, the flex of the shaft will become stiffer; for every 2 inches you cut off you increase the flex by about 7.
STICK FLEX - you can substantially increase the velocity of your shot by having a flex that best suits your size and strength. Stick flex rating indicates how many pounds of force it takes to bend the shaft one inch. The better the flex matches your strength, the more slingshot effect the puck will have when it leaves your stick. To find the flex that best suits you it is best to experiment. Junior sticks have a flex range of 40 to 50. Intermediate sticks have a flex range from 55 to70. Senior sticks have a flex range from 75 to 100.
In this video Alexi Kovalev demonstrates how shaft flex works and that shooting is not just about weight transfer and arms:
BLADE LIE - the lie of your stick blade refers to how it is angled in relation to the shaft of your stick.
A higher lie is better for taller players or those who skate more upright - a lower lie is better for players who are shorter or skate with more knee bend and lower to the ice.
If you find that when you are stick handling and the toe of your blade is not on flat the ice, then perhaps you need a lower lie. The best way to tell for sure is to look at the wear of the tape on your stick - if it is wearing out closer to the heel then you may need a flatter lie (or vice-versa).
BLADE CURVE - It is best to experiment for the type of curve and blade pattern that suits you best. However, I have noticed in our skills sessions thus far that too many players have a curve that does not best enable them to handle the puck on their backhand or pass/receive properly. This is a huge mistake - don’t get sucked into the bigger curves while you are still learning the game. The best player in the world, Sydney Crosby uses a straighter curve to accommodate back hand passing and shooting, not the pattern sold in stores.
EMC Coach Mentor - Dave Warren