To determine the right hockey stick length for your needs, there are a few options you can choose from. A lot of this rides on whether you are an experience hockey player, or a beginner. First let’s take a look at the right length for the beginner players out there.
Benchmark Your Stick Length
If you are a new player who hasn’t really established a preference, and is just getting a feel for the game and the stick, the best way to get the right length is to put on your skates, step up to the stick, and find a measurement which would feel comfortable just under your chin. It’s not that you will be riding the pines the whole game and need a place to nap, it’s because it’s right in the middle of the most popular lengths. Most players like their stick to be either up to their chest height, or as high as their eye. Once you get a feel for the stick at the benchmark length, you can decide if your next stick will be better left longer, or cut shorter.
Benefits and Weaknesses of a Shorter Stick
If you are an experienced hockey stick, and you like to stick handle with a bit of a “dangle” or lean over your stick, you will want a shorter stick which enables you to have the puck in close to your body. Keep in mind with a shorter stick, your stick will be a lot stiffer with less flexibility and it can reduce your shot power. Leaning over a shorter stick can also result in:
- Back pain due to the need to bend over your stick
- Missed passes due to other players expecting a greater reach
- Diminished defensive capacity, as opponents can keep further away and elude your attempts to knock the puck loose/poor poke checking
Benefits and Weaknesses of a Longer Stick
Longer hockey sticks, for the reasons mentioned above are ideal for defensive poke checking, blocking shots and making sweeping defensive moves. You can also load up a lot of power into the flex of your stick to make a great shot on net. The disadvantages of a long stick include:
- Difficulty stickhandling the puck close to your body
- Missing passes due to the way the blade of your stick rests on the ice (toe could point up and miss the puck)
If you want a foolproof way of finding the ideal length for a hockey stick, just try playing with it on the ice. Shoot, stick handle, and find your ideal top hand placement. Grab a piece of tape and mark it, or if you skipped breakfast, put a bite mark in the stick to mark it. That’s where you will lop off the end for cutting. Also consider your playing style when you determine your length, whether you are constantly bending your knees like a downhill ski racer and want a short stick, or if you stand tall in your skates and need a longer stick.