Choosing the right Flex for your Hockey Stick

The flex of a hockey stick is very important.  The right amount of flex can help improve the power and accuracy of every shot in hockey. Alternatively, too much or too little flex can negatively impact power and accuracy. This guide will help you find the right flex for your hockey stick.

Hockey Stick Flex Chart

Younger players do not have to worry as much about flex because they are still learning the fundamentals of shooting. If you are still learning how to shoot properly, as a young player, you will not be ready to utilize the flex. Here is a chart that shows the usual flex values in hockey sticks:

  • Youth = 20 to 30 flex (typically for ages 4 - 8, weight 40 to 60 lbs)
  • Junior = 30 to 50 flex (typically for ages 7 - 13, weight 60 - 100 lbs)
  • Intermediate = 50 to 70 flex (typically for ages 13 - 17, weight 110 to 150 lbs)
  • Senior soft/regular = 75 to 90 flex (typically for ages 14 and up, weight 150 to 180 lbs)
  • Senior regular/stiff = 85 to 102 flex (typically for ages 16 and up, weight 170 to 205 lbs)
  • Senior stiff/extra stiff = 100 to 112 flex (typically for ages 18 and up, weight 200 to 235 lbs)

What is flex in hockey sticks?

Flex is a measure used in the making of hockey sticks to test how much a shaft will bend. The number used is the amount of weight needed to bend the shaft one inch. This is important to know, because in order to flex a 100 flex shaft by one inch, you will need to be able to apply 100 pounds of force.

How To Choose the Right Shaft

When it comes to selecting a hockey stick, there are three options for shafts:  junior, intermediate and senior. The difference between the shaft selections is the diameter, length and flex. Junior shafts have the smallest diameter and are also the shortest, while the senior sticks have the thickest shaft (bigger diameter) and are the longest. Junior shafts are generally for young players, while intermediate shafts are made for youth and adults, and senior stick are typically used by players 14 years of age and up. The flex also varies depending on the shaft type. See our hockey stick flex chart above for more information.

Do not let your age be the only factor in determining your shaft type.  Some younger players may be strong enough, and have the proper technique to use a senior shaft, while some older players who are small in stature may benefit more from an intermediate shaft.  It is not as simple as some may think. To help you choose the right shaft and flex we have developed a flex guide. Read our section below for more information.

How to choose the right flex

A general rule, as a starting point, is to pick a flex that is 40-50% of your body weight. If you weigh 180 pounds then start at 72 to 90 flex.  From that point if you think an adjustment in flex is needed, you can use the following guidelines to calculate a better flex for your style of play:

  • Less 5 to 10 flex if you are not that strong of a player and/or your just play a leisurely noncompetitive style of hockey
  • No adjustment in flex if you are of average strength and you take a combination of wrist, snap and slap shots
  • Plus 5 flex if you are strong, know how to shoot well and you like to take a lot of slap shots.
  • Plus 10 flex if you are a extra strong & aggressive player that likes to battle hard in the boards & in front of the net

Let’s say you weigh 180 pounds, you’re a strong aggressive player and take a combination of hard wrist, snap and slap shots. Your starting flex is 72-90 plus a plus adjustment of adding say 10 gets you into an 82 flex to a 100 flex max based on 40% to 50% of your body weight. Remember that flex is also a personal preference; however most top equipment managers find this formula quite accurate amongst a wide range of hockey players studied over the years.

Does Cutting A Hockey Stick Affect Flex?

Yes it does, most sticks available today have a guide printed on them that will indicate how much flex your stick will have depending on how much you cut it. A general rule is every 1” you cut off will increase the flex by approximately 3.5. An 85/87 flex stick cut down 2” will now be a 92/94 flex hockey stick and a 4” cut will be 99/101. If you need to cut down a senior stick by 3" then consider using an intermediate hockey stick. This may give you the appropriate flex and stick height that you require.

If you need to add an extension or plug to the stick shaft the same principal applies except you will decrease the flex every inch you add to the length to the same degree as mentioned when you cut down your stick.