What is the Right Hockey Stick Length?
Does hockey stick length affect performance?
Stick length can have a major impact on a player's game. A stick that is not the correct length affects both the hockey stick and player's performance.
What part of your game does stick length affect?
- Stick handling - the overall ability to control the puck
- Your shot - Stick Flex (stiffness) is affected by stick length
- Receiving passes - sitting flat on the ice
- Your reach - some players need all the reach we can get!
How does it affect my stick?
If it’s too tall, you may find that you’re smashing and wearing the heel out of your stick. TIP - If you play ball hockey you will be able to tell wear pattern pretty easily, if one part of the stick is wearing much quicker than the other, you need to adjust your stick height and lie.
What are the General Guidelines?
Choosing the proper length. Hockey sticks comes in a range of shaft lengths, and the best fit is determined first by your height with a slight variation depending what position you play. To fit yourself for a stick, place the toe end of the stick on the ground and line the grip end up with your face. The right stick length is between your nose and your chin. It is best to measure for a stick while you have skates on, but since this is not always an option, be sure to add at least 2 inches for the height of the skates.
- The basic length guide is: a stick that doesn’t reach your chin is short, one that touches the bottom of the chin is average, and one that goes to your nose or past is long.
- Some positions tend to prefer different lengths. Forwards usually favor a shorter stick, which allows more mobility and makes stickhandling easier. Defensemen generally opt for longer sticks, which are better for poking the puck away from opposing players.
- It’s better to choose a stick that is a bit longer rather than a little shorter because you can always trim a long stick to a better fit.
What type of player would want to use a shorter/longer stick?
“The Dangler” Hockey players who are good at stick handling tend to prefer shorter sticks. Using a short stick makes it a bit easier to move the puck around because the stick will be lighter (less material) and a shorter stick is easier to move around the body. Many players who are good at stick handling tend to bring the puck in close to their body in order to protect the puck while pulling a deke. A short stick makes it easier to perform these moves.
“The Grinder” Grinders like to get in the corners, dig for pucks, and cause trouble in front of the net. With an average length stick, you can still easily handle the puck and also make poke checks, intercept passes, and hammer off a slap shot.
“The Defensemen” It is common for defensemen to have the longest sticks on the team. A long hockey stick gives you a longer reach, which makes it easier for you to poke the puck away from attackers, intercept passes and stop a puck before it leaves your end. Defensemen are also known to have hard slap shots and a longer stick (with the right technique) will provide more power on the slap shots.
While the above points are common in hockey, that does not mean they are absolute truths. Some defensemen use short sticks, while some hockey players who are great with the puck use a longer stick. These tips should help beginner players find a length to start at, but don’t be afraid to try something new!
Where does personal preference come into play?
Personal preference is super important! Make sure to ask the question does it feel good in my hands? That being said, the typical guidelines are there for a reason and unless you’re playing at an elite level it’s unlikely that you’re helping your game much by using an unusually short or long stick. Experienced players know the exact length they like and are thrown off by change.
What are common mistakes that people make with the length of their stick?
When buying an expensive stick, players and parents are often nervous about the player outgrowing the stick and therefore sometimes tend to leave it too long.
Solution: cut it to the correct length and use a plug when or if the player sprouts up.
- A young kid gets a stick, broken up high from a Pro/Junior/etc. and he/she can’t flex the stick
Solution: use it for ball hockey and go buy one that is the right size!
- The player gets a little more zip on his slap shot in practice and is now using the stick in games.
Solution: Fair enough, but the slap shot is most effective when you can get it off quickly and hit the net/get it through traffic. Therefore, there is a good chance you are sacrificing a big part of your game (puck control) for what is likely a small benefit, be smart.