How to choose and buy a new field hockey stick

Apologies in advance, but this post is going to be a work in progress. I need a new stick.  My much-loved Grays Jumbow Grays Jumbow gx10000 review has worn to the point where the hook area is reduced. Time for a new one. But, what oh what to buy when the choice is mindblowing!

Well, I’m definitely going to buy another Grays. I’ve tried TK and voodoo in the past and don’t really like them as much as Grays.

But with hindsight I now realise that my Jumbow is a specialist drag flicking stick –

http://www.grays-hockey.co.uk/stick-tech

Ahem, I’m not a drag flicker by trade so maybe I need a different stick this time.

So what does the super player Jamie Dwyer think about selecting a stick? He talks about stick selection on the above clip. He says…

  • Light sticks. The trend is towards light sticks these days. ‘Players want stiffer, lighter, thinner’ with some going for as light as 500g. Light sticks are best for ‘using skills easily’ so you can push and slap easily. But the disadvantage is that a light stick has a really small sweet spot making hitting more tricky.Trapping is also more difficult as with a light stick it can bounce off more easily. (Oh noooo I thought, I want a heavier stick).Easier for dribbling and 3D skills.
  • Heavy sticks. Bigger sweet spot, often best for defenders.Better for trapping the ball ‘with a heavier stick it just sticks to it.’
  • Bow. The lower the bow is to the head of the stick, the better it is for lifting, drag flicks and aerials, apparently. (Hence my jumbow). Jamie Dwyer favours a straighter standard bow stick, which is food for thought. He likes the balance point to be 41cm from the top of the hook.

Here’s what Team USA Katie O’Donnell says about choosing a stick – and she’s such a fantastic player she should know a thing or two about it!

Katie O’Donnell on choosing a stick

She says…

  • She likes a lighter stick because she plays in attack.
  • She likes carbon in her stick because it gives a harder hit. Although this makes the ball tend to bounce off your stick more so you need softer hands.
  • Traditional advice is to choose a hip-height stick, but she likes an inch longer.”That extra inch gives me an inch reach when I’m trying to steal a ball off a defender, or when I’m on the post it’s an extra inch to reach the ball and put it in the net.”
  • She doesn’t like a big bow (that’s how much the shaft of the stick bends) because she’s not a drag flicker. She’s injector so she likes a ball to fit in the toe- some are so hooked the ball won’t fit in there. I’m a tipper so most of the time a bow doesn’t make much difference.

Here’s a guide to looking at the different stick bows and what they can do for you…

http://www.hockeysticks.co.uk/hockey_stick_bow.htm

So maybe I should get  the Grays GR7000 Composite Hockey Stick – which is a straighter stick. The straighter sticks are cheaper than the drag flicking sticks too – why is that?

I’ve been happy with my Jumbow, but maybe I’d be even happier with a straighter, heavier stick. But I play a lot off my reverse stick and love backstick shots, which apparently the Jumbow is also good for. What to do? Any ideas or comments gratefully received…

Here’s what I’m looking for in a stick… probably impossible to find all in one product, but anyway in an ideal world!

  • Good for trapping and receiving the ball – probably my number one requirement.
  • Good for stick skills
  • Good for striking on goal
  • Good for reverse stick hits and backstick shots

Backhand shots. It looks to me as if the low bow, such as on my Gray’s Jumbow, and the adidas tx 24 are designed for harder hitting back hand shots. See the tweets from adidas hockey below, publicising the tx24…

As it stands at the moment I’m leaning towards going for the Grays Dynabow  Grays Dynabow not least because it’s used by one of my favourite women players in the whole world, Korea’s No 10 Park Mi Hyun.Park Mi Hyun I watched her do the most amazing backstick shot I have ever seen just in front of me, when Korea played New Zealand at the world cup in June this year. It was mind blowingly impressive. If she has that stick, I want to channel her backstick awesomeness and use one myself.

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Author: Liz Hollis

I am a journalist, media and content consultant.

4 thoughts on “How to choose and buy a new field hockey stick”

  1. Hi Liz, I’ve just found your blog after returning to hockey after a lengthy hiatus. It’s definitely one of the best hockey blogs going – thanks for keeping up with all the posts.

    In terms of hockey sticks, I’ve just bought a new one for the first time in almost ten years. I’ve upgraded from a Grays GX5000 (a really old one) to a Grays GR7000. I’ve had a training session with the GR7000 and it took a few minutes to get used to the lighter weight of the stick (bear in mind my GX5000 was quite hefty) but after a while, I’ve really taken to it. I have the ‘medium’ stick, as opposed to the ‘light’ stick, and it has just enough weight to be used in tackles as well as being nimble enough for quick passes. This means it’s perfect for a midfielder.

    A couple of things to note about the GR7000. First, it has a new ‘improved feel area’ on the head of the stick which amounts to a slightly rougher coating on the head. I’m not sure if this makes a huge difference to controlling the ball, but I didn’t find trapping the ball any more difficult than normal. Second, there is some ‘enhanced edge protection’ along the backside of the stick which I’ve found makes backhand shots ping very easily. I like this! Third, although this stick apparently involves some graphene it’s not entirely clear how this is incorporated into the stick. This does make me wonder whether the stick is really that much different from the GX7000…. Anyway, I’d recommend the GR7000. It has a very nice feel and gives a good whack!

    Last thing about ‘bows’. Grays seems to put a premium on their Jumbow and Dynabow range. To be honest, I think these sticks with an increased bend are only really useful for about 10% of players – i.e. attackers that take penalty corners. Otherwise, there is often a problem with controlling the ball (i.e. inadvertently lifting the ball) and I’ve found reverse stick skills a bit more unpredictable. So, I’m a bit advocate of standard bow sticks.

    Good luck choosing a stick!

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    1. Firstly, thanks so much for your reply. Really useful and I’ll certainly check out that stick. I agree about the standard bow sticks, but having used a Jumbow and really liked it, I’m worried about buying a standard. The problem is sticks are so expensive that if you make a mistake it’s an expensive one! I’m so pleased you are enjoying the blog. How did you find hockey again and what are the challenges you face returning? Was thinking I might do a blog post about just this subject matter?

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      1. I think my reluctance about sticks with large bows is that one needs to alter your playing technique slightly when you switch between various bows. I can understand your nervousness about shifting to a standard bow…

        I returned to playing hockey after about 7 years of not playing. I’d played quite a bit at uni and at school, but let it slip whilst I did professional training (I was also quite far from a club, but I’ve just moved close to a decent club, so that was a factor too). In terms of the challenges returning to the game, there were a few! First up, I think the main issue was fitness. I was pleasantly surprised that my skills came back quite quickly, probably due to some latent muscle memory (that’s my theory). But it was definitely the fitness that I’ve struggled with. I’ve found the videos that you’ve posted about helpful, so thanks again for that!

        Secondly, I also found that there were some new rules, like the rule about being able to self-pass from a free hit and not being able to pass straight into the D when within the 25 yard line. I found out the second one to my cost during a game recently!

        I think those are the main issues. Linked to fitness, I’m learning the importance of a good warm up and a warm down. These were not a big feature of hockey at uni…

        Look forward to an blog post about all this sometime!

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