Hockey gum shields – review

What hockey gum shields do you use and why?

I’d had the same gum shield for four seasons (eugh I know) but unfortunately forgot to take it out of my hockey skirt during a hot wash. It emerged as a gluey mess attached to the fabric of the skirt.

Time for a new one then. But it’s not as easy as it seems to find a comfortable, well-fitting gum shield.

I bought an Opro http://www.opro.com/ silver gum shield. It all looks impressive. There’s a special key thing to keep the air holes open while you are moulding it and help you get it out of the hot water more easily. But it didn’t fit well and I don’t like it. I followed the instructions to the letter – with perfect timings. But still found the gum guard loose and uncomfortable, especially at the top of the front. It seems too loose and threatens to fall out the whole time – not what you need in the middle of a match.

So I’ve now opted for a shock doctor Gel Max guard https://www.shockdoctor.com/gel-max-mouthguard://. It’s more tricky to mould than the Opro but I much prefer the final result. The gel seems thicker and moulded round my teeth better. When I take it out now I almost feel as if it’s going to pull out my teeth – which has to be the sign of a tight fit. In comparison, the Opro falls out far more easily.

The Shock Doctor doesn’t look as good. I’ve got the black and blue version which isn’t a good look to be honest. I prefer the pink Opro. But for performance and ability to speak while it’s in the Shock Doctor is winning every time.

Field Hockey Forum http://www.fieldhockeyforum.com/threads/gumshield-review.2958/ has lots of discussion on gum shields.

Scroll down the page a bit on the above link and you’ll find an post from a dentistry student recommending dentist custom-fitted guards. (Well I guess you can argue that they would say they’re best wouldn’t they).

Anyway, this post says that these are vacuum formed exactly to your teeth, cover les of your palate and fit much better which tends to make them feel more comfortable. You can also breathe and talk better with them in. They are also balance against your lower teeth so won’t dislodge as easily. But they are a lot more expensive. Ask your dentist for more information – and they will probably advise you to have one. (But again they would wouldn’t they.)

I’d love to hear from anybody with experience of a custom fitted one and whether they found it superior in fit and performance.

Finally, here’s a link to a specialist gum shield online shop. I’ve not used them personally – and they haven’t paid me to be on here – but i thought this looked worth checking out. It looks as if they offer an at-home service for a custom fit guard where you take an impression of your own teeth at home then send it off.

The Mouthguard Shop

Finally a tip on fitting gumshields from Total Hockey that seems sensible. Get the temperature up in your mouth before you put the heated gum shield in. Take a few sips of hot tea or a hot drink and then the moulding process is more effective.

 

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Hockey stick test Grays gx10000 jumbow

Grays gx10000 stick

Grays GX10000 Composite Hockey Stick

The GX10000 Jumbow stick came out second top in the Push Hockey magazine stick test of 31 sticks. Just above it was the cheaper stick adidas LX24-2 adibow 24. However, I have my eye on the Grays stick. I love Grays products and this comes in a light version that’s just a fraction heavier than the Voodoo Code Red stick I’ve been using for the last two seasons. I love the look of this silver Grays stick which came out highest of any stick for power – and rated highly for playability, touch, dribbling and lift.

A first eleven player (not named but a striker) who tested for the magazine and rated the Grays his top pick gave the stick 9/10 overall and his top power mark. A veteran international/coach tester rated this 49/50 – he is an experienced defender. It was joint winner for playability (the ‘feels right’ factor); and equal first for first touch (how the stick controlled the ball when passing and receiving: testers assessed the touch with a pass and receive from a bounce board); it’s lowest rating was for dribble (dribbling through cones and some close-controlled moves) but was still rated fifth out of the 31 reviewed, it was third for lifting and 3D skills and rated top for power.

But the testers at Push point out that ultimately choosing a stick is a personal matter. Indeed, I know to my own cost that you can’t tell how a stick will work for you until you use it in a match. I bought a new TK stick last season, but soon put it back in my bag because I found it too heavy and cumbersome. I reverted to using my old Voodoo stick but this is now so worn that I have just invested in a Grays gx 10000 Jumbow – but have yet to try it out in a match or training.

27 March 2013. End of season update. Our season has now finished and I have scored a lot of goals with this new Gray’s stick. I love it – it’s sometimes quite stiff so I have to remember to soften my hands more when receiving than I did with my last voodoo stick. However, once I had got the hang of this I much prefer this Grays to any other stick I’ve tried before.

5 January 2015. This had become my second back up stick and I have now reverted to a Dynabow from Grays which actually I prefer although there’s not such control on a backstick shot. Sadly, a junior player borrowed by Jumbow at a match and I rather than reclaim it I left it beside the pitch. Despite trying to track it down it was taken. So that’s the end of my Jumbow. It has good control but now using a Dynabow I can see that it’s predominantly a stick for drag flickers, which I’m not. I’m happier with my Dynabow.