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How to select a stick? Terminology Player Positions Umpire Signals

How to Select a Hockey Stick?

According to USA Hockey while selecting the right stick is  a personal preference, there are some guidelines to help you with the decision.  The length, weight and flexibility of the stick must be considered.


Field Hockey sticks range in size from 26 inches to 38 inches. Youth sticks are generally 26-28 inches and the longer sticks are used by taller more experienced players.  The length of your stick is determined based on your height.  Most players will select the longest stick they can handle comfortably.  Listed below is a guideline for selecting the appropriate stick.

Player's Height up tp 4' 4'- 4'3" 4'4"- 4'6" 4'7"- 5' 5'1"- 5'3" 5'4"- 5'6" 5'7"- 5'8" 5'9" +
Stick Length 26" 28" 32" 34" 35" 36" 37" 38"

Toe Length

In addition, depending on your position or level of play the toe or head of the stick may vary. 

shorti toe (1768 bytes) Shorti

The "shorti toe" features a one-piece head to allow quick maneuverability around the ball.


midi toe (1793 bytes) Midi

The "midi toe" features an increased hook surface and slightly longer length to allow a larger hitting and stopping area to facilitate receiving, flicking and reverse stick play
hook toe (1801 bytes) Hook

A "hook toe" hooks up to provide the maximum surface for receiving and a larger sweet spot for hitting.


Your stick should be well balanced and feel comfortable when you hold it.  Depending on your preference, the weight may be evenly distributed throughout the length of the stick or concentrated in the stick's toe or head.  The weight in the toe should not be so heavy that it may hinder your stick speed during a game.

Light  18 to 19 ounces
Medium 19 to 22 ounces
Heavy 22 to FIH maximum 25.9 ounces

Generally, you will find that defenders prefer a heavier stick for powerful hits and to prevent attackers from easily moving the stick aside.  Forwards on the other hand usually select a lighter stick for quick movement and maneuvering. 

Flexibility and Stiffness

The novice player will normally use a flexible stick so that it absorbs shock.  Flexible sticks tend to be more durable than their stiffer counterparts.  A more advanced player may opt for a stiffer stick for increased power.

Manufacturers may add a variety of reinforcing materials to the stick to add strength and durability or promote either stiffness or flexability. Fully composite and fiberglass sticks are legal at the collegiate and high school level, and revised international definitions of the stick at the international level allow the stick to "be made of or contain wood or any material other than metal or metallic components, provided it is fit for the purpose of playing hockey and is no risk to health."

  • Fiberglass: A basic material reinforcing the handle. Fiberglass adds strength and durability. Fiberglass reinforcement also helps to prevent wear.

  • Carbon (or graphite): One of the most effective stiffening materials. The added stiffness in the handle allows for increased hitting power for experienced players. However, in cold temperatures, a stick with carbon tends to transmit the shock from the head, through the shaft up to hands. Players should consider playing conditions, such as temperature when selecting a stick.

  • KevlarŽ (or Aramide): Adds strength to the handle while dampening the vibration to the hands. The more Kevlar in the stick, the less shock is felt, yet the fibers still allow for flexability and a smooth "feel" of the ball when hitting and receiving.
    Kevlar is a manmade organic fiber produced by DuPont used in a wide variety of applications such as bullet-proof vests, tires, fibre optic cables and sporting goods.

  • DyneemaŽ: Added over the stiffening and strengthening materials at the base of the shaft for impact resistance.
    Dyneema is a polethylene fiber characterized by its high impact strength and high energy absorption qualities.