How to buy a field hockey stick

More often than not here at Catalyst Hockey we get asked the common question how do you buy a field hockey stick? In this blog we will try to outline some of the key things to consider when buying a field hockey stick from Catalyst Hockey or any of the other retailers you may use to make your purchase.

What size field hockey stick is correct for me?

This is another common question and there isn't a set in stone answer, some people prefer a slightly larger hockey stick and others prefer shorter. This is something that most players will learn over time with experimentation and trying different sticks in different situations. However if you are looking for a rough guide or are buying your first field hockey stick, hopefully the below table will help.

Stick Size Player Height (inches) Player Height (centimetres)
36.5 5'3"-5'10" 161-178cm
37.5 5'10"-6'3" 178-190cm
38.5 6'3"+ 190cm+

What elements make-up a hockey stick?

There are many other elements that make up your composite hockey stick and again these can differ by which brand you are choosing to use. The majority of sticks feature carbon fibre, Kevlar also known as aramid and fibreglass.

The table below shows the different elements in their more recognised form before they are woven together to create the base of your field hockey stick.

 Carbon Fibre Aramid Fibreglass

What Carbon content is the correct amount in a field hockey stick?

Similar to the size question the carbon content of a field hockey stick is down to a players preferred choice. Different companies provide different levels of carbon and in recent years this has become the identifying standard of what makes a good hockey stick. Unfortunately carbon content itself does not directly impact how good a stick is. Many companies are claiming to make a 100% carbon stick, this is actually not possible as between 30% & 40% of a hockey sticks weight is from the resin within it...your hands would also not likely forgive you using a 100% carbon stick. The quality of carbon can drastically impact a stick, here at Catalyst Hockey we import our carbon into our manufacturing teams, however some companies may use cheaper or lower quality carbon meaning two sticks with the same carbon content are very different. You'll notice some of the larger companies don't specify their carbon content again further displaying how the percentage of carbon does not necessarily differentiate the quality of the stick. We here at Catalyst Hockey do display our carbon content due to the question often being asked by customers.

The table below shows in very basic terms the differences between higher carbon and low carbon sticks, this measurement is based on power and control or touch;

Carbon Content Power Control
95% Carbon Very High Medium
75% Carbon High High
50% Carbon Medium Very High

What is Kevlar or Aramid in a hockey stick? 

Kevlar which is the trademarked name for aramid is an exceptionally strong material. More commonly used in bulletproof vests, this element is use to counter balance the brittle nature of carbon. When correctly added in the manufacture process at the resin impregnation stage it can great increase the durability and usability of a field hockey stick.

What is Fibreglass in a hockey stick?

´╗┐Fibreglass often forms the micro-skeleton for your hockey stick, again this is something we do here at Catalyst Hockey. Fibreglass is strong, absorbs some energy and is less brittle than carbon so provides the perfect base for which the carbon, Kevlar and other elements can be┬ámoulded to create your stick. Some junior sticks are made almost entirely of Fibreglass this is because at a junior age the fibreglass is strong enough on it's own to absorb the energy transfer. It is also more economical meaning that junior sticks can be produced at a more understandable price point.

What other elements are added into a field hockey stick?

´╗┐There are a number of different technologies available on todays market, these vary from handles with dampening vibration technology, to remove the vibrations from hitting. To gritted stick heads to reduce the spin when controlling the ball. Here at Catalyst Hockey we add Tungsten Carbide into our composite mix to reduce the wear of the hockey stick. Tungsten Carbide is a very resistant material and approximately twice as strong as steel, we weave this through our Kevlar sheeting to further increase it's abrasive resistant properties.

What is the bow or bend of a field hockey stick?

´╗┐There are many different bows and bends to a field hockey stick. Some brands use similar or the same moulds and others will invest in their own tooling and design their own bespoke mould. Often smaller companies will mimic similar moulds as this is the cheaper approach, larger companies tend to want unique moulds as a USP for them.

Catalyst Hockey Bow Comparison

The above is an example of the 5 different bows currently offered by Catalyst Hockey, at the time of editing the blog post. The lower the bend point the closer to the head of the stick the bow starts. More often than not the lower the bend point the more extreme bow the stick will have. FIH ruling states the point of the maximum bow must not be closer to the head of the stick than 200mm. 
The other factor to consider is the level of the bow, the FIH maximum allowed bow is 25mm. This was put in place to protect players in penalty corners as the speeds generated from the older larger bows was becoming increasingly dangerous. So the bend point and the bow both create the finalised version of what is commonly called the stick curve or bow. There are many combinations and some bows will be closer to the head but not as extreme as a 25mm bow to create a bow commonly called the ProBow. Ultimately finding a bow is about trying different models more commonly called the Low Bow or Mid Bow. Here at Catalyst Hockey the LX1, LX1 and the Unity One would be considered low bow models. The MX1 & Unity Two would be considered a mid bow model, however the Unity Two has a more extreme bend than the MX1 bridging the gap between the two sticks.