Before diving headfirst into brands and models of hockey sticks, it’s imperative to decide what will be the correct size of stick to buy. Consider what will be the correct length to execute both basic and advanced skills required by an advanced field hockey defender, and importantly, to avoid putting your back out.
After Sherlocking information from many brands, stores and experts, I compiled this, along with my own experiences to come up with the 4 best field hockey sticks for defenders.
Refer to the chart below to determine the correct height to stick length, which will then help you choose the best stick for your height.
Problems if your stick is too long
The length of your stick can be the deciding factor in completing many aspects of the game successfully, including
- accurate passes
- successful tackles
- avoiding scuffing the hook, which can cause long term damage to your stick.
- preventing chopping or undercutting your shots
Don't use a stick that's too short either!
From a health perspective, if your stick is too short, you may end up bending down too much which can cause serious long term back problems.
The risk of chronic back problems means the player should look at the size of their stick very seriously.
Bow Jargon Buster
Put simply, the bow of a field hockey stick is the bend or curve of a stick from the head to the toe (one end to the other). Bows are important when deciding to buy a stick, especially for defenders. Most defenders prefer a mid bow, with a gentle curve and a flat face. That offers the best control, predictability and power over the forward’s 3D skills and drag flicking. This is explained further below…
- Probow-Xtreme – Composite Hockey Sticks – Probow Xtreme is a low bow (Grays has added a contoured face combined with a reshaped LBZ for backhand hits).
- Probow – Composite Hockey Sticks – the Probow shape is a modern low bow designed for drag flicking and 3D skills. The straighter rear profile allows more consistency on reverse stick passes and shots.
- Jumbow – is a traditional low bow that is used by many top international players. A Jumbow is a flat-faced low bow stick.
- Dynabow – the Dynabow shaft profile is designed for the all-round hockey player and is excellent for stick handling, passing consistency, and also for more upright play. It is between a mid bow and a low bow. Good for drag flicks, but more of an all-round shape.
- Mid bow – is a medium curved bow that is a good all-round shape. It helps to provide some lift while being good for upright play.
*In my opinion best for defenders*
- Ultrabow – the high bow curve is good for defenders. Beginners Ultrabow is a straighter shape and is designed specifically to help with learning to play.
Are you the type of defender who likes to have the assurance of a gentler bowed stick that’s easier to control? Imagine you had a sturdy cricket bat in your hands. If a high-speed ball was coming toward you and you had to clear it quickly. You are likely to be happier with the reassurance of a flatter shape in your grasp than a lower curved shape. That’s exactly what a mid-bow stick offers over a low bow.
Or are you the type of elite defender where flicking balls off the ground and dribbling is as important as your defence skills? Perhaps you feel comfortable tackling with a lower bow and like to take the ball out of defence to aid attackers. Personally, I would recommend the mid bow, as the more pricey ones are designed to allow you to be skilful yet solid in defence.
Here are my top 4 sticks in reverse order for the more advanced defender available worldwide…
This stick is the only low bow that gets into our top 4 sticks for advanced defenders.
In fact, it’s an extreme low bow. It’s heavy, powerful and flat which makes it great for back hitting. For control, the stick is wonderful to use and will allow you to hit scoops and flicks with accuracy.
At 560 grams, it’s nicely weighted for defenders who like a heavier stick. The textured playing surface similar to STX’s version has a more secure contact area which adds control. 98% Carbon content for power, durability, and stiffness. Finally, and most importantly, it’s both better looking and cheaper than its rivals!
The LX features “Hypetex Kromaskin which is a world-first 360-degree colourization treatment of carbon fibre, which is fused into the surface.”
Fancy speak aside, the stick does look sensational.
The “micron-thick alloy” treatment reduces fibre damage and abrasions pre and post-production to maintain structural performance which means more durability.
Is this the most durable expert hockey stick on the market? Time will tell, and I hope you let me know. Though there is Grays graphene to contend with, however.
Adidas are waxing lyrical about its durability, which must be a plus when you’re thinking of buying. At 250 mm, it’s bow sits somewhere between a mid bow and a low bow. Weighing in at 516 grams, it’s lighter than the Kookaburra, although that’s not really an advantage for a defender.
Adidas says its pre-moulded epoxy head creates more consistency and response when passing and receiving. Considering their experience with F1 racing, you’d trust their product.
The Adidas isn’t a stick you can be thrifty over. Well worth the money!
The standard bow shape (350 mm) will attract defenders, while the heavy toe with increased power means you’ll take no prisoners.
However, this stick isn’t for the faint of finger and slow of the wrist. You’ll want to have plenty of experience to master it. With its optimal balance point, it’s designed to provide power.
The increased playing surface area improves accuracy and control. STX says it’s 90% carbon composite, but doesn’t reveal much more than that. The encore vibration-reducing technology works well so you know you’re not using a wooden stick that shudders your bones.
The Dragon Chimera MB 90 is a superb stick for defenders. As a defender, you need a stick that is both solid in the tackles, and enables you to easily distribute the ball around the pitch – the Dragon MB 90 has it all. Its mid-bow profile means the bow is less pronounced, making it easier for passing. Coming in at around 530g and 90% carbon, it’s strong enough for those crunching tackles. While being light enough not to tire you out when you have to sprint the length of a pitch to catch a pesky forward.
All of Dragon’s sticks come with their AeroCarbonTech included as standard. This high-grade production process ensures an extreme level of power. Meaning if you do find yourself needing to make a big hit from the back or a rare chance of a shot at goal, it won’t let you down.
Dragon also has an 80% carbon version of the Chimera, so if you’re on a budget, or you just want a different colour (because colour always has a part to play in stick choice!), then these are two fantastic options.
Hockey sticks don’t come more durable than those made with a substance that’s 200 times stronger than steel, namely graphene. The Grays GR8000 is made with exactly that. Then there’s the addition of the hi-tech composite Aramid.
Aramid/Kevlar has superb impact absorption and durability so it is useful for using on high impact points such as stick edges and faces. A Low Backhand Zone provides greater consistency when reverse hitting.
Apart from durability, the mid bow, with a 24.75 mm shaft peak, and curve around the head of 300 mm offers a gentle bow that will offer easier consistency in passes. Along with when hitting and controlling the ball.
Its fiery orange finish says passion and power. With the thicker reverse edge for backhand control, the GR8000 will allow you to reach the peak of your powers. Forwards will know they’re in for a tough game when they see the live wire orange livery of an opposing defender’s GR8000. In short, it’s my number one choice for advanced defenders looking for a hockey stick.