Your little one decides they want to play hockey. Excellent, but what size hockey stick do I buy for my child? This is a common question that parents face. As they grow, their sticks will need to grow with them. I’ll go into depth on how to size up a hockey stick for kids below. However, this is the simplest way.
- Position the hockey stick at the child’s side, with the stick on the floor
- The end of the hockey stick should reach between the child’s hip and belly button
Resist the temptation to buy a long stick that the child will grow into. A smaller stick will allow the child to improve their closer ball control and dribbling, which is a vital skill for hockey players of any position.
There are a variety of different techniques to size up a hockey stick for kids. Let’s go through some of the popular methods.
The Dutch method of sizing up a Hockey Stick for a child
For the Dutch method,
- flip your stick over and place the curved part under your armpit
- Stand as erect as you can
- The base of the stick should pass the knee, and settle next to the top half of the calf. However, not below the calf.
Experts suggest the Dutch method suits children who have longer torsos, as opposed to long legs. Ultimately, the best way to ensure the stick suits the child is to try it out.
European and US method of sizing up a Hockey Stick for a child
- Place the wooden curve on the ground
- Make sure the stick is straight
- Hold the stick at the top of the handle keeping it in place
- Stand as straight as a soldier
- The top of the stick should stretch above the hip bone. It may be slightly higher, or lower.
Many experts suggest a little higher is better, as it offers the child a little more growth without losing close ball control. You can ask another person to help, or use a mirror to see if the stick is close enough to the top of the hip.
Is the weight of a Hockey Stick important when sizing up a stick for a child?
New composite sticks have become the way forward, not just in adult hockey, but junior hockey too. Composite sticks are more powerful helping the player to hit a harder stroke. In the past, defenders would typically opt for heavier wooden sticks, while forwards would choose a lighter stick. With modern composite sticks, this no longer matters so much. However, individual preference is the most important factor when choosing a stick. Hockey stick manufacturers claim the modern composition complements a player’s control, and have taken away the stress of measuring the weight of a stick.
Field hockey sticks vary in weight from 535 grams to 560 grams. The appropriate weight of the stick typically depends on personal preference, however, there are advantages to both a lighter stick and a heavier stick.
Light Weight (535g-545g) (18.8-19.2 ounces)
A light stick allows for quick wrist movement, making it faster to dribble left and right. Along with having a quicker backswing and skills. It also helps with a better take of the ball.
Heavy Weight (550g-560g) (19.4-19.75 ounces)
A heavier stick can help provide a heavier hit of the ball, and with durability issues.
How important is comfort when sizing up a field hockey stick for a child?
Comfort is of great importance when sizing up a stick for a child. Not only is it important for the health of a child, but you also don’t want the child being put off the game with their first experience being uncomfortable. Hockey stick manufacturers have added features such as energy reduction handles to soften the feel. The newest sticks offer thin mid-sections, designed for small hands to enable good stickhandling.
Resist buying a hockey stick that is too long for your child
It may seem desirable to buy a long hockey stick for a child, so that they may grow into it. While you may save money, from a technical point of view, a long stick can cause undercutting leading to the constant rising of the ball. Close control is often lost with a stick that’s too long. From a health perspective, pain in the wrists can occur from the rounded edge often scuffing the ground. While sticks often become cracked from hitting the ground regularly. Cracks caused by this type of damage aren’t protected by a warranty.
Field Hockey Stick Height Guide
Does my child need an expensive top-of-the-range hockey stick?
In one word – no. Experts say when a child is starting out in the sport, there is no reason to worry about all of the dazzling arrays of features manufacturers have on offer today. It’s easy to become startled by terms like mid bows, tomahawk zones, low bows, and 50-degree hooks?!? What happens if the child simply stores the stick in the cupboard after a few outings and never touches it again? Pessimistic view aside, most children won’t have the skills to master the top sticks, and the top sticks won’t help them achieve the basic skills. These days, even the cheapest wooden sticks are reinforced with fibreglass. The better, more expensive sticks are more suited for advanced juniors and up.
Cheaper wooden sticks reinforced with fibreglass are not only affordable, but technically make it easier to stop the ball. Their curved end helps to control the ball for play all over the field. For this reason, entry-level sticks are much more forgiving for children and developing players.
Is the size of the toe important when sizing up a field hockey stick for a child?
The toes of hockey sticks (the curved tips) come in a few varieties. As your child becomes more competent in the sport, it would be worth learning about the varied toes before buying a stick.
- Shorti Toe –often chosen by forwards so they can flip the stick round at high speed. With most juniors, the most important choice would be the broader style toe where they can get used to collecting and hitting the ball.
- Midi Toe – is seen as a good mid-range toe. Midfielders favor this stick because it offers a balance between faster movements, and a wide control surface, making stopping and catching the ball on the stick easier to perform. Ideal for most beginners, the midi is not too small yet broad enough to allow the novice to be competitive.
- Maxi Toe – has a longer J-shaped hook. Being the most common style of toe, they are well suited for defenders. An excellent choice for good reverse stick control. The maxi is well designed for stopping a ball on its way to goal or for stealing the ball from an opposing attacker and is ideal for a child to begin with.
- Hook Toe – features the tightest curve design of all the toes. Goalies and some defensive players favour the hook due to the very large toe. Is great for trapping the ball, plus reverse stick play.
When trying to size up a field hockey stick for a child, without a doubt, the most important factor is stick length. Follow our guide and you won’t go wrong.
If it’s possible, before ordering your stick online, try a few sticks at your school or local club so you can be certain which size suits your child best.
For some great options to choose from, have a read of What are the Best Field Hockey sticks for Young Players?