While it’s true that to play great hockey you require superior skills and experience. But equally important is to choose the best gear, especially the right hockey stick for both your position and skill set. Selecting the bow of a field hockey stick can be challenging for many people, as there are multiple factors to consider to find the perfect fit. Factors like
- peak position of the bow
- your playing position
These will all impact the benefits you’ll gain from the stick. So ignoring these considerations would be a mistake.
Low Bow, Pro Bow, Mid Bow?
It can all sound confusing, though to summarize, a low bow will be better for aerial strokes. Whereas the mid bow is shaped more like a cricket bat, so it will pass a lower ball and be more predictable when tackling.
Since there are many sticks on the market, you have to consider the style you choose. Low bow and mid bow hockey sticks, for instance, have many differences that set them apart. These factors determine the functionality of each. In order to figure out which one is better for you, let’s go through the pros and cons of each. As they say, a picture tells a thousand words, here is a great diagram to start with, demonstrating the different hockey stick bows.
Low bow Hockey Sticks
Why buy a Low Bow Stick?
The low bow hockey sticks are mostly used by experienced players. They’re recommended for those who have gained some notable experience in the sport.
Drag flick and push passes: Appearing in the early nineties, this revolutionary skill allows players to literally collect the ball on the ‘D’ drag and flick it at great speed when taking a penalty. A low bow stick allows players to drag and flick more easily towards the top corners, as the lower peak of the bow allows more of a scoop hit, which in turn increases the accuracy of each aerial hit. As such, using this bow will lead to more precision when shooting the ball towards the upper areas of the net. You will be able to hit the top corners of the goal with practice or reach the targeted player that you intended to pass to.
Aerial passes and 3D skills: Low bow sticks promote skills such as aerial passing, dribbling (while lifting the ball slightly above the field), and chipping it over opposing hooks as part of the latest 3D skills. Low bows are far better for sending aerial passes. This makes the low bow great for different positions, particularly the midfield or forward positions that require more dribbling and 3D skills.
With low bows, players can chip and shoot the ball effectively with good wrist control using clever techniques when necessary.
Modern Design of the low bow
The design of the low bow is seen to be more trendy and modern than the mid bow stick. Low bows are attracting a new generation who want to practice 3D skills. This makes it preferable for many young players who not only go for the attacking powers of the stick, but also for more agility. A bow in the stick helps to create more ‘slingshot’ type power from push passes, and also helps to bring the ball under control when it’s trapped.
As the name suggests, this bow is made with a lower peak of the bow that measures 24 mm at the 250 mm section from the base of the stick.
Disadvantages of the low bow
While the low bow is a great option, it’s not for everyone. A great player, skilled on a mid or higher bow may not seem so great if changing to a low bow. It is quite different and takes some time to get used to. These sticks can be harder to control, something that can prove challenging to those who are not experienced.
Mid bow Hockey Sticks
Mid bow Benefits
The mid bow has a medium curve and isn’t as powerful at drag flicks as the low bow. They tend to be more popular with players who want a stick which benefits every area of the game equally, while a more dramatic bow creates a more dramatic head angle, to assist in dynamic play and lifts. Therefore, the mid bow is more dependable across the board. Mid bows have their peak height much higher up the hockey stick, and as such, are easier to trap the ball with. They feel like a flatter stick. Most goalkeepers tend to opt for mid-bows because they’re arguably easier to use and tend to be easier to control the ball with. The mid bow is becoming less common, as the low bow is attracting more players who want to perform 3D skills and aerials.
Size of the mid bow: the mid bow field hockey stick measures between 22 mm and 24 mm at the 300 mm section from the base of the stick.
The mid bow sticks can be more suited for those who don’t have expertise in playing hockey, especially the beginners. However, that said, they are still the number one choice for some experienced players as they can be relied on to make a flatter pass. Their reliability and tackling strength are important factors for some players, as it allows them to be confident in the basics of the game.
Although these sticks are no longer deemed “fashionable” by some people, their popularity hasn’t been affected by loyalists. They remain some of the most liked field hockey sticks with traditionalists, defenders, and goalies.
A disadvantage of the mid bow
The mid bow, on the other hand, is not so good at aerial passing and shots. Players have a tendency to scuff the hook and fail to lift the ball. However, they have other strengths to consider.
Other Hockey Stick Bow Options
What's between a low and a mid bow?
Can’t decide between a low bow or a mid bow stick? Well, there are options! Most manufacturers provide a variety of ‘in-between’ hockey stick bows to choose from.
With the Grays brand, sitting in between a low and mid option is the Probow and Dynabow. These are both great options, offering a compromise from the extreme of a low bow yet still good as an all-rounder.
The bow options for Grays Hockey Sticks, from lowest to the highest bows are:
- Probow Extreme
The Probow shape is flatter allowing forwards to play more upright which is of importance in tight spaces.
Adidas categorize their sticks with different terms. As seen in their picture, the bows range from DF (lowest) through to V (highest).
How about higher than a mid bow?
Once you go higher than a mid bow, the stick becomes quite flat. Great for learning how to trap the ball and general skills.
Both the low bow and mid bow field hockey sticks are great at delivering performance in their own right. How you want to play will be a major determining factor when choosing between the two. As discussed above, each has great potential in different deliveries, such as receiving or dragging, flicking, and tackling. For instance, if you will be shooting on goal and want to be more creative, then the low bow could be a better option. However, if you want to play in defense and are learning the game, then you should consider getting to grips with the mid bow, for its advantages in the tackle. Some forwards like the flatter, more reliable mid bow style in tight spaces.
Please note there are no rules set in stone. The important factor is to choose which stick feels comfortable for you. Try a few out at your college or sports club before buying a stick online.