Maxi heads and midi heads have both been around for longer than 20 years. Each is a good head to shoot, pass and play the game well.
So, which is better for playing hockey – maxi or midi ? Many experts believe midi heads are better for forwards and maxi heads are more suited for defenders. However, many forwards like maxi heads for their larger sweet spots for receiving, power shots and reverse stick play. A midi head offers more speed and nimbleness while dribbling.
As technology advanced in the late 80’s field hockey head shapes began to differ to bring different assets to different parts of the game which in turn suit different positions of the game. Concave faces of varying depths, groves and varying sizes have all made an appearance.
However, there are generally just 3 main hockey stick head shapes used today and that said usually no more than 2 (notwithstanding goalkeeper sticks).
Each hockey stick manufacturer has designed their own variation on the themes taking advantage of new high tech construction methods and materials. Like in sports such as formula 1 racing, each year brings new leaps in performance and design.
The new shapes are designed to suit certain hockey player styles and the roles they take in their playing positions. A slightly curved head allows for a better take of the ball while an indent in the space between the shaft and the head of the hockey stick is aimed at assisting drag flicking or shooting aerial passes up field.
The maxi head arrived in the 90 s when composite sticks emerged. The maxi design provided welcome added control on the reverse playing side for backhand control.
Moreover, the increased surface size produced a greater sweet spot for power when shooting.
The maxi head is probably used in over 90% of sticks today. As the Maxi head is so dominant, manufacturers have turned to developing additional features to aid players such as larger reverse areas, concave head profiles for drag flicking and further bow development. Developers have created an indented or concave head running from the toe to the top of the head which is normally available with a low bow profile stick. This development is aimed at players who like to drag flick as the ball can flow through the channel for greater accuracy and speed.
An unintended design benefit of the Maxi provided a number of other benefits. Because the head shape of the Maxi has the largest allowed surface area the ‘sweet spot’ is enlarged making successful harder shots and passes more successful.
Here are a few modifications by popular manufacturers:
(TK CWT 2 / Kookaburra Skill Zone technologies use the benefits of the concave design but on a reduced amount of the stick so the normal player can have greater ball control and a more consistent rebound/stopping ability while playing.
Grays Scoop Profile uses a 4 mm indentation around the head for greater control on the ball however it leaves a flat central playing surface. On the downside when hitting from an upright position it’s easy to loose control, unless you have s high skill level.
Hook head – here I’m diverting attention from the main two but it’s worth a quick mention – the third option and rarer beast! The hook head is often used in forward positions, as forwards like to play more upright especially when receiving the ball on the run and shooting. Forwards dribble at speed and with this rare hook, there is less chance of loosing control of the ball.
The large surface area will give more chance of making the strike.
Midi head: this small head saw to the demise of the ultra short head in 1986. What the midi gives up in control it gains in agility.
Midi heads are preferred by players who like a really quick stick, since it is shorter than the hook head and Maxi head when dribbling it’s easier and quicker to flip the head from forehand to back hand and vice versa. This shape is best suited to forwards who have a high skill level.
Which stick is best is a point of contention, though each has benefits for different reasons. If you are of a very high skill level you may love the midi for it’s nimbleness, though the maxi is no dead weight and with the best hockey stick manufacturers pouring so much attention of modifying the maxi year after year they’re betting heavily on it’s popularity and are confident in it’s design as a top head for field hockey sticks. If not the best design for field hockey sticks.
Play safe: Eddie G. You hockey enthusiast