After making hockey sticks now for a couple years, we know that selecting the right hockey equipment for your child can be very confusing. Unless you're really in the equipment loop, figuring out what size stick your child needs seems pretty intimidating. How good of a stick do they need? What flex do they need? What length? Are they a youth or junior or intermediate?
How good of a stick they need is really up to you. We always suggest the best available, like ours, but that's just our preference. Our junior size Twigs are engineered specifically for max performance in kids around 100 pounds and under.
Here is a basic guide to selecting the right Twig for your player.
First things first, there are two things you need to remember when buying a stick:
- A hockey stick's flex increases by approximately 10 for every 2 inches you cut off the shaft
- Most hockey experts recommend using a stick with a flex less than half your body weight at all age & skill levels
Why is flex important?
Remember the pencil experiment in school?
Take a full pencil and snap it in half. It's pretty easy. Now, take a remaining piece and try and snap that in half. It takes much more force this time with a shorter pencil. The same physics apply to hockey sticks.
This is why top scoring NHL players keep their flex less than 1/2 their body weight as well. Ovechkin reportedly uses an 80 flex and Stamkos a 95.
So, how could your 60 pound child learn to shoot correctly with a 50 flex junior stick that's designed for 100+ pound players? It's like shooting with a steel rod. Cut a couple inches off the shaft and they're now using closer to a 60 flex. A youth size stick isn't really a good option either as most lack a shaft diameter large enough to get basic physics to work in your child's favor.
How to fit your child
To best fit to your child, there are two steps.
1. Start first with flex. Divide their weight by 2 and select the closest flex without going over.
Example: Target flex for a 54 pound player would be the closet to 27 without going over (The 20 Flex.)
2. Ensure the stick height on the chosen flex stick is adequate. Without skates on, experts recommend a stick that touches underneath the nose but no lower than bottom of the chin when stood upright, shaft perpendicular to the ground (See fitting guides below.) If it's too short, go to the next flex/length up. If too long, consider the next size down or cutting down the shaft (the latter will increase the flex though.)
And to make it even easier, here is a fitting grid with recommended target flex listed:
My child has never played before. What hand (curve direction) should they use?
If your child has never played before, or you're trying to figure out what hand stick they should use to best assist them, there's a pretty easy test to conduct. The thing to remember is that it's often recommended to have them put their dominant hand on top (the end) of the stick. So, grab a stick or something else with a long handle like a broom or similar. Lay it on the floor centered in front of them, perpendicular to their body, and have them pick it up to use it. Most kids will pick it up with their dominant hand at or near the end of the item and put the less dominant hand part way down the shaft. Then, it's easy; Right-hand on end = left-hand curve, left-hand on end = right-hand curve.
Of course, this is just a recommendation. There are many examples of professional players who hold their stick opposite the advice listed above.
Hopefully this answers most of your stick fitting questions and makes selecting the right Twig for your child much less painful. Happy hockeying!