Information about the hockey stick shaft bow
Part of the hockey stick manufacturing process and design that seriously affects the way you play and the control the hockey stick has on the ball is the bow in the shaft. Before the advent of modern hockey stick materials most hockey sticks were straight pieces of wood with no bow, since then hockey stick brands have been able to advance this feature to provide different effects on hockey play.
There are a couple of key factors to the shaft bow that affect the way you might choose the best hockey stick for your style of play, the amount the shaft bends, and the position of the bend in the hockey stick shaft.
Both factors are designed to offer different types of control for trapping, dribbling and hitting the hockey ball and before you buy a hockey stick you should take sometime to understand which type of shaft bow is going to suit your style of play and the best hockey stick for your playing position.
If you are looking to buy a hockey stick for the first time then I would always advise you try out a few sticks with differing bows so you can actually feel how the bend in the hockey stick shaft affects the way you address the ball.
If you are looking for a new stick and are trying to advance your hockey game in certain areas then make sure you understand what increasing or decreasing the bow in the shaft and its position on the hockey stick are designed to improve.
Our hockey stick review by shaft bow position page will give information about the amount of bend in each stick and where that bend is positioned in the shaft. The reviews of hockey sticks will also reiterate what this will achieve in the feel of the stick and the impact it might have on your game.
Important factors in the hockey stick shaft bow – degree of the bend
How much the shaft of a hockey stick bends is regulated by the international body for hockey, the FIH. After its initial recommendation of up to 50mm bend saw the pass of the ball increase dramatically and in fact become dangerous, the regulation was changed in January 2006 to enforce a maximum bend of 25mm.
Most hockey stick brand offer shaft bows between 15mm and 25mm with most of the variants being between 20mm and 25mm of bend in the hockey stick shaft.
Like the hockey stick length the biggest affect the shaft bow has is in the way you address the ball. With the hockey ball at your feet a stick with a greater bow will tip the head of the hockey stick backward, so it looks like you can scoop it up and obviously less so for a hockey stick with less shaft bow.
If you then imagine dribbling forwards you will need to keep the ball more towards your back foot to keep the head of the hockey stick parallel (or in fact slightly over the top) with the side of the hockey ball you are controlling. And more so with the more bend the hockey shaft has.
For younger and experienced players this is standard, for returning players or those that have managed to keep hold of a much straighter stick for a while this initially can feel quite alien but is easily adjusted to with practice.
Despite this change in position of the ball to your feet, the bend in the stick is designed to improve a couple of key factors:
Power in shots and passes: If you imagine that the ball is behind you but the hockey stick is addressing the ball flat you can see that your hands are already further forward and as you push the ball forward for a push pass or shot the effect will be more like a slingshot. Because the ball will stay connected with the bat longer more power is transferred and when the ball does leave the hockey stick it will do so at more pace that if you started in front if you.
Receiving the ball: When a stick receives a hockey ball at pace then forward motion and spin will naturally try to take it up and over the obstacle, your hockey stick, and in turn will be harder to control. With a bow in the hockey stick the head and initial part of the shaft, from the head toward the handle, will be more naturally straight or in fact bent towards the inbound direction of the ball forcing the energy of the ball back in to the pitch. This allows you to bring the ball under control more easily, especially in an upright position.
In both cases the amount of extra bend in the hockey stick shaft will have an increased impact on the extremity to which the ball is affected by the hockey stick.
The difference in position of the bow in the hockey stick shaft
In addition to deciding how much of a bow the shaft should have before you buy a new hockey stick you must consider how high or low on the shaft this bow should be.
Most hockey stick brands offer three main positions of the bow in the shaft of the hockey stick. These positions are either:
Low bow: The bow in the shaft of the hockey stick is closer to the ground, nearer the hock stick head
Medium bow: The hockey stick shaft bow is almost equidistant between the bottom of the handle section and the head of the stick
High bow: The bend in the shaft will be close to the bottom of the handle of the hockey stick
The position of the bow has a big effect on the feeling of controlling the hockey ball. The lower the bow the greater adjustment to your play you will need if you are used to playing with straighter bats. That said the lower the bow the greater the affects of having a bend in the stick will be, namely receiving the ball and the reduced jump up the stick and the slingshot effect when passing.
A very generalised opinion would be that the more intermediary club player would buy hockey stick with less bow higher up the shaft as it is easier, well more familiar, position and a player looking to advance skills, or maybe one whom already possesses these skills, would look to buy a new hockey stick with a greater bow lower in the hockey stick shaft.
This is a really fun and functional part of the hockey stick, the degree and position of the bow can have a fantastic impact on your game, so be sure to read of hockey stick review carefully before you buy the best hockey stick for you.
Don’t forget to read other information before you buy hockey sticks to progress your game further, other factors may change your opinion on what is the best hockey stick for you.