Field Hockey Sticks
How to Choose a Field Hockey Stick
Picking the right stick can be overwhelming. You are either brand new to the sport and have no idea where to start, or you are buying a new stick and aren’t very familiar with all your options. Don’t worry! Here at fieldhockeyunlimited.com we have put together all the information you need to make the best choice when buying field hockey sticks.
Should I buy wood or composite? How much bow should my stick have? How big or small should the toe of the stick be? The variables are numerous, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Let’s break down step by step to help make your decision easier on how to choose a field hockey stick.
Field Hockey Stick Size
The first decision any player should make when buying a field hockey stick is stick size. Refer to the sizing chart below as a guide, but you do not need to make your decision strictly on your height. Continue reading for more considerations about field hockey stick size.
Beginner Field Hockey Sticks
Field Hockey Goalie Equipment
Field Hockey Bags
Field Hockey Goggles
Field Hockey Stick Size Chart (Table)
4′ & Under
3’10” – 4’4″
|4’6″ – 5’2″
|5’2″ – 6’2″
6′ – 6′ 4″
|6′ 2″ & Over
Field Hockey Stick Size Chart (Graph)
Field Hockey Stick Size (Continued)
You’ll notice the ranges overlap. This is because you should also consider your strength and playing style. Stronger athletes can control a longer stick at a younger age and should take advantage of the reach gain, but don’t get carried away. If your stick is too long, the end of the stick will hit your stomach and create bad habits.
The most common stick size is 36 or 36.5”. We recommend this size for most adults, and any player who believes they are tall enough and strong enough for this size. The reason for this is consistency. The longer you can use the same size field hockey stick the more likely you are to develop consistently good skill.
Once you are ready for a stick this size, don’t change unless you feel the need. We don’t recommend buying a field hockey stick longer than 36” or 36.5” because longer sticks are more difficult to control. Only as you grow taller than 6 feet will you need to consider moving up in size to reduce the need to bend too much at the waist. Playing more upright will increase your field vision.
Although field hockey stick size charts will increase stick length inch by inch, you do not need to buy a new stick every time you grow an inch or two. If you buy a new field hockey stick too often there will be no consistency for the player which will hinder development; it would also be rather costly over time. Secondly, sticks aren’t typically sold in odd lengths. They’re more uncommon which will limit your buying options.
Stick size is the most important consideration when buying a field hockey stick, but it is certainly not the only one. Before you rush out and buy a new stick, let’s decide what material is best for you.
Don’t buy an indoor field hockey stick by mistake. These sticks are much lighter and aren’t designed for outdoor field hockey or for hitting.
Field Hockey Stick Material
Wood Field Hockey Sticks vs Composite Field Hockey Sticks
Once you have chosen your field hockey stick size you will need to decide what type of stick to buy, wood or composite.
Wood field hockey sticks are typically best for youth players because it is a softer material than composites. This increases control and will be better for trapping and dribbling to help develop basic skills and grow confidence. Once you develop a decent hit, it is usually time to move on to a composite stick.
Composite field hockey sticks are a little more stiff and better for hitting. Pay attention to the carbon content. Carbon is what makes a composite field hockey stick stiff. As your skill progresses so should the carbon content of your stick, but don’t get carried away. More isn’t always better because as carbon content increases, ball handling gets more difficult. The best players in the world often avoid the highest carbon sticks for this reason, and so should you.
At the end of the day every player will have their own preference between wood or composite field hockey sticks. Don’t over think this one because there is no wrong choice.
If you are new to field hockey you should now be ready to buy your first field hockey stick. Find a stick in your price range and of course get your favorite color. If you are an experienced player keep reading because there is more for you to consider.
Field Hockey Stick Weight
As players develop their own style and play a certain position on the field, the weight of the stick becomes increasingly important. There are three key factors when choosing the right weight stick: position, style, and strength. Your final decision is going to come down to your individual preference, but consider these three things to increase your chance of success on the field.
Every position demands a somewhat different set of skills which may influence your choice of stick weight. Forwards and attackers rely on ball control and quickness to beat defenders and take a quick and accurate shot towards goal. For these reasons forwards usually prefer a lighter stick. Defenders rely on strong tackles and powerful clearances to outplay their opponents; as a result they often prefer a slightly heavier stick. Midfielders can make their choice of stick weight based more on their individual playing styles because their roles can vary depending on their place within the game.
Not all defenders rely on a strong block tackle and some forwards want more power behind their shot, so you can’t decide the weight of your stick strictly on your position. Know yourself and know your own playing style to guide your decisions when buying a field hockey stick.
The stronger you are the easier it will be to control a heavier stick. If you buy a stick that is too heavy it will surely have a negative impact on your game. When in doubt buy a lighter stick to avoid being slowed down by a stick that is too heavy.
Your decision on weight should be guided by these three key factors, but ultimately your decision will be made by individual feel and your ability to control your stick. For the majority of players you will do yourself a favor by going with a lighter stick.
Field Hockey Stick Weight Chart
Now that you should have a good idea if you want a light or heavy stick, you will need to know the typical weight range of field hockey sticks.
Before composite sticks became commonplace in field hockey, the size of the stick dictated how heavy the stick was. Now that manufacturers can make variations to the material makeup of their field hockey sticks, you see them being designed to suit the needs of each player.
Field hockey sticks come in a variety of weight classes depending on the brand. Although the typical field hockey stick weight ratings are not universal, there is a widely accepted weight scale. Refer below to our field hockey stick weight chart to see how most brands display their stick weight.
Field Hockey Stick Weight Chart Explained
This field hockey stick weight chart isn’t perfect as some brands do their own thing, but in general most companies stay within these ranges. Here is a breakdown of what this field hockey stick chart means to you.
Indoor (I) 17-18oz. 480-510 grams
Indoor field hockey sticks are designed for maximum control and aren’t made to hit because hitting isn’t allowed in this version of the sport. If you don’t play indoor field hockey, don’t make the mistake of buying an indoor field hockey stick.
Junior (J) 18-20oz. 510-570 grams
Junior field hockey sticks typically stay on the lighter end of our range because stick control is most important for younger players as they develop their skills. If you are buying a stick for a junior level player you don’t need to worry about weight. Manufacturers know to keep youth sticks light and the only variation in weight is related to the size of the stick.
Ultra Light (UL) / Super Light (SL) / Extra Light (EL) 18-19oz. 510-540 grams
Different manufacturers call this category by different names, but they all mean the same thing. These sticks are the lightest available for maximum control and quick hits.
Light (L) 19-20oz. 540-570 grams
Light weight Field Hockey Sticks are a good balance of control and power, but are still preferred mostly by attackers and forwards. This is my favorite weight of stick for the majority of players whatever your position may be.
Field Hockey Stick Weight Conclusion
At this point you should know the length and weight of your stick, as well as what material is best for you. Now let’s take a closer look at the shape of your stick, starting with the bow.
Field Hockey Stick Weight Chart
|17-18oz. 480-510 grams
|18-20oz. 510-570 grams
Ultra Light (UL)
Super Light (SL)
Extra Light (EL)
|18-19oz. 510-540 grams
19-20oz. 540-570 grams
20-22oz. 565-615 grams
|Heavy (H or T)
22+ oz. 620+ grams
Medium (M) 20-22oz. 565-615 grams
Medium weight field hockey sticks are the most popular weight sold. They are perfectly acceptable for all players in every position.
Heavy (H or T) 22+ oz. 620+ grams
Heavy weight field hockey sticks are designed for making strong tackles and powerful hits. They should be reserved only for defenders. In general, I would stay away from heavy weight sticks because quickness is still important while defending. If you like a heavier stick, medium weight is most likely the right stick for you.
Field Hockey Stick Bow
The bow or bend of your field hockey stick is the amount of curve on the playing surface of your stick from the top of the handle to the bottom of your stick. The bow of a field hockey stick is measured by placing it face down on a flat surface and measuring the maximum distance between the stick and the flat surface.
Every field hockey stick made today has at least some curve. In fact, it is unusual for a field hockey stick to have less than 15mm of bow, with the vast majority of sticks having between 20-25mm. Youth field hockey sticks are typically on the lower in between 15-20mm of bow. Because most sticks have around the same amount of bow, what matters most is where the bow is on the stick.
Why should you care about the bow of your field hockey stick? Because the bow can affect almost every aspect of your game. Field hockey sticks are actually limited to no more than 25mm of bow because the affects are so great. Let’s take a look at how bow affects you.
The bow of the stick allows for field hockey players to create additional speed when flicking the ball. As the ball travels along the stick, it accelerates due to a slingshot like effect, causing the ball to travel faster than the head of the stick. The effects of this phenomenon are greater when the bow is lower on the stick because there is more angle created. Players use this technique to pass along the ground, as a shooting technique known as drag flicking, and also to scoop the ball into the air over the heads of opponents. The additional speed created by the bow during drag flicks and the danger that came from that speed, was the reason the rules of field hockey were amended to limit the maximum bow to 25mm.
The bow helps control the ball from jumping up the stick when receiving a pass. The same curve that helps create speed when flicking helps control the ball for trapping. All sticks have bow, so although bow effects trapping, there is no reason for this to factor into what stick you buy.
Passing and Hitting
Any field hockey stick with bow will cause the ball to lift more when passing and hitting than one without any bow. This is due to the increased angle made by the bow when the stick contacts the ball. This angle is increased when the bow is lower on the stick. That is why low bow or late bow sticks should be reserved for more experienced players.
Now that you know how bow affects your play, let’s examine the types of bows found on modern field hockey sticks.
Standard Bow aka Regular Bow or Classic Bow
The majority of field hockey sticks feature a standard bow where the bend is consistent throughout, and the highest point of the bend falls in the middle section of the stick. This is best for most players as it is the easiest to control when hitting. All youth players should start with a standard bow. The majority of beginner field hockey sticks aren’t even available in anything other than a standard bow. As you develop better skill and want the ability to throw further on an aerial pass or get more speed on your drag flick, you should look into other options.
Control Bow aka Mega Bow or Medium Bow
A control bow offers greater speed on flicks, but cause the ball to lift easier when hitting. Beginner field hockey players don’t need this feature. When you transition from a standard bow to a control bow it will take some practice due to the ball wanting to raise when hitting. A control bow is the best option for players with some experience looking to take their game to the next level.
Low bow aka Late Bow or Extreme Late Bow
A Low bow is designed especially for drag flicking, but also improves distance on aerials and speed when flicking. The extreme angle that is created by placing the bow so low on the stick accelerates the ball at maximum speed. When first learning how to hit with a low bow you will surely lift the ball dangerously. Don’t hit towards other players until you have complete confidence you have total control of your new stick.
Knowing about stick bow is more about knowing what not to buy rather than what to buy. For beginner players and players with less skill, it is good to understand that field hockey sticks with more bow or a lower bow make it harder on your ball control. As your skill level gets higher, your bow can get lower and you can watch the ball fly off your stick.
Field Hockey Stick Head Shape
A field hockey stick’s head is specially designed to provide a balance between ball control, hitting, and receiving. Smaller heads provide maximum maneuverability, but reduce hitting surface, power, and reverse stick control. Larger stick heads provide a larger hitting area, more power and improved control on the reverse, while slightly reducing the stick’s overall maneuverability. The vast majority of players use a larger stick head because the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
Field hockey stick heads come in four shapes. Let’s take a look at which is best for you.
The Shorti stick head was the norm until the development of composite stick technology in the early 90s. It is the shortest of stick head designs and features a very limited surface area which negatively effects reverse ball control and creates a small hitting sweet spot. Its smaller design allows players to more quickly turn their stick over improving dribbling speed. When wood field hockey sticks dominated the market, the wood construction limited manufacturers’ ability to make anything other than the Shorti head design. As composite field hockey sticks gained in popularity, the demand for a larger head style increased as well. Due to the drawbacks of the Shorti head design it is rarely used by field hockey players today; however the Shorti head is still used by a handful of top level players and can be found on indoor field hockey sticks.
The Midi stick head is the modern alternative to the Shorti head. It is the smallest commonly used stick head design in today’s game. The small size provides excellent control and maneuverability which makes it best for players with a quicker dribbling style. The hitting sweet spot is small, but manageable for most experienced players. If you want a smaller stick head for better maneuverability, but can’t handle the drawbacks of the Shorti design, the Midi head is right for you.
The Maxi head became the most well-liked stick head design when composite sticks became more popular than wood back in the early 1990s. If you are buying a field hockey stick today, chances are it will have a Maxi head. Why? The Maxi head provides more control playing on the reverse side, improved hitting consistency and power, as well as easier trapping. Its design also serves best for dragging the insert on a penalty corner. If there is any question on what field hockey stick head you should choose, the Maxi head is the best choice.
Hook Head or J Hook
The Hook head or J Hook is the largest of all stick head styles. There are plenty of field hockey players that use this type of stick, but it certainly isn’t as popular as the Maxi head. It is best for players who play more upright who need more surface area to better control their reverse pulls. The larger size obviously isn’t best for quick stick handling, but the increased surface area helps with hitting and receiving. For most players this type of stick head is not the best choice, but if the benefits best suit your playing style, give the Hook head/J Hook a try.
For the majority of players there isn’t a need to get wrapped up in the head shape of their field hockey stick, but it is very good information to know. As you become more experienced, develop your own individual style, and consistently play a specific position, it could give you an extra edge to buy a field hockey stick with the stick head shape that suits you best.
Field Hockey Stick Scoop
The scoop of a field hockey stick refers to a bend in the face of the stick which creates a concave depression on the head that can also extend up the shaft of the stick. The scoop can be a maximum or 4mm and is useful for controlling the ball while dribbling, as well as keeping the ball on the stick for drag flicking and aerials. While this feature has its positives, there are drawbacks. By not having a completely flat surface, a scoop can make hitting and trapping the ball slightly less predictable. It can be difficult to get used to not having a flat stick face so many players avoid this feature, but if you think it could benefit your game, give it a try.
Field Hockey Stick Power Hook/Banana Toe
Manufacturers are always trying to come up with new stick innovations to give players an edge on their game. The power hook or banana toe is an example of one of these unique innovations. A power hook is a curve in the toe, on the head, that reduces the need to turn the stick completely over when pulling on the reverse. This can improve quickness when dribbling. A common issue with beginner field hockey players is under-rotating on the reverse side when dribbling. The power hook overcomes this problem. There are some drawbacks to using a power hook. Any time you are using a stick that doesn’t have a completely flat stick face will not be 100% predictable when hitting and trapping. There is also a smaller hitting sweet spot as the curved toe does not offer a powerful hit and it can also interfere when drag flicking.
Before you run out and buy a stick with a power hook, it is important to understand this stick is not a shortcut for beginners who under-rotate on their reverse. It would only make a bad problem worse and create a habit that is difficult to break. This style stick should only be used by experienced players who know their individual style and want to gain a specific advantage.
Indoor field hockey sticks
Indoor field hockey sticks are specially designed for indoor field hockey and should not be used in the outdoor game. Hitting is not allowed indoors, so indoor field hockey sticks aren’t designed to hit. Instead, they are very thin, which make them lightweight to dramatically increase dribbling speed and control. It also usually has a shorter hook for speed and control, and is slightly more rounded at the bottom to better play against a hard surface. Indoor field hockey sticks are also made of softer material. They will have relatively low carbon content, and it is more common to have wood in the mix as well.
Beginner Indoor Field Hockey Sticks
The difference between beginner indoor field hockey sticks and sticks which are more advanced are not great. The most important detail is in the stick’s bow. Beginner sticks have a standard or control bow that will make keeping the ball on the ground easier because it is illegal to lift the ball except to shoot. Sticks that contain wood are perfectly acceptable when starting out, but most players will end up using a composite stick if they keep with the sport for long. Expect to pay between $40 and $100 for a beginner indoor field hockey stick.
Advanced Indoor Field Hockey Sticks
Advanced indoor field hockey sticks are almost exclusively composite as they are more durable than wood. They will also have a more extreme bow. The bow is set lower on the stick to improve ball speed when flicking a pass quickly along the ground or shooting the ball in the air. The lower bow will make keeping the ball on the ground more difficult when dribbling, which is why beginner players should avoid these sticks. Expect to pay between $60 and $150 for an advanced indoor field hockey stick.
Can I Use An Indoor Field Hockey Stick Outdoors?
Yes, well maybe. Indoor field hockey sticks are not explicitly prohibited in outdoor field hockey. In fact, the stick specifications in the indoor and outdoor rulebooks are verbatim. However, the rules state in both books, “The FIH (International Hockey Federation) reserves the right to prohibit any stick which, in the opinion of the FIH Rules Committee, is unsafe or likely to have a detrimental impact on playing the game.” So, because indoor field hockey sticks are not designed to hit and therefore more likely to break when hitting, it is reasonable for any league or tournament to not allow the use of indoor field hockey sticks in the outdoor game. Aside from the fact if it is legal or not, you will be greatly disadvantaged using a stick that was designed for a different purpose. Is it legal? Maybe. Is it smart? No.
Can I Use an Outdoor Field Hockey Stick Indoors?
It depends. As mentioned earlier in the previous question, the stick specifications in the indoor field hockey rules and the outdoor field hockey rules are identical, but rules committees reserve the right to disallow sticks that are unsafe or detrimental to the game. Most leagues and tournaments that host experienced players have ruled that outdoor field hockey sticks are detrimental and therefore not legal. However, most youth and recreational indoor field hockey leagues and tournaments will allow outdoor sticks to help promote the game. Again, is it legal to use an outdoor field hockey stick indoors? Maybe. Is it recommended? No.
Field Hockey Goalie Sticks
Field hockey goalie sticks are specially designed to keep up with the unique demands of a goalkeeper. The most noticeable difference between a field hockey goalie stick and a regular one is how goalie sticks have an unusual curve on its shaft. This curve creates extra coverage when the stick is placed on the ground in a blocking position. Other differences include how goalie sticks are wider on the face, thinner on the shaft, and weighted differently than a standard field hockey stick. These adaptations allow for much great maneuverability and quickness when making stick saves. If you are going to play in the cage, you should definitely invest in a field hockey goalie stick.
Youth Field Hockey Goalie Sticks
Field hockey goalie sticks are all lightweight, which eliminates the need for production of youth goalie sticks. Youth sticks also do not need to be shorter because the stick will be held in the air and goalies of all ages want and need maximum goal coverage. If you are looking to buy a youth field hockey goalie stick, they don’t exist, but there are some sticks that are more affordable which might be better for beginners.
Advanced Field Hockey Goalie Sticks
Advanced field hockey goalie sticks are designed to suit experienced players’ more specific preferences. For instance, some sticks will contain more carbon to create a stiffer stick that is better for clearances. Other adaptations include a heavier weight or thicker grip. What makes these sticks advanced is that they are not for everyone. They are for players who have experience at the position and know what type of field hockey goalie stick they prefer.
Field Hockey Stick Prices
Field hockey stick prices vary greatly and it can be confusing to figure out why. Many people jump to the false assumption that if a stick is more expensive it must be better, but this isn’t true. More than anything else, the price of a field hockey stick is more related to what the stick is made of. Wood sticks are classically the cheapest, while composite sticks are more expensive. Composite field hockey sticks also increase in price as the carbon content is increased.
How Much Should I Spend?
Beginner and Youth Field Hockey Sticks
Newer players don’t need to run out and spend a bunch of money on a top of line stick because they won’t have the skill to benefit from the differences. When you first look online at the cost of a field hockey stick it could be intimidating to see sticks selling for $300, $400, even $500 or more. But don’t panic, there are plenty of quality options that are very affordable for anyone.
Wood Youth Field Hockey Stick Price – $20-$40
Wood youth field hockey sticks are very affordable. For very young players still elementary school aged, a wood stick is a perfectly acceptable place to start. As a player gains more skill or is older, there is benefit in upgrading to a composite stick.
Composite Youth Field Hockey Stick Price – $40-$100
Composite youth field hockey sticks are slightly pricier than wood, but are still very affordable. For most beginners a composite stick is the right choice because it is much more durable and can provide advantages as more skill is developed. Composite field hockey sticks are good for players of all ages and skill levels.
Adult Field Hockey Sticks
Intermediate Field Hockey Stick Price – $50 – $200
Intermediate field hockey sticks are for players who have developed some skill and would like more power on their hits. Intermediate sticks have slightly higher carbon content which makes the stick more rigid and better for hitting, but makes the stick very slightly worse for control. This increase in carbon content is mostly what makes intermediate field hockey sticks pricier than beginner sticks. For players that have developed basic skill, the increased power on hits will far outweigh the small reduction in control. Most high school players fall into this category and should purchase an intermediate field hockey stick.
Advanced Field Hockey Stick Price – $150 – $500
Advanced field hockey sticks are made for the most dedicated and skilled players out there. They are specialized to enhance specific aspects of a player’s game based on their playing style and preference. Advanced field hockey sticks are by far the most expensive because they typically have high carbon content and don’t appeal to the mass market of stick buyers. The majority of players at this level should expect to pay between $250 and $425 for a good value advanced field hockey stick.
Indoor Field Hockey Stick Prices
Beginner Indoor Field Hockey Stick Price – $40-$100
Indoor field hockey stick prices don’t vary greatly because indoor sticks don’t change much from an entry level stick to an advanced one. Beginner sticks are cheaper because they are usually made of cheaper, less durable materials, and start around $40. The best beginner indoor sticks are made of composite materials, while the most affordable ones will be wood. All beginner indoor field hockey sticks should have a standard or control bow which will help keep the ball on the ground.
Advanced Indoor Field Hockey Stick Prices – $60-$150
Advanced indoor field hockey stick prices are very reasonable, with the most expensive options not exceeding $150. The best indoor field hockey sticks for advanced players will have a low bow, or extreme low bow to help with shooting. They will also surely be made of composite materials with varying amounts of carbon.
Field Hockey Goalie Stick Price – $50 – $175
As a goalie you know you will have to pay for a lot more gear than all your teammates, and this cost can add up. The good news is field hockey goalie stick prices are always very reasonable, even for the best sticks. No matter how experienced you are the best sticks will likely be slightly over $100 and made of composite materials. There are more affordable options made of wood, but I recommend if you are going to buy a goalie stick, spend the little bit extra the first time and buy a better one from the start.
Field Hockey Sticks Conclusion
Field hockey sticks come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit every player who wishes to play one of the most popular team sports on the planet. Hopefully with the information contained on this page, you are now able to make an educated decision on how to buy your next field hockey stick. There is no more important tool in the game than a stick, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Browse our other pages to learn about the additional pieces of field hockey equipment you will surely need.