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Sticks are placed on a machine and held fast at each end. A mechanism centered between those two points presses down, bending the stick one inch, and measuring the amount of pressure it took. A 100 flex hockey stick would take 100 pounds of pressure to bend the stick one inch.
If you’re new to hockey, you may be wondering how to choose a hockey stick with the correct flex. A good starting point is to take the weight of a hockey player (in pounds) and divide that number by 2. From there, you want to adjust the flex for height and strength.
Senior (5'3"+, 130 lbs.+)75, 85, 100, 110Intermediate (4'10" - 5'7", 80 - 160 lbs.)60, 65, 70Junior (3'10" - 5'2", 50 - 120 lbs.)40, 45, 50
In this example, we'll consider a player who is 5'8" and 180 lbs., with average height/strength and no stick cut.
The resulting flex is 85, but remember that all numbers are meant as a starting point and guide for players trying to find the best fit for them and their game.
Stick flex is a very personal choice and many factors come into play when deciding the best flex for you as a player.
Position - A forward taking a lot more snap/wrist shots might prefer a softer flex, while a defenseman taking more slap shots might prefer a stiffer flex.
A forward taking a lot more snap/wrist shots might prefer a softer flex, while a defenseman taking more slap shots might prefer a stiffer flex.
Style of play
Shooting style - Players with shorter, quicker shooting motions often prefer softer flex to load the stick quicker and more easily, versus a player with a booming slap shot who fires away from a distance.
Players will gain a better understanding of the impact of each of these factors, as well as which are most important to them personally as they play and try out different flexes.
The simple answer is yes, a shorter stick will feel stiffer and will perform more similarly to a stick with a higher flex number. A longer stick will feel softer and will perform more like a stick with a lower flex number. Cutting a stick doesn’t alter the structure of the composite, but will affect how the stick feels and plays. Many brands have measurements on the back of the stick, showing what flex the stick will feel like if cut to that length.
Different sticks with the same flex number can feel different for two main reasons:
Feel like hockey stick flex is over-hyped? After all, if you’re a good player, you can just grab any stick off the shelf and snipe, right? As mentioned above, the stick flex choice is highly personal. The characteristics & and benefits that one player considers high priority could be very unimportant to another player. Below are some of the pros and cons of using a stiffer or softer flex stick. Keep in mind that even for professionals, these benefits reach a point where they start to have an adverse effect if a player goes overboard by using a stick that is far too stiff or soft.
Using a stiffer stick - a flex that's high - may:
Reduce power & velocity because the player cannot flex the stick as much and is unable to load as much power into it.
Lead to recoiling & releasing before your hands come through the shot, causing the puck to flutter off the blade.
Ring or vibrate in your hands because the stick is too stiff to absorb the impact of shots or passes.
Using a softer stick - a flex that's too low - may:
Cause slightly less accurate shots because the increase of stress on the stick can cause the blade to twist back off target more.
Not recoil and release quickly enough, causing your hands to get too far in front of the puck, making shots feel slow or weak.
Proper hockey stick flex is even more important for younger players. Without the proper flex, younger players will need to compensate for a stick that’s too stiff or too soft. This can create bad habits and prevent them from developing proper shooting techniques. A young player using too stiff a stick can’t load energy into it and will often resort to flicking or sling-shotting the puck for velocity or to get it in the air. Grown players using the wrong flex will run into problems like losing power or accuracy when shooting.
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