Last Updated on March 27, 2022 by Field Hockey
Everyone knows a new stick can range from a mere $30 to well over $300. Elite players may have no qualms going for the best stick for their game, but beginner players may be intimidated by the wide variety of options available.
Is it better invest in an elite hockey stick or to start off with a cheap sticks? The fact is that expensive field hockey sticks designed for elite players can actually be detrimental to your handling of the ball if you are not experienced and it’s much better to go for a cheap piece if you’re just starting out. Also in case you accidentally break it or damage your first piece you know how to protect your more expensive gear in the future.
Whether a a stick is suitable for beginner players are affected by three aspects of the stick: material, toe design, and bow design.These pieces are made out of either carbon, which is very expensive, or wood, fiberglass, or aramid which are more common in cheaper sticks. The shape of the toe and the bow, which is the degree to which the stick curves from the handle to the head, can also influence the price.
How Are These Cheap Pieces Made?
Cheap sticks typically have a lower carbon content, which makes them lighter, less rigid and more suitable for less experienced players. Expensive sticks made out of carbon fiber are very powerful, but because they are so stiff, they make it harder to stop the ball and to control it on the field and therefore more difficult to use. Cheaper pieces are typically made out of wood, fiberglass, or aramid. These materials are lightweight and less rigid. While they are less powerful, they are easier to handle and more suitable for beginners.
Fiberglass material makes the gear more durable and powerful. It feels similar to carbon, but it is much cheaper, lighter and less rigid than pieces with a high carbon content. This high fiberglass content causes the stick be generally easier to maneuver and, although it is less powerful gives the same high-end feel as carbon hockey sticks.
Wood pieces are often wrapped or reinforced with fiberglass to make them more durable and to add strength and power. Wood material is very cheap compared to the other ingredients above. Yet, they have a natural feel and gives the player solid control. Wooden sticks are ideal for beginners.
Amarid, or Kevlar, helps with shock absorption during striking and receiving balls. A composite field hockey stick that contains aramid makes for a great stick for less experienced players.
Hockey sticks have four different toe designs. The Shorti is best for offensive players while, the midi toe design is the most common and makes for easy dribbling, flicking, receiving and reverse play. Because it is so easy to use, it is most suitable for beginner players. It’s a well-balanced toe shape and can easily be used by offensive and defensive players. Maxi and hook designs have more power and are better for defensive players.
As players progress from beginners to advanced to elite level, the bow type suitable to their game also changes. Beginner players require a regular bow where the curve is closer to the handle. Elite players use field hockey sticks where the curve is closer to the bottom. A regular bow gives a well-rounded performance.
Top 5 Cheap Field Hockey Sticks
The Harrow Viper consists of 35% Carbon and 65% Fiberglass, bringing the best of both worlds in terms of power and shock absorbance. It has a midi toe which is excellent for midfielders. It’s has a good intermediate shape for excellent ball control as well and facilitates improved receiving and handling of the ball. The stick is slightly geared towards female players but overall provides great value at its price. Depending on your technique its not highly recommended for drag flicks.
The Cranberry Breakaway has a maxi toe shape and is a good cheap field hockey stick for defensive players as it is best for wide striking and solid power. It is made out of 100% fiberglass and is a lightweight stick perfect for beginners. Its fiberglass composition makes for excellent power with good vibration absorption. The toe shape also highly helps with developing dribbling skills!
Kitting out a goalie is a completely different ballgame. This cheap stick for goalies is perfect for its time frame. It’s made out of 90% fiberglass and 10% aramid. It has a late bow and is aimed at more serious goalies. Thanks to carbon reinforcement, it is quite a rigid and durable piece. The shaft design is thin to help you get maximum saves. It’s lightness and balance will make it easy to reach out to high or wide balls in the goal post. The offset hook shape provides a large surface area with which to stop balls.
The Grays GX range never fails to deliver as a high caliber hockey stick. The GX 6000 Scoop provides solid performance at a lower price tag than its brothers. It comes at a steal on compared to the materials that are used. It’s an extra stiff stick consisting of a high level of carbon integrated with aramid and fiberglass. It’s maxi head shape is excellent for cradling the ball mid-dribble and full control when hitting or flicking. It’s available in medium and light weight and highly recommended if your looking for an elite piece on a budget.
This affordable piece is specifically designed for young players. It’s composition includes carbon, fiberglass, and aramid. It is a light stick with a lower carbon content which makes for better ball control for players just starting out. It comes in several sizes from 28″ to 34″. This piece is highly recommended for those focused on developing their dribbling skills and controlled passing. It is not recommend to try flicking with this stick.
Most brands offer their own budget pieces that can be bought on the cheap ranging up to a very expensive price. Cheap ]pieces are usually best for beginners as they are usually softer, less powerful and easier to handle. Another benefit is that the cheap gear isn’t a huge investment if a beginner hockey player finds that the game is not for them. Avoid being overwhelmed by the variety available and go for a good all-rounder composite stick with a high fiberglass content and a midi toe shape. When you start out playing hockey you’ll still have to figure out where you fit into the team and playing with a cheap all-rounder will ensure that you can play in any position.