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Teddy Wong 05-17-2010 10:56 PM

Handedness of the stick
 
Hi all,

I recently started playing hockey a lot more often and I wanted to buy a proper stick. However, I'm not so sure anymore if I need a right handed stick or left handed.
Right now I'm right handed and I shoot right, but others have told me that it's better for me to develop my left shot, as it allows my right hand to be on top.
For me though, when I stickhandle, I don't use my top hand THAT much (maybe because I'm still learning).

Thanks

Scotty94 05-17-2010 11:11 PM

If you shoot right currently, then stay with a righthanded stick. Don't let others tell you what to do. It used to be a lesser known rule of thumb that your dominant hand went on top of the stick; however, this old "practice" has gone out the window. You shoot however you're comfortable. When first starting to play, some people find that they're as comfortable either way and can simply choose. Others, such as it sounds like you and many others are, feel a little better one way or the other despite never playing before. So that's the way you go with. Having your dominant hand on the top holds no benefit and it will be just fine the other way as you're just getting into and learning everything fresh.

TheHMan 05-17-2010 11:19 PM

You should try to use your top hand more when you stick handle and rotate the blade, and let your bottom hand act more as a support. As for your question though, I don't think it really matters if your strong hand is on top or not, because you can pretty much build up the strength and coordination in your left hand if you practice enough.

The only question is whether you're really new and you're still not comfortable with the right handed stick. If there's already some comfort there, and holding and controlling a ball or puck with a lefty stick feels outright awkward, then there's no point switching now.

For me it was as easy as playing street hockey with my buddies many years ago, and they all had left handed sticks to borrow. I just held one for two seconds and I was like "This feels wrong".

BadHammy* 05-17-2010 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scotty94 (Post 25878203)
If you shoot right currently, then stay with a righthanded stick. Don't let others tell you what to do. It used to be a lesser known rule of thumb that your dominant hand went on top of the stick; however, this old "practice" has gone out the window. You shoot however you're comfortable. When first starting to play, some people find that they're as comfortable either way and can simply choose. Others, such as it sounds like you and many others are, feel a little better one way or the other despite never playing before. So that's the way you go with. Having your dominant hand on the top holds no benefit and it will be just fine the other way as you're just getting into and learning everything fresh.

I have to take issue with this, this just isn't good advice. Adult beginners benefit a lot from putting their strong hand on top. And this guy is admittedly using his bottom hand as dominant when stick handling. This is a BIG NO-NO. He needs to at the very least consider going lefty. I agree that his being comfortable is very important, but people can be comfortable doing the wrong thing a lot in this world. If he makes a practice of using his bottom hand to stick handle, he's not going to be good at it.

He really needs to try going lefty or be prepared to do a LOT more work on his stick handling. I'm not going to try and make up this guy's mind, but he needs to know the reality of the situation.

Scotty94 05-17-2010 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by donGjohnson (Post 25878327)
I have to take issue with this, this just isn't good advice. Adult beginners benefit a lot from putting their strong hand on top. And this guy is admittedly using his bottom hand as dominant when stick handling. This is a BIG NO-NO. He needs to at the very least consider going lefty. I agree that his being comfortable is very important, but people can be comfortable doing the wrong thing a lot in this world. If he makes a practice of using his bottom hand to stick handle, he's not going to be good at it.

He really needs to try going lefty or be prepared to do a LOT more work on his stick handling. I'm not going to try and make up this guy's mind, but he needs to know the reality of the situation.

I won't argue that doing it that way is wrong, because it certainly isn't. And I won't argue that he's doing it wrong by using his dominant hand to do the majority of the stickhandling. But he's brand new to it and will learn how to do things. The fact that he's likely not good at anything right now will change, as will the fact that he doesn't use his top hand much right now. Everything will feel awkward, plain and simple. The experts I've known over the years have always taught that if either way feels slightly more comfortable to a beginner, you go with it. Could it be better overall if he started with his right hand on top? Perhaps. But is that the absolute steadfast way that it is done? Absolutely not. Regardless, he needs to learn how to stickhandle with his top hand as well. If he chooses to use his left hand for that, so be it. That's how he's currently comfortable.

Teddy Wong 05-18-2010 12:15 AM

Thanks for the input guys. Differing opinions I see.

Right now, I feel that I'm still new enough to the sport to make a successful change from right handed shot to left handed shot. I know comfort is important, but right I'm looking more at long-term improvement versus short-term comfort. As for my stickhandling, I stickhandle with my right hand on the bottom, because my left wrist is considerably weaker than my right (I used to play a lot of racquet sports with my right)

SO I guess now I have to become a left handed shot while learning how to stickhandle with my right on top? Means I basically have to restart from scratch.

TheHMan 05-18-2010 12:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Teddy Wong (Post 25878821)
Thanks for the input guys. Differing opinions I see.

Right now, I feel that I'm still new enough to the sport to make a successful change from right handed shot to left handed shot. I know comfort is important, but right I'm looking more at long-term improvement versus short-term comfort. As for my stickhandling, I stickhandle with my right hand on the bottom, because my left wrist is considerably weaker than my right (I used to play a lot of racquet sports with my right)

SO I guess now I have to become a left handed shot while learning how to stickhandle with my right on top? Means I basically have to restart from scratch.

Go to Canadian Tire and buy a plastic road hockey stick that has a flat blade. Use that and practice stick handling with your left hand for a couple days, and then your right hand. Ideally what you should be able to do is control the stick entirely with one hand at the top of the shaft, may not be completely controlled but if you seem to be able to control the ball or puck with your right hand better, then maybe you should try a left handed stick.

I'd absolutely agree that there's benefits to using your left hand to control the top of the stick. It absolutely makes sense and you really shouldn't be using your bottom hand for controlling the stick. It's a tricky thing though because everyone is different and people develop differing coordinations that they can pick up elsewhere.

In the US and Canada, they did some sales figures and in the US a lot more players bought up right handed sticks, and in Canada left handed sticks. Part of this is due to the way hockey programs work in Canada where they teach this method of holding the stick at a young age, and in the US players might pick it up from other sports like golf or baseball and get into hockey at a later age. Players from each side just grow into these habits.

kr580 05-18-2010 02:29 AM

For what it's worth, I recently picked up ice hockey at the age of 21 (couple months ago), never played hockey before in my life. I'm right hand dominate in everything in my life but went with a lefty stick after reading suggestions on here. The lefty stick was extremely awkward at first, however, I got the hang of it after a couple stick times and now after a few months of stick time I'm glad I went lefty. I find I use my right hand ALOT more than my left. Generally all I use my left hand for is to load the stick on shots. Your top hand does most everything so I think it's wise that your dominate hand goes on top.

If you're not too far invested into the right-handed hockey life I would at least give left-handed a good go and see if it develops.

(sorry for the wall of text)


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