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Illini1022 05-03-2011 01:17 PM

Noob needs help with Stick/Shooting
Quick background - I'm 24 years old, barely ever stepped on a sheet of ice until last September when I decided I wanted to try it out. I still suck but I enjoy it a lot. Been taking classes and in a beginners league now.

Stick background - I'm 6'5, ~190-195 pounds. I currently have the same stick I started with - A wooden Sher-Wood 9950, 105 Flex, Statsny curve, comes up to my nose without skates on.

It's starting to crack - so I need something new. But aside from that, I've had issues elevating the puck. This stiff stick has forced me to work very hard on my form and I'm finally at a point where I can start consistently getting elevation on my shots - but it's still a struggle and I can't "flip" the puck up nearly as effectively as I'd like to be. Top Shelf = no go. I think I need to drop down to something with a lower flex to help me get a feel for this better.

I am 195 pounds - but I'm tall and relatively skinny. I'm not as strong as your average 195 pound hockey player so maybe the old - "flex should be half your body weight", doesn't perfectly apply to me...

Don't want to break the bank, but I could spend around $130 before I start feeling particularly bad about it.

I'm thinking maybe a 2 piece or 1 piece composite, with a nice open curve (not sure about lie?), and something like an 85 flex? Thoughts on that?

Furthermore - how do I find a stick that is long enough for me? I don't see length listed on a lot of these websites that sell sticks online. Is my best bet going into a store and trying them out in person? Will I almost certainly need to get the stick altered somehow to extend it?

Happy to be on the forums after lurking a long time, thanks in advance for the help.

Skraut 05-03-2011 01:46 PM

I'm 6'4" 280 35 years old, have been playing for a little under 2 years and use a 75 flex Harrow 300 2 piece set up. I like that I was able to try several different blades before settling on a #7 pattern. I heard a lot about the "Flex half your weight" and my first sticks were much stiffer (I even tried a pro-stock 115 flex stick), and when I tried the 75, I just assumed I'd snap that stick on my first shot.

The thing is, that stick has taught me so much about proper shooting mechanics, and has held up just fine in 6 months of games, and roughly 6,000 shots on my homemade shooting range. I feel the flex, I feel the stick working with me. Do I feel a little more zip when I step up and use one of my 85 flex stick, yes I do when the shot is perfect. But I don't always feel it flex and get the kick on my shot in a game situation, which I always feel on my 75. I'm sure I'll eventually get the same confidence in the 85 that I have in the 75, but am so grateful to have given the 75 a shot, and to learn how to properly shoot with it.

As far as length, I actually cut about an inch off of the Harrow shafts to get it down to my upper lip in shoes, while I had to put a plug into the warrior shaft and Rbk stick to get it that tall.

Jarick 05-03-2011 01:59 PM

I know that if I use too stiff a stick I have trouble lifting the puck. When you flex the stick, it bends and then as you release it whips forward and up (at an arc). So that could be a problem.

You might want to try an 85 flex stick. A teammate is probably 6'5 and 175-ish and uses a 100 flex with a full length plug. Before that he had an 85 flex with a plug and loved it. The 100 has a bit more power for him, but he also has an amazing shot. When you're developing your shot and technique it can help to get a whippier flex.

Also, if you have a pretty good shot right now other than it staying low, a more open face can help...but it's a bit harder to keep the puck low and give/receive passes.

IDuck 05-03-2011 08:23 PM

i hope you take this the right way and i dont come across as being mean but, sure it may be easier to lift the puck with different flex's and patterns but that is all a personal pref. and i dont think its the flex that isnt lifting the puck but rather your shot itself. are we talking wristers or clappers?

if its the slappers its just a matter of working on the tech. and shoting over and over...if its the wrister it could be that you arnt using the blade right or not pointing the blade right or a number of things...the reason i say this is just so you dont just jump to conclussion about the flex or pattern of the blade when that might be something that is actually perfect for you but none of us can tell you that....so good luck and i would say go with a 87-90 flex with a open pattern and go from there....the best part of being new to the game is that there is soooooooooo much for you to explore so dont settle

izzy3 05-04-2011 03:05 AM

I think you're on the right track with the 2 piece setup. As long as you don't know what curve you like, you should experiment with some cheap blades until you find the pattern which feels the most natural to you. Shooting is different with different curves so you will need to adjust your technique with each. Picking the right curve for you and then practicing is the way to go.

For 130$ you can get an Easton ST shaft (~$100), which is a tank and a great shaft, and some blades to try (with Bauer's P92 pattern you can roof anything). If a shaft is too short for you, you can always put in a plug and cut it to the right length (this will also decrease flex).

On the flex: a softer flex will def help a beginner to learn the right mechanics and load the stick, you will be able to use the flex (as it should be). You can still step up later.

hockeyman001 05-06-2011 12:35 AM

OK, a couple of things.

First, shooting. I think you are making too much of a big deal out of sticks and flex, especially at your size and I assume strength. A lot of it sounds like it could just be working on your technique. Remember as you take a wrist shot the rule "Heel to toe" this is a good beginner's trick to lift your shot. Basically as you prepare to shoot, you want to start with the puck towards the heel of your stick (where the blade meets the shaft). Then you want to pull the stick back a little bit behind you and push down to create the flex. Then as you release, use your body to lean into the shot and as you fire the shot, allow the puck to slide from the heel of your stick to the toe, and fire your wrists when it is about 2/3 of the way to the toe. Assuming you follow through correctly, you will be able to get good lift on your shots. Remember the harder you fire your wrists, the higher the shot will go. The harder you fire your arms, the straighter the shot will be (less arc). You can combine those two to create a good shot.

If you are already doing that and not getting good results, I think there are a couple of things you can look at and I don't think it's the flex. I am 6' and about 165-170 lbs. and I use a 105 flex (stick is eye height) with a custom moderate mid curve and it's fine. I can hit the top corner of the net from 10 feet and from 60 with my wrist shot. You can do fine with that flex but perhaps you just need to practice first...try an 85 flex to learn the technique and see how it goes. Now you said you're tall so I don't think you have to worry about cutting your sticks to height but if you do, the flex goes up! Because the stick is now shorter it becomes stiffer so be aware of that if you ever cut a stick. There's a formula to know how much it goes up, but I hate math so we'll skip it. You can easily work back up to 105 though I think in time.

Or perhaps it is one of the most overlooked things (by beginniners) when buying a stick: The lie. The lie is the angle the stick makes with the ground when you place the blade flat. Basically another way to say it is how far the puck is away from your body when you get ready to shoot. If the lie is not comfortable to you (puck is too far away or too close) you won't be able to get the same elevation control on your shots.

Curves also determine how your shots will go. Heel curves allow you to elevate shots in shorter distances and are also better for slap shots, but not as good for stickhandling and puck control. Toe curves are better for stickhandling but harder to lift shots and control well, and terrible for the backhand. Mid curves are good for everything. The sharper the curve the more pronounced the effect will be. But if your style is a power forward who doesn't deke a lot perhaps you could try a heel curve with an open face (Lidstrom or Drury curve). Otherwise try a mid curve (Sakic pattern) with a neutral or open face. Based on what you said I would not recommend a toe curve. Few NHL players use that one anyway. If you do a two piece stick that might be a good idea so you can sample different blades to see what you like best.

The other thing it can be too is where is your bottom hand (your shooting hand) on the stick when you release? If you are holding the stick too high with your bottom hand, you won't be able to get a good release. If you are holding too low, you won't have good control...the puck will sort of "flip" up as you shoot.

Anyway I hope this post helps you. It takes a lot of practice to perfect control of the shot.

dabeechman 05-06-2011 04:01 AM

When you are new a lot of it is in your head. Just keep practicing and one day it will just start to click. You should (if you don't already) set up a shooting pad so you can practice at home.

Stick flex/curve is the least of your worries when you are new. I am 5'8 #160 and looking at my old sticks in the 110 flex range makes me laugh because I DOMINATED with those twigs, yet they were completely wrong for me. Just work on your fundamentals. The shot will come...

dannythekid 05-10-2011 08:39 AM


Originally Posted by dabeechman (Post 32896097)
When you are new a lot of it is in your head. Just keep practicing and one day it will just start to click. You should (if you don't already) set up a shooting pad so you can practice at home.

Stick flex/curve is the least of your worries when you are new. I am 5'8 #160 and looking at my old sticks in the 110 flex range makes me laugh because I DOMINATED with those twigs, yet they were completely wrong for me. Just work on your fundamentals. The shot will come...


Getting out and shooting and building your core and wrist/forearm strength also will go a long way in giving you more ability with your shot.

Illini1022 05-10-2011 09:40 PM

Thanks for all the help, especially the detailed shooting info. I'm sure my shot technique is the problem, I know it needs work.

I needed a new stick regardless though and ended up getting an Easton S3 with an Iginla curve, 85 flex, 5.5 lie. Not *ideal* but a pretty basic stick that I should be able to shoot with. It was dirt cheap, which was the main deciding factor. Once I get better and stick choice makes more of a difference, I'll spend more on a stick.

I need to try and make it to some stick and puck sessions and just practice the motions. Need to focus on all the things you outlined, hockeyman.

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