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Advice on new stick - cant catch passes but great slapper

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Old
02-18-2013, 07:49 AM
  #1
deeman
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Advice on new stick - cant catch passes but great slapper

I just tried out an intermediate Reebok 6K Sickick Grip, Hedmanlade, 65 Flex stick. I am 175lbs and 5'9". I heard the Reebok sticks were a bit stiffer than their flex ratings indicated and I cut off about 2" of the handle to suit my size. I was really hoping for a 75 flex.

The good:
I have NEVER had a good slapper. I tired all sorts of techniques and positions and could not get speed or evevation. I have been playing off and on for 20 years using mostly wood sticks. THis is my second composite stick - the first was a Bauer X:15 entry level 85 flex stick and I still could not get power or lift. My first slapper with this stick was a decent rocket and nailed the cross bar. Several other attempts resulted in a very nice shoulder high slapper. I was elated!!!! My wristers were pretty good too. Nothing too crazy, but good and pretty predictible. I LOVE THIS STICK!!!

The BAD:
I can't catch a pass to save my life. Granted most are crappy passes to begin with but they seem to slip under my blade (more than bouncing off it). It MAY be a learning thing for me and looking back at the flubbed passes most seem to be received near the toe and slip right under. I thought maybe the lie was off and there was a gap to allow to puck to sneak under but I am not sure. I HATE THIS STICK!

Does anyone have experience switching to a lower flex and loosing blade control or the ability to catch a pass?

Thanks!

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02-18-2013, 08:11 AM
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Jarick
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It sounds more like the stick is a bit short. Have you compared against old sticks by laying the blades flat on the ground and looking at how long the shaft is? Might want to try a 1/2" to 1" plug?

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02-18-2013, 03:27 PM
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#66
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Make sure the lie works for you.

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02-18-2013, 08:37 PM
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LarryO
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I've experienced the same thing when switching to a lower flex. I just had to adjust. Try to catch your passes closer to the heel of the stick and with the blade as vertical as possible when you can. You'll notice that you can stop most passes with the heel of the stick even when you're holding it loosely with only the top hand.

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02-19-2013, 05:11 AM
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izzy3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeman View Post
Does anyone have experience switching to a lower flex and loosing blade control or the ability to catch a pass?
Here's the good/bad news: it's logical you can't catch rockets with a softer flex, at least not the way you did with a stiffer stick. You can't just put your blade in the way, and stop the puck, most times than not the puck's energy will flex the stick back and will slip under the blade.

Why is it good? You have to learn to catch passes softly. It is a very useful, though underrated skill.

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02-19-2013, 07:33 AM
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deeman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by izzy3 View Post
Here's the good/bad news: it's logical you can't catch rockets with a softer flex, at least not the way you did with a stiffer stick. You can't just put your blade in the way, and stop the puck, most times than not the puck's energy will flex the stick back and will slip under the blade.

Why is it good? You have to learn to catch passes softly. It is a very useful, though underrated skill.
Thanks for all the comments. I think the flex is beneficial to me and I will try to improve my technique at catching passes. I have a home made puck return system with a bungee cord and have been practicing.

Is the strategy to cushion and gently cradle the pass when it hits or use soft hands.....or both?

I have been practicing the drill of cushioning the pass when it hits the blade by sliding the stick back with the puck for 6" - 12". Any other suggestions?

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02-19-2013, 07:45 AM
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izzy3
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Moving your blade will help, though it should not be a concious move. You need to practice a little bit, and you do, so you're on the right path. When I switched to lower flex I was tought to grip with my top hand really hard, but kinda let my bottom hand be loose on the stick. This will give you a "natural" give, because you can't stop a hard pass with your upper hand, but the loose bottom hand will help absorb most of the energy and finally stop the puck gently.

I hope I explained it clearly. Give it a try next time.

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02-19-2013, 11:53 AM
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Jarick
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+1 on loose bottom hand

You want the puck to hit the stick and die, or close to it. Granted sticks today usually have well designed blades that deaden vibration and pucks, but if you catch a really hard pass with a bouncy blade and shaft, it could bounce right off. With a looser grip, you're letting the puck transfer its energy to the stick rather than getting that energy right back. Keeping the top hand tight makes sure the stick doesn't spin around in your hands. You'll have to practice and adjust though.

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02-19-2013, 01:13 PM
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College Cage Hang
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to the OP can you take some pics of your home made pass device?

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02-19-2013, 01:21 PM
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AcidJazz
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If your slapper is prime, forget about catching the pass and just one-time everything.

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03-01-2013, 08:57 AM
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deeman
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Just a follow-up, I still don't like this stick. I honestly can’t catch a pass to save my life and I am ready to bail on this stick. It’s frustrating as heck! I’ve tried the soft hands, etc and between the crappy passes I am trying to catch, my learning curve on stickhandling in general and the new flex on this stick, I am done!

I am looking at either a 70 flex JR stick – which seems to be the highest flex for the JR group I can typically find or a 75 flex in the Senior sticks. My fear is getting a 75 flex Senior stick and chopping off an inch or two and bumping into the 80-85 flex range.

I have spent countless hours reading the stick buying thread:

Can you guys either recommend a stick (mainly forward, 5’ 9”, 173lbs) in the $60-ish range?

http://www.hockeygiant.com/intermedi...rance.html#top

Some thoughts are Mako M1, Bauer Vapor X3.0, One80, Warrior Dolo.

Thanks again for all the input!


Last edited by deeman: 03-01-2013 at 10:18 AM.
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03-01-2013, 10:57 AM
  #12
bozak911
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I feel your pain when it comes to sticks.

(reference: 6'2" - 185lbs)

Granted, I have been playing for a lot less time than you have, but I just cannot find a stick that I feel "at home" with.

My first stick was a wood Sherwood 9550 Coffey. Really stiff with a 105 or a 110 flex. I didn't cut it down, either, so it was really long, longer than I should have been using as a beginner. With that stick, I was great at poke checks, but really, nothing else.

The next stick was a cheapo clearance Warrior Bentley composite Savard. It was about 3" shorter, 95 flex, and the passing was a lot easier with it. With that stick, I had a wicked backhander, decent passing, but could not elevate a forehand shot to save my life. The thing that caused me to retire this "unbroken" stick is that the toe started cracking.

On a whim, I went back to the Sherwood Coffey curve but in a fiberglass/composite with a flex of 90. There was a special on Total Hockey where a previously priced at $120 dropped to $80. Then, the next friday, they ran a BOGO. I picked up two of them and was given an extra from a friend that also used the same deal on the same stick/curve. For a total of three.

With this stick, I can elevate shots relatively easily, my backhand is back, but not as good as with the Warrior Savard, but the biggest gripe is the *vibration*. Receiving a pass, making a pass, taking a shot, poke checking... Very vibraty...

I cut one of them down 3" to use when I play forward. I use an un-cut when I play D. The difference is clear between the two lengths, but I still can't get truly comfortable with the amount of vibration in the stick. Plus, I recently broke one of D-length sticks, and had to grab my never used in a game back up (small, local company) that is supposed to be similar to the Warrior Savard, but full composite.

Vibration was completely gone with that stick, but started really whiffing on making crisp tape to tape passes that I can make with the Sherwood Coffey. When I got home, I compared the small company "close to Savard" curve and it was NOTHING like the Warrior stick, currently retired.

In the mean time, I picked up a Mikken BP23 (again, on clearance) with a 70 flex. I took it out for warmups before my last game and here is what I learned; No vibration. Crisp passes. Receives a pass smoothly and cleanly. NO backhand elevation. NO forehand elevation. Every single thing I tried ended up with the puck staying flat on the ice. I could not get ANYTHING to rise with it.

I love this stick for when I play defense at my level, but if I play forward, it will "get benched", for the cut-down Sherwood.

If I were consistently at D or consistently at forward, my choices would be clear. However, trying to find a good blend?

I think I am going to have to pick up a Warrior Savard again...

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03-01-2013, 11:18 AM
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Jarick
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Dee,

Nothing in the $60 range is going to help you catch passes unfortunately. If you can get up to $100 you'll find some high end clearance sticks that could help. Soft blades are a high end stick feature.

I would really recommend a two-piece stick and a wood blade. They are cheap, you can play around with different curves, and they deaden passes very well. I like the Easton ones, they are found everywhere for under $30.

Go with this:

Warrior Dolomite Shaft = $60
Easton Tapered Blade = $20

That's $20 more than your budget, but you're getting a $120 shaft on clearance plus a tapered wood blade. If you love the shaft, you can always get a $60 blade down the road, if you hate it, you can sell it for close to what you paid.

What curve were you using?

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03-01-2013, 03:26 PM
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hockeyisforeveryone
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OP at your size, (5'9 175) there is NO WAY you should try to play with a JR or INT. The only realistic option is a 75 or 77(?) SR if you need that much flex. Intermediate sticks are made for teenagers and small framed women.

I am 135 pounds and did use an INT (65 flex) for months. I do believe it helped my technique in ways, but that thing is a weak rubbery noodle. After the demands of my friend to "man up," (to a SR stick) I am VERY happy with an 85 flex. I will probably spend extra to get a Warrior 77 next though, which I have never tried but I'm sure will be perfect.

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03-01-2013, 04:08 PM
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AIREAYE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyisforeveryone View Post
OP at your size, (5'9 175) there is NO WAY you should try to play with a JR or INT. The only realistic option is a 75 or 77(?) SR if you need that much flex. Intermediate sticks are made for teenagers and small framed women.

I am 135 pounds and did use an INT (65 flex) for months. I do believe it helped my technique in ways, but that thing is a weak rubbery noodle. After the demands of my friend to "man up," (to a SR stick) I am VERY happy with an 85 flex. I will probably spend extra to get a Warrior 77 next though, which I have never tried but I'm sure will be perfect.
Wrong. While Jr may be extreme, at his height, he can opt for an INT stick if he prefers it. INT sticks are often used by teens and some women, but by no means is that a rule. It depends on each person.

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03-01-2013, 04:21 PM
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jaysoneil
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I can't help you with choosing a stick, but if catching passes is a problem check out this video. Like izzy3 said, catching soft passes is a very underrated skill.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkRNN3xbRf0

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03-01-2013, 06:08 PM
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neksys
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyisforeveryone View Post
OP at your size, (5'9 175) there is NO WAY you should try to play with a JR or INT. The only realistic option is a 75 or 77(?) SR if you need that much flex. Intermediate sticks are made for teenagers and small framed women.

I am 135 pounds and did use an INT (65 flex) for months. I do believe it helped my technique in ways, but that thing is a weak rubbery noodle. After the demands of my friend to "man up," (to a SR stick) I am VERY happy with an 85 flex. I will probably spend extra to get a Warrior 77 next though, which I have never tried but I'm sure will be perfect.
I disagree. For one, it's a matter of personal preference (ie - Phil Kessel uses a 65 flex stick and is bigger than OP, and a much better player).

The other thing is I'm convinced that most guys are using the wrong flex exactly for that reason - because they take it as a bit of macho pride to have a less flexible stick.

I am 5'8" and 175 (OP's size) and use a 65 Int (cut down to, say, 75ish). It works very well for me because I can actually utilize the flex in the stick to shoot. When I had an 85 Sr. stick (cut down probably to close to 100) I could barely get a few degrees of flex on a shot unless I was stationary and concentrating.

I also think lower flexes force you to cradle your passes, which is a good skill to develop.

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03-01-2013, 08:08 PM
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deeman
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The more I think about it the more I suspect it's the Indian and not the arrow

It is a 65 flex Reebok with about 1.5 inches cut off, so perhaps it's closer to a 68/70 flex.

I am starting a class tomorrow and I'll see how it goes.

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03-01-2013, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neksys View Post
I disagree. For one, it's a matter of personal preference (ie - Phil Kessel uses a 65 flex stick and is bigger than OP, and a much better player)....
I would bet that it is a custom SR stick though, not an intermediate.

Sorry should of put more of IMO. It's just that I regret wasting time with the Easton 65 INT. Getting into a SR stick has been tremendous for me and I can't believe the power battling for pucks. Also catching or whipping passes is so much more solid, night and day.

For a beginner that dimension I can understand. And I'll also say the 85 flex cut down is a bit too much for me (5'8, 135). Without even trying it I am positive a 75/77 SR will be perfect. But I will never go back to intermediate.

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03-02-2013, 07:42 AM
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I'm 5'7 200 pounds and use intermediates. Nothing wrong with that. If you like to really load the stick up.

Dee, technique is big. I mean NHL'ers could probably catch passes with their sticks upside down. But when you're learning, just like in golf, you don't want to make it harder on yourself than you need to. Cheap sticks have terrible feel and the puck bounces off them easier. Expensive composites and wood sticks catch passes really easily. But the two piece with a wood blade is a nice compromise.

I don't think you ever answered, is the puck slipping underneath the toe or heel of the stick, or is it bouncing off your stick, or you can't reach them, or can't control them?

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03-02-2013, 08:43 AM
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deeman
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Thanks for the advice guys. Jarick thank's to you too!

The puck seems either to slip under the heel of the stick or redirect into my skates and gets lost.

If I am out in the open I can stick handle moderately well, it's just the crappy passes and my crappy ability to keep them on the stick when the pass is caught close to my body.

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03-02-2013, 10:46 AM
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AIREAYE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neksys View Post
I disagree. For one, it's a matter of personal preference (ie - Phil Kessel uses a 65 flex stick and is bigger than OP, and a much better player).
He doesn't use a 65 flex stick; it's been either a 77 or an 80 since his Bruins days.

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03-02-2013, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Dee,

Nothing in the $60 range is going to help you catch passes unfortunately. If you can get up to $100 you'll find some high end clearance sticks that could help. Soft blades are a high end stick feature.

I would really recommend a two-piece stick and a wood blade. They are cheap, you can play around with different curves, and they deaden passes very well. I like the Easton ones, they are found everywhere for under $30.

Go with this:

Warrior Dolomite Shaft = $60
Easton Tapered Blade = $20

That's $20 more than your budget, but you're getting a $120 shaft on clearance plus a tapered wood blade. If you love the shaft, you can always get a $60 blade down the road, if you hate it, you can sell it for close to what you paid.

What curve were you using?
Why do you post a dolomite shaft on at 60 bucks when I just bought my sticks?

Dammit. Guess I'll always want a new stick though, can't help that.


Last edited by PlayBall: 03-02-2013 at 11:15 PM.
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03-03-2013, 03:22 PM
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neksys
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AIREAYE View Post
He doesn't use a 65 flex stick; it's been either a 77 or an 80 since his Bruins days.
Fair enough, but the point still stands - he us not using a 100+ flex stick.

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03-03-2013, 03:40 PM
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AIREAYE
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Fair point indeed, and he's one of a few players that I'll refer to when I see teens grabbing 100 flex sticks.

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