WHen I was younger I always had a 100 flex stick, but as I got older I realized it was WAY to stiff, so I have gone down to an 85/87 flex. But I am thinking of possibly going down to a 75/77 flex, to get a bit more whip on my shots, as I rarely wind up. I have a pretty solid snap/wrist shot, but would like some more to it.
SO my question is has anyone made the switch? I am afraid of snapping it like a twig.
29 years old
played 23 years
hard snap/wrist shot
180-190 lbs depending on how often I am in the gym (gain and drop muscle pretty quick)
play forward 90% of the time, but always make it back to help the dmen on defensive rushes
cut about 3 inches off a new stick, like them pretty short for the dangles
Will I be ok making the switch, or is it going to cost me a ton of money in sticks?
You should be fine. Other than being 6' tall, I'm pretty similar to you (I also vary from ~180-190 lbs, 26 years old, started playing organized hockey when I was around 7/8, play forward and rely mostly on a hard wrist/snap shot, and I cut ~2.5 inches or so off a senior Bauer), and I find 75/77 sticks to break no more often than 85/87 flex sticks. I have a pretty hard shot too, I load my sticks up quite a bit. I prefer 75/77 flex sticks to 85/87s, I do get more power on my wrist/snap shots, especially in game situations where you often have to get the shot off quickly without truly getting all your weight into it. For me there's been the odd 75/77 flex stick that is too whippy for me (for example my Base stick is a wet noodle), but most I find great, very similar to 85/87 flex sticks, but they load up just a bit more easily.
I'm looking to move to an intermediate stick. It looks like the length is perfect for me so I won't need to cut it down.
The intermediate version of my current stick (Bauer Vapor X 4.0) is 67 flex though, so I'm not sure if that's too much flex. It's $99 and the Boxing Day sale will bring it down to $75. It's tempting to just keep it simple and affordable. But then I wonder what else I could get if I spend a little more.
btw - I'm 5'10", 145 pounds, fit but most of my strength is lower body.
Last edited by Stickchecked: 12-24-2012 at 03:41 PM.
Stickchecked, the 67 flex could be a bit whippy but it depends on your preference. I'm 5'7 and am now using a 55 flex cut down about 5-6" or so. The Vapors are a bit stiff though.
The first game I played with my shorter stick, I LOVED the better puck contro, my game actually felt like a game. But I had zero shot, none.
Played a second time this morning and this time, I was shooting fine in warmups knowing I needed to lean into it a bit more. My shot was actually pretty solid and straight.
So now I'm really up in the air in regards to going intermediate and there's the issue of financial priorities as the snowboarding season arrives. I might skip the boxing day sales and ride out this stick for a bit longer. If I can get comfortable with the stiffness and sort out my shot, I don't really need a new stick at this point. There will always be more clearance sales.
I just went to a Source for Sports and they had 40% off of all Bauer sticks so I decided to get the int version of my Vapor x:40. Exact same stick but intermediate. Can't beat the deal and for $60, I can cheaply determine if intermediate will work for me. I need to at least try it out. Also, being essentially the same stick (x:40 vs x4.0) it will be a reasonably controlled test. Once I decide between sr and int, I can look into getting a better quality stick.
It sure feels whippy, though. I will actually need to cut off at least an inch from the intermediate stick to match my current stick length so that will help a small bit. Worse case scenario, if I hate the stick, I can try to sell it for 40 and make most of my money back.
That's exactly what I did. I bought two Vapor XXV's when they were on clearance (like the X:50), one in 77 flex, one in 67 flex. I thought the 67 was a little whippy but the 77 was WAY too stiff.
Then I started cutting my sticks 1-2" shorter and the intermediates felt great.
It's like putting the investment into different sharpening cuts. It's extra money and a hassle, but worth it to find out what works for you. As people have said before on these stick posts, it's impossible to convey what stick will work for someone. You just have to suck it up and try different options.
Based on tonight it gets a big meh. Had a couple nice shots, but feels too whippy, which I didn't notice in the store. I tried a couple clappers and they were also very meh. Might just take some time to get used too. I'll give it 3 weeks and if I dont love it by then I can see it breaking from being to soft and me having to go up to an 85.
Yeah a shooting gallery is as close as you can get when testing a stick in store. Oh well, if you don't like it, chalk it up to getting additional experience with sticks and having it help you dial in your preferences for next time.
You may have to change your technique a bit to get the most out of the whip. If you're used to using a stick that's "too stiff for you," you may be used to quickly snapping a shot off, without a whole lot of loading, relying on moving the stick really quickly as opposed to truly loading the stick up. With this style of shooting the lag from a whippy stick can just screw up your shot.
To get the most out of a whippy stick you need a really pronounced loading phase to your shot. I've had a hard shot for quite some time, but I've recently modified my technique a bit (after watching a video posted on these forums by Jarick), and I find I'm getting more power out of my whippy sticks than ever before. Here's the mechanics that are really working for me at the moment:
1) Pull the puck in fairly close to my body, so that in shooting position the heel of your blade is only about 1.5-2 feet from your closest skate 2) When the puck has been pulled in, start loading the stick. Get your weight over the stick, push down and forward with your bottom hand, pulling back with your top hand. Make sure you aren't just slapping forward, you want to really be loading the stick, it will create a slight pause in your shot where the puck gets just ahead of the blade, where you can really feel the stick loading up as if it were a bow being drawn. This is really the key, there's a big difference between loading the stick and just sort of smacking at the puck, it'll just feel "right" when you get that proper load, you'll feel the entire stick really flexing out then snapping back 3) Throughout the shot (pull, loading and release phases), keep the puck near the toe of the stick. At the start of the loading phase the mid-toe region will be in contact with the ice, with the heel just slightly off the ice. This really lets you load the stick properly, without it "slipping out/forward" on you. You will naturally be loading from the toe when you pull the puck in close, because the heel of the blade will naturally be a bit off the ice 4) The puck will briefly get in front of your blade during the loading phase, but don't let it get way out in front, ideally you want just a little bit of separation. If it gets way too far in front, you may feel you have to catch up to it, causing you to whack at the puck instead of properly loading the shaft 5) Make sure you are really cupping the puck/closing your blade during both the pull and loading phases of the shot. It makes your shots more powerful and consistent, and it's easier to load a stick when the blade is closed 6) When you release, snap/roll your wrists, so that the toe of your blade is pointing at your target 7) You can shoot like this off the inside foot (in-stride style, with the leg kick with your outside foot) or off the outside foot (classic wrist shot style), it works equally well either way. Regardless of which foot you shoot off of, make sure you have a nice deep ankle/knee/waist bend, and make sure you're really getting your weight into the shot 8) When starting with this technique, I would suggest standing still, facing the boards, and shooting "old school" style (weight transfer from your inside to outside foot through the shot). Once you get that nailed down, work your way up to shots in stride off your inside foot, with the leg kick
I think this technique makes the most out of the whip in your stick, it's REALLY worth trying IMO. Also, you may want to try cutting your stick a bit shorter. If you're only removing 3" off a senior length stick at 5'9", I would personally consider that to be a somewhat long stick, and cutting it will stiffen up the stick a bit.
Here's the video I mentioned earlier (the one that Jarick posted), that goes into detail about shooting off the toe:
And here's Cammalleri, Kovalev and Kessel shooting, you can see that they use this method, and all have nasty shots:
When I started in 2006, I got an 87 flex Vapor XX. I barely cut the thing down even though I'm 5'7. Over time, I've cut my stick shorter and gone whippier in flex:
87 snr -> cut to my eyebrows in bare feet
75 snr -> cut to my nose in bare feet
75 int -> cut below my nose in bare feet
65 int -> cut to my top lip in bare feet
55 int -> cut below my bottom lip in bare feet
I've also found that...
1. My shots are just as hard as ever but are far more accurate with a quicker release
2. My stickhandling has improved and I used to turn the puck over and get picked CONSTANTLY but now it's fairly rare
3. Defensively I might not have the reach but when I'm close I can poke check or lift the stick and steal the puck much more effectively
4. My stick doesn't feel dramatically whippier than the mid-2000's 75 flex that I used since I'm cutting it shorter...
5. None of the above has had any impact on my skating and conditioning which still sucks
It was an X:60 in 75 flex intermediate. They don't make them anymore, just 67 and 60. I think Base is the only brand that makes stiff intermediates now, although Warrior's 70 is a little stiffer than most intermediates.
my favorite stick is the AK shaft still... I like that it doesn't have a flex point, but the 85 feels like a 75 and no matter how well I hit a clapper... it doesn't come off as good as my old trusty 85 ST
I also have a couple S17 100 flex pro-stocks and both feel much less than a 100 would... but I think its just cause you can really tell the stealth's lower kick point action much moreso than the Synergy/Mako's low/mid kickpoint
I do admit though, for wristers the AK is the most consistant.. just becuase I know i don't have to have a perfect weight transition to flex and fire it at a good velocity as compared to the S17 or ST... but it definately has much less power compared to the otehr two for claps
The 1st skate I hated it. Wanted it gone. But that changed.
I went out with some buddies for some outdoor puck and the stick was unreal. Snipes, dangles and monster 1 timers. But that didn't last long. My next time out I was back to the same junk. Weak shots, no aim, just junk. Then I was out 2 nights ago. Hard shots, great feel with the puck. The stick was doing its job. I still have trouble with slap shots, I find i have to hold further down the shaft to have any control. Wrist shots are great, snap shots are a work in progress for aim. So nothing is concrete yet.
I think with time I will grow to love this stick, but the change from a mid level Warrior 85 flex to a top of the line Reebok 75 flex will take some time to get used too. And I have to say, I love the feeling of the whip, makes giving and accepting passes a dream.
Last fall I got the Easton Mako in a 75 flex. My snap and wrist shot improved. Slap shot was hit and miss. My puck control unfortunately took a bit of a hit. I wasn't pulling off the quick dangles every time anymore. My reputation from other players was my ability to "stick handle in a phone booth" but i wasn't really living up to that with the 75 flex.
However being 5'9 and 155 lbs the stick is very durable. It is now my backup stick to the Easton RS 85 flex but on days when I want to sacrifice a bit of puck control for a quicker shot it can definitely be fun