Hockey Stick Flex Guide – What is your ideal flex?
Buying the right hockey stick is more difficult than it seems.
You cannot just go to a sporting goods store and pick out any hockey stick.
They come in different lengths, with different curves in the blade, and at different price points. They also come with varying degrees of flex, which is quite important to the way you shoot the puck.
With the right amount of flex, you will be able to shoot with accuracy and power. But, if you have the wrong flex for your style of play, your shots will not get where you want them to go with the power you expect to see.
What is flex
Flex is a useful thing to have in a hockey stick.
The number that each stick is given is a reference to the amount of pressure needed to bend the stick one inch.
So, if the flex is 100, then it takes 100 pounds to get the stick to bend.
Flex for youth players
If you are looking for a hockey stick for a youth player, then flex might not be as important as it is for older players.
As youth hockey programs are designed to help kids hone their fundamentals, they will eventually develop a preference for a certain amount of flex. Most youth hockey players do well with 40 flex, while junior hockey players find 50 flex to be acceptable for them.
But, as players find their flex, the numbers can vary between 60 and 110. The higher the number, the less flexibility the stick will have.
Stick sizes determine flex
Before you choose the flex of your newest hockey stick, you will need to decide what shaft stick you want to use.
The diameter and length of the stick change in these three sizes. The junior shaft is small and short. The senior shaft is have the biggest diameter and the longest shaft. The intermediate shaft is between the two and they are used by youth players and those at the senior level of play.
Most players who are under 14 years of age stick to the junior shaft. The senior sticks tend to have less flex in them, while the junior sticks have a little more. Here is another good resource for helping the decision of flex.
Choose the right flex
There are several ways to select the right flex for you. Many people will simply go with their age and style of play.
So, many young players will avoid a senior stick, even if the tougher flex is best for them. But, many other players will use the body weight rule, which advises you to choose a flex that is half of your body weight.
So, if you are 150 pounds, then a 75 flex is a good choice. If that flex does not work, then you move up and down from there.
Moving up or down in flex
The general rules for moving up and down in flex involve moving in intervals of five.
If you are more apt to take a slapshot, then you should add five to your flex. And, you should add five if you consider yourself to be strong and a good shooter. That extra stiffness will only make your shot stronger.
But, if you prefer wrist shot or snap shots, then you should reduce your flex by five. You can also reduce by five if you are still learning or you are weak in your shots or your form. You could potentially go up by 10 or down by 10, too.
Of course, the flex you choose is up to you, but it is helpful to have a starting point.
Test the stick
Another good rule to check if the flex is right for you is whether or not you can actually flex the stick.
This is easy to test!
Before you actually buy the stick, hold the stick like you normally would when playing. Then, use your lower hand to push the stick down and forward. If the stick does not flex about an inch, then the flex is probably too much for you. You should be able to get the stick to move an inch without trying too hard. If the stick moves too much, then you need a stiffer flex.
Cut the stick to add flex
There is another way to affect the flex of your hockey stick: cutting it.
Since most people will tape their hockey sticks at the handle, it is perfectly acceptable to cut the stick to your desired length. Manufacturers know that players will cut their sticks, so they have made it easy to do so by printing a cutting guide on the stick.
If you cut off two inches, then you will add 10 to the flex. But, if you continually buy senior sticks and cut them down, you should look into buying an intermediate stick because that size could actually be perfect for you.
Learn more advanced hockey tips from our Ice Hockey 101 Beginners guide.