Tag Archives: Field Hockey Sticks

From HS to college and college to the national team – transitions in the game

Field hockey, no matter the level, is such a skilled game that is always changing and evolving. I think that is what initially attracted me to the sport. I see it as a cross between Ice Hockey and Soccer, two sports that I had grown up watching and playing almost all my life. When I started playing in 7th grade for my mom’s club team “Chix With Stix Field Hockey” I focused less on trying to push myself to be better and more on just being in the moment and having fun with my friends. I didn’t really understand that there was a possibility I could play in college or beyond, I always strictly thought about playing Ice Hockey.

Joining the Duxbury High School varsity field hockey team as a freshman, I remember being completely shocked by the speed and the skill that some of my upperclassmen possessed. We had a couple girls committed to top tier Division I and Division III programs. A couple of the girls also played for my club team, HTC Field Hockey, so as a group, we would do private lessons together with my club coach. I was in awe of these players, watching them use 3D skills to beat a defender and then line up for a reverse chip with such ease. My edgy, but at the time of my freshman season, one dimensional game had been completely shaken up. For me, seeing what it took to play in college was slightly daunting, but a challenge I was more than willing to accept.

USA Field Hockey Team in Action

Throughout my four years in high school, I absorbed all the skills I could possibly take in, watching hours and hours of international game footage. I spent long days with my club coaches, trying to turn my one dimensional game into a three dimensional, dynamic, tactical and aggressive game that would allow me to succeed in college. I began my journey, committing to Boston University and then joining the squad one year later. Despite my hard work and thorough preparation, I quickly realized that no matter what, you will never truly understand the game and be able to adapt to it until you’re stuck in the middle of it.

The pace is faster. The players are bigger and stronger. Everyone possesses the same skills and game sense that you do, but now they can execute these skills perfectly all while running at their top speed. I remember sitting at the field asking myself “how do you set yourself apart?” For me this was a huge lesson that I would have to learn, not only for college but for playing at the next level on the US Women’s National Team. Tactically, I had to understand every press that we would use, how to set up in different situations based on what I saw in front of me and so much more. I learned that fitness, strength, nutrition and sleep were just as important as understanding a skill or what was happening on the field. I quickly began to understand that flexibility with what my coaches needed from me was key. My freshman season I was forward, but after that year we needed a center back, so my role changed. I had to learn a whole new skills set to be ready for the following season, and that’s what I did. Throughout my college career, I learned that the tangibles were important, but the intangibles, like being coachable and open to new opportunities in front of you, was equally if not more important.

My U.S. and college careers have largely been intertwined, as I joined the U.S. Development Squad during the summer going into my junior season at Boston University. Joining the Development squad and eventually, the Women’s National Team showed me just how competitive field hockey can be. Each player is different and brings their own spin and style to the game, but despite this we are essentially the same. We have been the best players on every team we have ever played on, dominating in college and beyond. Nevertheless, the game continues to become faster. Every country we play against on the international stage has a different style of play, which can include a different pressing style, a structure that allows them to play through the midfield or down the sideline. Maybe they constantly use aerials to get the ball down the field, or maybe not. Each country brings something different and new to the table, and we always need to be ready for it. The U.S. plays a fast, forward game that is very aggressive with major emphasis on having a front foot mentality. We will fight tooth and nail to win the ball and get it in the cage. It’s a style that is unique to the U.S. and truly gives us an edge.

It is amazing to see the evolution of the game over time. In the beginning, you see it as very one dimensional. I focused on having fun with my friends and learning something new. As I understood more about the game and my love grew, my game also grew becoming more three dimensional with added variables that pushed me to become the player I am today. I am still growing and changing with the times because even today the game has not stopped growing. To continue to compete at such a high level, you must change and evolve with it, being open to new tactical or technical skills that might come along. As I said before, the task might be daunting but believe me, looking back it will be one of the greatest journeys of your life. For me, I will always be proud of the moment I picked up a stick and said “bring it on”.

AllyHammel #21
USA Field Hockey Defender
GryphonTaboo Blue Steel Pro

AllyHammel #21
USA Field Hockey Defender
GryphonTaboo Blue Steel Pro

Field Hockey Stick Bow Shapes

Selecting a New Stick for High School Field Hockey

Selecting a new field hockey stick is a decision driven by personal preferences. It’s much more than graphics and position, it really comes down to your personal playing style. Think about what skills you perform on a regular basis- do you need more power? High carbon content contributes to high power in hits, but can also make receiving more challenging. If control is more your focus, you will want something with a little less carbon. Players need to find the right balance of power and feel to best suit their game. If you are typically a fall-season field hockey player, we usually suggest an advanced stick which range from about 30-60% carbon. If you also play club field hockey year round, you may want to consider an elite stick which are usually around 70-100% carbon.

Field Hockey Stick Materials

Similarly, you will also need to find the best shape that suits your playing style. All sticks have a bow to them, and the location of the highest point of that bow along the stick can have different advantages and disadvantages in the game. When first learning the game, most players will start with a regular bow, which has the highest point placed in the midsection or center of the shaft equally assisting every skill in the game. The most common shape in the modern game of field hockey is the late bow, which has the highest point closer to the toe of the stick. This shape offers extra assistance with lifting the ball, aerials, and dynamic ball movement, without sacrificing your hitting technique. An extreme late bow has the highest point as close to the toe as possible, maximizing 3D skills and dynamic ball control. This extreme shape may take some time getting used to when driving.

Field Hockey Stick Bow Shapes

Ready to pick out your next stick? Look at your current stick first. We usually suggest going up in carbon content about 30-50%. This will give you a nice increase in power without losing too much control all at once. So for example, if you are looking for a step up from your middle school stick and it was 10% carbon, you’d want to look for a stick that was around 40-60% carbon. If you are ready to move up from your first high school stick and it was 30% carbon, you will want to look at something that is 60-80% carbon. Once you decide what carbon range you are looking for, you can start looking at shape. If you are an all-around player who likes to do a lot of hits/slaps, you will probably want a late bow shape. If you are the type of player that likes to do a lot of aerials, 3D skills, and dynamic ball movement, you may want to get an extreme late bow shape.

Still have some questions? We know all of the details can be pretty confusing. You can always reach out to one of our Longstreth Experts for help with selecting the perfect stick for you! We’re always here and happy to help- this is what we do!

#weAREfieldhockey #ChooseTheBest

Introducing Nedstar [video]

 

Introducing Nedstar a Lonstreth exclusive field hockey brand!

Video Transcript: Hi, I’m Maggie and today we’ll be talking about Nedstar.

Longstreth is proud to add Nedstar Field Hockey to our exclusive line of products. Nedstar sticks represent quality and innovation. They transfer their love of the game into high-quality sticks. The colorful, well-designed sticks offer a variety of composition and bow types. These sticks are perfect for the advanced and elite players.

To become a part of the Never Ending Dream, stop by our retail store to try your new NedStar stick, today!

Nedstar Field Hockey Sticks: https://www.longstreth.com/Nedstar-Sticks/products/2498/
All Field Hockey Sticks: https://www.longstreth.com/field-hockey-sticks.asp

Related Article:

Nedstar Field Hockey Sticks – New to the Longstreth Line

Nedstar Field Hockey Sticks

Nedstar is an Irish field hockey company that has been on the market for only a few years. Their passion and energy match Longstreth’s commitment to the game – making Nedstar a good fit for Longstreth’s exclusive line of field hockey sticks.

Nedstar creates field hockey sticks of the highest design and innovation. They represent quality, affordability, and colorfulness. USA Women’s National Team player, Katelyn Falgowski Ginolfi plays with the Nedstar Superfly. This powerhouse stick is light to the touch, with a late bow and solid composition for the elite player.

Longstreth is the exclusive U.S. dealer for the Nedstar field hockey sticks. Check out the Nedstar Dream Limited Edition, a drag flicking specialist stick which also caters to dynamic ball movement all over the field.  The Nedstar Superfly is a popular choice for the dynamic player who requires quick ball handling as well as maximum power. The Nedstar Groove G2 is a powerful stick with a grooved channel, which allows effortless transition between the ball on the turf and aerial skills. The line is rounded out with the Nedstar Low Bow 2 which has the versatility to balance power and skill.

Visit Longstreth.com to view each stick’s composition, bow, and target weight. If you have any field hockey questions, ask our field hockey experts – they’re always here to help you select the perfect field hockey stick.

Wood Vs Composite Field Hockey Sticks- which ones to choose?

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You have a lot of options to consider when choosing field hockey sticks. Sticks are the most important part of your field hockey equipment.One of the most important features of the stick is the material that it is made from. Traditionally, all sticks were made of wood but there are now many more options. Each material has its own benefits. It is now becoming more difficult to find a stick that is all wood, because most will have a layer of fiberglass on the outside to reduce vibration and increase durability.

If you are buying a first stick for yourself or someone else, it is best to begin with a wooden stick. Wood has the major benefit of being less expensive, although some fiberglass sticks are now around the same price. However, many youth leagues do not allow non-wooden sticks, so check with a coach or a league representative to be certain of the league regulations.

Wood sticks have a comfortable, light and balanced feel. They help young and developing players to improve their skills and grow into the game through easier handling and better control. Being a natural material also helps to give a softer feel to ball handling. Unfortunately, no two pieces of wood are alike. This can result in inconsistent results from wooden sticks. For example, if you really like your current wooden stick and buy the same one again, its performance could be completely different. Also, wood will break down over time and a wooden stick can’t have the same predictable sweet spot that a composite stick provides.

The Benefits of Composite Field Hockey Sticks

While some players may always prefer wooden sticks, composite sticks are much more commonly used now. If you want to keep up with the competition, you will probably want to have a composite stick. Metal sticks are now banned from the sport, but there are more than enough materials available to make up for this.

The least expensive and most common composite sticks are made from fiberglass. Inexpensive and easy to produce, fiberglass makes a great material for producing all sorts of field hockey equipment. Fiberglass sticks are light, easy to control, and will increase your ability to strike the ball with force. Many fiberglass sticks will have an insert made of Kevlar or Aramid, a chemically produced material so strong that it is commonly used in bulletproof vests.

At the top levels, players commonly use sticks made from a combination of carbon fiber and Kevlar or Aramid. Carbon fiber has the advantage of being very stiff, so the greater the amount of carbon in a stick, the more force it will transfer to the ball. The hardest hits come from carbon fiber sticks. But these sticks are also the most expensive and shatter easily if not combined with another material to strengthen them. Due to their high price and lower durability, these sticks are usually used by elite level players.

In short, choosing an all wood or fiberglass-wrapped wooden stick is a great way for a developing player to get the most from their playing and practice time without breaking the bank. However, composite sticks are lighter and more powerful, and fiberglass sticks can be very reasonably priced. Whatever your preference, Longstreth provides you with a range of options across all price ranges so that you can customize your game with all the quality gear you need not just for field hockey, but also for Softball and lacrosse.

Field Hockey Sticks – all you ever wanted to know!

Field hockey sticks come in a variety of lengths, shapes, and materials. Familiarize yourself with the different options you have in stick choice, and your game will benefit from it. If you’re just starting out in the game, there are some key characteristics of field hockey sticks that you should pay attention to. And if you’re looking for a left-handed stick, you can stop now. Field hockey sticks are only right-handed.

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A good place to start is with trying out a few sticks from a teammate or coach. Find out what they like and dislike, and get a feel for what type of stick is comfortable for you. There are a number of options to choose from.

Parts of the Stick

There are three key components of the stick: The handle, bow, and head. The handle, also called the grip or shaft, is the part that is held. It is covered with a grip or tape that helps you to keep control of it while using the stick. The bow refers to the curve of the stick. By regulations, this bend cannot be more than 25 millimeters. Finally, the head can be divided into three parts. These are the heel, toe, and scoop. The heel is the bottom part of the stick, which connects to the toe, or the striking surface of the stick. The scoop is opposite the heel, and has a small groove that is used to help handle the ball.

Toe Types

The toe of the stick has four different options for you to choose: Hook, Maxi, Midi, or Shorti. The majority of players will choose the midi style because it has the greatest versatility. It’s also best for beginning players because of this. In general, defensive players choose a hook or maxi-style toe, while those on offense go for a shorti.

The Bow

As mentioned before, the maximum bow of a stick is 25 mm, but this bend can be at different places in the stick. The regular bow is an even, centered curvature that is best for beginning and intermediate players, because its balance allows for better overall play. For advanced players, the control bow moves the bend in the stick closer to the toe. This increases power and allows for greater control, but requires more skill. At the elite levels of the sport, late and extreme late bows allow for even greater power and control. These field hockey sticks take even more skill to control.

Materials 

Most beginner sticks are made of wood. These sticks help beginner and intermediate players to develop their skills with a more flexible, lightweight and comfortable feel. Composite sticks cover a whole range of skill levels and materials. In fact, many wooden sticks are even composite, give that they are covered in fiberglass to improve durability.

Fiberglass sticks help to keep that light, balanced feel of the wooden stick while offering many of the advantages of an elite stick, with a lower price tag. At the highest end of the materials range, carbon fiber sticks offer greater power and control, but are harder to control. They tend to be used by elite players.

Stick Sizing

Sticks can be up to 40 inches long, but most sticks used are going to be in a range between 32″-38″. The following sizing chart gives a good starting guide to finding the right stick:

Finally, you want to choose the stick based upon which skills you want to enhance, rather than entirely by position. No matter what your level of play or playing position, Longstreth has the sticks, balls or other field hockey equipment for you.