Thursday, 6 August 2009
New Hockey Season
Stick or Twist?
It's that time of year again. The new hockey season is approaching fast, unfit and unprepared you look forward to yet another year of sporting adventures. I usually start keeping an eye out for a new stick around August. If and when I make a trip home to the Netherlands I will usually pick up a newly developed stick or two from one of the sports shops.
I prefer Grays, Dita and some TK sticks but on the whole the evolution of the composite hockey sticks has brought all the brands a lot closer together in terms of performance. I always enjoyed playing with Grays composite sticks because they had a slightly larger sweet spot and a bigger hook. On the other hand I played one season with a Dita and that had more feel and balance so it's all relative really. You need to find a stick you like, play around with it so you know it suits you and then work it in at training.
A number of the English International players play with the Grays GX series. Ashley Jackosn, the newly crowned European Champion's best player uses the GX 5000 Jumbow. This stick will be more tailored to short corner specialists with a larger bend. I have played with Grays for many years and have always found them to be very good hockey sticks. My dad used to bring home a stick bag full of Karachi Kings from his business trips to Pakistan so I grew up on them.
This massive sports brand have pumped a lot of money into the development of their hockey department lately through sponsoring some world class players to market their products including Jamie Dwyer and Christopher Zeller. They have however created a great range of sticks. The New Adidas TT10 used by Taeke Taekema for example is ideal for drag flicking but less so for a good touch while dribbling. With every little kid wanting to be the new short corner king I assume this has been selling rather well.
Dita have brought out some new sticks as well. The EXA 900 Powerhook from their new EXA range for example is a quality stick as far as I can tell. It has all the attributes. Decent stiffness for hitting along the deck, a substantial bend (but not exaggerated) for flicking and the powerhook shape of the head that allows for better control than your average composite stick. I personally like the Dita sticks because they are compact, good for control and speed.
The new Pulse and Flowflex range of TK sticks look pretty slick too. I only ever played with a TK for one or two seasons and it was well balanced as far as I can remember. I'm sure the TK 1.4 Flowflex is a very good hockey stick. It must be pretty powerful and stiff seeing it is made up of over 90% carbon. On the flip side you lose a good deal of flexibility when on the ball. The TK 1 for example has a much more balanced construction to provide touch as well as strength. It all depends on your personal preference as to which composition you chose.
Aside from the brands above, there are a host of other well known hockey stick manufacturers such as Mercian and Princess T-14, endorsed by Teun de Nooijer. All in all there is an unbelievable array of hockey sticks to chose from so good luck!