Players can get varying degrees of ice hockey stick flex in the shaft. Generally, hockey sticks are imprinted with a number indicating the stick flex, and the smaller the flex rating number, the more flexible the hockey stick is.
How To Choose Hockey Stick Flex
Stronger, heavier players should have a higher flex. Smaller, weaker players should have a lower flex. How to choose hockey stick flex by the rating? A hockey stick flex rating number is a relative thing. A youth stick rated 45 flex will be a flexible stick for a light weight player, like an 8 or 10 year old who weighs less than 75 pounds, while it may seem stiff to a player under 55 pounds.
Please keep in mind that the flex number is assigned to the hockey stick at full length. If you cut the shaft shorter, you make it stiffer. As a player grows, their comfortable shaft stiffness rating will have to increase.
What Does Hockey Stick Flex Rating Number Represent?
Hockey stick flex rating number represents the number of pounds of force it takes to bend the shaft 1 inch with top hand at the top of the stick and the bottom hand applying pressure to the middle of the shaft.
A 85 flex shaft requires 85 lbs of force to flex 1” at the full length of the new ice hockey stick. Remember that you may cut your sticks down to size, and when you do, they become stiffer. Take a stick off the rack and hold your top hand where you’d be cutting it and then try to flex it.
How Does Hockey Stick Flex Affect A Shot?
Stiffer sticks, as long as they still flex, will deliver a harder slapshot. Flex is important in the force of a shot because energy is stored in the flexed shaft and released when the stick moves forward and the flex unwinds and whips the puck. Too flexible is too mushy and absorbs too much of the shot. If you watch a slow motion video of a hockey stick shooting a puck, you’ll see the shaft flex a bit on impact. When it bends, energy is spring loaded into the shaft of the hockey stick and that energy is released upon the puck with the follow through. The force your body and arms put on the stick is the pounds of force, and that changes with the type of shot just like the pounds of force on your ankles changes between standing and running.
For example, if a 100 pound person is standing, there’s 100 pounds of pressure on the ankles. If they jump or run they increase that force or pressure on the ankles significantly. The same applies to the hockey stick. More rigorous movement creates more force, pressure, or pounds per inch on the shaft of the hockey stick.
Using a stick that is too flexible will cause mushy sluggish stickhandling and weaker shots. Too stiff will also weaken shots because you won’t be able to get enough energy penned up on the flexed shaft.
Does Hockey Stick Construction Change The Flex?
No. Remember the flex rating is in pounds. 85 pounds are 85 pounds regardless of what material they’re applied to. Flex is the same regardless of what type materials are used to make a hockey stick. A wood stick with a flex of 100 has the same stiffness as a composite stick with a flex of 100. They both require 100 pounds of pressure to bend the hockey stick an inch.