hockey stick flex guide

How to Choose the Right Hockey Stick Flex

The right flex can make all the difference in your performance on the ice. The term “Hockey Stick Flex” refers to the bending of the stick when shooting in hockey. This bending, which happens prior to the stick hitting the puck, acts like a hinge and enhances the power of the shot. Selecting the appropriate flex based on your playing style, size, and strength can significantly impact your shooting, passing, and overall puck control.

Here’s a guide to help you choose the right hockey stick flex.

What does the flex number on a hockey stick mean?

Flex on a hockey stick refers to the amount of bend or flexibility it has when pressure is applied. The flex rating indicates how much force (in lbs.) is required to bend the stick one inch and can range from 20 to 110 or higher.

Lower numbers indicate more flexible sticks, while higher numbers represent stiffer sticks.

Choosing the right flex for your playing style, size, and strength is important for maximizing performance on the ice.

How is hockey stick flex measured?

Manufacturers use specialized machines to perform flex tests, ensuring consistency and accuracy in the measurements.

The ends of the stick are secured in a horizontal position while a downward force is applied at the midpoint.

The machine records the number of pounds of force needed to bend the stick one inch, which determines the stick’s flex rating.

Ex. 75 lbs of pressure will give that stick a flex number of 75.

How does hockey stick flex impact play?

Hockey Stick Flex-Phil Kessel
By VirtKitty

Stick flex plays a big role in the way that a player handles and shoots the puck. A lower flex can provide a better puck feel and a quicker release for forwards, while a stiffer flex can generate more power and accuracy for defensemen or those with heavier slap shots.

Hockey players who are just starting out should choose a stick with a lower flex. As you become more comfortable with handling the puck, you can gradually increase the flex of your stick.

Experienced players can choose any flex that they are comfortable with. However, most players prefer a stick with a flex between 85 and 100.

Experimenting with different flex ratings to find the right one for you can help you reach your maximum potential on the ice.

How do I choose the right hockey stick flex for me?

 hockey stick flex
By All-Pro Reels

When calculating how much flex you need, a trick is to take your body weight in pounds and divide it by two. That number will give you an idea of the flex needed.

For example, a stick flex of 90 is best suited for adult (senior) players in the 180lb range. However, it is important to consider adjustments for differences in height and strength and your personal preference.

You can also talk to a knowledgeable salesperson at your local sports store, who can help you choose the right hockey stick flex for your needs. If possible, try out sticks at a sports store that has shooting lanes before making a purchase.

Hockey stick flex chart

Youth Players (Age 5-8) 3’6″-4’8″ 40-80lbs

20-40 flex

For younger players just starting out, it is recommended that they use a stick with a lower flex. This will help them to develop their skills and learn how to properly control the puck.

A young player may not have enough strength to effectively shoot the puck with a stiffer stick and may develop the bad habit of flipping it instead.

As they get older and more experienced, they can gradually move up to a higher flex.

Junior Players (Age 7-11) 4’4″ – 5’1″, 70 – 110lbs

40-52 flex

Most junior sticks have an average flex rating of 50. This is a good starting point for junior players, as it will help them learn to better control the puck.

Intermediate Players (4’11” – 5’8″, 95-140 lbs)

55-70 flex

Players who are considered intermediate typically use a stick with a flex between 50 and 70. This provides them with the power and control they need to be successful on the ice. The flex rating of an intermediate stick typically falls between the junior and senior flexes, with an average rating of 60.

Senior Players (5’7″-6’1″ 150lbs+)

75-110 flex

Adult players usually prefer a senior stick with a higher flex, between 75 and 100. This allows them to get more power behind their shots and make precise passes.

What flex should a forward use?

Hockey stick flex- Jarome Iginla
By Skottjanne

Forwards typically use a lower flex stick, that will give them the proper flex for quick wrist shots, or snap shots. This gives them the power they need to make powerful shots while still having enough control to make accurate passes and deft stickhandling moves. It is important for forwards to find a balance between power and control in order to be successful on the ice.

If you are a forward, you may want to experiment with different flexes to find the one that best suits your game.

What flex should a defensemen use?

Defensemen typically use a stiffer stick. This allows them to get enough power for their slap shots while still having good control when moving the puck up the ice. They use their sticks aggressively to hack at both other players as well as the boards when forechecking. A stiffer stick may also be helpful in winning those all-important puck battles.

It is important for defensemen to experiment with different flexes to find the one that works best for them. By doing so, they will be able to maximize their performance on the ice.

What is the difference between a low-flex stick and a high-flex stick?

Players who prefer better control of the puck and want to make quick, short passes usually opt for low-flex sticks. Sticks with a softer flex are ideal for players who use shorter and quicker shooting motions, as they can load the stick more quickly and easily.

A high-flex stick is typically used by players who want more power behind their shots and passes. These sticks can generate more speed and distance but may be harder to control.

It is important to find the balance between control and power that works for you.

Do different brands of hockey sticks have different flexes?

Yes, different brands of hockey sticks can have different flexes. This is because each company has its own design and manufacturing process. As a result, some sticks will be stiffer or more flexible than others.

Does cutting a hockey stick change the flex?

Yes, cutting a hockey stick will change the flex. The general rule of thumb is that every inch cut-off adds 3-5 flex. Meaning the stick will be stiffer than before. Most brands now have measurements on the back of the stick that indicate the flex the stick will have if it’s cut to that length.

What other factors should I consider when choosing a hockey stick?

In addition to flex, there are a few other factors that you should consider when choosing a hockey stick.

These include:

Player Weight and Strength:

  • Consider your body weight and strength when determining the appropriate stick flex.

  • Generally, players with a smaller build or less upper body strength should opt for a lower flex rating, while stronger and heavier players may benefit from a stiffer flex.

Playing Style:

  • Your position and playing style also influence the ideal stick flex.

  • For forwards who rely on quick releases and wrist shots, a lower flex can provide a better puck feel and allow for faster-shot execution.

  • Defensemen or players with a heavier slapshot might prefer a stiffer flex to generate more power and accuracy.

Consider Stick Length:

  • Keep in mind that the length of your hockey stick can affect the perceived flex.

  • Cutting the stick shorter increases the flex stiffness while extending the length softens the flex.

  • Adjustments to stick length can fine-tune the flex to match your playing style and strength.

See our article Choosing The Perfect Hockey Stick Length: A Complete Guide for help.

Final thoughts

Choosing the correct flex is an important part of any player’s game.

Remember to consider your skill level, shooting style, and personal preferences when selecting a stick.

By doing so, you will be able to find the best flex that gives you the most power and control while playing. Good luck!

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