Hockey Stick Size
Whether playing on an ice hockey team or just some street hockey in your driveway, having the right size stick is crucial for ensuring the 11-year-old in your life is safe while they are playing! When measuring for a stick, it can result in difficulty playing or even injury if the wrong size is used.
The stick length recommended for a child in the intermediate age category, which spans from 11 years old up to 14 years old, is between 50” and 58”. However, the age group is less important than the child’s height, as this is what the stick length is based off of.
If you’re not sure how to go about measuring stick height, you’re in the right place! This article will teach you exactly how to measure stick size based on the height of the person intending to use it. You will also learn why it is so important to have the right size stick, including the risks that come with using a stick that is either too long or too short for your body height.
Frequently beginners feel as though they have more control over the puck with a slightly shorter stick. This does not mean significantly shorter, simply even an inch shorter can make a significant impact on puck feel. The standard method for stick measurements is to stand with your skates on and hold the stick out in front of you.
The top of your stick should land between one and two inches above or below your chin. Generally, the stick length for an 11-year-old is going to fall somewhere between 50” and 58”. This is the average height, but as you may expect from the measurement process, it could be more or less than this depending on if your 11-year-old is taller than average or shorter than average.
That is why it is critical to always measure your stick and not just trust the average length measurement. In fact, you may get a closer measurement by basing it off of the players’ height, rather than focusing solely on age averages. Meaning that 50” to 58” may be ideal for a child between 4’4” and 5’4”, but not all 11-year old’s fall into this range!
Therefore, for a child that is a bit shorter, you may need a stick length closer to 45”, while a taller child may need one closer to 61”. By following player height rather than age averages, you will get a closer, and more safe, measurement for your specific build.
The first thing to consider before choosing the right hockey stick is which option is best for you. There are a number of stick types out there, and if you are not aware of the pros and cons of each, you may end up unhappy with your hockey stick choice. While much of this choice comes down to finding what is most comfortable, it can also impact performance.
If you’re playing with the wrong type of stick, you may not be able to access your full potential. This could set you back years if you are trying to pursue hockey professionally rather than as a hobby. This is mainly because particular sticks are better on ice, while others are better for street hockey.
However, it’s also true that some materials are better for different skill levels, which is potentially the most critical factor to consider for an 11-year-old. In general, sticks can be separated into three categories:
- Composite sticks
- Wood sticks
- Two-piece shaft and blade combo sticks
If you aren’t sure which hockey stick is right for your needs, let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of each based on the skill level for the 11-year-old in need of a stick. For those with clear-cut skill differences, it can be easy to decide on a stick.
For beginners, the best stick is the wooden stick. It’s not uncommon for hockey players nowadays to look at wooden sticks as old school due to all of the advances there has been in hockey in recent years. However, regardless of what some may say about these sticks, they are still around, and they can be an excellent choice for players who are just starting out.
While these sticks have become obsolete in the NHL, they are highly regarded by players of all ages. Wooden sticks are known for how well you can feel the puck while using them, for the longest lifespan and durability of all stick materials, and for being cheap. This can be the perfect combination for many players, especially beginners or those playing hockey as a hobby.
With a wooden stick, you will not need to replace it very often. In fact, you may not need to replace it at all until you outgrow it! They are also ideal for people who do not want to spend a lot of money on a stick. However, there are cons to be aware of before going out and buying a wooden stick.
The primary downside for beginners is their weight. Since they are solid wood, they are significantly heavier than any other stick. In fact, they can weigh up two to three times the amount of a composite stick. This is a significant setback for kids who are not very strong yet or who may tire quickly from swinging a wooden stick.
On the other hand, they serve as a great training tool for beginners as it can help build their strength and power. This is especially important for younger kids before they graduate to a nicer and potentially lighter stick.
The other concern that comes with wooden sticks is the inconsistency over time. While they will usually perform well in the beginning, they typically start to perform poorly the longer they are used as the wood breaks down in certain areas. This can affect your game and lower your performance. Again though, for beginners, this may not be a huge issue.
Therefore, wooden sticks are great to start learning hockey with, but with time may need to be phased out for a different stick type as skill level progresses. Wooden sticks will increase arm strength and endurance, making the child more prepared for an upgraded stick when the time comes.
The flex of your stick determines how stiff it is when you apply force. In other words, it is how many pounds of force you need to put behind the stick in order to bend it. When you are considering the flex, remember that there is not necessarily a right or wrong amount; it is often dependent on the player and their preference.
While it is nice to experiment flexibly, young beginners should start on the lowest end possible for learning ease. This will take the pressure off of them and make learning the game more comfortable than using a stiffer stick. So for those who may be smaller or less advanced at age 11, you may want to go down in flex to what juniors (age 7-13) use, which is between 40 and 50.
It is common for beginners to prefer a more flexible stick as it makes hitting the puck a bit easier. In order to get a good shot for somebody who is not as skilled or not as strong, they’ll need something naturally more flexible. As they become more experienced and get some more arm strength, they’ll be able to handle a stiffer stick.
For a more intermediate player, a two-piece stick may be ideal. The most prominent part of this stick type is that you’ll need to purchase a blade and a shaft separately. The materials used to make these are a blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass. At the same time, the blade can either be purchased in composite or wood.
Because most or all of this stick is composite, it makes it a very lightweight choice. The only time weight can creep up is with the use of a wooden blade instead of a composite blade. These two-piecers have excellent performance and are a natural progression from a wood stick.
They are also middle of the line when it comes to cost. This is a much lower price option and therefore, could save you money while giving you an alternative that is almost as well performing as your most expensive option, the one-piece composite stick.
The other significant benefit is the ability to replace parts. On a two-piece stick, if your blade breaks for any reason, you can just take it off and put a new one on. The same goes for the shaft. If you find that you are breaking sticks pretty consistently, this will save you money in replacing the broken piece rather than having to buy a whole new stick.
The major con to these sticks is that they can loosen over time. The more you play with them, the more the connection will start to give out. Unfortunately, even if you’re doing everything right with care, this is inevitable. Simply, the more you play, the faster your stick will wear down, and these sticks wear down right at the connection location.
One way to avoid this for as long as possible is to make sure that the taper type of your shaft and blade match! Each shaft comes with a different taper, either tapered or standard. When making your purchase make sure you are not buying a standard shaft with a tapered blade. This will inhibit them from fusing together.
If this happens, you will find yourself buying new parts faster, and may not understand why your connection keeps coming loose.
For an intermediate player, you will follow the same guidelines for measuring length. However, remember that getting a stick on the longer end will give you a more powerful shot. The longer stick will provide you with more reach, and because of that, you’ll be able to have a better shot with less effort put into it.
While stick length preference often depends on the position being played, an intermediate player will want a more powerful shot and therefore, may prefer a stick on the slightly longer end.
The better the player, the stiffer the flex on the stick should be. An intermediate player will have more ability to put power and force behind the stick, which will enable more pressure on the puck. With more strength and skill, the stick will naturally flex more efficiently and therefore, should be bought stiffer.
For an intermediate 11-year-old player, you may want to range closer to the upper range for the age group. Something between 55 or 70 will be significantly stiffer than that of a beginner’s stick. As the player gets more advanced, they will find it easier to manage those upper ranges.
Many 11-year old’s can be extremely advanced and skilled in the sport. For a more advanced player, a composite stick is going to be ideal. The most common stick type for high-level players is the composite stick. These are the sticks that the majority of National Hockey League (NHL) players use.
To make these sticks, carbon fiber is usually woven with fiberglass blends to create the ideal lightweight stick. These are also consistent in the way they move and interact with the puck and ice.
For these reasons, the composite stick is going to be high performing. Additionally, they come in a variety of price points so you can find the one that fits your budget. It is important to remember that usually, the more expensive the composite stick, the better it will perform. With a varying price range comes a varying degree of performance.
Therefore, the more you pay for your composite stick, likely the happier you will be with it. But before investing in an expensive composite stick, it’s also essential to consider the cons. The most significant disadvantage to this category is that they can lack durability. Some of these are built to last better than others. However, they pale in comparison to a wood stick.
Even the best composite stick will not last nearly as long as a wooden stick. While the composite stick is ideal for people with higher budgets who do not mind investing in new sticks more frequently, for those with lower skill levels or less of a budget, you may find that a composite stick is not worth it.
For 11-year old’s who are advanced in their hockey technique and who are becoming very competitive, a composite stick will be their best option. Just keep in mind that it will be a continuous investment.
If you’re not exactly sure which skill level you need to buy for, deciding between these three types can feel overwhelming. More will go into the decision than just the size and fit if you are unsure. You will also want to consider first, your price point and second, the style of hockey you will be playing.
Depending on your style and skill level, you will likely opt for differing stick materials. Other things you may want to ask yourself before purchasing a stick include:
- Will the stick be used for garage, street, or ice hockey?
- Is the 11-year-old new to hockey?
- Is this their first-ever stick, or do they have some experience?
- How long has it been since they’ve played?
All of these will determine how you move your stick and the amount of endurance they need for their position and will also help you to find a general idea of the experience level of the child that you’re buying a stick for.
The ideal height for an 11-year old’s hockey stick is likely going to range between 50” and 58”; however, you are more likely to find the perfect height and fit by looking at a chart of height as it compares to stick size. This way, instead of using the average 11-year-old height to make your guestimate, you will be using your 11-year-old’s exact height.
If all else fails and the height still is not feeling right, use the measuring technique discussed in the stick height section. Just by lining the stick up with the chin while you are in skates will give you the fastest determination of which height is the most ideal. Remember though, with particular sticks, you may be able to continue trimming it down if you buy one that is too long. However, this is going to be easiest with a wood stick.
Therefore, it depends on which material stick you decide on. It is recommended that for children who are just starting out with hockey not to buy an expensive composite stick. To build strength and skill as a beginner, you can get further by using a wood stick at the start.
Once the child progresses with their skill and becomes more competitive in hockey, it may be the right time to invest in a more expensive composite stick that will last longer. It may also be ideal to wait on an expensive stick until the child is done growing if the cost is a concern; this way, they can keep it as long as possible.