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Hockey/which stick is best for my son

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QUESTION: My son will be 11 years old in April he is approximately 46 inches and 80 lbs. he is currently using a Bauer Vapor 2.0  . He plays on a hudson valley travel team and is considered by most to be an exceptional player. He plays forward ( right wing ) center and defense, mostly center.
Please advise which stick will allow him to play at the next level.

Thank You

Robert

ANSWER: Robert,

Thank you for writing.  Well, I'm not really sure how to answer this question, but I am hoping that you don't feel that I am a jerk.  If you would like to get your kid to the next level in his game, then he will need to work on his skating and don't worry about his stick.

Hockey is 80% skating, 5% passing, 5% shooting, 5% checking and 5% tactical knowledge.  Out of the 80 skating, 80% of that is balance!  Now, yes I see that you said he on a travel team and he plays all the positions.

As a College Coach and Commissioner one of the things I look for are kids that can skate backwards just as fast as a kid that can skate forwards.

Here's something that you can tell you boy to keep him motivated to keep on working on his skating..."Professional hockey players are at where they are in life because they did things other kids didn't want to do!"

Scout don't look to see if he has a nice stick, Scout look to see if he can transition from front to back, and move laterally from right to left and left to right while controlling the puck at full speed.

My advice to you is have him join power skating classes or camps twice a year.  Once at Christmas time and once during the Summer.  

Remember, skating is the key!

Rob Lopez - Commissioner
University Ice Hockey League - Mexico


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: He does 3 weeks of power skating every summer and he skates backwards as well as he skates forward, he is considered by his coaches to be the smartest best skater on the team, perhaps in the league.
I assume that any decent stick should suffice, if I'm interpreting your answer correctly. The flex and the lie shouldn't matter at this level, is that correct? If so then I will probably get him a Bauer vapor with 50 flex.

Thank you, Happy Holidays

Robert

Answer
Robert,

This is correct.  Most kids of his age group, don't have the upper body strength to make the flex of a stick the stick work. Having said that, the lowest flex you can fine would allow him to use whatever upper body strength to make it work.

Let me ask you this question.  Which way does he shoot...right or left?  What hand does he write with?  89% of parents don't understand the mechanics of shooting and how it relates to the writing hand.

About 85% of all player within Canada shoot left and within the USA about 55% of the players shoot right...why?

The top of the stick is the artistic side of the stick.  This means that the writing hand needs to be at the top of the stick  The hand that is down on the shaft is the hand that just supports the leverage to help drive the shot.

Example: If you were to take the stick with your writing hand and you stick the blade of the stick under a box that weighs 80 pounds, if you try to pick in the box "ONLY" with the writing hand, all of the force will be placed on your wrist on that writing hand. The odds of you picking up the box with the one hand is not good...correct?

However, for simplicity reasons, let's say you get down on one knee and you place your heel of your skate on the ice with your toe of the skate facing up at the middle of the shaft of the stick, now you can push down with a finger of that writing hand and the box will move...why?

Simple...leverage!  By placing the skate at the middle of the shaft, you have place a fulcrum at that point which allows you to make the stick work better for you.

So by placing the bottom hand down the shaft, allows the player to place a fulcrum down the shaft allowing them to make the leverage of the stick work during the shot.  Here is a good example that you can show him.

At the local play ground is a toy called a "Teeter-Totter" (aka: Seesaw) where one kid sits on one side and a kids on the other side.  Now, lets say your sons friend is 130 pounds and your child is 80 pounds, the odds of your son picking up his friend is not good due to his friends weight.

But, if you were to change the center point (fulcrum) that allows them to go up and down, more towards his friend, what we have done is change the leverage point in favor of your son.  Thus he will have the ability to pick up his friend.

Now if he wants to have a blistering shot, he needs to make that fulcrum point(bottom hand)work for him. What I am about to tell you is the foundation for every shot; wrist, snap, slap,and passing.

It's called a "Push and Pull" technique. You "push" the HANDS away from the body, the bottom hand doesn't move once at full extension, and you "pull" the top hand back towards the body.  This allows the bottom hand to act like a fulcrum and then the shot goes faster than normal.

However, if he places the puck 6 to 8 inches behind the heel of his skates (on his stick side)it's going to force him to place those hands closer together to make that puck reach that far back.

As he start to move the puck forward, the bottom hand starts to slide down the shaft and adds pressure to the shaft, which will allow the shaft to bend due to the weight and back drag of the shaft on the ice.  As the puck move to the point where the puck is about 3 inches ahead of his toes, this is the point of release and this should be the point where his bottom hand had maximum pressure on the shaft and full extension for the fulcrum.

Once he pulls that top hand back towards his body, he needs to roll the shaft hand over to allow the tip of the blade of the stick to point to the hole that he is aiming for.  This will make that shot more accurate.

Okay let's go back for a second and review.  Why is the writing hand so important on the placement of the stick?  The top hand does the artistic part of the stick...aka dangling the puck, where as the bottom hand works the leverage.

I hope this information helped.

Rob Lopez - Commissioner / CEO
University Ice Hockey League / Pass the Puck, Inc.
www.toroshockey.com.mx / www.passthepuck.net  

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Rob Lopez

Expertise

I can answer all questions about ice hockey from Mites level to College. I have 15 years as a Goalie Coach, 5 years as an assistant coach, 6 years as a hockey director, and 9 years as a General Manager

Experience

I have been in the industry now for over 35 years and I have developed youth and adult programs from Canada to Mexico. Plus, I design 100's of free practice drills for 1000's of coaches worldwide in 41 different countries. http://www.passthepuck.net

Organizations
USA Hockey Pass the Puck, Inc.

Publications
HF forum International Hockey Forum Pass the Puck Blog

Education/Credentials
I have a level 5 coaching certification with USA Hockey and a level 3 instructor certification.

Awards and Honors
Level 5 USA Hockey Coaching Certification

Past/Present Clients
Currently I have 3000 coaches from 41 different countries that are register with my web site. http://www.passthepuck.net

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