Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Stick Buying Guide,

So what is important as You want to buy your first Floorball stick?

First and foremost you must have a stick that you like - meaning it must look good enough so you feel good about it. And most of todays entry level sticks - they do look good.
For many players this also mean that you take the step up from the most basic sticks that normally is used in school sets and similar packages. As you decide to play with your own personal stick you do not want to play with a sand grip or other basic solutions like just a basic plastic maybe too wobbly pipe.

The rule of thumb is otherwise that a Floorball stick should reach up to, or just over, your belly button as you put the blade on the floor. Children's sticks can be slightly longer as compared to their belly button position. 
Yes, this is way shorter than any Ice Hockey stick and somewhat awkward for many Hockey players. Therefore many Hockey players prefer to use a slightly longer stick, just above 40 Inches. The main bulk of Floorball sticks sold are otherwise about 38 Inches long.
In theory a shorter stick makes you faster but the longer stick will provide you with a better reach.

You must buy a stick that is either lefty or righty since the blade is designed for either side. This is crucial. If you are a lefty player and buy a righty stick you will not be able to play very well since the stick blade is shaped for optimum performance on either side. So you must know what side you play on. Righty means that your right hand is closest to the blade as you hold the stick with two hands.
As you may have seen some players take their stick to the toaster or the heat gun to shape their blade with a little bowl to increase ball control - Do you as a beginner want to do that? Well our advice is that treatment like that might destroy the blade too - so it it wise to try out things like this as you are the proud owner of two sticks. And why not try to make serious alterations on your first stick when you buy your second stick? While the second new one is still intact. But to slightly improve the blade you can definitely try to hook the blade, maybe just by bending with your own hands, but as you do this try to play with it and do not do this too much - there is a legal limit on how much a stick can be hooked, to be used in games to0. And too much of a hook can also make the stick even harder to play with.
The other option is to later on put on a new blade, like a zorro designed blade to do some nice tricks with the stick.
Stick blades are also designed with curvature for the face and the cavity. The face describes the bend of the blade in its long way and cavity describes the curvature from the floor to the top of the blade and a larger cavity makes it easier to shoot higher but you might loose some of your passing abilities by using a blade with high cavity.

For a beginner our judgement is that the flex of the stick is not too important. A lower flex number provides you with a harder stick that in theory shot harder and a softer stick (and blade) provides more ball control. This is however also something that is related to you own "soft hands". The general advice is that as a beginner you should aim for a softer stick (with a higher flex number) but the most important thing is that you get a stick that is not too stiff to begin with. However the general advice is that for beginners this is not a large matter. Normally flex is measured in between 24 to 30. But remember that a shorter stick get more stiff - in the case you decide to shorten your own stick as some kind of alteration to your stick.

Weight, is that important. In theory it is since with a lighter stick you might play much faster. But normally this is so small differences so you will not notice the different weight between a very light stick and a more sturdy one. However as we understand the stick market of today - it seems like very lightweight sticks has been performing very well and it seems to be an important stick feature for many players. So do not ignore the weight completely.

The grip - is very important. But with most sticks you can buy extra material and develop your stick with a new grip as you have played with the stick for some time. You do want to avoid an old grip that dries up on you and does not make the stick - stick in your hands.

So how much should I pay? We think that the first stick should be a good decent stick - do not buy something that is extremely advanced as your first stick - it is better to upgrade later on as you learn the game. A true good and decent entry level stick is for instance Salmings Varsity stick - and if you are lucky you might even find it as a model that is not just this years model but a year old or something. It brings the price down slightly and you will still be the owner of a very good decent Floorball stick. This is more a matter of what your plans are - do you plan to play for several seasons - pay a bit more and get something more advanced. But otherwise try to start out with something that is geared towards the entry level.
Many stick manufacturers makes very advanced sticks for the more mature European markets and thus these sticks tend to be not only advanced but also rather expensive. Our advice is that you as a beginner tries to begin playing with a stick that is more basic and upgrade from there as you grow as a player. It is also a fun feeling to upgrade to an advanced stick as you feel that you have an idea on how the game is played and you do feel that your hands are soft and you now how to shoot that ball so it makes the swoosh sound as it breaks through the air. In dollars you should expect to pay anything in-between 40 to 100 for your first decent beginner stick.

The last important thing is that you place your order with Floorball Planet and tell them Code MICHAEL.
Since that will provide us with a little kick-back for the information published at Floorball Hockey U.
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Research suggest that eye-injuries are more common in Floorball as compared to Tennis, but less common as compared to Squash (similar to Racquetball).
To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!