Selecting and Sizing a Goalie Stick
For goalies, the stick is an extremely important piece of equipment and having a properly sized goalie stick could be the difference between a goal and a save. For most goalies (and parents of young goalies), knowing what the right sized stick is can be challenging. An incorrectly sized stick often causes the goaltender to adjust their stance, which can cause a variety of technical and executional issues.
Having the right length, paddle, curve, lie, flex, and material will make a huge difference in a goalie’s game. Here are some tips for selecting and sizing a goalie stick:
Finding a goalie's correct stick length is crucial, though its importance is often overlooked with younger goaltenders. When measuring for the correct size, remember that the length of the paddle is the most important feature.
To properly fit a goalie stick, you must first:
- Bring goalie skates to the stick fitting at your local Source for Sports store to ensure proper height and experience. Note: Street shoes will not accurately simulate playing conditions, and your fitting will not be correct.
- Have the goalie get in a variety of stance positions as if they were playing (upright, butterfly, etc.).
A perfectly fit stick will place the goalie's blocker next to their leg pad.
If the stick is too short,the blocker will overlap the leg pad, or the heel of the stick will lift off the ice while in a normal stance position.
If the stick is too long,there will be a large gap between the blocker and the leg pad, or the toe of the stick will come off the ice while in a normal stance position.
Having the proper paddle length is crucial for getting goalies into the proper stance to close any holes and effectively block pucks, while keeping them mobile and fast in the crease. The paddle must be long enough so that when the goalie is in proper stance (knees bent, stick flat on the ice in front of the 5 hole, gloves up and out) the blocker is aligned with the pad. We do not want to be overlapping the pad or have a wide gap in between the pad and blocker.
If the paddle is too long, the stick hand will be pushed higher on the side of the body, causing the goalie to raise their shoulder on that side. When the shoulders are uneven and the torso is not square, the 6 hole is now open under that arm, not to mention the maneuverability and reaction time will be restricted.
Here’s a general guide to sizing paddles based on goalie height*:
|Guide to sizing paddles|
Paddle Length (inch)
|3'6 - 4'3||21" paddle|
|4'0 - 4'6||22" paddle|
|4'6 - 5'3||23" paddle|
|5'0 - 5'8||24" paddle|
|5'7 - 6'3||25"+ paddle|
*General sizing info and will vary depending on the manufacturer’s own sizing guidelines
Determining the degree and the type of curve is also something that is subject to preference, level, and age. The greater the curve, the easier it is for the goaltender to elevate the puck when shooting, but the more difficult it is for the goalie to keep the blade flat and to control shots fired along the ice.
Here’s a general guide to understanding Curve Pattern Descriptions:
|Curve pattern guide|
|Mid Curve||Curvature begins in the middle of the blade|
|Heel Curve||Curvature starts at the heel of the blade|
|Open Curve||Blade flares open as the curve approaches the toe|
|Closed Curve||Blade stays flatter throughout the curve|
For younger goaltenders, it is generally a good idea to use a straighter blade (mid curve) until they master good stick control and puck placement when making saves, before worrying about the elevation of their shot.
The lie of a goalie stick is a measurement used to represent the angle of the paddle and blade of a goalie stick and describes the location of the paddle when the stick blade is flat on the ice. Depending on their stance, goalies may need to purchase a stick that has a lower (shorter) or higher (taller) lie.
|Stick lie guide|
|13||Places the blocker board farther away from the body with the stick blade flat on the ice.|
|15||Places the blocker board closer to the body with the stick blade flat on the ice.|
Note: Lie measurements only apply to sticks with a flat blade bottom. Sticks with a curved blade bottom have no lie listed.
Stick flex is a measure of how flexible or how stiff a hockey stick is when a force is applied to it. The amount of flex desired will depends on the goalie’s skill level and individual needs. A softer flex makes shooting the puck easier for younger goalies. Testing out the flex of the sticks at a local Source for Sports store is an important way of knowing which will be the most comfortable. Stick flex will also vary depending on the type of material used (i.e.,composite, wood, or foam).
Most composite sticks are made up of carbon fiber/Kevlar, fiberglass, and graphite. These materials provide durability in the stick and often feature a foam core which will helps to decrease vibrations. Composite sticks are usually the lightest on the market.
These sticks are typically made up of laminated pieces of ash or birch and covered with layers of fiberglass over the paddle and blade to increase durability and make it easier to control the puck than a composite. The goalies that are looking for a more traditional feel or on a budget will find these sticks appealing.
Manufacturers have introduced the foam core into some wooden sticks as well as composite sticks. These foam injected blades and paddles will significantly reduce vibrations and give a composite stick a more natural feel and a wood blade feel even stronger.
Selecting the proper goalie stick has many factors and individual elements to consider, however, the most important thing to remember is to never purchase a stick because a goalie may "grow into it". Control and usability are the ultimate factors here. Our goalie experts at Source for Sports speak your language. Let our professionals set you up with a goalie stick that will Fit Your Game and help you make save after save.
Did you follow all these steps and find your equipment still isn’t feeling right? Come visit us in-store and speak to one of our Source for Sports experts.
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