advice | choosing the ideal hockey stick curve
The perfect blade varies from player to player and depends on their preference and style of play. When players are between the ages of 8 and 13 they should experiment with all types of curves to determine which one enhances performance related to stick handling and shooting. By the time a player reaches the bantam level he should have an idea about what curve enhances his performance.
Some generalities regarding curves include:
- Forwards with a quick release often prefer toe curves which enhances their ability to pull the puck towards their body and use momentum to quickly release the puck
- Defensemen prefer a mid-curve or heel curve which provides greater control for handling the puck and improves accuracy for heavy shooting (slap shots and clear outs)
- Players who pass more than shoot often prefer a heel curve which enhances their ability to stick handle and make saucer passes (passing through the air)
Check out this link for an illustration of all types of curves. P91A Stall is a heel curve, P106 Gagne is a mid-curve, and P12 Iginla at the bottom of the page is a toe curve.
Finding the right curve is an important task for a player. The right curve allows a player to stick handle with ease and shoot with greater accuracy. Try to discourage players under the age of 13 from using a large curve as this makes stick handling and backhand passing a challenge. As a coach always ensure you are aware of a player's curve and if a player struggles with stick handling or shooting you may want to have them try another type of curve.