Ice Hockey Sticks | Hockey Stick Flex: Produce Better Shots With The Right Flex/Stiffness

Hockey Stick Flex: Produce Better Shots With The Right Flex/Stiffness

Welcome to the Hockey Stick Flex Guide. This article should arm you with all of the information that you need to answer the common question of “what flex hockey stick should I use?”

Hockey Stick Flex is a measure of how flexible or how stiff a hockey stick is when a force is applied to it. Flex is also referred to as the hockey stick stiffness.

When a player bends his hockey stick when taking a shot, it essentially turns the hockey stick into a spring storing energy. When the spring is released (when the stick unbends and returns to straight), the energy is released and accelerates the puck.

Shot with Big Time Flex

For example, proper slap sot technique is to have the blade strike the ice a few inches before the puck to load the spring of the stick prior the stick striking the puck. As the stick moves forward in its swing, it contacts the puck and snaps forward from being bent to straight again. This same bending and snapping forward also happens with the wrist shot and snaps shots.

Generally you want the stiffest flex stick that you can flex completely to take full advantage of the stick recoil as it snaps the puck forward. If the hockey stick is too stiff then the player won’t be able to bend it and get the extra accelerating effects.  If the flex isn’t stiff enough the hockey stick will bend too much and the accuracy of the shot deteriorates.

Mid flex – Mid kick point, or mid/constant flex, sticks have a more traditional flex that allows the stick to be loaded from the bottom hand. This gives you a larger loading and potentially a higher velocity release. Wooden sticks have a constant flex profile that behaves in this manner.

Low kick points - The kick point is where the shaft flexes when enough pressure is applied to bend it. Composite sticks are often engineered to have low kick points on the shaft for a quicker release. The loading of the stick happens sooner since there is less distance for the stick to bend before it recoils back and whips the puck forward. This lower kick point is often created with shafts that have tapered ends near the blade.

The most common measurements for stick flex are:

    Youth = 40 flex
    Junior = 50 flex
    Mid or Intermediate flex = 60-75 flex
    Regular flex = 85 flex
    Stiff flex = 100 flex
    Extra stiff = 110 flex

Composite hockey stick flex versus wood hockey stick flex: Does a composite stick flex more than a wood stick? It all depends on how the hockey stick is engineered but the short answers is that a stick flex rating of 100 is the same flex no matter what type of material the hockey stick is made from. The most significant differences between wood and composite stick flex is the flex points which were covered above.

Flex Tester – How Stick Flex Is Measured
Check out the How its Made: Composite Hockey Sticks video to learn a little more about flex testers and to see one in action. The short flex tester segment starts at about 37 seconds into the video.

Testing a Stick’s Flex at the Pro Shop
Use your normal hand position on the stick and hold the stick with the blade on the floor. Now flex the shaft of the stick by holding your top hand stationary and pushing down and forward with your lower hand. You should be able to flex the stick about an inch or so without using full effort. If you can’t flex the stick this much then the flex of the stick is too high.

How Cutting a Stick’s Length Affects its Flex
If you cut too much of the length off of a stick is will significantly increase the flex of the stick. Imagine bending a full length broom stick. Now if you cut that broom stick in half home much force is required to get it to bend the same as the full length stick? A whole lot more that is for sure. This is also what happens when a hockey stick is cut down a significant amount. How much is flex affected by cutting off 2 or 4 inches? Here is a chart that provides ROUGH guideline for how cutting your stick affects its flex.

Approximate flex when cutting the stick…
Baseline Flex 2 inches 4 inches
Youth 40 48 flex 54 flex
Junior 50 58 flex 66 flex
Intermediate 65 72 flex 78 flex
Senior 85 95 flex 103 flex
Senior 100 106 flex 113 flex

NOTE: These are just rough values for illustration purpose.
Check here for a more complete Hockey Stick Flex Chart

Another thing to note is that hockey sticks flex in more than one direction. In addition to the shaft flex that we talked about above, there is also a flex that happens with the blade. The blade impact with the puck causes a rotational flex that can also accelerate your shots.

How To Take Advantage Of Stick Flex When Shooting
Here is an excellent video of Alexi Kovalev demonstrating how stick flex works when shooting.

Flex Terms in the Hockey Stick Dictionary

  • Flex
  • Kick Point

Find the dictionary here Hockey Stick Dictionary

Filed Under Hockey Stick Basics, Hockey Stick Flex

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