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Field Hockey Buying Guide

Field Hockey has been around for many centuries in various forms and can be played both inside and outside.  Each player carries a hockey stick which may be chosen according to the height of the player (see below).  Hockey sticks were traditionally made of wood but are now often made with fibreglass, Kevlar and carbon fibre composites.  They have a rounded handle, flattened on the left side with a hook at the bottom.

The handle makes up the about the top third of the stick. It is wrapped in a grip similar to that used on a tennis racket. The grip may be made of a variety of materials, including chamois leather, which many players think improves grip in the wet.

The ball used in hockey is spherical, hard and made of plastic (sometimes over a cork core).  It is often covered with indentations to reduce the hydroplaning that can cause an inconsistent ball speed on wet surfaces.

Many players wear mouth guards to protect teeth and gums from and many players wear shin guards and gloves to protect hands from abrasion. A few competitions require goggles to protect the eyes and defenders may sometimes use short corner masks to reduce the impact of a drag flick from short corners.

A fully-equipped goalkeeper must wear a helmet, leg guards and kickers. Usually they also wear extensive additional protective equipment including chest guards, padded shorts, heavily padded hand protectors, groin protectors, neck guards, arm guards and, like all players, must carry a stick.

Goalie leg guards (and all related goalie gear) are measured in small, medium and large. Keep in mind that the guards must cover the entirety of the shin and be slightly above the knee.

Offensive players (forwards and halfbacks) and defensive players (fullbacks) use the same gear: full-length shin guards, sticks and (usually optional) mouth guards, gloves and eye goggles.

Player sticks are straight or have some curve deviations to the shaft. If possible, try several sticks before buying. Goal sticks have no curve and are slightly beefier in the lower shaft, so selecting the right stick is about weight management and desired length, which ranges between 34 to 36 inches.

How To Buy A Field Hockey Stick

Choosing a field hockey stick with the right materials, length, and toe design is crucial to your game. You should identify what is best for your position, playing style and ability level.


Field hockey sticks are made primarily of wood, usually mulberry or hickory. High-quality wood enhances a stick's overall strength and stability. Wood and synthetics offer varying degrees of stiffness, which affects shock absorption and power. Beginner players should look for a flexible stick with good shock absorption while advanced players may prefer a stiffer stick for increased power.


Manufacturers sometimes add reinforcing materials with a variety of purposes, from increasing durability to enhancing flexibility.

Fibreglass, applied either as a sleeve or taped to one side, adds overall strength and durability and reduces wear.

Carbon Fibre Tape may be applied to both sides of the stick as a stiffening agent. It enhances stiffness at the handle for more powerful hits.

Kevlar® Tap may be applied to both sides of the stick where it enhances stiffness and reduces vibration.  It also increases shock resistance and power transfer.

Toe Design

Different toe designs provide specific performance for forwards, mid-fielders and backs.

A stick's toe curve is designed for the way different players need to strike the ball. There are four basic toe designs:

The Shorti is the most common toe length, usually used on offense.  It helps the player quickly turn the stick over the ball and is designed for balance, manoeuvrability and control.

The Midi is the most popular and appropriate shape for beginners and midfield players. It is about a half-inch longer than the Shorti and provides a larger hitting surface.

The Maxi is popular with defensive players and combines a larger receiving area with the hitting power of a Midi head.

The Hook is a J-shaped construction with a larger stopping surface for receiving and defensive work.  It is particularly good for grass surfaces.


Field hockey sticks range in length so you can choose a field hockey stick based on either your height or your comfort level. Some players prefer a longer stick while others can manoeuvre better with a shorter stick.

Stick Length by Height

When choosing a field hockey stick, select the length that you can control comfortably. Place the index finger of your right hand on your right hip bone. Place your middle and ring finger next to your index finger. The top of the stick should approximately reach the side of your ring finger.

Consult this chart to help you determine which stick length is right for you:

Stick Size         Height
31"                   4'3" and under
32"                   4'3" - 4'6"
33"                   4'6" - 4'9"
34"                   4'9" - 5'
35"                   5' - 5'3"
36"*                  5'3" - 5'7"
37"                   5'7" - 5'10"
38"                   5'10" and up

*Most commonly used length

Stick Weight by Position

Just like toe design, the weight you choose will be based on your position. It is best to consider your role on the field and style of play when selecting a weight.

• Backs: heavier stick, 22 to 24 ounces. Weight lends distance to hits and keeps your stick in play against attacks.
• Midfielders: average stick, approximately 21 ounces. A mid-weight stick accommodates both defensive and offensive plays.
• Forwards: lightweight stick, 19 to 20 ounces. Select a weight that won't interfere with rapid stick work.

What's Right for You?


• New and young players should choose a basic stick reinforced with fibreglass, carbon fibre, or Kevlar tape.
• Over time, experienced players develop a feel for the synthetic material or reinforcement that best meets their needs.
• As skill and physical ability improve, your position will influence the stick styles in your collection.

Both men and women play field hockey and although basic equipment is the same for both men’s and women’s field hockey, women need items that fit their height and body type. For example, the field hockey stick can vary in length, weight and shape, depending on the player’s height, strength and position on the team. Protective gear such as mouth guards, shin guards and goalie equipment are also available in sizes that fit female players.

Female Goalkeepers should wear extra protective equipment, including a helmet and women’s pelvic protector, which come in conventional hat and waist sizes. You also need to buy gloves, a chest protector, a throat protector and leg guards, all of which come in standard youth and adult sizes.

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This Buying Guide gives general advice on Field Hockey equipment. It is intended as a guide only and we always recommend visiting one of our stores and talking to the experts in our sales team if in any doubt about what to buy.