Choosing Your Shape

In our first blog post that started to address picking your stick we mentioned that in the Gryphon range there are 5 different shapes (not seen in every stick model) this can make it even more complicated to pick the right stick. Below shows all the shapes we offer, each with a different curves, head shapes what is doesn’t tell you is that the Samurai has a groove along the playing surface, this is something to be aware of and we will go into each area throughout this post. These shapes have been created to offer the best stick for every playing style.

The Curve

Stick curves can generally be put into three categories, generically known as Mid, Late and Extra Late Curves, with the term referring to the position of the highest point of the bow (bend) rather than the size of that bow. Any groove, channel or indentation on the playing surface (the front side) of the stick that alters this surface from a traditional flat face will have an impact on the playing style of the stick.

FIH (International Hockey Federation) has rules governing the shape of the stick that all manufacturers are required to comply with. The key rules in terms of shape concern the maximum height of a bow (25mm) and the lowest position that the apex of the bow can be from the base of the head (200mm).

In general terms, here are some guidelines as to the positioning of the main bow classifications:

  • Mid Curve – Placed around 300mm from the base of the head
  • Late Curve – Placed around 250mm from the base of the head
  • Extra late Curve – Placed around 205mm from the base of the head

The curve position of the stick will determine where the stick will help the player and where the player has to help the stick in order to perform a full skill set. The position of the curve influences the placement of the player’s hands to enable performing basic skills effectively.
To approach and assess the range of options it helps to imagine a sliding scale where you have the mid bow at one end and the extra late bow at the other. 

The lower the curve is pushed down the stick the more the player must adjust their hand / wrist position to move in front of the stick head (and ball) to maintain a flat and square contact and perform skills correctly.
If the player does not make this adjustment as the bow moves lower the typical consequence when hitting or pushing the ball is a loss of control in direction and trajectory; to varying degrees the ball will go up and left. Similarly when trapping the ball it will lift off the ground and possibly come in towards the player’s legs / feet.

The mid curve is shaped to help a basic skill set, hitting, pushing, trapping etc.  With this shape you can perform and control the basics without having to concentrate too much on hand / wrist position.
Shift to the other scale and the extra late curve and you have a shape that is geared up to help more dynamic skills and a wider range of ball movement but you have to make adjustments to perform the basics well.

Everything between these extremes of the scale will have a graduated assistance along the scale, which makes a late curve the ideal shape for a full skill set in the modern game with limited adjustments by the player to perform at either end of the scale.

The Head Shape

We have a range of head shapes in the Gryphon range as can be seen in the image above. The head shape is generally not something that will dictate the stick someone purchases and we do not offer different head shapes in the same bow shape. The different head shapes we offer do impact reverse stick skills slightly, with the larger hook of the CC and T-Bone shapes giving slightly more area to trap the ball when performing an upright reverse trap.
We believe that it is an area that is important to be aware of, however, it is not something that should push you away from picking the shape you want in your stick.

The Groove

The only stick in the Gryphon range is the Samurai, this has a groove on the lower third of the playing area and the head.

This stick has been designed with the drag flicker in mind, I was created to add to the control and execution of drag flicking as well as other skills involving lifting the ball and also for generally dribbling the ball.
The flip side to this is that the area of the head / shaft where the stick makes flat and full contact with the ball is dramatically reduced in size, so the player must be very precise in the basics of trapping, hitting and pushing to execute those skills correctly.

The Samurai is our most complex stick shape, when used correctly it can aid a player in many areas, however, if the player doesn’t have a command of the basics and is unable to adapt to the technical shape of the Samurai this is not the stick for them, better to chose a slightly less complex shape and progress to the Samurai at a later date.

Summary

Whatever you want from your game it is vital to remember that no stick is a magic wand. The stick will help the player with some things and the player must work to enable the rest.  it is very much a partnership. Take your time to understand the ins and outs of a stick shape and how that will aid your playing style.

The Gryphon team is available for advice when picking a stick, so if you are unsure please contact us or ask us a question in the comments below.

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