Choosing a Stick: Flex – Part I of III

This week we will focus on helping you find the perfect stick.  For part I we’ll be discussing hockey stick flex and how it affects your shots. Part II we will provide guidelines for choosing the right length for your stick, and part III will cover all the different blade types and the impact they have on shooting, passing, and handling. Of course the best way to find the right stick is by experimenting. I strongly encourage you find a teammate about the same size and borrow his stick and see what works best for you!

Hockey stick flex is one of the most important, if not the most important element you should consider when choosing a stick. Can you think of other sports where flex makes a difference? The first two I thought of were archery and pole vaulting. Let’s examine the former. The goal of the archer is to shoot the arrow as far and as accurate as possible so he wants to select a bow that will help him do those things. If the bow is too hard for him to pull, the arrow, the string won’t be pulled back far enough, and the arrow probably won’t make it very far. Conversely, if the string of the bow is too flimsy, there won’t be enough tension on the line, and the arrow will fall short of its target. What does this have to do with hockey? A stick works in a similar fashion. If a shot is taken properly, the stick will actually bend like a bow or pole-vaulting stick, then spring back into its original form and in the process, launch the puck forward. Although the video below describes the flex effect in the context of a slapshot, the same principle can be applied to just about any shot.

When purchasing a stick, flex will be given as a number usually from around 60 to 100. In case you’re curious the number represents how much force (in pounds) is required to bend the stick 1″. So, the higher the number, the stiffer the stick. A player who is taller and heavier will obviously have an easier time bending the shaft than his shorter, lighter teammate. Therefore, he should choose a stick accordingly. A player ought to look for the stiffest stick he is strong enough to bend. Think back to our archery example: The archer wants to find the strongest bow he is physically capable of pulling.

As a general rule, players are encouraged to find a stick flex with a number equivalent to half their weight. This recommendation, however, does not take height into account. Below is a chart providing guidelines on what stick flex you should choose based on height and weight. Of course there are 6’4″ players who use an 85 flex; this is just a place to start, it is not the final authority on stick selection.

Under 5′ 5′-5’6″ 5’6″-5’9″ 5’9″-6’2″ 6’2″+
Under 130
Under 50 flex 80-95 flex
50-65 flex 95+ flex
65-80 flex


Finally, it is important to note that modifying the length of your stick will modify the flex. Below is a chart providing estimates for how stiffness changes when a stick is cut.

Original Flex Flex After Cutting Shorter
2″ 4″ 6″
Youth 42 49 flex 57 flex 67 flex
Junior 52 60 flex 68 flex 77 flex
INT 67 74 flex 80 flex 87 flex
Senior 77 84 flex 92 flex 100 flex
Senior 87 96 flex 105 flex 112 flex
Senior 102 108 flex 115 flex 122 flex

Source: HockeyMonkey via Hockey Stick Expert

Coming up next: Hockey stick length


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  1. Anonymous said on June 10, 2010

    i weight 125-130lbs. and im 5'6"-5'7", should i get a 52,65, or 67 flex?

    • me said on February 22, 2012

      angun you suck *****

    • geno nation said on October 16, 2014

      benders be dusty

  2. Keegan said on June 27, 2010

    Depends on how hard you lean on it. I always like to start lower then work my way up.

  3. Gasik said on September 17, 2010

    I also believe that skill has a play in it as well. Like you said, the player needs to be able to bend the stick. I'll add to that… they need to be able to bend it when shooting. If they're just starting out, go with a lower flex, and work your way up.

  4. Anonymous said on December 12, 2010

    im 5ft and weigh 95 pounds im a bantam and im kinda small for my age and im getting a new stick. should i get a 60 flex or a 67. because im going to need to cut it down a bit. the chart says i should get under 50 flex but thats not happening, right now i have a 67 flex and i cut it down to i think 87 and its too stiff.

  5. Keegan said on December 12, 2010

    Too whippy is better than too rigid. Go with the lower flex.

  6. Anonymous said on January 22, 2011

    Hey, this is a good read. I am 5'6 and around 170 pounds. What stick flex would you reccomend? Also what stick length? I am quite new to hockey.

  7. Keegan said on February 23, 2011

    Hard to say. I'd start with an intermediate stick if it's long enough. Should hit between your mouth and chin when wearing shoes.

  8. gearexecutive said on February 25, 2011

    How did you find out that a 100 flex represents 100 lbs or force?

  9. Keegan said on February 27, 2011

    Discovery channel

  10. PATTY B said on April 3, 2011

    I weight 240 and my height is 6 foot 2 would using a 60ish flex help me shoot better?

  11. ProsRus said on July 25, 2013

    Guys, listen to what the article says. These are guidelines, not rules. It’s about feel, not about im height and weight. A lot of different factors are at play here. What kind of player are you? Do you take lots of slapshots, or are you more prone to snap shots? Do you shoot on the fly coming down the wing, or do you find your self standing in front of the net waiting for a pass? Are one-timers your forte, or do you need a quick release? Do you play center and take a lot of face offs, or are you a winger and muck in the corners? Finding a stick isn’t science, it’s an art. You have to know your game and what kind of stick will help you perform your game better. Stick length makes a huge difference as well. Do you use a short stick to dangle in tight spaces, or do you need a long stick? Generally, the lighter the flex, the easier it is to handle the puck as there is more “feel” in the shaft. The long and short of it is, try different sticks out. you’ll find something that you like more than others. Easton, Bauer, and Reebok all have different ‘feeling’ sticks. Reebok’s tend to be a littler stiffer than Bauer and Easton even tho they are the ‘same’ flex #.

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