Choosing a stick
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Some great players who use Mercian sticks
Danny Hall, Holcombe, and ex-England and Great Britain international.
Glenn Kirkham, East Grinstead, England and Great Britain
Natalie Seymour, Canterbury, England and Great Britain
Jonty Clarke, Reading,
England and Great Britain
Contrary to popular belief about composite sticks they are NOT all the same. They are hand made using high quality materials such as Fibreglass, Carbon and Kevlar, and impregnated with resins that also give different performance characteristics. Some resins contain tiny particles, the size of which results in them being called ‘nano’. If the nano particle is made of carbon, or more relevantly carbon tubes, then the stick can be classified as having Carbon Nano Tube technology. All Mercian  Pro line sticks use these types of resins and they enhance the strength of the bonds between materials and therefore the stiffness of the sticks.

Sticks get stiffer as the percentage of fibreglass is reduced and the percentages of Carbon and Kevlar are increased. This stiffness results in the stick transferring more of the player’s energy to the ball – it is not absorbed by the stick.

Carbon and Kevlar are more expensive raw materials than Fibreglass and so the prices of sticks that contain high percentages of these materials are greater than those that do not.

So, what type of player should use what type of stick?

A young player should be aware that their joints are not completely formed and so using a very stiff stick on a regular basis could cause joint problems. We would encourage a junior player to use something from the 100 series depending on their personal preference as the percentage of fibreglass (the softest composite material) is a little higher and so the stick will not be as stiff. The 103 is a middle specification composite stick with a standard bend.

A player who likes to flick, drag flick or aerial may want to look at a stick with a bend point nearer to the head than in a standard stick. The late bow of certain models of Mercian sticks is at a point approximately 200mm from the base of the stick and so helps with the execution of these skills (the 005 is a prime example of this).

If the player does not like or need a stick with a low or late bend then the standard bend of the other sticks in the Mercian range complies with all current FIH regulations and the sticks are suitable for use at all levels of competition.

The Proline range of sticks have a greater density of material in the head of the sticks, this enables the player using these to create more momentum with the heavier head and so more energy can be passed to the ball, increasing the ball speed from the strike.  A striker wanting the greatest power in their strike from the highest Carbon content stick with the greatest head density should choose the 001 model.

The 100 and 200 series have a balance point more towards the centre of the sticks and so are suited to a player with a broader skill set, without the need to be hitting specific.
The days of a full back needing the heaviest stick possible are gone. The modern game demands all players to be able to push, flick, slap – and less often hit. Modern surfaces have resulted in hitting being a lesser used skill and so the actual weight of a stick is less relevant than the balance points.

So, whilst we have a range of sticks suitable for every level, age, position and ability, our recommendation would always be to go to a specialist hockey retailer and ‘try before you buy’, some will have a hitting area and most will also have a good range of sticks to choose from.

Former England and Great Britain goalkeeper Simon Mason knows a thing or two about sticks. After all, he is the Managing Director of Mercian Sports, a leading manufacturer of hockey sticks. So we asked him to give us his advice on choosing the right hockey stick.
New to hockey or need a new stick?  Simon Mason offers some advice.
To find a list of Mercian stockist
in the UK  

CHOOSING A STICK – with help from Simon Mason

Looking for a new stick?  You can find a list of Mercian stockist in the UK by CLICKING HERE