In the game of field hockey, the length of the stick is anywhere from 28 inches to 38 inches. With a 10-inch gap between average stick lengths, you might have decided that you’d rather your stick be on the shorter side than the longer side. Outside of buying a new one, can you shorten a field hockey stick?
You can shorten a field hockey stick, either through the services of a professional or by cutting the stick down yourself. A shorter stick can be beneficial since you already usually bend forward when striking the ball. That said, some players say the stick has a stiffer feel that affects play.
In today’s article, we’ll discuss your options for shortening a field hockey stick and then delve into the pros and cons of doing so. By the time you’re done reading, you should have no trouble deciding whether playing with a shorter field hockey stick is the right move for you.
Can You Get a Field Hockey Stick Shortened? How?
As we touched on in the intro, if you’re not pleased with the length of your field hockey stick, you don’t have to throw your money out along with the stick. You can customize the length of the stick.
You have two options for this: doing it yourself or paying for a professional service.
Going to the pros doesn’t have to be insanely expensive. After some browsing around online, we saw some stick shortening services that started as low as $15. You’ll spend more money on some of your protective field hockey equipment than you would to shorten your stick.
When you go to a professional, what does their process entail? The expert will use certain tools to reduce the length of your field hockey stick. The required equipment is mostly power tools, but not exclusively, including a small drill, a vise or miter box, a knife, plastic electrical tape, a tape measure, channel lock pliers, and a carbide blade hacksaw.
They’ll ask you what length you’d like your field hockey stick to be, measure it out, and cut it appropriately. Most companies or professionals who offer field hockey stick shortening services will usually only work with composite sticks.
A composite hockey stick is made of a combination of carbon fiber, Aramid, Kevlar, and fiberglass. That’s why a professional needs power tools to cut the composite hockey stick, as this tough combination of materials is not easy to penetrate.
A professional hockey stick shortening service will only cut down your stick so much. If your stick is 36.5 inches, then you might be able to get it reduced to 35 inches in length. That’s an inch and a half off and enough to make a big difference in your play style.
If your field hockey stick is 38 inches, the professional service could take an inch off so the stick is 37 inches.
There’s a reason the pros set a limit like this. Once your stick is too short, its stiffness increases to such a degree that the stick is practically unusable.
How to Shorten Your Own Field Hockey Stick
You couldn’t find any field hockey stick shortening services near you, so you decided you’ll do it yourself. With a hacksaw, you can slice and dice your way to a composite field hockey stick with an amenable length.
However, we must warn you about the potential for injury. Although you’re not working with power tools, even a hacksaw can be ruinous if you’re not careful!
With that warning out of the way, here are the steps you follow when shortening a field hockey stick.
Step 1: Take Off the Hockey Tape
If you read our post on taping hockey sticks, you might have done the same to your field hockey stick. Well, sorry to say, but now all that tape has to come off. Unwrap it and then throw the tape pile away, as it won’t stick again.
If your hockey stick has any tape residue left on it, you can usually get rid of it with a bit of warm water and a couple of dollops of dish soap. You don’t want to leave the residue intact since if the hacksaw gets caught on a sticky area of the hockey stick, you could lose control of the saw and hurt yourself.
Step 2: Determine Your New Stick Length
As we mentioned, you don’t want to remove too much length from your field hockey stick, as then your level of play will be impacted. That’s why this next step is so critical. It’s time to measure the new length of your field hockey stick.
To do that, put on your field hockey cleats and grab your stick. Put it in front of you so the stick’s toe is on the ground or floor. Using measuring tape, start at the shaft and go right to where the stick touches the bottom of your chin.
When you find that point, take a pencil and make a line on the stick. Then use your measuring tape again to measure approximately an inch taller than where the pencil line is. When you find this measurement, create a big, bold line with a permanent marker. This is where you’ll cut the stick.
Why the extra inch? You’re giving yourself some wiggle room. If you like the length of your hockey stick after cutting where the permanent marker line is, then great! If you don’t, you can always cut the stick again to where the pencil line is.
Step 3: Take Off the End Cap
On the shaft’s tip is the hockey stick end cap. This has to come off too, so take care of that next.
Step 4: Begin Cutting
You must secure the field hockey stick so it doesn’t move while you cut it. We recommend using a woodworking table with vises or clamps for this.
If you don’t have access to a woodworking table, then ask a friend, neighbor, or family member who does if you can borrow their table for an hour or two.
With the field hockey stick secure on the table, begin cutting the permanent marker line on the stick. You might want to wrap a layer of masking tape around the line to make it harder for the hacksaw to cut any higher or lower, but that’s up to you.
The key to cutting cleanly with a hacksaw is to be confident in your strokes. Shorter strokes are better than broader ones. It will take you longer to get through the entire shaft of the hockey stick, but the results will look a lot nicer.
Step 5: Take the Stick Off the Vise and Test It
When you’ve cut off as much of your field hockey stick as you desire, next, remove the clamps or vises, take the stick off the woodworking table, and peel off the masking tape. Put the end cap back on and retape your stick the way you like it.
Try out your stick a little bit. Does it feel good? Do you like its new length better? If so, then you’re done. Should you decide the stick can still use some work, you can repeat the steps above, cutting down to the pencil line this time.
The Pros and Cons of Shortening a Field Hockey Stick
Next, let’s take a closer look at the upsides and downsides of reducing the length of a field hockey stick.
Supports Your Natural Playing Posture
We briefly talked about this at the beginning of the article. When you play field hockey, you naturally bend forward when shooting the ball, making the game-scoring goal, and passing the ball to another player.
A shorter hockey stick makes it easier to get into that position, as due to the length of the stick, you’d have to bend a bit more anyway.
Can Help If You’re Shorter
Field hockey players are usually not all the same height. For a shorter player, using a big field hockey stick can be difficult. They find the stick too unwieldy, which impacts their technique and ultimately handicaps them as a player.
Once you cut a stick down shorter, you should feel a lot more comfortable with it. You might even begin winning more games!
Less Length Equals Less Leverage
When playing field hockey, you need power to make successful shots. A short stick reduces the space between your hands, which can in turn reduce your leverage compared to players who have a longer stick.
The loss of power can cause the ball to fall short of rolling into the goal. Your passes to other players can also be intercepted by the opposing team, which is frustrating.
Your Stick Will Feel Stiffer
By far, the biggest risk of reducing your field hockey stick length is stiffness. Even removing a half inch or an inch will induce stiffness. Cutting off an inch and a half to two inches will make your field hockey stick stiffer still.
In some cases, stiffness might not be the worst thing, but as we said, cutting off too much will quickly render you with a stick that’s too stiff to play with.
Shortening a field hockey stick is an option that players might utilize if they feel like their stick doesn’t match their height or is otherwise impeding their play. Whether you utilize professional services or do it yourself, remember that cutting your hockey stick too short will make it so stiff it’s unplayable!