Ball hockey is like ice hockey but without the ice. The game involves teams of five and then a goaltender. If you’re trying out for some ball hockey teams near you, you might wonder whether you should tape your hockey stick, as you’ve heard of other players doing this. Is taping the stick a good idea?
Taping the ball hockey stick can improve your stick shaft grip and lessen wear and tear on the blade, so it’s worth doing, especially if your stick is new. Don’t just use any ol’ tape for taping a ball hockey stick, though. You need hockey tape.
This article will be your guide to taping your ball hockey stick. Ahead, we’ll explain more on how to do it, the right kind of tape for the job, and the pros and cons of taping. You won’t want to miss it!
Why Do Ball Hockey Players Tape Their Sticks?
If you’ve ever watched NHL games, you probably noticed that a lot of players carry sticks that are enwrapped in tape. No, it’s not to hold an old, damaged stick together, nor is it to add to the stick’s appearance.
Instead, in ice hockey and games like it such as ball hockey, taping the stick is for the player’s benefit in several ways. Let’s talk about the perks now.
More Ball Control
In all forms of hockey, players are always striving for what’s known as puck feel. What is puck feel? It’s the feedback or vibration you feel in your stick when your puck connects with the blade.
Gloves can limit your puck feel, as can some hockey sticks. When you have that disconnect with the puck, the way you handle the stick changes, as does how you shoot. This can cause you to have to look down at the puck to ascertain its location, breaking your concentration and costing you precious seconds.
Now, in ball hockey, you don’t play with a puck, but with a ball (hence the name). That said, puck feel applies to a ball as well.
By taping a ball hockey stick, many players have a heightened sense of puck feel.
Improves Stick Shaft Grip
When you’re on the field, you must be in control of your stick. A stick that’s loose in your hands will reduce your hitting power, making you less likely to score a goal. Outside of shooting, you’ll also struggle with accurate passing.
Once you tape your ball hockey stick, your handling of the stick should increase. Defensive players especially will reap the greatest benefits, as they need to hold the stick nearer the top to poke-check other players.
Lessens Wear and Tear
Although you can get your hands on a hockey stick for as little as $30, those are the kinds that are prone to falling apart after a couple of games. If you want a stick that lasts you for several seasons (depending on how rough you are on the stick), then you could pay upwards of $300.
Taping your ball hockey stick from the get-go could expand its lifespan. As your blade makes contact with the street (or other hard surfaces you’re playing on), the tape will scuff up and absorb damage before the stick itself does.
What Kind of Tape Should You Use for a Ball Hockey Stick?
You bought your ball hockey stick not that long ago, so you’re thinking you’ll tape it up before your next big game. You have a huge roll of masking tape that will be perfect for your stick.
Not so fast! You don’t want to use masking tape on a hockey stick, nor mounting tape, double-sided tape, electrical tape, duct tape, or flooring tape. These various types of tape are not designed for ball hockey stick use.
Sure, they’ll go on the stick fine, but when the day comes when you decide to remove the tape, it won’t come off. You might have to pry and stab at the tape, which can damage the hockey stick, leaving it scratched and gouged. Even when you get the tape off, the gluey, sticky residue can remain.
What you should use instead is hockey tape. Hockey tape types differ depending on the kind of hockey game you’re playing (ice hockey versus field hockey). Even then, there are several varieties of this tape.
Stick tape was once like electrical tape, but these days, it’s made from synthetic fibers and non-elastic cotton. This version of stick tape comes in all sorts of colors and can improve ball or puck spin, limit stick damage, and better your grip.
Speaking of grip, another type of hockey tape is grip tape, which is either elasticized or non-elasticized with a cloth backing. The last type of hockey tape is shin tape, which is polypropylene tape that hockey players wear.
You’ll need stick tape. It’s inexpensive and you can usually buy the stuff in several rolls at a time so you have plenty to last you.
How to Put Tape on a Ball Hockey Stick
You picked up some hockey tape, so you’re ready to go. Here’s how to tape your ball hockey stick.
Tape the Toe of the Blade
First, wrap some tape over your stick’s blade near the toe. You don’t need a lot of tape here; a strip or two will do. You want the tape angled in such a way that it’s nearer the bottom of the stick and then closer to the top, but only a few inches over the toe.
Tape the Rest of the Blade
Now you can tape from the blade to either the part of your stick where it bends or the toe. Some ball hockey players do it one way and others do it another way, so let your own preferences be your guide.
If you began taping at the toe, then overlap your tape several times when encircling the blade. You don’t want so many tape layers though that the tape gets wrinkly, bulky, or bunchy. Cutting off the extra tape with scissors is a good idea if you notice too many creases.
Make a Tape Knob on the Stick’s Butt
By covering the shaft of your ball hockey stick with tape, you improve your grip. Here’s a little tip to get you started when taping this area: take a napkin or a piece of paper towel and put it over the top of the stick.
Then tape and tape until you get a grippy knob on the end of the stick. Split each piece of tape in half as you go. Like you did before, take care to ensure the tape doesn’t get wrinkly or creasy. That said, it’s okay if the tape is bulky here. Just don’t overdo it.
Create a Ribbed Grip Section
This is optional, but we figured we’d include the info here in case you want to do it. A ribbed grip section requires you to start with a taped knob on the butt of the stick. Measure out at least a foot of hockey tape, rip it, and then make that foot of tape into a rope by twisting it.
Next, spiral wind the rope around your hockey stick shaft about a foot from the knob at the top of the stick. Put tape over the rib, since it will be sticky, and add some translucent hockey tape over that other tape.
Wax the Tape
You’re done taping, but for the finishing touch, ball hockey players like to wax the tape. This will introduce more of a bite each time your stick hits the ball. If you already own hockey stick wax, then you can use it on the tape.
Does Using Tape on a Ball Hockey Stick Have Any Downsides?
Is taping your ball hockey stick always the best plan? That’s something that hockey players have long since debated.
There are two downsides that players have personally experienced that might give you pause. The first is that on hard surfaces that aren’t icy, your ball hockey stick can, well, stick.
This makes sense considering that even hockey tape has a sticky, tacky surface on the underside. If the cloth layer of the tape begins to wear away, then the sticky surface is exposed.
While contact with the ground can wear down the stickiness, before that, your hockey stick might be a little tackier than you’d prefer.
We’re not saying your stick will get stuck when playing, but your movement speed can be affected. That can make all the difference between scoring a goal or missing your moment.
The other area of umbrage that some hockey players have taken with taping their sticks is the introduction of drag. Your hockey stick is somewhat heavier and might not move with the fluidity you want.
This issue can easily be overcome by applying less tape.
How Often to Replace the Tape on a Ball Hockey Stick
You decided to go ahead and tape your ball hockey stick. How long will the tape be good for?
Well, that depends on how often you play ball hockey and how hard you are on your stick. Expect to have to replace the tape on the blade of your stick at least every other game or every two games.
Ball hockey is a variation of ice hockey that involves hitting a ball rather than a puck and playing on the hard ground instead of ice. Like in other games of hockey, players will sometimes tape their sticks for better puck feel, optimal control, and great grip.
Now that you know the pros and cons of taping your own ball hockey stick, you can decide if this is something you’re interested in doing.