Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sticks and Laces

 When was the last time you did a sticks and laces check?  16U Blazers hockey coach Mike Zandri recently did, and what he saw among his team of teens prompted him to quickly fire off an e-mail to parents and players.  While it may seem like small stuff,  as coach Zandri points out, the right sized stick and how you lace up your skates can make a big difference in a player's performance on the ice.  So let's review ,as the coach delivers some timely advice.
    "The past couple of times on the ice, I noticed some of the boys are using sticks that are too long.  General guidelines are nose in sneakers and chin in skates.  An inch can make a big difference, as it causes the toe of the stick to pop off the ice."  Wow, who knew?  The coach also points out, " Good pass catching requires the entire blade of the stick on the ice with the blade cupped and some down-pressure on the stick.  The blade should wear evenly.  If the heel is wearing unevenly compared to the rest of the blade, then the stick is
too long."  What about stick flex you ask?  Here we go.  " Most 15 and 16 year olds cannot shoot well with a 95 or 100 flex stick.  Keep in mind, the stated flex is for the stick as it is sold.  When a stick is shortened, the flex increases.  Brent Hull played with a 65 flex stick,  and yes he broke a a lot of sticks. I use a 95 flex, only because it was on the mark-down rack.  It's way too much for me, and I should be using 80 to 85, but
 my shot doesn't matter!"
  On to the issue of laces, and here's what the coach says about wrapping laces around the skates.  " Skate laces should not be wrapped around the ankle, as it hinders flexibility.  To properly use your skates edges, the knees must be bent and the knee must be OVER the toe."

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