Hockey Stick Flex Ratings
The flex rating that you see printed on the shaft of a hockey stick represents the amount of force (measured in pounds) required in order to bend the shaft 1 inch with the bottom hand applying pressure to the middle of the shaft. A 100 flex shaft requires 100 lbs of force to flex 1", while an 85 flex shaft requires 85 lbs of force to flex 1" – which means that the 100 flex shaft is stiffer than the 85 flex shaft.
Typically, players use a stick with a flex rating that is equal to half of their body weight. So if you weigh about 170 lbs then you would use an 85 flex hockey stick. If you weigh 200 lbs then you would use a 100 flex hockey stick. This method is fairly accurate, but depending on the shooting tendencies and muscle strength of the individual, the best flex is not always half of the player's body weight.
When you buy an 85 flex senior hockey stick, for instance, it will be approximately 60" in length. The important thing to keep in mind is that if you cut your stick down the shaft becomes stiffer. As an analogy, consider the amount of strength needed to break a full length pencil compared to a 2" pencil… The full length pencil is more flexible and becomes stiffer as it is sharpened and shortened. To a certain degree, with slight differences in material behavioral properties, the same principle applies to players who put an extender in the butt end of the shaft to increase the length, which in turn produces a more flexible shaft.
Many sticks come with notches on the top of the shaft that denote the flex rating that will be achieved if the stick is cut down to a specific point on the shaft. So if you're 5'8" and you weigh 200 lbs, the best choice for you may actually be an 85 flex stick because once you cut it down to your size it will actually be closer to 100 flex.
For more information on choosing the proper flex, please see the chart below or refer to our Hockey Stick Buying Guide.
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