The majority of composite sticks are made using a combination of fibres bonded around a tubular core. This is then put into a mould where a high pressure blast of air is sent through the tube to expand the materials to the shape of the mould to give you your rough stick. The blank stick is then filed and sanded down to remove imperfections before it is sprayed. Transfers are applied to provide the design of the stick before the final stage where it is gripped.
The most common materials used in composite sticks are carbon, aramid and glassfibre.
The performance element of the stick. Carbon is light and rigid and the amount of it that is applied to the construction will determine the output the stick can potentially generate. Generally speaking, the stiffer the stick the harder you can hit the ball so more carbon equals more stiffness equals more power. Top of the range sticks will contain a high proportion of carbon to generate the power and response required by top level players. These high performance sticks require good skill levels to counter the stiffer feel on the ball and maintain ball control.
Aramid essentially acts as a shock absorber. The mechanical stress of striking the ball will create a vibration wave that travels up the stick. The presence of Aramid in the stick dampens this shock to increase player comfort and maintain a level of touch and feel on the ball. Aramid tends to feature at a consistent proportion throughout most stick ranges.
Glassfibre is a basic strength and durability material. Most prevalent at the lower end of the range where cost is more of a factor than performance, glassfibre allows a degree of flex in the structure that absorbs shock at the expense of power. Sticks with a high proportion of glassfibre are easy to handle and a good basic performer for lower level players.
In today’s market many variations to shape can be found, along with other innovations claiming to provide an array of performance enhancing benefits. The material contained in this document gives you the basic information at the core of all hockey sticks and from there each manufacturer can sell you their story!