We've all grown up believing that if you cut your twig the it will become stiffer. What would you say if I told you that you were wrong? You'd probably argue the fact and point out that the flex is actually written on the back of many retail sticks. That is not an accurate reflection of a flex rating, shocking ehh? How could such an important element like flex be so widely misunderstood, let me explain:
Just like a piece of wood, the composition of a hockey stick doesn't change when it is cut, the properties of the woven carbon fiber remain the same. Therefore an 85 flex stick with 3 inches cut off of it is still an 85 flex......
Having said that a trimmed down stick will now "feel" stiffer because there is less room between your hands, by cutting down the stick you have lost leverage. This is no different than using a piece of wood to pry up an object, the more leverage you have the easier it will bend.
So years ago, in an effort to help players understand the relationship between stick length and flex some brands began to show what the flex of a your stick would feel like when cut down. (e.g., if you have an 85 flex and remove 6 inches it will feel like your playing with a 100 flex). This method has good intentions, but starts to get confusing for people when they get sticks at different heights. For instance if you were to purchase two 85 flex sticks, the first being a retail model that comes with a standard 60 inch shaft and the second being a pro model with a 66 inch shaft, wherever you choose to cut the stick you will have the same amount of leverage, therefore they will feel the exact same!
Ovi is well known for using a lower flex and getting lots of torch into his shots
For guys like me, who needs to use a plug, the same principal applies. The flex remains the same, but the distance between your hands gives you more leverage to bend the beast!
Points to take away:
- The actual flex rating on a hockey stick doesn't change when cut down, just the feel!
- The relationship between the height and flex of a stick is very important, but the amount of material you may cut/or ad doesn't matter
- Taller Stick = Further Distance Between Hands = More Leverage = Easier to Flex
- Shorter Stick = Less Distance Between Hands = Less Leverage = Harder to Flex
- This is why you will find that taller players/taller sticks typically have a higher flex than shorter players/sticks
Don't believe me? Try it for yourself.
I have worked with Hockey Canada, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Brock University. But now I'm all about hockey sticks. A passion and love for sticks as a child has blossomed into a full on obsession as an adult (if you can call me that).