Today it's great to see the many youth programs and travel teams that are available across the country. However, one major problem that exists that may be hindering your child's development in the sport is stick length.
Here at Primo, we are a big believer in stick skill development and not committing to the long stick position too soon. Or if you do commit to this position, ensure that you are using a stick that is proportional to your size.
This post lays out two actions you can take to ensure that you are getting the most out of your stick skill development at the defensive position.
1. Cut your stick down to the appropriate size.
A youth defenseman should not be using the same size full-length stick as 6'4" PLL Defensemen Brodie Merrill. Brodie's stick, for example, goes to about chin level for complete control when throwing checks, scooping up ground balls, and cradle, pass and shoot with ease. Lucky for him, using a full length 72" is not an issue for him. But for anyone not at this height you may want to consider cutting your stick down.
What is the appropriate size you ask? For many, it will depend on feel, but as a general guideline, the head of the stick should be no longer than the player's height. For even better control and to not instill poor habits, we recommend the height of the stick to be somewhere between the player's chin and nose.
If you're worried about cutting the stick down too much, try cutting the shaft down in smaller increments and trying it out. If it still feels too long, cut it down a little more until you find the sweet spot.
Don't want to cut your stick down yourself? Primo offers this option for all D-Poles we sell. Simply input the length you want your shaft cut down to at check out and we'll take care of the rest.
2. Invest in a short stick and practice with it.
Stick skills at the youth level are the primary key to a youth player's success and development. If you can master stick skills with a short stick, you will be lightyears ahead of other defenders at the youth level when you transition to a long pole.
Using Brodie Merrill as an example again, he didn't even touch a long pole until around the age of 16 when he transitioned from midfield to the LSM role for Team Canada.
He also had a great advantage of playing the indoor game growing up in Orangeville Ontario, which helped him hone his skills with a short stick and make it a much easier transition to the long pole.
Don't wanna shell out tons of cash for another stick? Primo has a variety of affordable stick solutions including our Primo Completes. These come with a game or practice ready pocket fully broken in and ready for use, with no hassle.
Learn more about our complete stick options below.