Field hockey is a fast-paced game that requires skill, accuracy, and determination. Field hockey as we know it today was first created in Britain during the middle of the 19th century and is more popular amongst former colony countries such as Australia, India and New Zealand. In the United States, it is actually one of the oldest college sports courtesy of its colonial heritage. It is far more popular amongst women at the college level and is often viewed as a women’s sport, despite it being played by a large number of men worldwide. In fact, the USA has had men’s field hockey teams playing at the Olympics since 1932.Top Field Hockey Stick Comparison ChartPictureNamePriceWhere to Buy?1. Grays Surf 500 2016 $$$Check Price on Amazon2. STX Surgeon RX 401 $$$Check Price on Amazon3. Grays Surf 500 Field Hockey Stick $$Check Price on Amazon4. Harrow Revel Field Hockey Stick $$$Check Price on Amazon5. STX Field Hockey Stallion 200 $$$Check Price on Amazon6. Grays GX1000 Composite Hockey Stick $$$Check Price on Amazon7. Harrow Willow Field Hockey Stick $$Check Price on Amazon8. STRYK Burst Beginner Field Hockey Stick Package $$Check Price on Amazon9. Grays GX6000 Micro Composite Field Hockey Stick $$$$Check Price on Amazon10. Harrow Viper Field Hockey Stick $$Check Price on AmazonLike most sports, your field hockey game can be affected by the quality of your equipment. Every player on a field hockey team requires a stick. These sticks may appear similar to the untrained eye, but in fact they can vary greatly depending upon the position played as well as personal preference. The one thing that is the same in all field hockey sticks is that they are all right-handed. This isn’t to say that left-handed athletes cannot play, but it does mean that they are required to do so with the same style stick as their right-handed counterparts.Choosing the right hockey stick can be a slow process, especially if you are still growing and learning the game. It is advisable to try a few sticks out before deciding what works for you. If you are in a sports store, make sure you get a really good feel for the stick. Where possible, try borrowing from teammates or your coach and experiment with how the stick feels. The wrong stick will not only inhibit your play and progress but can also cause pain in your back and wrists, therefore creating a higher risk of injury. The position you play may help you decide on the most appropriate type of stick for you.Field Hockey Stick Buying GuideStick Requirements Based on PositionDefenders as a general rule, defenders require a sturdy stick for tackling. They also need to be powerful to help clear the ball. To obtain both these features, they will typically choose a stick that is longer to help reach in for tackles, and heavier to provide greater hitting power, than those who play other positionsForwards forwards are constantly on the attack and therefore need accuracy, speed and ball-handling skills. Their sticks need to be more lightweight than defenders as it will help with maneuverability. Power is also important, and sticks with a high carbon content can help with this without adding unwanted weight.Midfielders players in the midfield need to have quick ball-handling skills and the ability to make good tackles. They don’t want their sticks to be too heavy, but they need to be durable. A midi toe design is well balanced and will cater for the needs of a midfielder. A stick that contains aramid will help a midfielder keep control while trapping and dribbling.If you are still undecided, check out our buyer’s guide and hockey stick reviews. We have done the research for you, all you have to do is buy the best stick for you and get out there and get playing! Before we look at various aspects to consider when buying a field hockey stick, it is important to understand the parts of the stick. Some of the names are useful terminology, whilst some parts will play a significant role in helping you decide which field hockey stick is best for you.What are the parts of a field hockey stick?Shaft / Handle / Grip the top part of the stick where the player mostly grips the stick. It is often covered with some kind of high-tack grip or sports tape to avoid slipping when swinging and maneuvering.Head the part of the stick that makes contact with the ball. It is flat on one side (the side that hits the ball) and curved on the other. This is the part you use to shoot, trap and pass the ball.The end of the field hockey stick that makes contact with the field and the ball. The head is flatHeel where the head bends and joins the toe of the stick.Toe where the head turns. This creates a striking area. The toe varies in size with each version offering different benefits for players based on their skill level and position.Scoop the small groove in the head of the stick. It helps with ball control, cradling and maneuvering.Bow the slight curve in the stick between the handle and the head. LengthField hockey sticks come in a variety of lengths to match the varying heights and needs of players. There are two basic ways to measure if a field hockey stick is a suitable size, both using your body as a guide. The first is to measure the stick against your legs. An appropriately sized stick should reach 1-2 inches below your waist. Alternatively, you can place the stick under your armpit and if it reaches to the middle of your kneecap, it is suitable for you.A long stick often provides more power but can cause undercutting and therefore frequent raised balls. Using a long stick can also lead to wrist pain and fractures in the stick due to the hard contact with the playing surface. A shorter stick is easier to maneuver as you are lower to the ground, but this can also cause back pain. A short stick limits on the amount of power you can achieve.If you still have some doubt when it comes to length, or find that your ideal size is between stick sizes, it is worth considering the position you play. Generally, defense players will opt for a longer stick and offense player will use a shorter stick. WeightWhilst the weight of your stick may be relative to your own size and strength, it really comes down to personal preference. A lighter stick, which weighs between 535 and 545 grams, allows for quick wrist movement and quick backswing and stick skills. If you opt for a heavier stick, in the range of 550 and 560 grams, you will benefit from more power and durability. Once again, if you are in some doubt over the most appropriate weighted stick, consider your playing position. Defenders will typically use a heavier stick and and forwards will generally use a lighter one. MaterialField hockey sticks can be made from a range of different materials. The material you choose will depend not only on how you like your stick to feel, but also on your budget and skill level.Carbon Carbon offers stiffness and power. The higher the percentage of carbon, the more powerful the stick. However, carbon sticks can be a little on the heavy side and do require more skill to maneuver.Fiberglass When used on its own, fiberglass is a material that provides power. It is most commonly used in field hockey sticks to reinforce durability and strength when combined with carbon. It is also more economical than carbon, therefore when fiberglass is used in conjunction with carbon it brings the cost down.Wood Wood field hockey sticks may seem a little dated, but they are still in existence. They are cheaper and make great beginner sticks.Aramid Aramid is a great balancing material that helps to absorb vibrations, making the stick more comfortable to use.Toe DesignThe are a variety of shapes when it comes to toe design, each coming with various benefits and will cater for different skill levels and playing positions.Shorti this toe design allows for quick turning of the stick over the ball and is a very common toe length for offensive players due to its maneuverability, balance, and control.Midi a midi toes design provides a larger surface area for hitting, making it great for beginners. It is a common design amongst midfielders, hence the term ‘midi’. Flicking, receiving and reverse play are all quite easy to perform with a midi toe design stick.Maxithis larger toe design allows for wide striking and power. These elements make it the toe design of choice for defensive players.Hook as the name suggests, this design has quite a J-shape to it. There is extra surface area that allows for increased ball control, better drag-flicks and reverse stick play.Best Field Hockey Stick Reviews Grays Surf 500 2016 Grays is a name that is synonymous with field hockey, catering for the needs of beginners right through to professionals. The Grays Surf 500 2016 is designed for beginners and is made of durable mulberry wood that has been reinforced with fiberglass. The maxi toe design allows for powerful drag flicks and reverse stick control. There are a range of options when buying this field hockey stick – a choice of two colors and 11 different sizes ensures that this stick is suitable for almost any young player.Pros:It is a very reasonably priced field hockey stick.The reinforced material ensures durability.Great for beginner field hockey players.The bright color design is appealing to young players.Cons:The paint on this field hockey stick will chip away fairly quickly. Whilst this won’t affect play, it becomes aesthetically unappealing.This stick may be slightly on the heavy side which may something to consider if buying for a young player.Whilst the stick is available in variety of lengths, it will not cater for a taller person. STX Field Hockey Surgeon 300 This a high quality stick and the price is reflective of this. The sleek color scheme of silver and black is aesthetically pleasing and has a midi toe design to make flicking, reverse play and receiving rather easy. It is classed as a light stick, weighing 535 grams. Made from a combination of carbon, fiberglass and aramid it truly is built to last as well as providing a forgiving touch.Pros:A durable and lightweight stick.Stylish color scheme.Available in a selection of sizes. Cons:It is more expensive than many other field hockey sticks.This stick is only available in one color scheme.The size selection really only caters for taller players. Grays Surf 500 Field Hockey Stick Another great junior field hockey stick from Grays. The wood construction means that it is a light stick, therefore suitable for young beginners. Two color options are available as well as a selection of sizes. This is a great entry stick and the lightweight feel makes it easy to maneuver.Pros:It is cheaper than other beginner sticks on the market.The two color options are appealing to young players.The wood construction is lightweight yet durable.Comes in a selection of sizes.Cons:Due to the size options, it is a field hockey stick for young beginners only. Harrow Revel Field Hockey Stick The Harrow Revel field hockey stick is a durable stick made from carbon and fiberglass. The midi toe design provides great control and you will look good whilst playing courtesy of the silver, black and blue color scheme. Maneuverability is easy with this stick due to its lightweight nature and standard bow design.Pros:This stick is priced lower than many other, similar products on the market.It offers a professional color and design.The combination of fiberglass and carbon make it a great stick for those wishing to transition from wood to composite. Cons:This stick is only available in two sizes. STX Field Hockey Stallion 200 The Stallion 200 has a high fiberglass content which provides great reinforcement for the carbon. The addition of aramid helps to absorb vibrations, therefore making it very comfortable to use. It is on the heavy side, but the midi toe design helps with maneuverability. The silver color looks professional, but the price tag makes it attainable for beginners.Pros:Available in four sizes.It is a very reasonable priced, durable field hockey stick.The high fiberglass content as well as aramid makes the stick very forgiving and easy to use.The weight of the stick provides great power.Cons:It is only available in one color. Grays GX1000 Composite Hockey Stick Grays offer a professional looking field hockey stick in either blue or black. Made from a combination of fiberglass, carbon and aramid, it offers durability as well as keeping vibrations to a minimum. The maxi toe design is great for players who need to be hitting with power, such as those in defensive positions. Grays is a reputable brand and you know you are paying for quality, even though the price is very reasonable.Pros:The stick is available in four different sizes.Vibrations are absorbed due to the composite material, making it pleasant to use.A great, powerful stick for defense players.Cons:Whilst it is reasonably priced, there are many cheaper products on the market offering similar properties.The two color choices are very similar and dark, which may not appeal to some users. Harrow Willow Field Hockey Stick This junior field hockey stick is made from durable mulberry wood and is great, cheap stick for those just starting to learn field hockey. It is responsive and flexible, and is also reinforced with fiberglass to help provide power.Pros:This field hockey stick is far cheaper than many other products on the market.It provides great power without feeling too much vibration.This is a durable field hockey stick.Cons:Options are limited as the stick is only available in one color and size.It is on the heavier side, making it more suitable for defense players. STRYK Burst Beginner Field Hockey Stick Package STYRK are offering a package deal. As well as a stick, the package contains plastic shin guards, a field hockey ball and a bag. The stick is made from wood with a standard bow and midi toe design. Available in two appealing color schemes, you are buying a great package deal with a good quality stick.Pros:The package is value for money.Choice of two great colors.Available in a range of sizes to suit the needs of any beginner. Cons:If you are only looking to purchase a stick, you can do so for cheaper if you do not need the included extra accessories.The size options do not cater for taller field hockey players. Grays GX6000 Micro Composite Field Hockey Stick This is a more expensive field hockey stick from Grays, but it is one of superb quality. It offers a newly designed micro toe design which is great for flicking and lifting the ball. It also allows you to turn the stick over faster which means you will have better ball handling skills. The composite materials of carbon, fiberglass and aramid allow for a greater combination of flexibility and durability. The handle is an Energy Reduction Handle which helps eliminates the feeling of vibration.Pros:Grays is a well-known and trusted brand.New technology in the toe design allows for more speed of movement.The composite material ensures forgiveness in the stick as well as durability.Available in four sizes.Cons:It is more expensive that many other field hockey sticks on the market.It is not suitable for shorter players, or those who prefer a shorter stick.There is only one color option available. Harrow Viper Field Hockey Stick This stick offers a great combination of fiberglass and carbon making it a great stick for developing players. The midi toe design has a large surface area for hitting, but does not compromise on maneuverability. Available in a range of sizes it will cater for a variety of players and the color scheme is very appealing.Pros:It is priced a little lower than other, similar field hockey sticks.The midi toe design is great for developing players.Fiberglass and carbon materials create flexibility and durability.Available in three sizes. Cons:Players are likely to feel a vibration when striking the ball with power.Only available in one color scheme. Conclusion & Recommendations Choosing the right stick can be a daunting task. Hopefully our guide has taken the guesswork out of the equation and made the selection process and little more straightforward. We can highly recommend the Grays GX6000 for its high quality material. It is on the upper end of the price scale, but worth every cent. It’s power and durability are second to none, and vibrations are kept to a minimum making it really comfortable to use. If budget is something you need to consider then the STX Stallion 200 is a great mix of durability without breaking the bank. Junior players should definitely try out the Grays Surf 500 2016 as it offers a large range of sizes meaning that there will be one to suit the size of any young player.It is important to take into consideration many factors such as weight, length, what the stick is made from, the position you play, your own size, your skill level, and of course, it has to look good! It is perfectly normal for two players of similar size, skill and position to use very different sticks. When it comes to choosing your preferred stick, there are suggestions only. In fact, the most important factor is that you feel comfortable using it. If you can maneuver as you need, hit with enough power, tackle your opponents and comfortably trap balls, then you are on the right track. As your game progresses, don’t be afraid to experiment with the type of stick you use. All you have to do now is grab your new stick go and enjoy some field hockey!The post 10 Best Field Hockey Sticks : Defenders, Forwards, & Midfielders appeared first on Sport Consumer.