How can a child fall in love with hockey with the right stick for a child?

How to raise a successful hockey player? To give a good section to a professional coach, to provide the “right” equipment - all this is true. But the main thing is the sincere desire of the child himself to plunge into the world of hockey, practice a lot and diligently, achieve new successes and love this sport with all his heart.

What does it take to make a young player fall in love with hockey? Of course, motivation. And it is formed only when the chain is built and repeatedly reinforced: “I try - I succeed - the coach praises me - I myself am aware of my successes - I try more." That is, without visible successes, small victories that the future champion achieves at every training session, great love between a young player and hockey will not happen.

Another important point in the formation of sustainable motivation is the absence of fear and a minimum of unpleasant physical sensations associated with classes. Hockey is a traumatic sport Bmw Cars in Asokoro, and serious efforts during training provoke muscle pain. If, in addition, the equipment is incorrectly selected, this will lead to unjustified additional loads on fragile bones and joints. The consequences are even more serious health problems, after which you will have to completely forget about sports.

And the last, but no less significant factor is the emotional component. The child should like his new form, skates and, most importantly, a stick. Let it be bright, unusual - this will cheer up the young athlete and allow him to stand out from his teammates. Such conspicuous equipment will be perceived by the child as a reliable friend, a faithful assistant in the game.

So, in order for the future champion to happily run to every training session, he must

  • see your progress;
  • feel safe;
  • get positive emotions.

And the club, the main tool of the future champion, can provide considerable assistance in this.

Table of Contents

  • ​Why is the "right" club so important?
  • ​How can I keep my child safe while exercising?
  • ​Choosing a manufacturer
  • Top 3 manufacturers of children's carbon clubs available in Russia
  • ​And a little more about the emotional component of motivation

​Why is the "right" stick so important?

Properly organized training and natural abilities are, of course, important. But no less important is the correct equipment of the future athlete, namely his club. A stick will help a child at the very beginning of his sports career to master complex tricks more easily and achieve maximum throw accuracy.

In 2007, there was, without exaggeration, a revolution in adult professional hockey - sticks made entirely of carbon appeared. And it immediately became clear: the carbon model improves the quality of the game so much that participants with equipment made from other materials can simply stay at home - it makes no sense for them to play hockey. Why? Here are at least three reasons.

  • Only a 100% carbon stick gives extra elasticity and a "bow effect", which makes the throw more accurate and stronger, while the effort is proportional to the athlete's weight. For adult players, this is a trite energy saving. For young people, it is an opportunity, with still weak muscles, to begin to perform complex power moves like a “click”. Another club will not allow them to be carried out.
  • The puck flies 40-80% faster (and more accurate) when hit with a carbon stick than with a fiberglass or carbon-fiber combo compound. No wonder the world of hockey changed instantly.
  • Carbon sticks are 30-50% lighter than any other sticks. Which gives a more comfortable game, better puck control and the execution of any technique. In adult hockey, this is simply a significant advantage, while in children's hockey it raises the owners of carbon models to an unattainable height in terms of the speed of learning and the skill of playing.

Gradually, carbon sticks became the standard for adult professional hockey. Best stick = 100% carbon stick. Now on the ice, pro-players simply do not use models from other materials. In short, with the advent of carbon sticks, a new era in professional hockey began - without exaggeration.

And again. The 100% carbon hockey stick is the standard for professional adult hockey players. There is not a single professional hockey player in the world today who does not play with a 100% carbon stick.

But some parents say: "Let the child learn with a wooden one, and then we'll buy a carbon one." It's like saying: "Let him learn to swim first, and then pour water into the pool." It is impossible to master professional equipment and skills with NON-professional equipment. This is not training, but its imitation, and it is also harmful to the health of the child, because it harms his bones and joints. If the health and future of your child is important to you, a club for a child should be chosen wisely.

It's especially dangerous to play with an inflexible fiberglass stick if the coach insists kids learn the "click". This is a hockey throw, in which the puck is hit with a wide swing, before hitting the ice slightly with the hook of the stick - then it arches and “shoots” with more force, the puck flies faster and farther than with a regular throw.

So, the Soviet hockey school generally forbade teaching the “click” to children under 14 years old. Hockey for children and “clicks” were incompatible precisely because they played with wooden sticks, hard, and the force of impact, in fact, was extinguished by the joints and bones of the child - this is painful and extremely traumatic. Not to mention that making a “click” with a wooden stick is very, very difficult. Well, where is the wooden club and where is 100% carbon! But with carbon - no problems and no danger of getting problems with joints for life.

And how much happiness a young hockey player experiences when he does get a “click”!

Yes, a professional carbon ice hockey stick is also a powerful motivation for a child. Little hockey players are finally starting to enjoy running to classes. Still: the stick is light, obedient, flexible, the puck flies more accurately and faster, all skills are learned much easier than before.

For example, the “click” is now learned in just a few lessons - and in pre-Carbon times, this technique was taught for months. This is a very, very difficult technique if the player has a wooden hockey stick.

A word about the psychological factor - when a player with a carbon stick appears in a children's hockey team, he instantly gets a huge advantage over others. He leads the puck better, more accurately directs it. And less tired: one thing is a light and obedient club weighing 235 grams, another thing is a 450-gram log, and not a club that needs to be waved throughout the workout. A puck thrown with a carbon stick flies 40-80% faster than other players, even if they don’t have frankly outdated wooden sticks, but more modern types of sticks, made of fiberglass or fiberglass combined with carbon. All of them miserably lose to one-piece models made of 100% carbon fiber. The best stick - only 100% carbon!

Professional equipment gives a huge advantage - that is why in adult hockey a 100% cast carbon stick is an undeniable standard. That is why the approach “Let him first learn with a wooden stick, and then buy a professional one” is initially losing.

Firstly, with a bad stick, it will not be study, but an imitation of study. A fiberglass or wooden stick for a child is like swimming in a pool without water.

Secondly, carbon and "non-carbon" behave differently, so you will have to relearn to use a carbon stick later. Of course, if the child does not run away from hockey earlier. You cannot learn to play professionally using NON-professional equipment.

Thirdly, while playing with a wooden or composite stick, a child can get problems with bones and joints - every hit with a wooden stick on the puck is given in the bones and joints of the child.

Most importantly: a player with NON-professional equipment, most likely, immediately falls into the category of outsiders, loses faith in himself and all desire to go to the next training session. Hockey for children should be a "fan", a pleasure. Otherwise, parents will simply waste time and money, there will be no results.

And no, the argument doesn’t work: “But we played with wooden sticks in childhood, and that’s okay, here’s a cheap stick for you, here’s a puck, here’s ice, and go!”, because now other hockey players have carbon, and this gives them an advantage. If some players have professional equipment and others do not, then the match is lost before the player with the non-carbon stick is on the ice.

Papa's words "but in our time, but here is my old stick..." does not eliminate the objective, technical difference between professional and NON-professional equipment. But they only inspire the child with a completely unnecessary sense of guilt and destroy his motivation. A child cannot, by the force of a parting word received from his father, level the difference between a carbon and non-carbon club. Can not. No way. Even if the child is a naturally gifted hockey player. He is at a loss. Good form for hockey, good skates - all this is important. But the stick is the most important.

How to ensure the safety of the child during training?

“Traditional” club materials, incorrect parameters and child injuries

As many parents of young hockey players know, based on the results of several years of training, instead of an invitation to professional hockey, a child can receive a lifetime subscription to a rheumatologist and a doctor's instruction: "Forget about sports forever!" You can hear from coaches that injuries of bones and joints in children's hockey are “how lucky”, “depending on the health of the child” and similar things.

Hockey for children turned out to be somehow inert, especially in our country. Almost all young Russian hockey players have fiberglass sticks that are traumatic and not adapted for children's muscles. Such models are not professional equipment - they are just an imitation of clubs, moreover, dangerous for children's joints. Alas, a dangerous stick for a child is now a ubiquitous phenomenon.

In fact, many injuries are associated with wooden and fiberglass sticks - they are very hard, do not absorb impact, and this work is done instead by the child's still unformed joints and bones. Hockey for kids is serious business. If you don’t want to bother and invest money, it’s easier and more correct to give the child for swimming - they only need swimming trunks and a cap.

In addition to materials, there are a number of other options for a child's club, the most important of which is Flex. It determines the stiffness/flexibility of the club in the hands of a particular player, or more precisely, how much force must be applied to each inch of the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe stick in order to bend it horizontally one inch. It sounds rather confusing, but if you want to enter the world of hockey, you need to understand! Okay, in the most general sense, the ideal Flex is approximately equal to the player’s weight (in kilograms) or slightly lower than it, but (important!) - this rule only works and only if the size is correctly chosen. What we'll talk about below.

At the same time, Flex is by no means a club-specific characteristic. This is a calculated parameter, derived anthropometrically - that is, "for a player of a certain height, the best club will be with such and such a Flex."

So, joint / bone injuries in children's hockey have always been associated, among other things, with excessively hard children's sticks in which Flex was not calculated anthropometrically. Children with a large margin of joint strength did grow up to junior and adult hockey and, as a reward for their indestructibility, they finally received sticks with a Flex parameter adequate to the strength of the player. Yes, and the muscles of the young hockey player developed over the years. Plus, the muscles of a teenage player, and not just the fragile bones of a child, also began to absorb a blow with a hard stick on the puck. Meanwhile, children hockey players with less strong joints, meanwhile, became registered with rheumatologists and orthopedists, left the sport forever, leaving thousands of hours of training and their health on the ice.

Other important parameters when choosing a pro stick: size (length of the stick), girth of the shaft (handle), match the player's height, direction and type of bend. All this is extremely important, it greatly affects the learning and the quality of the game and will definitely be discussed in detail below.

But first of all - the first parameter, and this is the material of the club for the child.

​Choose a manufacturer

Which do you prefer: a "promoted" name or a specialized "childish" version?

When choosing the best club for a child, it is not always clear to parents what to focus on.

It would seem that the same coaches must be "in the know", know all types of clubs, because this is their job, they must take care of the success of their wards. This is exactly the case in Scandinavia and Western Europe, where hockey for children is given serious attention. And that's why there is a children's hockey coach - a licensed activity. In other words, in the topic of coaching children's teams, random people are excluded there, they are eliminated in qualifying exams.

In Russia, hockey for children and children's coaches is often an extremely sad phenomenon, the problems of which are devoted to more than one article. On the one hand, young hockey players are turning into a tool for pumping money out of their parents. On the other hand, we take into account at least the fact that in our country a children's hockey coach is not a licensed activity. Any charlatan, any loser who has not taken place in professional hockey, but simply a person who is as far from sports as possible due to his charisma, the ability to tell his parents what they want to hear (“I will make an NHL star out of your son!” Etc.), can enter the world of hockey, become famous, allegedly authoritative in children's hockey.

Written in the early 2010s, articles about clubs like "How to choose a children's club" are still massively rewritten by copywriters from each other. How many clubs have they seen live? Yes zero! As a result, we read absolutely fantastic passages: for example, that sticks can be made of “lightweight materials like titanium” (they can, in theory, but in fact no one makes them at all!). Or advice filled with frankly wrecking theses like “it’s enough for little hockey players to buy sticks made of wood.”

The logical decision is to choose a stick from a manufacturer that specializes in the production of professional sports equipment. So, it's time to see what the market has to offer.

Top-3 manufacturers of children's carbon clubs available in Russia

Looking ahead, we note that the history of children's carbon clubs began with the American company Raven. But it will not be in this top: 99% of Raven distribution is focused on the US and Canada. Yes, and they have a small selection of models. Therefore, the pioneer of this industry, who actually invented the concept of "club for a child", has to be left out of the brackets.

Here are the three companies that account for the majority of children's carbon sticks sold in Russia:

One of the two world leaders in the production of equipment for adult ice hockey. Adult hockey is important. Bauer is a developer of a number of innovative solutions in hockey equipment, including a boot-mounted skate blade and a perforated blade. As with another major competitor, CCM, the company's main club revenue comes from adult pro clubs. Therefore, all the "brains" of the manufacturer are directed here, advanced solutions and technologies are applied, various types of clubs for the pros are available. Whereas in the children's segment, products are developed and produced more on a residual basis.

Which, in general, is logical. How many sticks does one professional hockey team buy at once for the whole season? At least 1,000! Why so much? The fact is that one hockey player per game, on average, exploits three clubs. The goalkeeper's stick, the players' sticks - all this breaks from strong blows. Whereas a children's club is used for about six months. And most often it changes due to the need for a higher size. So consider whether it makes commercial sense for a company of the Bauer level to invest specifically in the children's segment. Obviously, the question is rhetorical. In general, no matter how it seems otherwise, the Bauer hockey stick is not the best option.

Specializes in hockey equipment for adults - hockey uniforms, skates and so on. Every year it releases new collections for professional adult players, including goaltending sticks.

Like Bauer, all of CCM's know-how and research is focused on producing lines of equipment primarily for adult hockey players who change up to 60 sticks per season. Hockey for children is not interesting to them. CCM releases clubs for children without preliminary research, according to the residual principle, without any special focus on the children's theme.

In the description of models from the “children's club” series, the manufacturer indicates only the bend and Flex (not calculated based on the anthropometric data of the players).

Finnish hockey sticks designed by Finnish and Canadian specialists led by the mastermind of children's hockey coach Jukka Aro. VIKKELA is one of the few brands that specifically specializes in professional carbon children's hockey sticks. All parameters of the clubs are anthropometrically verified, the efficiency and convenience of the clubs have been experimentally tested on children's teams, which are coached by Jukka himself. VIKKELA is literally burning with the desire to make hockey for children better, safer.

Also a stick, but for the first time for a child ... A little history

The world's first children's hockey stick fully focused on the child player was released in 2015. Once again: before 2015, there were no clubs for children on the market at all. Specially designed for beginner players with an unformed skeleton. There were models that fit the child in size, but they did not fit the children in terms of rigidity. That is, the "children's" sticks were oriented to the impact force of a teenager weighing 50-60 kilograms. Whereas the weight of a five-year-old child is twenty kilograms. Three times less!

In 2016, the first Raven children's sticks were ordered for their players aged 8-13 by Jukka Aro, a Swedish coach of Finnish origin, Sweden's leading expert on children's hockey, author of seven books on hockey training methods and the future founder of VIKKELA. Jukka Aro purchased the world's first children's carbon sticks for the children's teams he coached and collected game statistics for 3 months. Young hockey players with Raven carbon sticks, designed specifically for children, increased the number of successful shots on goal by 20-27%, the speed of the puck by 15-25%. Their opponents, who used other types of clubs (fiberglass), remained the same.

Jukka Aro is a licensed coach with almost 20 years of experience in preparing hockey teams. Knows everything about sticks. His son Atte Aro plays in the Swedish junior ice hockey team in the group born in 2009.

Now let's move on from carbon fiber to other key parameters. And let's look at the example of VIKKELA sticks, how professional children's hockey sticks differ from "toy" ones.

Why on the example of VIKKELA? We repeat: VIKKELA is the only one of all the brands represented on the market of Russia and the countries of the former USSR, which specializes specifically in children's clubs.

All signs of a professional children's hockey stick

1. One-piece, one-piece molded 100% carbon body. No impurities, no combination of carbon with other materials. 100% carbon, period. Only with him, the child can quickly, safely for the joints and with pleasure be able to develop the skills that are needed for professional hockey.

2. Club Size: Fitting the Flex to your child's measurements as closely as possible.

It is described above how this factor affects injuries in children's hockey. But the Flex parameter is also critically important because it determines how effectively the player will use his potential in principle. Due to the unformed muscles in children, the force of hitting the puck depends only on the physical parameters of the child and the stiffness of the stick.

If the Flex is higher than necessary, the stick will be too hard for the child, he will not be able to make a sufficiently accurate and strong throw of the puck. Not to mention the fact that too high Flex is traumatic for a child - see cushioning above. And if the flex is too low, then the stick will bend too much and the player will have to restrain the force of the throw. Which, again, will not add efficiency to the game.

Here, the difference in the approaches of equipment manufacturers is extremely indicative. After all, you need to have a lot of statistical anthropometric data of children hockey players in order to create sticks with a real compliance of Flex with sizes, and not just a drawn Flex number.

And here a whole layer of interesting aspects is buried! In many children's models, even from famous manufacturers, the real Flex has nothing to do with the one indicated on the stick, it is literally fictional.

For example, Bauer has different types of clubs. Including a 10 Flex stick... 119 cm long. But for a child who fits this stick size, 10 Flex is too small: the player will not be able to hit the puck, but will actually stroke it with a "plasticine" stick. And for a player who needs 10 Flex, this stick is too long. And what to do, saw off the extra 10 cm? No, not an option: this will turn 10 Flex into 30 Flex, the stick will become too stiff.

This is a Bauer hockey stick from the world famous hockey equipment manufacturer! No, Bauer is not bad - he just doesn't specialize in children's hockey at all. Bauer's actual, anthropometrically calculated Flex scores start at 50.

What can we say about conditional Chinese manufacturers and other noname! In general, there is sometimes an inverse relationship between Flex and size: the shorter the stick, the harder it is. The larger the size, the lower the Flex. Although it should be strictly the opposite: the older the player, the more strength he has, the higher the Flex should be. In general, the size of the club, in fact, "does not work".

Is it difficult for the parents of a young hockey player to understand all this? Yes a little. But if the manufacturer got confused and calculated everything himself, then you can not really dive into the analysis of the Flex parameter - and just choose a club according to the height of the child.

Because if the manufacturer got confused instead of you, if the Flex of his models is real, the ice hockey stick chosen by the size will suit 95% of the players. Because about 95% of children playing hockey have approximately comparable height-to-weight ratios. So, it doesn’t make much sense to give several Flex options per size in the line - just carefully study the statistics of children of different ages and once bring both indicators to the optimal value.

And then loving parents, grandparents, older brothers and good fairy godmothers will be able to simply choose a stick according to the height of the child. And to make the young hockey player happy with a gift that is really needed, cool and optimally tailored to his parameters. Without suffering and sorting through all kinds of clubs, being afraid to make a mistake.

3. Matching the height of the club to the height of the child.

Here, buyers may face a rather unobvious difficulty: many manufacturers, including the famous CCM or Bauer, very often do not indicate the size of their models - only Flex and club bends.

The manufacturer can easily not indicate the material and weight of the club for the child - at least on the Russian site. You can choose a model only by the Flex parameter - and without specifying the size it is impossible to understand even approximately how correctly this Flex is calculated. The result is, as in the example above, about a stick with Flex 10 and a length of 119 cm. Parents buy a stick, focusing on Flex, then they see it live and realize that it is too long for the child. And the club must either be returned or sawed off from the 10 cm shaft, thereby increasing the Flex to 30 (as a rule, parents do not even know about the increase in Flex). No, the shortening option is no joke: the shaft of the Bauer club even has special marks on which you can take a sip!

For CCM, the size is the length of the shaft (stalk of the club) without taking into account the hook. And the lower semicircle of the hook is at least 10 cm high! Someone may ask why give the length of a separate handle - and there is an answer to this: such a tradition. In the old days, when trees were big and sticks were two-piece, shafts were sold separately from hooks. And this information can be obtained only by asking a consultant on the site, otherwise it is impossible to understand how the size of clubs of this brand is calculated. And, in fact, even having received this information, it is not so easy to apply it to reality - how do parents know what exactly is the height of the lower semicircle of the hook in a particular stick model? An old stick is one thing, but now the realities are different.

Children's ice hockey sticks from the Finnish manufacturer VIKKELA make the choice much easier.

  • Firstly, sizes are always indicated. And they are always correct. It doesn't matter if the goalkeeper's stick is in front of you or the player's stick.
  • Secondly, size is the length from the highest point of the shaft (handle) to the floor on which the club stands vertically. That is, it is not difficult to understand what size a young hockey player needs: you need to put the child on skates and measure the distance from his nose to the floor.
  • Thirdly, the VIKKELA size is the length of the stick 112-165.5 cm in 5 cm increments, which makes it possible to absolutely accurately select the right model for a particular child.

Today, VIKKELA is the only manufacturer of hockey sticks in the world that really bothers with the anthropometric indicators of children hockey players and indicates all the necessary information in its catalogs: size, weight of the stick, material of manufacture, Flex.

And everyone else, in fact, does not care - a club for children, a club for adults ... the main thing is that the brand is well-known - then they will buy it.

So, the key is: a professional children's club = 100% solid carbon body + correct size + correctly specified, realistically calculated Flex

4. Comfortable thickness of the shaft (diameter of the shaft, it is also a handle), so that the grip of the club is optimal

In children's clubs, three main shaft girth options are offered - 78, 82 and 85 mm. Here, too, there are nuances.

  • YTH, or "children's standard", 78 mm, in fact, it is not clear what it is based on, it just happened historically. For a child, such a shaft is too thin, the club scrolls in the hands. The "standard" 78 mm is generally banned by coaches in some countries (Canada, Finland), so a club with a 78 neck is not the best club at all.
  • The 82mm shaft is a junior standard, not a kid's.
  • The shaft of 85 mm is optimal for children, according to research by the manufacturer VIKKELA: with such a thickness of the shaft, the stick does not turn in the hands and allows you to fully implement the Flex model.

Additional Options: Club Curves and Shaft Coating

For children's clubs, the 028 hook curve is optimal, with which it is easiest to master dribbling and throwing techniques. A hook with this kink has a more “open” main body, which gives a higher puck breakout point and a more confident flight under the bar. The curve of the 028 stick is forgiving of shooting errors and gives you confident control of the puck thanks to the curved tip of the blade.

For advanced junior players, the more open 028 fold is used.

The classic 092 fold at VIKKELA has a full fold like adult models, but in junior size.

Shaft coating options:

  • Grip - tenacious, non-slip, gives a secure fit of the club in the hands. However, it does not allow the player to easily slide their hands on the handle.
  • Clear - coating for easy movement of the drum