Is your hockey stick stopping you from playing for Australia?
A good tradesman never blames his tools. And yet we put so much emphasis on the tools of our trade.
Hockey equipment has advanced in leaps and bounds during my time on the pitch. Just ask goalkeepers.
I am just old enough to remember my old man terrorising forwards on grass fields wearing little more than cricket pads (cane stick pads of course, no foam padding).
But I am too young to remember a time when goalkeepers wore the same equipment as everyone else, basically footy boots.
I still hear tales of the brave folk of yesteryear who used to lie down in front of the goals to save penalty corner shots – no pads, no worries.
Fortunately, times change, as do safety standards.
Sticks, runners and pads have gone from being inconsequential to essential and now are almost as much of a fashion statement as they are a necessity – just ask the players in your team with the fluoro runners…
The expert view
For the past six months, Kookaburra Kieran Govers has been running around with a stick that was not only named after him but that he also helped design.
“It is a pretty cool feeling getting my own stick made which other people can buy and use,” he told The New Daily.
“It feels like you have accomplished something special in your sport.”
The Mazon Black Magic KG27 retails for about $450, a sign of the times when it comes to the price of hockey equipment.
Govers described the stick as similar to the Mazon Slingshot but with a ‘low bow and very light’. Each player has his own preference on the size of hook and bend in a stick.
“I prefer the maxi hook, a balance point of about 40-42cm so it makes the bottom of the stick super light.
“I like my sticks about 510-520 and size 36.5. I get them made super stiff so when I hit the ball it doesn’t have a whip feel like some sticks.”
But it wasn’t all technical talk when it came to the design – the tattooed Govers got a few bells and whistles added.
“I wanted it to be bright and to stand out, and I always wanted a green and gold stick just like our Australian uniform, so we came up with a few cool options and this one was the winner.”
Does a top stick make a difference?
Putting Govers’ vested interest aside, he believes it does.
“It hits harder, you can have a good feel of the ball and it’s not heavy when running around. It gives you confidence with a good stick,” he added.
And therein lies the rub.
Having the best stick on the park does have its technical benefits but running out with the knowledge that you are using the best may just be the mental edge you’ve been looking for.
As for me, I haven’t bought a new stick for about a decade.
I’ve made do playing with other people’s cast-offs but then again, I’m no Kookaburra.
Five of the best, used by the best
1. The JDH
Used by: Jamie Dwyer
Best bits: Great for 3d skills and spins
2. Mazon Black Magic KG27
Used by: Kieran Govers
Best bits: Excellent for drag flicks. Only 50 made and in Aussie colours. Nice balance point as well with powerful hitting and tomahawks
3. The Gryphon Tour Pro
Used by: Daniel Beale
Best bits: Light but powerful, bowed for skills
4. The Espada Primera
Used by: Georgie Parker
Best bits: Traditional shape means it’s a great stick for the basics
5. The Voodoo
Used by: Up-and-coming Kookaburra Dylan Wotherspoon
Best bits: Chunkier stick allowing for a stronger hit
Sweet, sweet drag
Is there anything better than getting a sweet drag and absolutely embarrassing a defender? This move from Ireland’s Megan Frazer at the Hockey World League to set up her teammate Anna O’Flanagan is too sweet to ignore.
— FIH (@FIH_Hockey) June 16, 2015
Meanwhile, the Hockeyroos weren’t satisfied with a standard photo shoot. They pulled together this effort for Getty Images. Not a bad effort.
— FIH (@FIH_Hockey) June 15, 2015
Field of fog
And finally, the Goulburn Hockey Association did its best to remind everyone that hockey is a winter sport in Australia. As the line goes, they tried to catch some fog but they mist.
— Goulburn Hockey (@Goulburn_Hockey) June 12, 2015
Tim tweets at @TimDoutre.