What grip tape you have on your field hockey stick can drastically effect your game.Unfortunately when you buy a new stick, the stock standard grip isn’t always the best and won’t always give you the control or comfort you want. To help players get the most out of their sticks we have created a list of some good stock and non stock grips or tapes for your stick.
Best Stock Standard Grip Tape
- TK Sticks come standard with either a TK Synergy Grip or the TK Hi-Soft Grip depending on the series. The Total One, Synergy and some of the Platinum series use the Synergy Grip which is a mix of a traction/chamois/rib grip it is fairly unique to TK but is very nice for a standard tape as is gives a good amount of control and comfort in both wet and dry conditions. The TK Trilium range uses TK’s Hi-Soft Grip which is a fairly tacy grip with a bit of extra ridging created by the stitching running through it, not a super cushioned grip but nice for standard and won’t have you back at the store within the month for a new grip. The TK P1 Deluxe stick comes with another very unique standard grip which is a clear or see-through PU type of grip which kind of fees like solid rubber. This grip however is excellent it has great shock absorption and really good tac, it also performs well in the rain and is very durable, an truly great standard grip for a elite level stick.
- Grays Traction – Most Grays sticks come standard with a traction tape already on. Grays as a field hockey company have really excelled in creating excellent quality grip tapes for all players needs and they have had a lot of time to perfect the grips for players. The traction grip is the ultimate all-rounded type of tape, it gives great control for a players left hand which controls the twisting and angle of the stick by patterned indents in the top half of the tape. The bottom half of the grip is smooth but still has a bit of tac to give plenty of control when needed. The traction grip had a decent amount of cushion, probably the most out of all the standard grips. How does it fair in the rain, surprisingly well, however not as good as a TK grips.
- STX – Most STX field hockey sticks come standard with a Karakal PU Grip. This is a very nice grip with probably the most tac being PU, Karakal are a very well renown brand for supplying quality PU grips fot tennis, squash and other racket sports. Whilst the Karakal grip doesn’t have heaps of cushion it does have excellent durability and will certainly give you great stick control. Interesting here as that STX have made this deal with Karakal as they are a completely different company instead of using their own branded tape, but whatever the reasons are its good to know when you buy a STX you will start off with a decent grip.
Best 3 Grip Tapes – Non Stock
- Grays Traction and Cushion – As previously mentioned the traction this is the best all rounder grip and a great low price, perfect for anyone getting into competitive field hockey. The Grays cushion grip is the best choice for a cushion grip, constructed of high quality materials this grip will give excellent comfort for your hands and reduce stick vibrations better than any other, unless you double tape your stick.
- Mazon Contour Max – This is an amazing grip, it combines amazing tac, cushion, control and excellent shock absorption. The only downside of this tape is the price, it is the most expensive grip available, however it is a high quality tape and you can expect it to last a while.
- Cranberry Chamois – Most chamois grips a very similar, however the Cranberry comes in a large variety of colors and is a durable product compared to others available in the chamois range. See prices and colors.
What should a good stick tape do?
The role of a stick is two things. 1. To enable a player to maintain a good grip on the handle of the stick in order to control it and then control the ball. 2. To provide some cushioning for a players hand against jarring when hitting, slapping or trapping the ball. If there was no cushion you might find your self holding a very hard piece of fiberglass or wood, not the greatest feeling 🙂
Main types of Field Hockey Grip Tapes
- Chamois – this is a thin over grip,and like the name suggests it’s made of very similar material to the Chamois you dry your car with. Similar to a tennis racket grip you put it over and older grip, preferably nothing too thick already. The main advantage of this tape is it does really well in the wet whether, less slip more control. TK, Atlas, Gryphon, Cranberry and Dita plus others all do their own version of this type of grip.
- Traction – commonly known as an all rounder type of grip. This stick tape is primarily designed to ensure your your left hand doesn’t slip off, gives you some extra tiny grooves in the tape to assist your palm have maximum friction. Works very well in dry whether. not so great in the wet.
- Towel – Just as is sounds this grip is made up of a cotton type fabric which literally feels like you are holding a bathroom towel. This grip offers a very nice feel on hands without gloves and is a great balance of grip versus the ability to twist the stick you your hand. These grips typically don’t have a huge amount of cushion however so that must be considered. They perform well in the wet, not as good as a chamois but better than others. Most brands do their own towel grip, such as Gryphon and Mazon.
- Cushion – This type of grip is the best to help reduce stick vibration into your hands when hitting, it is a great choice for comfort and if you have large hands. The amount of tac each cushion grip will have will depend on the brand. Several brands do this type of grip including Mazon, Gryphon, Grays and Atlas. Like a lot of other grips however the cushion stick grip isn’t the best in the wet weather.
- Ribbed – Ribbed grip means that there is a raised part of the grip that allows extra surface variation for the palm of the hand that wraps around the handle.
- PU or Polyurethane – This is a very “grippy” grip PU grips offer really good “tacyness” or “stickyness” for your hand which makes it easier to maintain a strong hold of your stick. They offer some cushioning but are typically a thin, soft grip. They aren’t the greatest in the wet when they get old but go well when new. Several brands do a PU grip such as Adidas and Karakal.
Why do field hockey players tape over the shaft of the stick?
The face of the shaft that is primarily used for trapping the ball can often be too smooth or slippery to stop the ball dead. That’s why you will often see players putting medical or strapping tape on the shaft of their stick. This can give the surface more traction and thus reduce ball slippage when trying to trap. This can also be advantages for reducing wear and chipping on the face of the stick from a lot of tackling, thus increasing the life span of the stick.
Brands that don’t do a grip standard Grip
Even though you may buy a high end stick from a great brand like Atlas or Gryphon, they unfortunately don’t really give you the best grips this is typically because these brands don’t really focus on their grip technology but rather just on the stick itself. Below are some brands that you might want to get a different grip for after you buy a new stick.
- Atlas – very nice to start with but after a few weeks or a bit of rain they quickly degrade and become slippery or worn out they also tear easily.
- Gryphon – Plenty of tac in a standard Gryphon grip but they are very thin an thus do not offer a lot of cushion, some players may like this, but for most situations its not ideal. The other issue we have with it is, like the Atlas standard it doesn’t last long at all.
How to Replace a Field Hockey Stick Grip Tape
Replacing your grip on your field hockey stick is quite straight forward however there is one decision you need to make first. That is, do you want to put another grip over your existing one or do you want to completely remove the old grip?
- Removing the old grip tape – Very easy, all you need to do is to find the end on the grip on the head end of your handle, peel or cut the little bit of tape that covers the end then grab hold of the tape and pull it off while rotating the stick. This should easily unravel the tape all the way to the top of the handle. If there is a lot of adhesive residue left after this you may want to clean the handle with a wet cloth and then dry it to have it nice and clean for the new grip.
- Applying new gripe tape – The most important thing to do here is make sure you get a good start. Most common is to start tapping at the top of the handle then work your way down the shaft. Wind the tape tightly around the stick at a slight angle with only a small overlap to avoid bubbles or big ridges that will make the grip uncomfortable. All grip tape except chamois typically have adhesive on the underside of the tape which means it will stick to the handle without need any additional glue of tape.See here for a video tutorial. The most difficult type of grip to apply is the Chamois grip as this is an over-grip and doesn’t have adhesive to help it stay on your stick. This means you must wind it very tightly around the handle and shaft to ensure proper contact. At the end be ready with some medical cloth tape of some description to seal off the new grip and keep it attached to the stick. It is really important to maintain the tension other wise the grip will be ineffective. The video below is a great tutorial for how to do the chamois grip.
Remember if you have any questions about gripping a stick or grip tape in general let us know on out contact us page.