Hockey sticks are generally offered in a Grip or Non-Grip coating. Grip sticks usually consists of a sticky or tacky coating, where as Non-Grip is smooth or matte.
What is the purpose of the grip?
The purpose of the grip is to help get a better hold on your stick. While stick-handling, you are constantly moving your bottom hand up and down the shaft. Once you shoot, you don’t want your bottom hand to move because that is where you generate your power from. With a standard non-grip stick sliding your hand up and down the shaft is done with ease. However you may not get a tight grip when you shoot because of the slickness. With the grip coating, the tacky or texture grip on a stick allows your bottom hand to get a much tight grip on the stick. The downside is that the tacky coating can be too strong and inhibit your bottom hand from moving around freely. You may be wondering, “what is the point of making sticks without the grip coating if we don’t want our hands sliding”. It comes down to preference; you may not have any slipping of your hand without the grip coating. Alternatively you may find that the grip doesn’t allow your hand to move at all. Manufacturers do offer varying degrees of tackiness as well as alternative textures so you can find the one that works best for you.
What are the different types of grip?
Like I mentioned earlier, there are two different types of grip coatings; tacky and textured. Tacky are the most common and are basically just a sticky coating; like the backside of a strip of tape. Some brands may offer a very sticky grip while others may only have a mild stickiness to them. It may also vary between different lines within the brand as well.
The other type of grip is a textured grip. They are generally used with both grip and non-grip coating to give you a little extra feel to the stick. One of the more popular textures is ribbing. You may have noticed is texture, seen on the Bauer Supreme line. These are raised lines to help you get a better feel for the stick. So weather or not you use a grip or non-grip stick, you can still feel the texture. Other forms of texture are a raised cross weave, or a sandpaper like feel. Sometimes manufactures leave the carbon fiber weave exposed to give the stick some texture. A great example of this is the blade of the Bauer Vapor APX and APX2. You can see a closeup here. Lastly, the sandpaper grip, which is quite rare in production sticks but popular amongst NHL players and also found in pro stock sticks. It gives you more feeling of the stick while not being sticky or smooth. The Warrior dynasty AX line offers a similar feature, it is like a light sandpaper.
Non-grip sticks also come in 2 varieties, Matte or Gloss. These are pretty self explanatory but matte is basically the raw stick, similar to the exposed carbon fiber mentioned earlier. It may also have a light coating. The gloss has a protective shiny coating. When it comes to the non-grip option, generally brands will only offer one or the other; either matte or gloss. Typically the grip and either matte or gloss.
When selecting a stick, try out both grip and non-grip and see for yourself which you like the best!
Alternative Options for Grips
What if you like a little bit of both or neither? You may like the tight hold of a grip stick but want your hand to move quicker. I found that by taping around the shaft of your stick (as seen bellow) gives you the right amount of grip and slickness. You can make your hand glide a little faster on a grip stick or make your non-grip stick a little sticky.
Which grip do you prefer? Tweet at us! @thestickguru