The goaltender’s stick takes a serious beating throughout the season. Through that time the goalie sees hundreds of shots that cause mesh to tear and heads to break from inclement weather conditions.
To help the young and old tenders, I have come up with 4 simple tips to take care of your goalie stick to get you through the season and many more to come.
#1 Let It Breathe
NEVER leave your gear on your stick, whether it’s after practice in the back of your car or propped up against a wall to dry. The weight from the gear resting on the head can warp the plastic. When a head warps the pocket can change and it will typically weaken the integrity plastic of the head.
Instead: Without any gear on the stick, rest the cross face first against a wall with the pocket pushed out. This will combat warping and prevent your pocket from becoming misshapen.
Oh yeah, get a gear bag and treat your stick with respect!
#2 Practice Stick Hygiene
DO NOT leave dirt on the head or mesh after a muddy game/practice. The mud can seep into the mesh fibers, which in turn could alter your pocket leaving you with a hard, inaccurate, dirt-incrusted mess. Respect your stick and give it a scrub down every now, treat it how you want it to treat you.
Instead: If your stick is muddy, rinse off your pocket with warm water and wipe away any big chunks of mud out the mesh and head.
After you did your best to clean the mesh, push the pocket out, prop it up against a wall face down to dry. Store it the same way as in Tip #1 to extend the life of your mesh along with keeping the shape of your pocket.
#3 Room Temperature is Gold
TRY NOT to store your stick in a cold place for long periods of time and then bring it to play a game or pick-up with. It can weaken the plastic and make it brittle. One good shot to the side or scoop of the head can lead to a break in the plastic.
Also, really hot and humid temperatures can negatively affect the plastic too. Sticks like the same weather you do!
Instead: If you can, keep your sticks inside where it’s climate controlled and propped up like I mentioned before. If you can’t keep the crosse inside, try to bring the stick indoors for about an hour before leaving for a game. This allows the plastic to warm up or cool down making the chances of head breakage much less likely.
#4 Friends Don’t Touch Friends’ Crosses
PREVENT IF POSSIBLE any friends or teammates from using your stick and playing around with it at practice or on the sideline at games. You’ve become accustom to your stick throwing a certain way. If you let your friends use it, they could alter the way it throws from improper care. You could be left with a stick you are unfamiliar with and the headache of fixing it, or worse, a broken head.
Instead: Explain to your teammates that you would like them to NOT play around with your stick and leave it be if left unattended. You could even offer your back up’s back up to let them mess around with!
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These 4 simple tips take little to no time to execute. They seem small, but can extended the life of your stick and save yourself money on buying new mesh and heads every season.
Take care of your gear, and your gear will take care of you!
Following these tips personally for the last 9 years as a goaltender, I believe have allowed me to keep a stick that I regularly use for at least 5 years. I hope these tips help you on your venture as a goaltender and wish you good luck in your upcoming season.