Rules of Hockey. Hockey Stick. An alternative to the present Stick Diagrams illustrating permitted limits to bends to the edges of the handle.
This article excludes comment on ‘stick bow’ and also on grip thickness and the overall balance, weight and length of a hockey stick.
The ten year anniversary of the expiration of my patents on the zigzag or kinked shaft stick designs having just passed (without there yet having been production of clear and useful stick diagrams in the Rules of Hockey) I think it a good time to republish what I have been suggesting to the FIH HRB / FIH Rules Committee for the past thirteen years.
The originally produced FIH Stick Diagram was placed in the back of the rule book in 2000, more than ten years after I had requested a diagram be inserted (in 1989 at the height of the “it’s illegal” and the “it’s going to be made illegal” campaigns orchestrated by competitors and others ) and fourteen years after a number of set-back and kinked shaft hockey sticks had been introduced to the public at the 1986 World Cup.
The two grey circles are not part of the original FIH Stick Diagram. There are there to illustrate how carelessly this diagram was drawn. The one on the right represents the diameter of the FIH Stick Ring, the one on the left should have been of the same size if it was to pass over the representation of the stick head. There are other errors such as portraying the lines A-A and A1-A1 as being identical to the edges of the stick (which in a hockey stick are tapered not parallel ) and not drawing them a distance from and separately to the stick (the maximum shaft width of a stick is on average approximately 46mm) . The lines A-A and A1-A1 should each have been drawn as being 25.5mm equidistant from a line running down the centre of the handle of the stick and then the lines B-B and B1-B1 a further 20mm respectively. This was not worth a ten year wait , very disappointing.
In 2001 this diagram was moved to sit with stick specifications near the front of the rule book.
In 2004 two new diagrams were produced which along with other technical specifications, were then set out in a separate “Technical Specifications” publication. In 2005 these diagrams were placed in the rule book, the idea of separating technical specifications having been reversed .
The 2004 diagrams (they are currently labeled Fig 3 and Fig.4)
Figure 5 concealed rather than explained what was permitted – the significance of the intersection of the lines B1-B1 and C-C as a maximum point of set-back was not illustrated – and writing or saying that this point is significant means little to anyone not familiar with the limitations. It was drawn with reverse bends because the FIH/HRB did not want to be seen to be endorsing any particular brand or style of hockey stick. Figure 6 would have been better if dotted lines indicated where the concealed profile of the of the traditional (darker) stick head was. (the original submitted drawing had a transparent front stick head).
My patent for the kinked shaft stick expired in 2003 and had in any case been widely plagiarised by that time. There were at least thirty ‘brands’ of various set-back head and kinked shaft stick in production by the year 2004 many of which had been on the market for ten or more years.
Almost as irritating as the ‘foot-dragging’ of the HRB in producing or accepting a correct drawing and the theft of my designs by the ‘manufacturing community’, was the deliberately fostered perception that the kinked shaft stick was originally designed as a goalkeeper’s stick – which isn’t so – and the persistent and illogical mantra “those sticks are illegal” (it never seemed to occur to these people that goalkeepers would not be allowed to use an illegal stick any more than an out-field player would). Ironically the present rule book description (but not the diagram) omits reference to the bend permitted to the heel edge of a stick, an omission which could leave many of the current goalkeeping sticks technically outside the rules.
The ZigZag Ambi was originally designed as a stick with which it was easier to stop, control and propel the ball from both sides of the body. Had edge-hitting not been eventually accepted (and a ‘blind-eye’ not turned to it when it was illegal) or back-sticks abolished, – so that both sides of the stick could be used to play the ball – which would have suited a stick with a handle designed to rotate about the mid-point of the ball (not a rotationally balanced head – which is a different concept), the idea might have stood some chance: but that’s two too many if’s. My putting a new and patented design of hockey stick on the market in 1986 (the year of the World Cup in England, the country with the largest hockey stick market in the world) was in any case like a young trout trying to compete with several large pike in a pond.
This is a link to a PDF version of a diagram showing a suggested replacement for the current diagrams for permitted edge bends (it has been cropped from full length for screen viewing). It should be noted that the diagram illustrates all possible maximum permitted dimensions and is not a representation of any individual hockey stick. As far as I am aware there is no hockey stick produced that has bends in the handle or the head that are even close to the permitted maximums (in stick-head specification terms 5mm is a big distance and 1omm is huge). The bends of the Ambi and Tufi designs are quite moderate in comparison to the permitted maximums.
The development of the hockey stick head shape has consisted of a shortening of the toe (to a ridiculously short head in early 1986 – pale yellow in combination diagram) and a tightening of the heel bend. Once heel radius had been reduced as far as it could go without the timber breaking out or resorting to lamination, the next stage had to be hooked and angled toe shapes – so the toe got longer again. That can only go so far because a long toe affects the rotational balance of the stick (eventually favouring the reverse side in play rather than the forehand side).
Head configuration is now designed for the ‘Indian Dribble’ i.e. turning the stick-head over the top and front of the ball. The technique originally used, mainly around the back of the ball when moving the ball to the right, is seldom or never used by some players, but good stick-work demands a combination of both techniques.
The configuration of the Ambi provides a head length for the Indian Dribble comparable to the extremely short heads in use in 1985-86, but with the advantage of a hook toe, and also provides a head of similar horizontal width to the midi-hooks, with a long run-length for round the back of the ball play – what used to be called the English Style. The combination allows rapid drag-back of the ball followed by a smooth transfer into forward ball movement at a variety of angles.
Link to Rule Index http://wp.me/p3tNmd-3