Rewrite: Stick Diagram


A suggested rewrite of the Rules of Hockey

The part of the Stick Rule concerning dimension as it was written in 1990 and as it last appeared correctly in the Rules of Hockey in 2003.

The Stick

4.4 Dimension and weight.

a. the length of the extended open curved end of the stick in the direction of the positive X axis is 100mm maximum (shown by the line D)

b. the stick may deviate from the line(s) A and/or A1 by a maximum of 20mm (shown by the lines B and B1 respectively)

c. inclusive of any additional coverings used, the stick shall pass through a ring having an interior diameter of 51mm

d. the total weight shall not exceed 737 grammes.

The current description of permitted protrusions to the edges of the handle.

2.4. It is permitted for the handle to be bent or curved to protrude beyond the line A once only to the limiting line B at maximum or but not also to be bent or curved to protrude beyond the line A1 once only to the limiting line B1 at maximum.

I have no idea why the change was made, I believe it to have been a mistake in transcription, made when all technical specifications concerning equipment were removed from the Rules of Hockey and published in a separate booklet in 2004. Technical specifications for equipment were returned to the Rules of Hockey in 2006 and the mistake has been repeated in all rule books published since then.  

The current Stick Diagrams.

The current diagrams makes a very good job of concealing the configuration and dimensions of the edge protrusions that they are supposed to be illustrating.

Stick Diagrams


A replacement diagram of the face side of the stick with the corrected Rule text set out within it and with an illustrated explanation of the permitted combinations of bends or protrusions to edges of the stick handle.

Stick Diagram with text

Permitted stick bow dimensions and diagram. 

Bow of Stick copy

I have not even seen a bow measuring device, only a diagram of one and I don’t know of anyone who owns one, so it is difficult to comment about it, other than to say it seems to be a very complicated shape to carry out a simple task that could be done with a cylinder or tube with an OD of 25mm. The only other equipment needed is a flat surface (an ironing board would provide a suitable flat surface pitch-side, such tables are easily portable and quick to set up), a short ruler or set square and a tape measure.

When the former Secretary of the FIH Rules Committee, Roger Webb, asked for my opinion concerning degree and position of stick bow, I suggested 25mm as a maximum and, foreseeing the possibility of what came to be known as the ‘low bow’ and the safety issue with accidentally raised hits, that the position of maximum bow should be no more than 200mm from the mid-point of the length of the stick and preferably within 150mm.

The bow that was then permitted was 50mm and there was initially no restriction placed on the position of maximum bow. When maximum bow was, very quickly, reduced to 25mm, the low-bow stick appeared (and was heavily promoted as a drag-flick stick). The 25mm low-bow presented the face of the stick to the ball at about the same angle as a stick with a 50mm bow at the mid-point did – so then the position of maximum bow on the stick was regulated, it is now to be a minimum of 200mm up the handle from the base of the stickhead, which puts it at between 325mm and 350mm from the mid-point of the length of a stick, depending on the length of the stick: almost twice what I suggested, but there is at least some regulation.


Concerning the Stick Diagram illustrating permitted protrusions to the edges of the stick – replacement as described above,

Concerning Bow (not rake, rake is a bend to the heel edge of the stick, not the face of the stick) – none, it is now too late, manufactures would need to be given several years notice of a more severe restriction.


The overlay on the suggested diagram is a representation of the configuration of the ZigZag Ambi. The protrusions to the edge sides of the Ambi are about half the width of what is permitted.  In setting the maximum permitted protrusions 20mm was added to the width permitted by the limiting diameter of the FIH Stick Ring, to allow for goalkeeping sticks already in existence at the time which had an edge protrusion of about that much just below the handle grip (it being considered unacceptable to outlaw sticks which had been on the market for some years at the time).

The head of the stick, the part below the line C-C  is not limited along the X axis and can therefore protrude considerably more than 20mm on the heel side as well as the toe side, but such a protrusion would be a handicap rather than of benefit in a stick intended for use by a field player.

The slightly set back head achieved a better head shape for ball control than the previous ultra tight heel bend and also, with the use of lamination, overcame the problems of bending wood  –  which in 1985 and until 1992,  was the only material that a stick head could be made with.

The configuration shown is circa 1987. Later versions (developed after 2006) had a more extended toe (80mm). The goalkeeper sticks (Save and Reach, first produced in 1990 and 1992 respectively)always had a toe up-turned to the 100mm maximum permitted. I have made other modification to the top of the handle, which I have not published. I very much doubt that this handle modification will be marketed.




2 Comments to “Rewrite: Stick Diagram”

  1. You had a comment on back-stick on another site, but I can’t find it here, so this seems like the most appropriate place to mention it.

    If implemented well, there’s a clear safety advantage to having a clear fore-stick. When two opposing players are approaching each other, each will have a well-defined side on which to stand, and the natural swing of the stick will carry it across the body and away from an approaching player. If the ball may be played freely with either side of the stick, then a left-hander approaching a right-hander (or vice versa) creates a clear safety risk in that the stick will naturally follow-through directly into the opponent.

    Obviously, this is primarily a problem for hits and scoops. These issues rarely arise when the stick-head remains close to the ground.

    • That may be the case in polo, but in hockey players approach each other from a wide range of angles, there is no requirement to attempt to tackle on the forehand of an opponent only. Besides that, the reverse edge hit or tackle, an action similar to playing the ball ‘backstick’, has been legal for many years: I don’t believe the ‘too dangerous’ argument stands up.

      I have made ‘private’ a large number of my previous articles and over the past three years have deleted over a hundred because there was just too much for anyone to read through and there was also of course a great deal of repstition. The suggested rewrite (deletion) of the backsticks Rule was short. Here’s the link

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