If you’re an ice hockey fan, you know that players are often seen wrapping their sticks in tape before hitting the ice. But have you ever wondered why tape a hockey stick? In this article, we’ll explore why taping a hockey stick is necessary, the different types of tape used, and how to tape your stick like a pro.
Grip and Control
One of the primary reasons players tape their sticks is to improve their grip and control on the ice. Hockey sticks are made of a smooth composite material, which can be slippery when players sweat or come into contact with ice or snow. Taping the blade and handle of the stick with cloth or grip tape can provide a better grip and help players maintain control over the puck.
Durability and Protection
Taping a hockey stick also helps to protect the blade and handle from wear and tear. As players take shots, pass the puck, and contact other players, the stick can become chipped or dented. Adding tape layers can help absorb some of the impacts and prevent damage to the stick.
Types of Hockey Tape
Several types of tape are commonly used in hockey, each with unique properties and benefits.
Cloth tape is the most commonly used type of tape in hockey. It’s made of a cotton or synthetic material and has a slightly rough texture that provides a good grip. Cloth tape comes in various colors and can be used to wrap the blade, handle, or both.
Shin Pad Tape
Shin pad tape is a thinner, more lightweight tape often used to secure shin guards in place. However, it can also wrap a hockey stick handle for a more comfortable grip.
Grip tape is specialized with a rubberized or adhesive surface, providing an extra-strong grip. It’s often used on the blade of the stick for added control.
Friction is heavy-duty tape primarily used to wrap the blade of a hockey stick for added durability and protection. Its rough surface provides extra traction on the ice and can help prevent the stick from chipping or breaking.
How to Tape a Hockey Stick
Taping a hockey stick may seem simple, but several techniques can be used to achieve the best results.
Preparing the Stick
Before taping your stick, cleaning it thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris is essential. This will ensure the tape adheres properly and doesn’t peel off during play.
Applying the Tape
To tape your stick’s blade:
- Start at the heel and work your way up to the toe.
- Overlap each layer of tape slightly to create a smooth, even surface.
- For the handle, start at the top and work your way down, covering the entire area.
Once you’ve taped your stick, you can add finishing touches like wax or a grip enhancer to improve your grip and control further.
Maintenance and Replacement
To get the most out of your taped hockey stick, it’s essential to maintain it properly and replace the tape when necessary. After each game or practice session, wipe down your stick with a damp cloth to remove sweat or dirt. This will help prolong the tape’s life and prevent it from becoming too worn or frayed.
If your tape starts to peel or become worn, it’s time to replace it. Remove the old tape and clean the stick before applying a fresh layer. Having spare tape on hand is a good idea if you need to repair it quickly during a game.
Taping a hockey stick may seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference in a player’s performance. By improving grip and control and protecting the stick from wear and tear, the tape can help players take their game to the next level. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, taking the time to tape your stick correctly can be a valuable investment in your game.
Can I use regular tape to wrap my hockey stick?
No, regular tape won’t provide the grip or durability needed for hockey. Use specialized hockey tape for the best results.
How often should I replace the tape on my stick?
It depends on how often you play and how much wear and tear your stick experiences. Generally, check the tape after every game or practice session and replace it when worn or frayed.
Can I use grip enhancer spray instead of grip tape?
While grip enhancer spray can be helpful, it’s not a substitute for grip tape. Use both for the best results.
Should I wrap my blade or handle it first?
It’s up to personal preference. Some players prefer to wrap the blade first, while others start with the handle. Experiment to see what works best for you.
How tight should I wrap the tape?
Wrap the tape snugly but not too tight. You should still be able to move your fingers and flex the stick.