Hockey: Finding the Right Hockey Stick Flex For You

So what is a hockey stick flex anyway?
A flex is a measure of how flexible or how stiff a hockey stick is when force is applied to it. Since the flex rating indicates how many pounds of force it takes to flex the stick one inch, you should know that some sticks are significantly easier to bend than others. Finding the right flex is somewhat of a preference based on skill level. The appropriate flex varies among players, so you’ll want to try out different options.

The higher the flex, the stiffer the stick. The stiffer the stick, the more power you will have behind your shot. Keep in mind that if a stick is so stiff that you cannot flex it properly with your shooting motion, then your effectiveness will be limited.

How does flex impact play?
Essentially, when a player takes a shot, the stick bends a bit to turn the hockey stick into a spring of sorts. When the stick unbends, the “spring” is released and the energy accelerates the puck. You want a stick that offers resistance while still allowing you to flex the stick easily.

What flex is right for me?
Ideally, the flex should be approximately one half of your body weight. Players over 150 pounds should use a stick with at least 75 flex. Obviously, this is just a guideline and your own comfort and ability to use the stick effectively should dictate the flex you use. Players with above average strength for their size should consider a stiffer stick while new players may want to go down a level. An average flex is 85.

If you are able to test the stick in a Pro Shop, use your normal hand position on the stick and hold the stick with the blade on the floor. Hold your top hand stationary and push down and forward with your lower hand. You should be able to flex the stick about an inch without using all your effort. If you are unable to flex the stick this much, then the flex is too high.

Women and smaller players tend to benefit from an intermediate stick. Intermediate sticks are similar in size to senior sticks but have a lighter flex.

The most common stick flexes are:
Youth: 40 flex
Junior: 50 flex
Intermediate: 60-75 flex
Regular: 85 flex
Stiff: 100 flex
Extra stiff: 110 flex

Remember that finding the right stick is a personal choice. Guidelines are just that… guidelines. Be sure to try different styles until you find one that fits your playing style and level of play.

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Baseball/Softball: How to Choose a Batting Helmet

Baseball Helmets


One of the leading causes of sports related injuries among children, teens and adults is ill-fitting gear or wearing none at all. Baseball can be quite dangerous. If your head lacks proper protection, it can even be fatal. Just consider for a minute the speed and force in which a baseball or softball is actually thrown (even in Little League) and you will realize the damage that can be done by a ball hitting you in the head. Our heads are pretty tough, but were never meant for THAT.

No matter your age or playing level, a batting helmet should be worn whenever you are at the plate. You just never know when a wild fastball will be thrown your way. We’ve all heard the complaints of helmets being uncomfortable, leading a player to skip its use if not mandated by league rules. Chosen properly, a helmet should not be uncomfortable at all. Read on to learn how to buy a proper batting helmet.

When you’re shopping for a batting helmet, you want to consider several things before making a purchase. A batting helmet should cover the back, top and sides of your head.

They should also cover at least one ear. For right-handed batters, the left ear should be covered and vice versa for left-handed batters. This protects the ear that will have a ball coming towards it and allows the batter to hear the umpire with their other ear. There are also batting helmets that cover both ears available as well. Learn the helmet requirements from your league. Some leagues have strict helmet specifications, and failure to adhere to them may result in removal from a game.

The batting helmet should fit securely on the head without squeezing the head. It should not move when your head is turned from side to side and should be easy to take on and off as well. A secure batting helmet should not fall forward over the eyes. Whether you are buying a helmet in a store or online, be sure to take a measurement of your head’s circumference at its widest point. A secure fit is important in a batting helmet, as it could cause more damage to a player if it were to get hit by a ball.

But all helmets are not created equal! The cheapest batting helmets are made of plastic with a protective layer beneath while more advanced batting helmets are made of durable polymers. The foam interior of the helmet is a safety must-have. This padding keeps the head away from the outer shell of the helmet in case of impact. Save money elsewhere, but don’t skimp on the batting helmet that you choose. You are buying safety and in this case, you really do get what you pay for. Find a brand name you trust and do the research on that particular helmet. Be sure the shell is made of quality materials and the foam padding is thick and durable.

Batting helmets were not required in the MLB until 1971. Ron Santo of the Chicago Cubs was the first to wear an earflap helmet in the game. Today, all batters, base runners, bat-boys, bat-girls, and catchers are required to wear a batting helmet. Catchers and bat-boys and girls usually wear a flapless batting helmet with no ear protection. After the recent death of Tulsa Drillers first base coach Mike Coolbaugh, many base coaches are electing to wear batting helmets as well. Coolbaugh was hit in the head with a line drive.

Softball Helmets

Buying a softball helmet, whether for fast pitch or slow pitch, please consider the tips for proper fit above. Using a helmet that isn’t up to NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) standards can cause you to be ejected from the game, or worse yet, it may lead to serious injury.

Softball helmets are made of impact-resistant molded ABS plastic. They are solid one-piece helmets with interior foam padding. Many have face guards in front with straps that secure them to the head.

Ponytail batting helmets do just what their names says… they allow room for a girl’s ponytail. More comfortable than the standard softball batting helmet, it fits better because female baseball and softball players don’t have to cram their ponytail into it.

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Lacrosse: NFHS Boys Lacrosse 2011 Uniform Rules

lacrosse-uniforms

The National Federation of State High School Associations has amended the rules for uniforms:

A. JERSEY COLOR
1. Jerseys shall be of a single, solid color.
2. The jersey shall completely cover the shoulder pads.
3. Jerseys shall be of contrasting colors for opposing teams. The home team shall wear light jerseys and the visiting team shall wear its dark-color jerseys. The visiting team is responsible for avoidance of similarity of colors, but, if there is doubt, the referee may require the home team to change jerseys.

B. UNIFORM TRIM
1. Collar, cuffs and waistband may be of contrasting colors, but not more than 2 inches wide.
2. Side inserts (no more than armpit to waistband) may be of contrasting color(s), but no more than 3 inches wide.
3. Contrasting colored piping not to exceed 1/8-inch wide is allowed.

C. NUMBERS
1. Numbers shall be centered vertically and horizontally and at least 8 inches tall on the front and at least 12 inches tall on the back.
2. Numbers may contain contrasting color trim(s) not to exceed 2 inches (the number shall contrast with the body of the jersey).
3. Duplicate numbers on jerseys shall not be permitted on the same team.

D. UNIFORM SHORTS
1. All players on the same team shall wear uniform shorts of the same dominant color.

E. MANUFACTURER’S LOGO INFORMATION
1. A visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark may not exceed 2¼ square inches and 2¼ inches in any direction on the jersey and/or pant/short. Beginning in 2010, no more than one manufacturer’s logo/trademark or reference on the outside of each item. (The same size restriction shall apply to either the manufacturer’s logo/trademark or reference).

NOTE: An American flag, not to exceed 2 by 3 inches, and either a commemorative or a memorial patch, not to exceed 4 square inches and with written state association approval, may be worn on the jersey provided neither the flag, nor the patch, interferes with the visibility of the number.

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Hockey: Icing Rule Explained

Hockey is a game of tremendous speed and constant contact. It’s also a game of strategies and techniques that can give a team an advantage. But these strategies are not always without consequence. The three major NHL rules that limit the movement of the puck are icing, off-side, and out-of-play. For now, we’ll concentrate on icing.

    What exactly is icing?

Basically, icing is a tactic whereby a player on his own side of the red line dumps the puck to the end of the ice from behind the center ice red line. If the puck crosses the opposing goal line untouched, and is then retrieved by an opposing player, icing is called. Considered a delaying tactic, it results in a stoppage in play and a face-off in the offending team’s defensive zone. The purpose of the icing rule is to encourage continuous action.

When the conditions of “icing the puck” have occurred, the referee will blow his whistle and raise his non-whistle hand over his head. Play stops and a face-off is held in the defensive zone of the team that iced the puck. The back official will then move to the face-off spot and give the icing signal.

    Why is icing a problem?

The icing rule was introduced by the NHL to prevent teams from wasting time when they were ahead late in the game, especially if the score was still close. The rule was designed to prevent a team from “dumping” the puck into their opponent’s zone in order to use up the clock or to avoid playing defense.

Before the rule, teams that were stuck in their own defensive end for too long would ice the puck just to be able to make a line change and switch out tired players. In 2005, the NHL modified the icing rule to state that the five players on the ice for the offending team must remain on the ice for the subsequent face-off. The modification resulted in fewer icing incidents since the severity of the penalty outweighed the benefit.

Please Note: The icing rule for non-pro hockey varies by league. Most leagues enforce a “no-touch” icing, in which icing is called and play is stopped as soon as the puck crosses the goal line, regardless of whether or not an opponent touches it.

    Exceptions to the rule…

One exception to the icing rule occurs when a team is shorthanded. During power play situations, the shorthanded team is allowed to dump the puck without an icing penalty being called. Icing can also be waved off if the referee determines that an opposing player could have touched the puck before it crossed the goal line.

In the NHL and AHL, a player on the opposing team other than the goaltender must touch the puck to cause the stoppage of play. If the puck is first touched by the goaltender or a player on the team that iced the puck, icing is waved off (cancelled) and play continues.

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Softball: Fielding Face Masks Should Be Mandatory

The need for protective equipment has evolved and will continue to evolve. There was a time when players went on the field in nothing more than matching street clothes. We’ve come to realize that the threat of injury is real. It is also more probable than possible.

In baseball and softball, catchers wear full body protection. Batters wear helmets. Shin guards, elbow pads, gloves, shoulder pads and other protective gear have become commonplace. Any athlete playing a sport (baseball, softball, hockey, lacrosse, football, soccer, etc.), where the chance of injury is high, should wear the proper protection. Age, level of play and position are not important. Gender doesn’t matter. You only get one body… one face… one head. You need to protect yourself.

It seems like common sense to most of us these days to cover our heads when a 90 MPH fast ball is being thrown at you. It seems unreal that batting helmets were not made mandatory in Major League Baseball until 1971! Despite the death of Ray Chapman in 1920 and countless head injuries that resulted in hospitalization, batting helmets were fairly uncommon in the major leagues until 1952, with the Pittsburgh Pirates the first major league team to permanently require their use.

So, today’s batters are protected in every league. Now, let’s take a minute to consider the needs of the fielders. A hit ball can return to the field at a speed of 80-110 MPH. With nothing more than a baseball cap protecting the fielders, it’s a wonder nobody has required the use of defensive face guards in both baseball and softball. Football players wear helmets with cages (as well they should) and they don’t have a missile being hit back at them! Designed properly, face guards offer protection without limiting the player’s range of vision.

Baseball and Softball have each become more and more competitive. Pitching is harder and faster and added strength training allows players to throw and hit the ball farther, faster and with more accuracy. With this comes the need to protect yourself with the latest and greatest equipment. While we have yet to see a nationwide push toward defensive face guards, the time will come soon. But why wait for a mandate?

Each year we hear of players being hit in the face or head. Facial injuries can be devastating and life altering. Injuries to the mouth, teeth and eyes can cause expensive problems… both financially and emotionally. The orbital bones surrounding the eyes are thin and fragile… one hard hit can shatter those brittle bones and cause serious damage to the sinus cavities and/or loss of vision. A broken nose from a bad hop on a grounder, front teeth being knocked out, surgeries, stitches, missed games, pain, recovery and the emotional toll of an injury… We cringe at the videos, we sympathize with the stories and yet we keep hoping it won’t be our child. It may never be, but why take the chance?

Need a Fielding Face Guard or other protective equipment? Check out our On Field Accessories.

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Hockey: Required Hockey Equipment

Ice Hockey is a pretty rough sport that consists of twelve players fighting over a little 3″ puck that can be launched like a missile. Add skates and big sticks and you have the potential for injury. Playing over ice also increases the risk as ice can cause both shock and serious internal injuries.

The following specialized ice hockey equipment pieces are required for this game.

1. Ice Skates: The first thing that you must understand is that there are 2 different types of skates – those for figure skating and those for ice hockey. Player’s skates have a smooth edge from the front of the blade to the rear. Goalie skates are nearer to ground for better balance and are designed for the side to side movement. Be sure to check for ankle stability. Choose a skate that has extra features to support your ankles.

2. Helmet with Cage and Mouth-guard: One of the most important equipment purchases you will make is the helmet. Most helmets function the same but look very different. The biggest difference is the type of face mask it includes. Whether plastic or wire, most masks do not block your vision during play. Find what works best for you. There is no right or wrong type of cage.

3. Hockey Stick: Originally made of wood (ash, birch and willow), sticks are now primarily made of carbon fibers and graphite. These materials provide added flexibility and durability. When you’re standing in shoes, your stick should come at least to your nose. Always be ready with two sticks as hockey sticks sometimes break.

4. Ice Hockey Pants: These specially designed pants provide cushioning for the thighs and legs and include stiff plastic inserts for impact protection. Most models also provide kidney protection and are somewhat loose fitting for freedom of movement.

5. Hockey Gloves: These provide protection to the outer part of the hands. The palm area is thin for better grip on the stick. Goalie gloves are different and are not interchangeable.

6. Shoulder Pads: For protecting upper torso, chest, shoulder blade, collar bones and rib cage. Be sure to check for the right combination of padding and range of motion.

7. Elbow Pads: Equipped with adjustable Velcro straps, these pads cover the forearm, elbows and triceps and help avoid injury from falls and pucks. As with most protective equipment, elbow pads are required in most every league. Available in Junior, Intermediate and Adult sizes.

8. Shin Guard: Knees are the most vulnerable since the risk of falls are great. Protecting your knee caps and frontal bones with the shin guard is absolutely essential. To fit shin guards, bend your knee at a 90-degree angle so the blade of the skate is flat on the floor. Start measuring at the center of the kneecap, all the way down to the top of the skate boot. The measurement in inches should match the length measurement of the shin guard.

9. Neck Guard: Serious neck injury can be prevented with a Neck Guard. An errant flying puck or opponent’s skates and sticks can result in season-ending injuries.

10. Jockstrap (men) or Pelvic protector (women): This piece of protective equipment is quite self-explanatory. Let’s keep ourselves properly protected.

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Experience Mobile Monkey For Your Next Event!

Do you have an upcoming baseball or softball tournament, opening day or other special event? Make it better with the Mobile Monkey Experience.

Mobile Monkey will show up to your event with a 45 foot truck and trailer. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will guide you through the open trailer complete with a DeMarini baseball and softball glove wall, bat wall and equipment wall.

We’ll set up a portable 50 foot batting cage that will provide hours of entertainment for adults and kids alike! With music playing in the background, this event is sure to be loads of fun for the entire family!

Contact us today to book the Mobile Monkey experience.

mobile-monkey

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Customized Team Uniforms & Jerseys From MonkeyTeamSports.com!!!

Did you know that MonkeyTeamSports.com™ can customize your team uniforms and jerseys?

Need Heat Pressing, Sublimation, ScreenPrinting, Embroidery, Tackle Twill… Custom Logos?
WE CAN DO THAT!

Check out all the other cool stuff our trained specialists have produced custom work for:

NHL & Minor League Quality Jerseys and Bags:
The Anaheim Ducks
The Ontario Reign
The Washington Capitals
The Columbus Blue Jackets

Hollywood Productions:
“The Office” TV Show (Feb 10, 2011 Episode)
“The Tooth Fairy” starring The Rock

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What is Embroidery?

Embroidery is the art of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. The basic techniques or stitches of the earliest work—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.

Machine embroidery mimics hand embroidery, especially in the use of chain stitches, but the “satin stitch” and hemming stitches of machine work rely on the use of multiple threads and resemble hand work in their appearance, not their construction.

Advantages of Embroidery:
Embroidered designs are a great way to add excellence and creativity to your uniform or jersey. Embroidery generally has a longer lead time than other types of customization, but the effect is quite nice.

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What Is Screen Printing?

Screen printing (or Screenprinting) is a process in which a “screen” is made of a piece of porous, finely woven fabric called mesh stretched over a frame of aluminium or wood. Areas of the screen are blocked off with a non-permeable material to form a stencil, which is a negative of the image to be printed. The open spaces are where the ink will appear.

The screen is placed on top of the material and ink is placed on top of the screen to fill the mesh openings with ink. Using a fill bar, the mesh openings are filled with ink. Screen printing is most commonly used on t-shirts (many of us have seen this done in the mall), although a wide variety of items are now able to undergo the process.

Advantages of Screen Printing:
When it comes to creating many copies of a certain design (as with team uniforms or jerseys), screen printing is an economical way to go. Screen printing is also quicker than many other methods of customization. The colors tend to dry very quickly. Screen prints are also tough and sturdy. In spite of exposing the screen printed fabrics to harsh conditions, the colors do not appear weary and dull.

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