Many hockey players make a ritual of taping their sticks before a game. One way to personalize your game is to customize how you tape the blade and the butt end of your stick. This can help improve your control of the puck in addition to giving your hands ideal comfort when playing the game.
Smooth Butt End
A smooth tape job on the butt end of the stick gives a player the most control over his stick-handling movements. This method involves just one or two wraps of tape over the top of your stick for a quick and easy grip through your hockey gloves. This method uses the least amount of tape on the butt end of the stick and is often preferred by an offensive player because it can help improve puck-moving skills.
Knobbed Butt End
If a player prefers to sacrifice mobility in favor of a stronger grip on his stick, he will often tape a thick knob to the butt end, usually using dozens of layers of tape. Often preferred by goaltenders and occasionally by defensemen, this taping method allows a player to have a firm grasp on his stick, allowing for effective poke checks and thrusting of the stick toward a loose puck. The large knob also makes the stick easier to pick up if it is lying on the ice. The added layers of tape elevate the stick so that a player can fit his fingers beneath it.
Gripped Butt End
Many players like to create a gripped butt end to give their fingers a natural spot to grip the stick. This is accomplished by twirling a long piece of tape into a cordlike shape and wrapping it carefully around the top few inches of the stick. Tape over this with one layer of tape (overlapping by about half the width of the tape), creating a grip trail for your fingers to hold onto. Many forwards use this taping method to have more control over their stick.
A player who prefers a stronger grip may also tape a portion of the shaft of the stick in addition to the butt end and blade so that his lower hand on the stick has a grip to hold onto. Although this does not serve any specific advantage, a player may find it easier to hold the stick properly with this extra layer of tape in the middle of the stick.
Blade Tape -- Toe to Heel
Arguably, the most important part of the stick-taping process is taping the stick's blade. This can help with control of the puck due to the physics of stick handling on cold, wet and slippery ice. Wrapping the blade from toe to heel with a layer of tape not only creates a way to protect the material of the stick, but also provides extra friction that helps stop the puck as it arrives on the blade. The benefit of taping from toe to heel is that there is less puck spin when leaving the blade, which helps boost the speed of passes and shots.
When taping this way, start on the backside of the toe of the blade and tape around the stick toward the heel. Each wrap should overlap the previous one by half the width of the tape. When you reach the heel, cut the tape and have it end on the back of the blade so as not to disrupt the movement of the puck on the front of the blade.
Blade Tape -- Heel to Toe
The most common method of blade taping, going from heel to toe, allows for more puck spin as it leaves the blade. This gives the puck a more accurate push toward the target, either via a pass or a shot. Taping from heel to toe should be done using the same procedure as toe to heel, but starting from the heel of the blade and ending at the toe.
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