Knocking in is the process by which the fibres of the willow blade are compressed and knitted together to help prevent damage from the impact of a cricket ball. This is best done by using an old ball or bat mallet. It is not sufficient to hit a few balls in the nets or in the garden. Knocking in should be done in a patient and thorough manner and should take no less than 6 hours in total . To a large extent, the effective life of your bat is determined by the thoroughness of your knocking in process. You are trying to make the toe and edges in particular harder than when the bat was purchased, to minimise the damage from an edged stroke.
How Do I Knock In My New Bat?
- Use an old ball or a bat mallet like a wooden hammer and deflect gently off the face and edges the way a ball might in a game.
- Increase the force and work the edges until they show a rounded, compact appearance.
- Use the bat to hit short catches (i.e. very light work on the face) or bounce a cricket ball up and down on the face.
- Use the bat in the nets against old softer balls.
- Use the bat in the nets against newer balls.
- If there are seam marks or dents one must do further knocking in. However if there are no seam marks on the blade then it is ready for use in matches.
- The bat should be properly knocked-In for at least 10 days before its use in match.
Causes Of Damage
It is important to store your bat wisely to prevent the willow drying out and becoming brittle. Ideally you should store your bat in a garage or shed where the wood can absorb some moisture from the atmosphere.
DO NOT leave your bat close to a central heating radiator or fire.
DO NOT leave your bat in your car boot or rear window where the temperature will soar.
Toe swells due to damp
When the toe of your bat swells this has been caused by water/dampness getting up into the wood fibres. Avoid this by doing one of the following:
- Applying a light coat of oil to toe before each game.
- Use of a sealant to prevent water penetrating.
- Applying a toe guard before bat is used.
However if the toe of the bat is swollen there are two alternatives:
- Place the toe of the bat in a woodworking vice, being careful to cushion both sides of the blade to prevent damage.
- Allow damp area to dry normally then use an old ball to knock out the swollen area.
Edge and toe damage
The majority of bats will be damaged if the batsman edges a quick ball or digs out a fast yorker. The bat must be put in for repair as no willow will withstand such impact. Knocking in properly, however will reduce risk.
Willow is not manufactured. Surface cracks or crazing will appear on the face of all bats after a period of use. The knocking in period is vitally important in minimising surface cracks. Surface cracks do not harm the bats performance but proper knocking in delays the appearance of these cracks.
Note: Pre-knocked in bats still need to be prepared. A slight knock-in of at least two hours should be sufficient.
Far too many bats coming back for repair have been over-oiled. There is a danger that you can damage the wood fibres by over oiling. It is better not to oil than to over-oil.
Polyarmour bats or bats with face tape do not need oiling other than perhaps a very light coat to the toe to avoid water getting in and causing the wood to swell.
To oil your bat properly
- Using a soft rag, apply a light coat of oil to the front, edges, toe and back of the bat blade. (DO NOT OIL THE SPLICE AREA)
- Keep bat in a horizontal position.
- After 2 weeks, lightly sand with very fine sandpaper and apply another light coat of linseed oil to the face, edges and toe (not the back).
- Repeat after 2 more weeks ensuring the bat is kept horizontal between oilings.
- Only use raw linseed oil.
It should be noted that all cricket bats are made of soft fibrous piece of willow, it is expected that the condition of a bat will deteriorate during its usage. One must note that because all natural materials go into making of a bat and due to violet impacts incurred during the play no manufacturer actually gives warranty against damage or breakage of a cricket bat.
Damage to the Blade:
A bat is designed for the ball to be hit 12cms to 20cms from the bottom, and within the sweet spot of the blade. Mistimed or Mis-hit strokes can cause damaged to the edges and toe. Such bats are NOT REPLACEABLE and are repairable at manufacturer’s discretion.
Such cracks are not result of faulty workmanship or defective willow. This is caused due to general wear and tear during the usage. All bats will show surface cracks, THIS IS NORMAL. Such bats are not replaceable but repairable at manufacturer’s discretion. Such problems can be minimized by application of protective sheets to the face and edges of the bat.
Cracking of the Toe:
Cracking of the toe is caused by striking of a ball at the base of the bat i.e. hitting a Yorker or due to playing on wet surfaces or by using low quality hard balls. Such bats are not replaceable and are repairable at manufacturer’s discretion.
Cracking of the Shoulder:
Such damage is caused due to general wear and tear of the bat during its usage. Such bats are not replaceable but are repairable at manufacturer’s discretion.
Breakage of handle may occur due to general wear and tear or due to striking of the ball during play. The handle is repairable or replaceable at manufacturer’s discretion, but bat itself is not replaceable.
Damage due to Dampness:
Playing in wet conditions can result in layered cracks and swelling of the toe area, which can cause splitting of the toe on drying. Such bats are repairable but not replaceable.
Breakage of the blade:
Breakage of the new bat during play (Even after following the prescribed guidelines for preparing the bat for use) is potentially replaceable at manufacturer’s discretion.
Breakage of the blade due to misuse:
Such bats are repairable at the customers cost and are NOT REPLACEABLE.
Damage due to use of low quality cricket balls:
Low quality hard cricket balls can cause swear damage to the bat. Such bats are NOT REPLACEABLE and are repairable at manufacturer’s discretion.
All such bats should be given to your dealer you originally purchased the bat from, who shall then forward the same for examination to the factory.
Choosing the correct size bat is vital for the proper technical development of young cricketers. It is important that the bat is not too long and more importantly not too heavy to hinder correct stroke play and good technique. Junior bats are scaled down in size and weight to meet this important requirement.
A Grade 1 Blade
A Grade 1 is the best looking blade money can buy. There may be some red wood evident on the edge of the bat. The grain on the face will be straight and there will be at least 4 grains visible. There may be the odd small knot in the edge or back but the playing area should be clean.
A Grade 2 Blade
A Grade 2 blade is also very good quality and normally a larger amount of red wood can be seen on the edge of a bat, this has no effect on the playing ability of the bat it is purely cosmetic. Again there will be at least 4 straight grains on the face of the bat with maybe some blemishes, pin knots or “speck” visible
A Grade 3 Blade
This is the most popular grade and it offers very good value for money. A Grade 3 Blade has up to half colour across the bat and is sometimes bleached, again this has no direct relation to the playing ability of the wood, it just has less visual attraction. There will be a minimum of 4 grains on the face of the bat which may not always be perfectly straight. Again some small knots or a little ‘butterfly’ stain may be present with perhaps more prominent “speck”.
A Grade 4 Blade
A Grade 4 Blade is normally over half colour or contains butterfly stain. This wood is also normally bleached just to make it “look better”, it will still play as well as the other grades. Any number of grains are possible and the willow containing ‘butterfly’ stain is very strong, there could also be more “speck”.
Batting/ Wicket Keeping Pads
The critical measurement here is the approximate distance from the middle of the knee cap down to the instep – where the tongue of your shoe would sit.
Batting/ Wicket Keeping Gloves
The critical measurement is from the start of the wrist to the tip of your longest finger, in a straight line.
A good fitting helmet is worn with the peak protruding horizontally from the line of the eyebrows. It should feel firm but comfortable with no excessive movement in any direction. We suggest that you always fasten the chin strap for added comfort and security. To measure, run a tape measure around the middle of the forehead, just above the eyebrows, around the side – just above the ears to the ‘bump’ on the back of the head. Over time the internal padding will mould to the shape of the head.
Clothing – Shirts/ Tops/ Trousers
Cricket clothing, ie shirts and whites tend to be loose fitting for maximum comfort and ease of movement. Whites (trousers) are generally supplied with generous unfinished legs to enable adjustment to the correct fit.
- Locate your arch type with the assistance of the footprints, also known as The Wet Test.
- Determine which category type or cushioning design best suits your running needs.
- Determine what the shoe will be used for (i.e. Marathon, Trail Running, Triathlon etc)
- Pick a shoe that suits your needs, measure your foot and place your order.
A running shoe is designed to cradle the foot, and not just protect it from the pounding, but to optimize a runner’s gait in such a way that a person can run longer and faster without worrying about injury. At its most basic, a running shoe is made up of an outsole, midsole and upper. The outsole is the bottom of the shoe, that durable slab of rubber providing traction throughout the gait cycle. The midsole rests atop the outsole, and provides cushioning and stability. The upper is generally made of mesh, synthetic fabrics or leather, and cocoons the foot.
Just as every run is unique, so every running shoe is designed for a specific type of runner. When selecting a running shoe, take into account the frequency of your training and your performance level. A shoe should fit comfortably and snug, but should not be so tight that your toes press against the front of the shoe or the top of your foot aches from the laces being too tight.
Also, be aware of your gait. The three broad categories that define running shoes — Cushioning, Structured Cushioning, and Maximum Support — enhance gait by working with the natural movement of your foot, providing a more efficient stride. How you pronate plays a great part in a shoe’s ability to enhance your running experience. Pronation is a normal, natural rolling motion that helps to attenuate shock. Some runners find that their foot does not roll all the way in, making the foot work harder to push off properly. This is known as underpronation (or supination). Conversely, a foot that rolls inward too much in known as overpronation. Runners who underpronate (or, supinate) would feel more comfortable with a Cushioning shoe. Overpronators do better with Maximum Support, and those with a more neutral stride would do well with Structured Cushioning.
The Wet Test
This basic test will provide you with a look at your foot imprint. You can use this print to determine your arch shape which guides you in finding a suitable pronation range.
- Wet the bottom of your foot
- Step onto concrete, a paper towel or any surface that will show an imprint of your foot
- Match imprint to one of the arch types below to determine your degree of pronation.
Note: Another way to determine arch type is to look at the outsoles of your old running shoes, although this method is less reliable than the Wet Foot Test. If the sole is worn equally on both sides, you most likely have a normal arch. If you have a flat arch, the sole will show excessive wear on the inside. A high arch usually produces a sole with noticeable wear on the outside.
Quick Tip: You cannot determine arch type by looking at the wear pattern on the heel alone, although this is a common misconception.
Find Your Arch Type/ Pronation
The most common arch type, the normal arch, leaves a wet print with a flare and a broad band connecting the heel and the forefoot. This foot type is a normal pronator and rolls inward slightly to absorb shock. If you have a normal arch, you’re considered bio-mechanically efficient and don’t need motion control features. The best part about having a normal arch is that you have more freedom when picking a running shoe.
The shoe for you:
Runners with normal arches typically experience minimal biomechanical problems and should select those shoes from the Structured Cushioning Category, or those shoes that meet the needs of the Neutral to Over Pronating runners. Cushion shoes are the most flexible and encourage natural pronation, with added cushioning and extra shock absorption. These shoes do not have stability or motion control features. Or, Stability shoes have light support features on the medial side and well-cushioned midsoles to help guide mild-to-moderate overpronation. Runners with a normal arch can also benefit from light stability features.
Flat Arch/ Flat Foot
If you see a complete or nearly complete imprint, then you have a Flat Arch. This type of foot is associated with overpronation or an excessive inward roll after heel strike, which generally result in poor natural shock absorption. The flatter the arch, the more support and motion control you need. You’ll need shoes with firm midsoles, flatter soles and pronation-control features. Steer clear of highly-cushioned shoes that lack stability features.
The shoe for you:
Flat footed runners should pick shoes from the Maximum Support Category, Motion Control shoes or those shoes that meet the needs of Over Pronating to Severe Over Pronating runners. Stability shoes have light support features on the medial side and well-cushioned midsoles to help guide mild-to-moderate overpronation. Or, Motion Control shoes incorporate extra stability features on the medial side to help control severe overpronation.
The least common arch type, the High Arch, also known as an under-pronated foot, will produce an imprint showing the heel and forefoot connected by only a thin band. This foot type usually doesn’t absorb shock well because it rolls outward or underpronates (also known as supinating).
The shoe for you:A runner with under-pronating feet is more likely to experience shock transmission through the lower legs, and should choose shoes from the Cushioning Category or those shoes that meet the needs of Under Pronating to Neutral runners. Cushion shoes are the most flexible and encourage pronation. They incorporate extra cushioning and shock absorption, and do not have stability or motion control features.
Choose Your Category Type For Your Running Style
All running shoes are not created equal. You’ll want to choose from one the following three categories according to your arch type and degree of pronation.
Structured Cushioning/ Stability (neutral to mild overpronators)
Shoes with Structured Cushioning are designed for runners who pronate slightly more than normal and generally have a normal arch. Their foot strike takes place in a neutral to slightly pronated position, using the body’s natural pronation to attenuate shock. Structured Cushioning runners need their shoes to help control a small degree of overpronation, but they don’t need all the shock attenuation attributes of a Cushion segment shoe. Stability shoes have light support features on the medial side and well-cushioned midsoles to help guide mild-to-moderate overpronation. Stability shoes are great for feet with a moderately flat arch and for those with a normal arch.
Cushioning (Underpronaters and mild overpronators)
The Cushioning segment is designed to meet the needs of underpronators to mild overpronators and tend to have a high arch. This type of runner needs a great deal of shock attenuation because they don’t absorb shock naturally through pronation. Their foot either does not pronate at all, or pronates such a small amount that the body can’t attenuate shock in its natural manner. Instead of the body’s connective tissue absorbing shock through pronation, bones and joints take the brunt of the shock. It’s vital that shoes in the Cushioning segment attenuate as much initial impact shock as possible. Cushion shoes are the most flexible and encourage natural pronation, with added cushioning and extra shock absorption. These shoes do not have stability or motion control features. Cushion shoes are best for people with a high arch and also those with a normal arch.
Maximum Support/ Motion Control (Mild To Severe Overpronators)
Maximum Support running shoes designed for runners who tend to land in an overtly pronated position with a flat foot. Like the Cushion segment, these runners are not using all their body’s natural shock attenuation mechanisms. What makes them different is that these runners exhibit a large degree of pronation beginning with landing in a pronated state, then continuing past normal. Like the Structured Cushion segment, these runners need help to control the degree of pronation. Motion Control shoes incorporate extra stability features on the medial side to help control severe overpronation. Runners with flat to severely flat arches need the extra support and stability of motion control shoes.
These shoes are designed to cater for the needs of marathon runners and longer distance runners, as well as everyone who needs a little more support for their feet.
Shorter distance runners, i.e. 5 or 10km runners who want to go really fast prefer running with racing flats. These shoes are lightweight and offer less support than distance runners.
Designed to meet the needs of runners who prefer to take their run off-road. This category offers a range to suit most pronation ranges. Shoes may offer additional features such as water resistant uppers and special tongue construction to help keep debris out.
Cross Training Shoes
Cross training shoes are the most versatile athletic shoe, but aren’t recommended for distance running. Designed for low-impact activities that require lateral support, they’re excellent for the gym, aerobics or step class, etc.
Triathlon shoes are designed with the demands of multiple disciplines in mind. These shoes usually provide excellent fluid dispensation.
Walking shoes are heavier and less flexible than running shoes, usually with leather uppers for easy cleaning. While it’s beneficial to walk in a running shoe, never run in a walking shoe.
Court shoes are designed with better traction for tennis, basketball and netball. The sole is sewn to the upper for durability and support. Great for high-impact, side to side motion.
All of our shoes are noted in UK sizes. If are buying a shoe of a brand you already own, the shoe size should be the same. If you are buying a shoe of a different brand, and you are unsure of your shoe size, please follow the instructions to determine the correct size of shoe.
Measure Your Feet
- Take your measurements at the end of the day, when your feet are the largest.
- Put on a sock of medium thickness or the kind of sock you intend to wear with the shoe. Sock thickness affects the fit of the shoe.
- Stand on a piece of paper.
- Place a mark at the end of your heel and at the tip of your longest toe. Note that the big toe might not always be the longest toe. Make sure you mark the furthest reach, and not the furthest point touching paper.
- Sometimes one foot is slightly bigger than the other. Usually, if you are right handed it would be your left foot. If you are unsure which foot is bigger you should measure both feet.
- If you are doing the measurement by yourself, you will get more accurate results if you sit in a chair when measuring. Don’t stand.
- If you have someone to help you take your foot measurement, standing is the better.
- To find your size, use these measurements and refer to the sizing chart below.
- If your measurements are between two sizes, or you find one foot’s measurement is larger than the other, always move up to the larger size.
Another way to find your size is using an old shoe. Take your old shoe, fit it, and order a shoe of the same size. Please note that this only works when you order a shoe made by the same manufacturer. You can, however, compare different manufacturer sizes to get the right one.
Runners should always add a thumbnail width (more or less a centimetre) to the size of their foot. This is to accommodate the swelling of the feet due to repeated impact.
Track Spikes for short distance sprints require a tight fit. Choose a size just big enough for your foot size. Do not accommodate for foot swelling.
Choosing a field hockey stick with the right materials, length, and toe design is crucial to your game. Our guide is here to help you identify what is best for your position, playing style, and ability level.
Field hockey sticks are made primarily of wood, usually mulberry or hickory. High-quality wood enhances a stick’s overall strength and stability. Sticks made with composite and fiberglass are legal at the collegiate and high school levels. Wood and synthetics offer varying degrees of stiffness, which affects shock absorption and power. Manufacturers sometimes add reinforcing materials with a variety of purposes. Reinforcements do everything from increasing durability to enhancing flexibility.
Beginning players should look for a flexible stick with good shock absorption.
Advanced players may prefer a stiffer stick for increased power.
Manufacturers sometimes add reinforcing materials with a variety of purposes. Reinforcements do everything from increasing durability to enhancing flexibility.
Applied either as a sleeve or taped to one side.
Adds overall strength and durability.
Carbon Fiber Tape
Applied to both sides of the stick as a stiffening agent.
Enhances stiffness at the handle for more powerful hits.
Also sold as Graphite Tape.
Applied to both sides of the stick.
Enhances stiffness and reduces vibration.
Increases shock resistance and power transfer.
Kevlar is woven into a full-length sleeve for all-over impact endurance.
A stick with high Kevlar content delivers greater shock absorption and a smoother feel.
Made from Kevlar, carbon, and fiberglass.
A durable, woven material sealed with high-strength glue.
Wraps around the stick for vibration reduction and strength.
Applied to the flat side of the stick.
Advanced aerospace technology that provides strength and vibration reduction.
Different toe designs provide specific performance for forwards, mid-fielders and backs.
A stick’s toe curve is designed for the way different players need to strike the ball. There are four basic toe designs:
The most common toe length, usually used on offense.
Helps the player quickly turn the stick over the ball.
Designed for balance, maneuverability and control.
The most popular and appropriate shape for beginners and midfield players.
About a half-inch longer than the Shorti, it provides a larger hitting surface.
Makes flicking, receiving, and reverse play more comfortable.
Popular with defensive players.
Combines a larger receiving area with the hitting power of a Midi head.
A J-shaped construction.
Larger stopping surface for receiving and defensive work.
Particularly good for grass surfaces.
Field hockey sticks range in length so you can choose a field hockey stick based on either your height or your comfort level. Some players prefer a longer stick while others can maneuver better with a shorter stick.
Stick Length by Height
When choosing a field hockey stick, select the length that you can control comfortably. Place the index finger of your right hand on your right hip bone. Place your middle and ring finger next to your index finger. The top of the stick should approximately reach the side of your ring finger.
Consult this chart to help you determine which stick length is right for you:
Stick Weight by Position
Just like toe design, the weight you choose will be based on your position. It is best to consider your role on the field and style of play when selecting a weight.
Backs: heavier stick, 22 to 24 ounces. Weight lends distance to hits and keeps your stick in play against attacks.
Midfielders: average stick, approximately 21 ounces. A mid-weight stick accommodates both defensive and offensive plays.
Forwards: lightweight stick, 19 to 20 ounces. Select a weight that won’t interfere with rapid stick work.
New and young players should choose a basic stick reinforced with fiberglass, carbon fiber, or Kevlar tape.
Over time, experienced players develop a feel for the synthetic material or reinforcement that best meets their needs. As skill and physical ability improve, your position will influence the stick styles in your collection.
Building a Stick Collection
Dedicated players own a few different sticks as back-up for breakage, variables in playing conditions and surfaces, and different plays.
Field hockey sticks do break. It is better to have your own broken-in stick in waiting than to borrow an unfamiliar stick during game play.
Some sticks work better for some circumstances. No single stick does everything for everybody on every playing surface.
You should have a minimum of two sticks with you whenever you go to play. For frequent play on both natural and artificial turf, you will probably want a minimum of four sticks, two for each surface. If you switch positions, you will probably want one stick for each position and an all-purpose backup.