Adidas D24 Carbon
So the first thing I did after getting my hands on the stick was to have a dribble around. The first thing I noticed was how nice the balance point was, the head was really light and easy to move around quickly. The stick is a nice balance of stiff and just a small amount of give to aid control of the ball. This is due to the change from the Dual Carbon Rods to the new Carbon Plate. This made dribbling a dream and made me able to bounce the ball into the turf to get a little lift as well as throw the ball out to a full left hand extension at pace to take the ball away from incoming tackles with relative ease.
At this point I should talk about the redesigned head shape, the brains in the background of Adidas hockey have done some tinkering with the material in the head of the stick and the shape as well. What the designers have done is redistribution of the material in the head, they have reduced the size of the head of the stick, now this change is very striking and has caused a lot of conversation in the hockey world. The reduced surface area of the head is designed for a couple of reasons the first is that on further analysis of players using the reverse stick the actual area when the stick touches the ball during controlled skill the curved top edge of the toe is not really used. So the took this extra material and moved it to the back of the head more on this later. This new shape of the head makes it super easy to get the ball into the hook of the stick makings spins so, so, easy, spinning either right or left.
Now that’s not the only bit of tinkering that those brainboxes at Adidas have been up to, they have also shaved the edges of the head, the bits you need to be thin to make it easy to get under the ball on both open stick and reverse, this makes 3D skills so easy to pull off, at times I think maybe too easy. Getting under the ball to perform a controlled lift over a defenders stick is so simple its almost effortless, it is so easy I can see it becoming a little bit of a problem with how easy it is to lift the ball it would be very easy, when tired, to put a little bit too much energy into the lift and bringing the ball up too high and giving the defence an easy turnover of possession.
I thought that the bulk of the head might cause some issues when I was trapping the ball as the extra material might make cushioning the ball more difficult but quite the opposite I found that it actually absorbed some of the momentum of the ball coming in. Now this is a high carbon stick so it is on the stiffer end of the hockey stick spectrum so if you meet a hard pass without soft hands to aid control then the ball is going to bounce off, but if you have the right amount of give in your hands this stick is magic.
The new head shape that I have already talked about makes it’s so easy to lift the ball with this stick. Coupled with the extreme low bow on the DF24, getting the ball onto the head of the stick and then lifting it high into the goal or firing the ball 6 inches off the ground as a pass to a teammate over a defenders stick is effortless. When flicking the ball at goal you can add so much extra power onto the flick if you can get the ball into the groove on the shaft, obviously you do have to allow for the extra time with the ball on the stick to generate that power when picking your spot. When you are using this method to add power it is really easy, if you don’t properly accommodate the extra time for the ball to leave you stick, ping the ball high and left of the target.
I have already talked about how easy it is to used 3D skills with this stick thanks to the shaved head on both the open and reverse edges, but it is also really easy to use that shaved head shave to place small lifted passes. You can drop the ball onto the stick of a team mate, after lifting the ball over a defenders stick with ease. Anyone used to using and extreme low bow will know how this bow type leans into lifting the ball but with this new head shape it really is just so simple. Again I can see this becoming somewhat problematic late on in a game when you are really pushing and just get a little too much on the ball and fire a waist high pass that gets blown up by the umpire, but with a little work and practice I think that this is something that you can reign in.
So as I have already mentioned the brainboxes behind the scenes at Adidas hockey have redesigned the head shape and moved round some of the material in there. So another reason why they have done this is to improve the hitting, they have moved more of the material into the centre of the head. The reason for this is as part of their research they found that this is where the centre of the ball contacts the stick, so by adding more material to this point, much like with a driver in golf or the middle of a cricket bat, you can get a better transfer of power onto the ball. From my time with the stick I can say that it feels like it hits much harder than the previous season DF24 and far more consistently. I also think that this new stick is easier to hit flat than any other lox bow stick I have used, in my opinion this is because with more of the weight higher up the head more power is transferred to the centre of the ball then to the lower half of the ball as it was with the old model, this helps to keep the ball flat when hitting. That being said this is still a extreme low bow stick and so if you get your technique wrong it is very easy to lift the ball accidentally. But this also means that when you get into the circle and really want to fire the ball into the top corner of the goal you can with just a small adaption you your technique.
The groove on the shaft makes it really easy to generate a lot of power on slider/slap passes as you can roll the ball down the shaft with a lot of whip and then strike through the ball with the new head to apply lots of power without and compromise on accuracy. The new model’s groove also makes it easier to control slap passes then in previous versions.
So with the addition of the Carbon Plate, Adidas has added a large flat piece of Carbon to the back of the stick that is only slightly smaller than the face of the shaft. An amazing side effect of this addition is that the reverse edge is now amazingly thick, it is super easy to hit on reverse with this new edge. Hitting the ball hard and flat consistently will give you supreme confidence in playing the ball on reverse, wither it is a 50 yard pass or a shot at goal, this stick will give you full confidence to play it. When I first started playing around with this stick I did find it a little difficult to lift the ball when hitting on reverse at first, coming from a much thinner reverse edge before this I only needed to make a small turn of my wrists and I was able to lift the ball into the roof of the net. With the reverse edge on this stick being so thick it took me a little while to adapt and be able to control the height of the ball when striking on the reverse edge. Hitting on reverse upright is also very easy as the new head shape hits through on the backhand the same as on the front stick. I also couldn’t feel any negative effects from the reduced size of the toe when I was upright hitting.
This is what this stick is made for, put simply. Now the designers at Adidas have also made a small change to the groove on the shaft making it slightly shallower, I was a bit sceptical when I first heard this, but during the testing I was comparing to DF24’s from 2015 and 2016, and I couldn’t feel any difference in the speed of my dragflicks. While I didn’t get a speed gun to say with 100% scientific results, it was close enough to not be able to tell the differences, what I could feel was that it was how much easier it was to control flicks into the corners of the goal. I also found that the added material to the back of the head, in my opinion, give you a little bit more oomph onto the ball when flicking as more of the weight of the stick is going through the centre of the ball on release. This might be why I can’t tell a difference in the speed of my flicks between the old models and this new one even though the groove is shallower on the new version. The Oval Grip is also still a great addition to the dragflicking stick as it forces you to get your hand the in correct position so that you can get a better range of motion in your wrists and arms, this improves power transfer and accuracy.
The shaved edges of the new head shape combined with extreme low bow profile of the DF24 make huge aerials really easy. You can get under the ball so easily and thus can effortlessly throw the ball 30 yards down the pitch to a team mate, I found it easy to drop the ball within a couple of metres radius of my team mate straight away and within a few minutes I was able to drop the ball onto their stick. With some effort I found I was able to carry this accuracy forward when launching the ball further down the field, dropping a few aerials over the top of the goal from the halfway line while attempting to hit the crossbar at that range.
I 100% love this stick. I have been using it for about a month and it is superb. I think this is my favourite stick that I have used currently.