Oakley Hockey LB9000
The touch on this stick is excellent. The stick was super responsive and felt really light on the ball. The balance of the light feel and responsive feel on the ball means controlling your first touch and cushioning the ball in the direction you want to move is really simple.
Dribbling with this stick was also excellent with the high balance point with the great feel meant it was a dream moving the ball around on the end of the stick, small lifts over flat sticks, indian dribbles, V-drags and spins, were all so easy. So easy that it kind of made me slightly cocky about it, it was a good job I was only playing in an inter-club friendly game, as I think my teammates in a competitive game would have been rather angry at me for the risks I was taking with the ball. But it was brilliant to move the ball around and quick drags to go past defenders at speed with no break in motion. A real highlight was controlling the ball in the air after a small lift, I was able to get the ball moved 2 or 3 times once in the air, I usually would use one motion at most while in the air, to do an in-air V-drag type motion, but I was actually able with this stick to get up to 3 movements in the air, 2 consistently. I would not even try this unless the stick was great for feel.
This is a low bow stick with a really thin head, meaning thats its super easy to get the ball into the air. Controlling the ball is really easy as well, flicking the ball into the roof of the net from the PS spot or just lifting it over a stick to beat a player. The ball always feels under control, giving confidence in any situation where you would want to lift the ball. it is also equally easy to control a lift on reverse taking it past players or firing off a reverse flick to catch the keeper off guard feels really nice. If you are shooting then getting the ball to roll up the stick enough that it sits into the groove gives you so much extra power with the whip its actually caught me off guard, and thats coming from someone who used a DF24 all last season.
Hitting with this stick is hard to describe. The sweet spot on this stick is not huge but when you hit the ball at goal and connect with the sweet spot it flies and its so easy to guide the ball exactly where you want it to go. How ever if you don't hit the ball in the sweet spot the hit is somewhat muted, there wasn't really any of vibration but the hit didn't get the same power and from that i felt that i was less accurate, I mean this will be something that will disappear with more use of the stick. Now this is only something I found really when shooting when I want to hit the ball super hard, and maybe with some lift. when I was clip hitting or full hitting passes where I wasn't trying to knock the shell off I found the hitting very consistent and felt like the sweet spot was massive which is why I found it hard to describe, the only sort of thing I can compare it to is like when people review a supercar in road mode and say its got a smooth ride and good cornering then turn it to sport mode and spin it out of control on every corner. It is tame and controlled when you hitting at 50-70% power, but when you are really trying to go for it then it becomes a monster that if you use correctly can be lethal to the goalkeeper and if used wrong can be lethal to you. And call me a masochist but I really like it for that.
This stick hits really well on reverse. the reverse edge is on the thinner side but still has a good area for the tomahawk shot. When hit properly its easy to direct the ball into the corners. I did find a small issue with hitting reverse passing keeping the ball absolutely flat, the passes were getting a slight lift. The lift was only 1-2cm from the ground and not really enough to make the pass hard to control or make it dangerous, but if your technique is off due to fatigue, or the reverse hit is rushed and you don't get a clean connection, I can imagine this issue could cause a problem. That being said the power that you can get on a clean shot is amazing.
This stick is beautiful to dragflick with. Full stop. The end. Moving on.
The low bow seems very extreme within the rules even I questioned if it was legal (and i checked it, twice just to be sure). Added to the that the groove in the shaft and getting amazing power on dragflicks is easy. I took a few goes to used to it as at first keeping the ball on the deck was a bit of an issue as well as firing the ball over the bar, but I was soon able to get a handle on this. Once I had got my head round the raw power this stick offers, I was able to rocket a few into top corners as well as bottom corners for deflections. One issue I found was if you don't get the ball to rollup the stick into the groove then you can lose accuracy on your flicks, putting them wide of your target, usually from my experience to the right of where you are aiming as the ball leaves the stick early in the flick. This is true of all dragflick grooves so you need to be aware of it when using this stick.
In the same vein throwing long overheads is made effortless by the bow and groove, holding the ball on the stick and then whipping it off the end of the stick with real power, again a slight issue with reigning it in as I kept putting them over the head of who I was passing to or over the back line if I was even close to the halfway line when trying to put it over the defence on the 23m line. But the same as with the additional power on dragflicks, after a short while I was able to get my head round it and was dropping 60 yard aerials onto the end of a forwards stick, which made me feel pretty awesome.
I also used one of the Oakley Hockeys chamois grips and found it to be excellent, I would definitely say it is one of the best ones available at this price point currently. It was very easy to put on, I know stating this sounds a bit stupid as it a grip they are all easy to put on but i have noticed recently that some grips, mostly over grips without adhesive can be quite awkward to put on in that you either need to tape one end down or you end up getting hand cramps/pain from how hard you have to hold the end to stop it sliding round the stick, this didn't require either of those it was super grippy on the stick when it was wet and it stayed in place really well for the time i was testing using it.
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