Oregon Bear 1
So the first thing I always do with a new stick is to have a dribble around. The Oregon felt very light so I was a little sceptical about how much feel it would have on the ball, but I was blown away by the feel on the ball, the light head made using stick skills very easy without the stick feeling 'tinny' when receiving a hard passes. Because the ehad was so light it made it very easy to do quick intricate skills but the stick also gave really nice feed back when controlling the ball from incoming passes. I found it very easy to do long drags and spins with this stick for going passed defenders or the dreaded stationary cone (the hardest thing to beat using stick skills as we all know). Something about the angle of the face just made the ball sit in a really nice position for changing direction with very little effort on both open and reverse stick, this gives alot of confidence when running with the ball that if you need to move the ball into position to pass or go round a player.
The stock grip is also very thick and it has great shock absorption when hitting and controlling difficult passes.
This stick is designed for flicking, the low bow and the light head makes it very easy to whip through the ball and get a lot of power into the flick. The stick also comes with a deep grove in the shaft that enables you to get more power into your flicks if you can get the ball to roll up the shaft to the deepest point of the groove. A key element of using the groove when flicking is the timing of the flick, this is always something to think about, if you hold the ball too long in the groove it becomes very easy to launch the ball high and to the left or if it doesn't reach the right spot before you whip through the ball will leave the stick early and fly to the right, but if you can get the timing just right you will be able to ping the ball off the underside of the crossbar from anywhere in the circle.
Because of the low bow and the light head using 3D skills with this stick is very easy, it feels like the ball is glued to the end of your stick as you execute the lift and then you can push the ball off in any direction before accelerating passes the defender into the space. Like wise you can perform a quick rotation either over or under the ball to either lift the ball higher, to go over a sliding GK, or play it lower, to go back across through the defenders legs or bring the ball down into your path to do a 3D V drag to make space to shoot at goal.
While hitting is not this sticks strongest point (I would say it is the dribbling skills I mentioned above) it far from falls short in this area. The light head means that while it doesn't feel like you are putting everything through the ball, I can confirm that the ball flys from the end of the stick in which ever direction you want to send it, whether you are playing a 50 yard pass to the end of a team mates stick or rifling the ball into the near top corner over the helpless GK's shoulder, the ball really flies. With the stick being a low bow then you have to focus on leading with your left wrist when trying to hit flat, but with the right technique you can slot the ball into either bottom corner with power.
Because this stick has a grooved shaft then you can really sling the ball with a 'slider' slap pass. If you pick the ball up right on the end of the groove then you can generate a lot of momentum down the stick which you can then direct either off to the right or left with heavy disguise.
I Really liked this stick for hitting reverse. I found it very easy to really get old of the ball and ping it on tomahawk shots into the corners. I found it really easy to hit the ball flat at goal of for playing passes to the back post. I found it relatively easy to lift eh ball when shooting but i did have some issue with controlling the height on shots and found myself when stretching firing the ball over the goal from top of the circle. Once I had spent some time with the stick I found the sweet spot for ball position so that I could get the ball to lift enough to rifle the ball under the bar. I found upright reverse hits tended to pull a little to the right when then not hitting the ball in the right spot, I think this is just down to the angle of the face and the bow and is somethis that can be easily corrected as long as you are aware of it.
This stick makes disguised drag flicks so easy it's almost unfair. Because the groove has such depth it's really easy to hold the ball at this point before ripping through the ball to fire it in either top corner. This means you can really through yourself one direction only to power through the ball with your wrists to sling it into the opposite corner. This works going either way, either taking a gigantic drag to your right and rotating through in a giant arch to put it in to the left side netting or dragging the ball to your left away from the first runner to fire across to the right of the goal across the path of the second runner blocking the keepers view. Whether the keeper can see the flick or not with the power you can generate they probably won't be able to get near to the ball.
Aerials were also very easy, with the ball rolling up the shaft into the groove with little effort I could throw the ball from the halfway line to the fence (I mean I was only hitting like a foot up the fence, but the fence is probably 2-3m back from the back line of the pitch so its not exactly bad). I was also able to reign in this raw distance and drop the ball into a metre radius of a team mate in a way that was easy to control and move off or pick up on the move.
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