Review of Grays GX6000 Scoop Xtra Hockey Stick

 

grays-gx-6000-scoop-xtra-dynabow-hockey-stick

Cost: Around £100. Dynabow profile. This was an impulse buy. In the sports shop with it in my hand, the ‘scoop xtra’ head appealed and seemed to cling to the ball. According to the Grays website  it is ‘ideal for hitting and 3D skills’. It also features ‘the new Quadrex Blade Profile to give improved drag flick momentum to the Dynabow shape’.

I was excited to use it, but from the start it just didn’t feel right in my hand. Yes, it gives quite good control when receiving and moving the ball – but it’s no better than my favourite GX8000 Midbow which I love. However, and for me it is a big however, the scoop stick seemed to have a much-reduced power when hitting compared to my other Grays sticks. Grays GX8000 Midbow I used it in training a few times, but it didn’t even make it out of my bag on match day. Just really didn’t like the feel of it. I totally agree with the customer review on Barrington Sports which says they haven’t quite been able to find the sweet spot on it.  It’s probably a personal thing, but I now just keep it in my office for messing around with between work assignments. It’s extra stiff and supposed to enhance your drag flick. Well, I’m not a drag flicker and it wasn’t obvious in the sports shop that I bought it from that it was designed for drag flicking, or I would never have bought it. Not for me.

Customer review on Barrington Sports

 

 

A beginner’s guide to choosing a field hockey stick

By Sean Nelson

Editor Field Hockey Review

Just starting field hockey or need a new stick? There are so many different options that finding the right stick for you can be a daunting task, writes Sean Nelson, editor of Field Hockey Review

Money: Unless you are playing at a high level, you’re probably not going to get your money’s worth with a $400 (£250) stick but, on the other hand, a flimsy stick might hold your game back. A decent entry level hockey stick can cost anywhere from $70-$150 (£45-£100) with the top tier at $250+(£160) .

Position: Another important factor to keep in mind is your position and personal play style. Backs tend to prefer a heavier, more solid stick for traps and tackles while forwards typically go for a lightweight design for skill and speed with midfielders somewhere in the middle.

Bow: Another important design feature of the field hockey stick is the bow (see diagram below) This is the curvature of the stick that help in overheads and drag flicks. Some sticks designed for drag flicking, for example, have a pronounced bow low on the stick to help sling the ball faster during this tricky move.

bow of a stick

However, these skills are usually the preserve of more experienced players so it would be wise to steer clear of sticks with a large or low bow and go for a flat or regular bow.

Materials: Modern sticks can be classed into two main material categories: wooden-core and composite-core with both having their own set of pros and cons. Composite hockey sticks are made from a mix of  kevlar, carbon and fibreglass,. These have a high strength-to-weight ratio, are more rigid and hit harder. Wooden-core sticks offer a softer touch and feel to the ball. The more forgiving nature of the wooden-core stick would make it ideal for beginner and intermediate players looking to hone their skills as well as the bonus of often being cheaper that their composite counterparts.

Size: A common belief is that the stick should sit a couple inches below the waistline. Others favour a longer stick. Slightly larger sticks offer the obvious advantage of a larger surface area and longer reach but can be too big or too heavy. A shorter stick can be more comfortable while also encouraging the player to get lower to the ground. Adult stick lengths vary from 33-37 inches depending on personal height and preference and there really is no wrong choice, it is important to find what works. (In the UK most adult sticks are sold in either 36.5 or 37.5 so perhaps not that much choice when it comes to selecting. Basically, either short or tall!)

Feel: The final and most important thing to look for when buying a new stick is the overall feel. Try to test a range of sticks to find one that you feel works and are comfortable. Borrow a stick from a team mate or test out as much as you can in the shop.

Good luck with finding your perfect match!

Hockey stick review: Grays GX8000 Midbow

GRAYS GX 8000 Mid Bow Hockey Stick

2014_Grays_GX8000_MidBow_HS_Micro_Composite_Hockey_Stick

I wanted to try a heavier, straighter stick so I thought I’d test out the GX8000 Mid Bow from Grays in a medium weight. I’m a devoted Grays stick fan so decided to choose from their range.

Yes it makes a massive difference compared to my previous light Grays Dynabow and Jumbow sticks. My hit is much, much more powerful, presumably because there’s more weight behind the hit. However, I feel this is at the expense of ease of stick skills, 3D and backstick shots.

The spec actually says this stick is good for these but I have to disagree and I prefer the lighter sticks for the 3D and the Jumbow for tomahawk shots.

Unfortunately, you have to buy a stick before you can really find out whether it works for you or not. No stick can do everything so it’s always a compromise between bow shape and weight and so far I haven’t found the perfect answer.

Crucially, what’s also not evident until you get this stick in your hand is that it has a ridge effect on the shaft which I loathe – and wouldn’t have chosen if I’d seen it in the flesh. If you are thinking of buying I advise you to enlarge the sales image and take a close look at the shaft of this stick. In the hand I found it  uncomfortable and more difficult to turn in your lower hand to do stick work with.

This Grays GX8000 Midbow also seems to slap hit better – with more power. Again maybe it’s having more weight behind the impact. The spec does say it’s good for slapping.

Update: Spotted a team mate using this same stick on Saturday. She agreed it was less easy to turn the stick in your hand with the ridges. However, she felt it had dramatically improved her jinking and lifting off the ball (she is a defender) and agreed it was fantastic for hard hitting.

My verdict: Uncomfortable to handle, really hate the wide ridged feel, and not the best for nippy stick skills in my opinion because the stick feels harder to turn in your hand. Amazing for supercharging your hits and slap hits.  

Here’s what they say about it on the Barrington Sports website…

GX 8000 Mid-Bow HS
New Mid-Bow HS model for 2013
Featuring new Tri-Tec carbon construction
New IFA on the surface of the head to improve control
New Energy Reduction Handle construction
Featuring new Abrasion Resistant heel protection and PP Enhanced Low Backhand Zone

MICRO Headshape
Excellent head profile for both drag flicking and 3 D skills.
Ideal head thickness for hitting, combined with thinner toe profile ideal for skills of lifting the ball using 3D one handed skills.

MID-BOW
The Mid-Bow blade profile shape has been repositioned more in the mid section of the blade at 30cm from the base of the head. The curve height is 24.75mm. The uniform bow is shaped and contoured continuously along the handle to the head and is especially contoured to improve the angle at which the stick head comes into contact with the ball – it will help give players the technical edge in performing todays 3D hockey skills. Easily identifiable by its own unique new graphical design, the Mid – Bow blade profile continues to become increasingly popular amongst a new generation of players who have learned their skills exclusively on synthetic pitches.
– Help control flat, sweep and slap hitting techniques.
– Help extend the reach zone over which you can dribble the ball freely using both forehand and backhand.
– Improve the first touch control when stopping the ball at full stretch.

Gadget that helps you learn to dragflick. Does it work?

sleeppush

There’s a machine available to help you learn to dragflick. It’s what amounts to an elevated platform. It’s called the Sleeppush – and looks like a mini ski slope. But does it work – and can you buy one?

From the image above, I’m also thinking could you make your own improvised one with a plank of varnished wood propped up one end?

From the scant info available on the manufacturer’s website http://www.sleeppush.nl it looks as if it’s main benefits are that you can train longer with more repetitions because the elevated platform reduces the risk of pain or injury.

It’s also easier to lift the ball towards the goal.

I’d be interested to see how this translates into helping a player improve their actual dragflick from the ground position.

There’s an interesting discussion about it on the excellent Field Hockey Forum.

In response to a ‘how does it work’ query, Hans-Pieter van Beek, who seems to be either the retailer or inventor, posts in response.

“As there is a higher ball position there is less pressure on your knees ankles back and therefore it is more easy to master the technic without getting tired or injured.

“Also there is an innovating S-curve to help you master the right balposition. And as you can see in our movies there is a lot of fun for the kids. Because the kids will succeed easily they will keep interest for developing and training their dragflick.

The website with info about it is http://www.sleeppush.nl. The contact details are
mail@sleeppush.nl and mail@dragflick.org but neither of these addresses seem to be working – mail just bounces back.

I can’t find a price at the moment – but I will continue to try and contact the suppliers and post on here if I get any more info. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available outside the Netherlands.

If you’ve experience of this machine or any thoughts about whether it might work or not, I’d love to hear from you.

Jamie Dwyer’s secret weapon? Tape near the heel of his hockey stick

This is interesting. At 1:46 mins into this youtube clip, Jamie Dwyer mentions that he puts a bit of tape near the heel of his stick. “I put a little bit of tape on my stick to get that softness of the feel, he says.

It’s across at a diagonal and I wanted to know more so I contacted Jamie Dwyer’s company JDH. A quick tweet did the trick along the lines ‘Wondering what sort of tape and what it’s for?’

Here’s the reply…

that is just medical strapping tape commonly used for injuries. It is placed just above the stick head for cushioning traps.

Capture jamie dwyer

Let me know if you’ve tried this – I’d like to know what you think about whether it works for you or not?

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How to choose and buy a new field hockey stick

Apologies in advance, but this post is going to be a work in progress. I need a new stick.  My much-loved Grays Jumbow Grays Jumbow gx10000 review has worn to the point where the hook area is reduced. Time for a new one. But, what oh what to buy when the choice is mindblowing!

Well, I’m definitely going to buy another Grays. I’ve tried TK and voodoo in the past and don’t really like them as much as Grays.

But with hindsight I now realise that my Jumbow is a specialist drag flicking stick –

http://www.grays-hockey.co.uk/stick-tech

Ahem, I’m not a drag flicker by trade so maybe I need a different stick this time.

So what does the super player Jamie Dwyer think about selecting a stick? He talks about stick selection on the above clip. He says…

  • Light sticks. The trend is towards light sticks these days. ‘Players want stiffer, lighter, thinner’ with some going for as light as 500g. Light sticks are best for ‘using skills easily’ so you can push and slap easily. But the disadvantage is that a light stick has a really small sweet spot making hitting more tricky.Trapping is also more difficult as with a light stick it can bounce off more easily. (Oh noooo I thought, I want a heavier stick).Easier for dribbling and 3D skills.
  • Heavy sticks. Bigger sweet spot, often best for defenders.Better for trapping the ball ‘with a heavier stick it just sticks to it.’
  • Bow. The lower the bow is to the head of the stick, the better it is for lifting, drag flicks and aerials, apparently. (Hence my jumbow). Jamie Dwyer favours a straighter standard bow stick, which is food for thought. He likes the balance point to be 41cm from the top of the hook.

Here’s what Team USA Katie O’Donnell says about choosing a stick – and she’s such a fantastic player she should know a thing or two about it!

Katie O’Donnell on choosing a stick

She says…

  • She likes a lighter stick because she plays in attack.
  • She likes carbon in her stick because it gives a harder hit. Although this makes the ball tend to bounce off your stick more so you need softer hands.
  • Traditional advice is to choose a hip-height stick, but she likes an inch longer.”That extra inch gives me an inch reach when I’m trying to steal a ball off a defender, or when I’m on the post it’s an extra inch to reach the ball and put it in the net.”
  • She doesn’t like a big bow (that’s how much the shaft of the stick bends) because she’s not a drag flicker. She’s injector so she likes a ball to fit in the toe- some are so hooked the ball won’t fit in there. I’m a tipper so most of the time a bow doesn’t make much difference.

Here’s a guide to looking at the different stick bows and what they can do for you…

http://www.hockeysticks.co.uk/hockey_stick_bow.htm

So maybe I should get  the Grays GR7000 Composite Hockey Stick – which is a straighter stick. The straighter sticks are cheaper than the drag flicking sticks too – why is that?

I’ve been happy with my Jumbow, but maybe I’d be even happier with a straighter, heavier stick. But I play a lot off my reverse stick and love backstick shots, which apparently the Jumbow is also good for. What to do? Any ideas or comments gratefully received…

Here’s what I’m looking for in a stick… probably impossible to find all in one product, but anyway in an ideal world!

  • Good for trapping and receiving the ball – probably my number one requirement.
  • Good for stick skills
  • Good for striking on goal
  • Good for reverse stick hits and backstick shots

Backhand shots. It looks to me as if the low bow, such as on my Gray’s Jumbow, and the adidas tx 24 are designed for harder hitting back hand shots. See the tweets from adidas hockey below, publicising the tx24…

As it stands at the moment I’m leaning towards going for the Grays Dynabow  Grays Dynabow not least because it’s used by one of my favourite women players in the whole world, Korea’s No 10 Park Mi Hyun.Park Mi Hyun I watched her do the most amazing backstick shot I have ever seen just in front of me, when Korea played New Zealand at the world cup in June this year. It was mind blowingly impressive. If she has that stick, I want to channel her backstick awesomeness and use one myself.

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