Review: Roos Hockey – US90 Ultra Bow

Review: Roos Hockey – US90 Ultra Bow

This is the Roos hockey ultra low bow stick designed for dragflicking with a 24mm bow 200mm from the head of the stick. It features a touch compound on the face and 90% carbon content. Looks wise Roos have gone for a matte carbon fibre look with vibrant orange graphics with a gold accent near the handle. I personally think the gold colour looks fantastic in person (the pictures don’t do it justice) and I’d like to see more of it in the next batch of graphics.

Feel 8.5/10
This stick has excellent feel on the ball, because of the light weight and placement of the balance point, the stick is superb to dribble with. You can move the ball very quickly, because of the low weight and higher balance point the head feels light and so these movements feel effortless. The head is shaped for flicking (more on that later) and so the face of the stick is angled, this angle makes it very nice for reverse stick control. When on reverse the angle between the stick and the ground (in my carry position at least) is near to 90 degrees, this means it is excellent for reverse picks from passes or from one hand extensions skills, it is also great for V-drags as well as lateral drags. This also means that the ball doesn’t lift up off reverse traps that are outside of your left foot nor does it direct the ball down into the turf, which can cause the ball to bounce back up into the stick and away from your control. This gives you the confidence to execute reverse skills and traps in high pressure situations, like a crowded circle. With the stick’s angled face it makes it great for performing spins from left to right as the 90 degree angle is great and the ball is carried round smoothly on the turf, but going right to left the ball rolls up a little onto the face of the stick which can make it difficult to stop the spin accurately and the ball can whip off the end of the stick, but is nice when you are spinning into a shot. The stick has a nice balance between stiff and soft feeling and it comes with an excellent stock grip.

Hitting 8/10
The stick generates a lot of power when hitting and slapping, despite the lightweight the transfer of pace over to the ball is superb, but because of the softer feel of the stick, hitting can feel a little muted, while this isn’t necessarily a negative point it take a little bit of getting used to. This muted feel can make this stick a little difficult to learn to aim shots because the feedback is so muted you don’t always know when you have miss hit the ball or not hit through the ball with sweet spot, but once you get your head around, it the stick is very consistent when hitting. Now because of the angled face then it is very easy to cause the ball to lift the ball if you are hitting level with or in front of your left foot, this makes it very easy to ping the ball into the roof of the net, but it also makes it easy to accidentally lift a hit pass or clearance causing a turn all over. When you are getting down low and slapping the ball it is easy to generate a lot of power while maintaining accuracy, you can also make use of the low bow profile to add whip and deception when playing a slider pass. You do need to make sure that the sweet spot on the face goes through the centre of the ball to generate the power but again with the muted feel it is sometimes difficult to know if the ball was struck by the sweet spot.

Reverse 8/10
The reverse edge is not super thick, but I found that it was very nice for hitting tomahawks. I found it very easy to hit the ball low and hard as well as getting the ball to lift to around waist height. To get the ball to lift I had to hit the ball from behind my right foot, so that I was chopping down into the ball more than hitting it during a plateau of my swing. It took me a little while to get this style of shooting under control so that I could put the ball into a top corner consistently. The flat hitting was very good, and fairly easy to control, this gave me a lot of confidence when playing passes to the back post for team mates to touch home for the goal, or when rifling the ball into a bottom corner past a diving keeper. It was so nice for reverse fitting that I have used the tomahawk hit to play passes around the pitch (in the oppositions half), threading the ball through tight gaps in the defence or into a space for a teammate to run onto. For hitting upright reverse hits this stick is a little unbalanced, because of the angle of the face is designed for flicking and control, when hitting upright reverses the angle can cause the ball to lift or can pull the shot off target to the right of goal, depending on the distance from you to the ball. I found that the way to ‘fix’ this was to hit the ball closer to your left foot, this means that the stick is hitting the ball closer to the normal reverse carry position which means that the connection angle is closer to 90 degrees so keeps the ball from lifting. This sounds easy enough but it was a skill that took me some time to get right.

Flicking 9/10
Now as I have already mentioned this stick is designed to aid flicking. So it is very good at flicking. The angle of the face makes it very easy to get under the ball and raise the ball into the air. This is great for 3D skills, raising the ball 6 inches off the turf and into the space behind any incoming flat tackles, and leaving you with space to accelerate into and away from those pesky defenders trying to stop you from getting into the circle to shoot at goal. The angled face can also be used when controlling incoming passes to raise the ball, taking you quickly past any attempts to steal the ball, or raise the ball past any advancing goalkeeper in the circle. When you have the ball on the reverse it is easy to lift the ball as well, because of the angle of the face you have to rock back at the handle of the stick so the head is in front of your right hand, so the ball rolls onto the face of the stick. The stick is very good as well for flicker shots. Once the ball is on the face of the stick it is very easy to fire the top corners or where ever you want in the goal. The ball whips very well off the bow and you can generate plenty of power on flicks open or reverse stick as you send the ball flying towards the top corner.

Dragflick and Aerials 9/10
Following on from flicking to dragflicking, this stick is very nice to dragflick with. The angling on the face is very nice for picking up the ball, it guides the ball up the stick, which pushes the ball up the bow. This makes the transition from the pickup through to the drag stage seamless. This stick has a smooth curve to the bow, it is easier to get the ball to roll up the stick and back down. With a smooth curved bow you don’t generate the same late whip as with a sharper curve, but with proper technique you can generate the same power, but it builds up through the drag stage of the flick and because of this build up in power rather than a swift kick later on, I think it makes it easier to aim your dragflick, but harder to perform longer drag movements like spin faints or dragging round the first runner. With the angle of the face you have to be careful not to try and initial the pick up while the ball is still level or infront (rare but I know people who do it) as this can cause the ball to lift and bobble which can cause you to whip under or over the ball as it will not stay on the face of the stick.

For aerials the angled face combined with the balance of the stick makes it very easy to throw the ball 30 yards down the pitch. It is a little bit harder to utilise the full bow, but you can use it to generate enough whip to send the ball 50 yards. Accuracy on aerials is all down to technique with this stick, it goes to where you put it (as long as you give it the juice to get there).

Summary
This is a fantastically balanced stick, it is really great on the ball and you can really unleash some amazing flicks with it. When hitting it has a unique feedback that takes a little getting used to but does provide some excellent power. I also think that it’s worth noting that going through the testing process for this stick, the pain has remained intact and free from chips, this is not a common thing as I put the sticks through some rigorous testing. This stick is a really good all rounder that would work well with any play style.