This stick has a softer feel than some other ‘100%’ carbon sticks. This softer feel means that the stick has an excellent first touch when receiving the ball, this allows for quick movement of the ball while you are controlling incoming passes. This stick is also excellent for executing close skills, like Indian dribbling or V-drags. The toe of the stick has been shaved a little so it makes it very easy to lift the ball on reverse. It is also very easy to use reverse skills because of the shaping of the toe, is excellent for catching the ball in the hook making it easy to perform spins. The head shaping is great for catching the ball in the air after performing 3D skills, but because of the shaping of the toe it directs the ball downwards, so if you are wanting to keep the ball in the air it’s something you have to think about. I really liked this stick because of the excellent first touch you have high confidence in using high speed drags and spins in tight pressure situation.
The stick is very thick shafted, but well balanced, this means that when the head feels very light but with enough weight to put some power behind the ball. When you don’t quite connect with the as well as you want, I didn’t feel very much feedback, you do get a little but nothing above average for a high carbon stick, despite the softer feel.
Though this stick comes with a grooved shaft, this groove does not cause any ill effects to slap hitting, because the shaft groove is very shallow the angle where this groove causes the ball to lift is one where you would be trying to elevate the ball. The groove does add to slider passes as you can generate additional power.
The Naanoo sticks all come with the addition of a small textured strip along the reverse edge, this really adds to ease of use for the reverse edge for either shave tackles or reverse picks. The sticks shaft is very thick as I have already stated, this really helps with tomahawk shots. Because the reverse edge is so thick it is amazingly easy to hit the ball hard and flat on backhand shots or passes, it is however very difficult to get the ball to lift on reverse, it is possible with practice but it is not as easy as with some thinner sticks. I would say that the stick under performs a little of expectations when it comes to upright reverse hits, the thinner toe means that it is a little bit off balance and down a little down on power compared to expected action, it is so well balanced for open stick hitting I think that this is a worthwhile sacrifice for what is used more in any game situation but is still worth nothing.
This stick is very thick, as I have said, this is also applies in part to the head of the tick. This means that is can be quite difficult to get under the ball to perform small quick lifts over flat sticks. The shaping of the head does make it a little easier to perform 3D skills on reverse, This issue only really effects flicking on the move as it is easy to poke the ball rather than scoop the ball if you get the timing wrong.
When using a flicking shot, once you get the ball up onto the head of the stick it is easy to push under the ball to fire it into the corner of the goal at pace, if you get the ball into the groove on the shaft you can also generate additional pace onto the ball. Because of the thick head it is a harder to perform lob shots, I found the best way was to roll the ball up onto the stick and once I was under ball then perform the lob.
Dragflick & Aerial
The XM20 comes with both a full low bow along with a grooved shaft, clearly dragflicking is what it is designed to do. The Bow profile is a smooth curve, this makes it easy to roll the ball up the shaft into the groove, and it gives it a smooth transition back down the stick and into the goal. The groove is shallower then some others but is more than deep enough to add power to the ball, similar to the groove on the Adidas DF the balance between power and control is excellent.
As for aerial it’s a full low bow stick, so it is very easy to throw overheads. I found it was easy to over shoot your target because of over focusing on getting under the ball at the start, once you did get under the ball it was easy to add power by getting the ball to roll up into the groove, this did tend to lead to my aerials having more addition to the height rather than more length but with the new overhead picking rule this wasn’t always a bad thing.
This stick is a lot of fun, it is very nice for hitting and dragflicking. I think this is a fantastic stick for a sweeper/ corner specialist, you can launch the ball down the pitch or into the corner of the goal from top D. You can 100% use this stick to perform 3D skills but it is not where the stick really stands out. Like any stick it is only as good as the player whose hands it’s in