o I have tested this sticks big brother the OAKLEY LB9000 and it is one of my favourite profiles for flicking with that I have ever tested. Oakley have been kind enough to let me have a go with the LB7000. First off the graphic overhaul that Oakley have done looks great, obviously looks are subjective but I think they look great across the whole 7000 range. The stick features a full low bow with a groove in the shaft and slight cupping on the face.
Straight off the bat you can feel the difference on the ball between this and the LB9000, the stick has a flex can be felt when stopping ball this is very forgiving for any poor first touch absorbing some of the pace of the ball. The stick is a nice shape for dribbling and the flex makes it easy to keep the ball under control, as it constantly absorbs some of the pace off the ball for you. Despite this soft feel the stick is still quiet responsive and gives good feedback while on the ball. Subtle cupping of the face make the stick good for performing drags, it is especially good for dragging left to right, as the angle of the stick face combined with the cupping pushes the ball slightly into the pitch keeping it flat to the ground. When you are dragging from right to left, this is not the case as the angle is inverted and so the stick guides the ball slightly up the stick, this is by design to aid flicking but can work against you while dribbling.
For a stick that is only 70% carbon the hitting is very good, there is a nice big sweetspot and because of the flex there is very little feedback even in the cold of the english winters. It does lose a little power transferred onto the ball when hitting, but still has a good amount of force for a 70% carbon stick. The profile of the stick makes it very easy to get under the ball, so this means it is very easy to lift the ball, because of this it will require a learning curve for finding top corners and bottom corners as it may require some adjustment to your technique when shooting or playing long passes. As with any low bowed stick if you don’t get your left hand over the ball when hitting the ball will lift this can cause you to lose confidence in your upright hit, but if you can adjust your technique you can release a powerful hit and keep the ball flat to the ground, you can feel the small flex when you hit but the power output is still excellent. Once you have you techniques sorted out it is very easy to hit the ball hard into the corner of the goal.
The stick continues to produce good power for slapping hitting as well, the groove allows you to add whip to the ball when playing slider passes as well which means you dont have to sacrifice power when playing a disguised pass.
This is the same profile as the LB9000 so it is a full 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.
The stick features a good sized reverse edge, while it isn’t super thick like some other sticks that feature a groove or rail to aid dragflicking, it is more than thick enough to make tomahawk striking easy. This means that you can rotate the stick in your hands to make it easier to lift the ball when you are shooting at goal but also allows you to keep the ball flat when looking to use the reverse edge to play a hard pass. I found that this translated to meaning that hitting top corners is easier than with other sticks that I have used, the grooves on the back of the stick also gives you a clear indication of the amount you have rotated the stick so you can find a comfortable rotation to give you a more controlled lift. There is less flex to the stick when edge hitting on reverse, so the power transfer is more substantial then on normal hitting. This means that you can really club the ball with a lot of power, coupled with the vertical control means its especially easy to use this stick for reverse stick shooting.
This stick is great to dragflick with. The low bow seems just as extreme as the rules allow, Oakley have the added groove in the shaft and cupping to the face and you the result is that you can generate amazing power on dragflicks.
It isn’t quite as much power as you can get with the 9000 because the flex absorbs some of the power and it isn’t transferred to the ball. The flex does then return some back onto the ball as if returns to its normal shape, this is unfortunately not as consistent as you might want as sometimes this can be very beneficial and sometimes it can be a slight hindrance. When the flex return happens at the right time then it can add to the power flick but if its at the wrong time it can throw off your momentum and might ruin your flick. 80-90% the flex return is not a problem but when it does it can really ruin your flick. I was able to rocket the ball into all corners of the goal, by moving the ball into the groove and then accelerating it back down.
One issue I found was also present in this stick similar to the LB9000 is if you don’t get the ball up the stick into the groove then you can lose accuracy on your flicks especially with the flex return, as the ball leaves the stick early in the flick. This is something true of grooves in the stick in general, so you need to be aware of it when using this stick.
Throwing long overheads is made pretty easy by the bow and groove, keeping the ball held on the stick and then whipping it back down the stick and off the end of the stick with real power. I initially kept putting them over the back line during review throwing them from the halfway line while aiming for the goal but as with the power on dragflicks, after a little practice I was able to get them under control and was dropping 60 yard aerials into the goal consistently.
This is a fantastic stick for dragflicking. I would really recommend this stick for anyone who uses aerials and dragflicks as part of their game but who prefers a soft feel on the ball. The hitting is very good for a 70% carbon stick and so you will not be left with too little power and it is much more forgiving then the LB9000 on the ball for giving up a small amount of the responsive feel.