This stick is a top of the range mid-low bow from the american sports giant STX that they call their balanced bow with a maximum bow point of 300mm from the head of the stick. The stick features 90% carbon content along with their ‘CounterVeil©’ technology and a thin precision toe. The stick is advertised at 540g for a 36.5 but mine weighed in at 532g and is 37.5 in length and has a balance point located at 400mm from the head of the stick.
So right away this stick felt a little alien to me as I have been using extreme low bow sticks for about 14 years (yes that includes the now illegal extreme low bows) so jumping back to a stick that is this straight I thought would be really odd, but quite the opposite the stick was so well balanced and had such a nice feel on the ball it was almost a seamless step across from the STX Surgeon 901XT (reviewed here). The Stick does have slightly unexpected feedback for a high carbon stick, I think this is because of the technology I will talk about later, the only way I can describe the feel is like a 70% carbon stick that doesn’t flex but still feels just as soft. The stick still plays as responsive as a high carbon . The stick features the same touch compound on the face as the Surgeon, and it is amazingly grippy. This touch compound gives the face of the stick and almost rubbery feel on the ball, so the ball really holds on the face of the stick while you perform drags, spins and skills.
This stick is very good for hitting, the power it generates is remarkable. The stick has a mid bowed so hitting it very controlled in accuracy, so you can keep the ball flat to the ground consistently.The stick is excellent for driving the ball hard into the corners of the goal or for firing the ball into the circle for a teammate to deflect, you can really put a lot of power on the ball with confidence that it will stay flat. Because of the bow it was initially a little bit difficult to lift the ball coming from the Surgeon low bow, but after a bit of practice I was able to adjust my technique to it was great for controlled hitting. You can use this massive power to allow you to use a shorter backswing to fire the ball off quickly either in the circle (it is especially great for clip hitting shots to catch the goalkeeper off guard) or getting a quick long range pass off where you only have a limited time window.
The great power this stick offers when hitting is also usable for slapping too. You can get a lot of power striking though with the head of the stick or with the bottom of the shaft. you can use this to zip the ball around quickly but because of the bow it is not easy to use a lot of disguise when slapping the ball meaning it is great for firing the ball around the back on a transfer but if you like to use a disguised pass into the circle you will need some time to adjust your technique, but once you do you can get additional power even if you lose a little disguise.
This STX has two new systems in place that I think help the hitting massively, based on a detailed description of what they do from the STX person I spoke to after doing this review. Working together they really do make this stick just fantastic to hit with. These two systems are called CounterVeil and PowerCore. CounterVeil is used to reduce vibrations through the stick when hitting, this is especially good for the cold weather in the UK hockey season, this allows you to really swing through the ball. Couple this vibration reduction system with PowerCore with has extra stiff material reinforcing the head of the stick, this translates to meaning you get an additional power transfer when you hit the ball with the sweet spot. I think that these two systems work amazingly in tandem, one stiffening the sticking area of the face and the other reduces the side effects of increased stiffness.
This is not really a stick designed towards flicking, it is more aimed for power. But the stick has had some of its features tweaked to make it more versatile. The stick has a shaved head makes it easier to get under the ball for flicking then with other sticks with similar bows, this makes it much better than I was expecting, for getting the ball into the air. The stick is very stiff so once you are under the ball you can power through the ball to launch it into the roof of the net. It is also usable to fire a lifted pass to teammates where you only want a small controlled lift.
The shaved head makes the stick better for 3D stills then other sticks this straight. You can get under the ball for small lifts to chase into the space behind the defender, but for skills like this it is easier with a lower bow.
The reverse edge on this stick is great, it’s a little bit thicker than average but the power transfer through the reverse edge is what really makes this stick great for tomahawks. It is also very easy to hit tomahawks with the mid bow on this stick, it makes it easy to make a consistent clean contact on the ball. Lifting tomahawks on the reverse edge can be a little bit of challenge the the width of the reverse edge, but if you get the ball into the right position it becomes much easier. You can use this control to use the reverse edge to ping passes off with a short swing similar to on open stick either for passing to a teammate or to rocket the ball into the bottom corner of the goal. You can also use the tomahawk from unusual position, where you would usually expect little connection and power transfer, while still adding massive power (see Alex Danson’s reverse stick goals), like either from far behind your left foot or a long way in front of you so you need to dive to make contact.
The upright reverse striking power is similar to on open stick, you can get a lot of power transferred to the ball. The sweet spot does appear to be a little more tailored to where you connect on open stick but that is normal as that is far more useful to most players.
Dragflicking and Aerials
Dragflicking is possible with any stick, if you have the right technique. Obviously a low bow makes it much easier, so a high bow profile is not typically suited to a dragflicker. This stick however is pretty good for dragflicking as a high bow stick, the touch compound means that with a straight line pick-up and drag you can generate a lot of power which then you can transfer through to the ball as it doesn’t move around on the head of the stick.
Like dragflicking this stick is not really tailored towards overheads. You can still use it for launching the ball down the pitch but it relies more on your technique and physical strength. If this is a big element of your game then I would suggest you look at other bow profiles but if it’s something you only pull out from time to time then this stick will do the job. You can get under the ball with the shaved head and throw the ball overhead 25 yards
This is a fantastic stick for hitting, it’s very lightweight and stiff, It has a huge sweet spot but doesn’t return any negative feedback when not hitting cleanly. If you use a mid bow stick then you will likely get on much better with this stick for dribbling and skills better than I did, as I am more used to lower bowed sticks. But I can not fault this stick for feel on the ball and the excellent touch compound on the face. This was a highly sought after stick from a couple of my teammates who use a mid bow stick, who both briefly tried it and both want one. (UPDATE: At the time of writing, 1 of them has bought one and the other has ordered the 701 variant.) Another great point is that this stick also has survived the intensive testing that not many sticks do. I think that the Nano resin protects the inside of the stick and that means that their is from inside out.
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