I'm sorry. I've only gone and done it. The Grays GR11000 Jumbow I reviewed about six months ago is propping up the stick bag; I'm not allowed to use it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing.
I've replaced it with something quite different - it's the latest Slingshot from Mazon's BlackMagic range. Bearing in mind that I'd had one of these before - the one from the 2015 season - I knew vaguely what to expect, and adjusted my demands from Mazon accordingly. My first Slingshot, if you've read the review, was something of a death machine. Not the lightest stick out there (from a dribbling, drag flicking, generally fancy-pants young player's perspective).
So for this one, I insisted that my sponsors provide me with something a little more compliant with my game - weight and balance, I was picky. My old Slingshot felt like a sledgehammer in my hands (pretentious and fiddly), the sort of dog that takes you for walks. Brisk ones at that.
Long story short, I didn't want a stick that I'd be scared of, lovely though it was for sending the ball places with speed.
I don't think that there are any major changes in terms of technical features from last year's to this one - so please check my last Slingshot review if you want the low down on that. There's a fair amount to cover.
So - here are my first impressions just out of the box of this one.
"Wow this feels light. Couldn't have picked a better one off a shelf of twenty."
"It's thinned out a bit. Bow looks a touch sharper than the last one, maybe."
"It's f***ing beautiful"
Once I got out onto the pitch:
Dribbling: Amazing. Absolutely incredible. The materials that Mazon use in this particular stick make for a slightly softer touch than I'd been used to before - combine this with the feather-light weight and you've got sheer dribbling heaven. Just writing this makes me excited. Touch is soft enough because of the sandy finish and aramid in the head, but still feels pleasantly stiff and responsive because of the stick's undeniable stiffness. A much more refined touch than last year's Slingshot.
To cut things short, I gave it to my coach, who's an ex NZ Blackstick. He plays with an Adidas DF24 Carbon - he hated my Grays - he's full of expletives to put down anything that isn't completely in line with what he wants. He described my stick as "not bad". It's a winner.
Hitting: I won't lie, this is where I miss my old stick a bit. It's a given; amazing what 16g and 15mm of balance can do, but I'm still yet to come completely to grips with the lighter weight of this one when it comes to smacking flat hit passes. Lifted shots are a dream though - the stick's bow just wraps under the ball so naturally, and the sweet spot is impressively easy to find for such a light stick. It's just keeping the ball dead flat with power on hits that is proving a bit tricky - this is a classic problem with new sticks though - ask me in two weeks and I'm sure I'll have no issues at all. The stick is super powerful by nature - it's just a matter of me getting used to the combination of the light weight, bow and stiffness all in one.
Thankfully flat hitting isn't a huge necessity in my game. I prefer to slap the ball more.
Speaking of which, the slapping with this stick is fantastic. It's probably because I'm used to the mould and composition, so at this stage in my relationship with the Slingshot the only thing that the light weight is doing is speeding up my swing. So obviously they go harder than ever before, with no problems locating the sweet spot as it's a stick I'm already familiar with. Efficient, peachy feel, forgiving, extremely good return in ball speed here.
Reverse Edge Hitting: Not a huge change from last year's model. Practise and you'll be hitting them however well you want; if you're lazy, you'll be punished for it. The edge is thin and stiff, so unforgiving by nature - hit it well, and it'll absolutely go at whatever height you choose. Don't, and the ball will chip up about twenty feet in the air in an embarrassingly loopy trajectory. I know lots of people on the forum have wrestled with hitting flat tomahawks with thin low bow sticks - it's literally all in practice. Having said that, let's just say that this stick will only help you if your technique is already spotless.
Flicking: Here we go, here we go, here we goooo. This stick is made for it. A friendly but reasonably extreme low bow, super thin profile and feather-light weight and balance make for easy speed and precise placement when it comes to drag flicks. I'm basically gagging.
Aerials are very simple too - really hard not to get a good one with this blade. While a groove and more extreme bow might help out even more on this front, I think I'd risk detracting from my basic game with them on my stick. So essentially I'm finding the Slingshot mould a very happy medium when it comes to flicking. An awesome all-round stick with an insatiable desire to flick the ball fast.
And, well, pushing. I've come to conclusion that pushing's all down to you. A stick like this can only help you though.
And, the verdict. Well.
The stick is unbelievably versatile. It truly does have something for everyone, apart from those who don't put in the effort required - sadly, it seems to hate lazy players. It's very much like the Gryphon BlueSteel in that you get out what you put in; if I were to plot a curve with enjoyment on the y-axis and good technique on the x-axis, it'd be exponential with the Slingshot. However, it's different to the BlueSteel in that it's a tiny bit more forgiving, lighter and thinner.
If it were a footballer - bloody hell. It'd be Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Love it beyond words. Pictures to come!
- BlackMagic Slingshot
- Bow Type:
- Low bow (200mm)
- 92% Carbon, 5% Aramid, 3% Zylon
- 530g, Balance Point at 395mm
Elliot likes this.