Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bjorn Borg and Donnay

A large tomato weigh often above 180 grams. A Frisbee sometimes 160 grams.

One of the main reasons behind one-piece Floorball stick prototypes, designed in carbon fibers is to lower the weight.

Oxdog, Unihoc and Salming have all recently shown these kind of new stick designs for Floorball..

Why is the low weight so important? Our answer is the market force. As Unihoc started to make featherlight sticks a few years ago, these sticks sold remarkable good.
Cause players liked them.
Soon they had a stick on the market that became the “world’s lightest stick”, this as an actual fact, but this was also used as a “marketing label”. Something that drives sales and competition. Salming presented a lighter stick and now Fatpipe sport the world’s lightest regular stick, well below 200 grams.

A German article, at Floorballmagazine, just a few days ago explained that the theoretical weight limit for a traditional Floorball stick with a shaft and a blade is estimated at some 180 grams. The same article also claim that with a “one-piece” design in carbon, a stick may weigh down to 160 grams. That is roughly almost 25% lower than some of the lightest sticks available on the market at this time. Huh.

Some sources claim; no, these sticks are still illegal. Some other rumors say - no they will be allowed. And some loose talk pretend that the Swedish testing institute (SP) and the IFF probably already knows if these sticks will be allowed or not.. That is not important to us.

We think the following; If these sticks are deemed safe they will be allowed. Even if they are stiffer as a stick it is possible to demand a “softer” shaft design, or more flex, to compensate for the stiffness of the blade. However that is not likely, since with a lower weight, a stick will have a lower level of momentum, even if it is faster and this should therefore not be the problem. We also must remember that all sticks are being held by human hands, something that is a rather “weak” connection - or it is at least not a mechanical fixed point. The only thing that would stop this development is if the fibers tend to break, and if it breaks in an unhealthy or dangerous way. But we think that the producers would never let products like that out on the market. They would most likely not even send them to SP for evaluation.

Other reasons that will make this happen is that with a one-piece stick design, - sticks will most likely become way more expensive and therefore this means more money - in the system, including for the parts of Floorball that is relying on sponsorship money. So more money is in some ways good for all, in the case the money also finds its way back to the community.
But the largest reason why this will happen is that the sport may take a step from being seen as a "plastic toy sport" into "the Jetson space-age". One-piece sticks sends the right vibez. And not many people may say no to this.
Floorballcentral say - this is an important step for the development and the acceptance of Floorball.

The fact that OXDOG already have a raffle up, and the winner will win a one-piece stick is another bold statement that indicates what they think about the probable introduction of one-piece sticks... so you might as well say that these twigs are already here. And they will be the first true sticks that deserve the nickname twigs, cause they are real high tech twigs.

What happens when these sticks meets the market? We think it will be a rush without any comparison, even if they are more expensive. Not many players will hold on to their old plastic blades. Think Tennis, and how Bjorn Borg tried to make a comeback with a wooden little Donnay paddle - when no one played with wood. Was he just bad, or was it his racket? It only took a few years and he put a smile on many faces.
But the wooden tennis racket market was forever dead.

Will this development kill all regular plastic blades? No, for children and zorro enthusiasts there will still be a market. But for more advanced players? Forget plastic blades (until the plastic guys brings on another unique selling prospect).
So even if the producing companies are driving this development, they also will loose out on some of their own bread and butter. Let’s hope they are aware of this.

Will Floorball be better with one-piece sticks in carbon-fiber? We think so.
Will the game be faster? Yes, but we think this is all more about style, perception and.beliefs. Too fast? We do not think so, but suspect that some will say that the game might become too fast..

If we are right? Let the future judge and this post might sail around in the “cloud” until we know what happens.
If love plastics? Yes, we do - but we do not want to be as stubborn as Bjorn Borg. And if you have a one-piece stick extra,  - you know our address?

What is the problem?
Not much. It is just that the ball will start to look kind of seriously outdated.

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Research suggest that eye-injuries are more common in Floorball as compared to Tennis, but less common as compared to Squash (similar to Racquetball).
To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!