Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mallet making secret: bouncy balls!

Can i let you guys in on a lil' secret? Bouncy balls.

Yes, those little rubbers toys you can buy in vending machines at arcades and skating rinks. Remember the lock-in at the Skatium a couple years ago? Remember when someone emptied the bouncy ball machine and threw them all over the court during matches?? Fun times, eh? Anyway, travis had the foresight to collect the leftovers, and after sitting in a bin in my basement for a while we found a use for 'em- capping the end of yr shaft.

Anyone who's played with an "uncapped shaft" knows it digs into yr skin. Most people over the years have taped nickels onto the ends to provide at least a bit of support. While i rocked the nickel for a couple years, eventually i started looking for something better. Whiskey corks are pretty easy to come by around here (right guys :) so those found their way into our mallets, though they would easily split laterally if you put too much pressure on it. Well later we tried handlebar end caps (like the screw in kind you get with bmx grips) and while they were firm they would end up being to hard on the palm of yr hand. I've even seen the rubber "feet" that are usually reserved for the bottoms of chairs... a pretty good option actually, but the wrist pain was still there...

Enter bouncy balls. Place a medium sized rubber ball on the end, wrap it in electrical tape to secure (not hockey tape, electrical tape, it holds the rubber/metal combination much better), and from there finish yr mallet like normal. I personally like to leave a bit of a "bulb" on the end as it gives me a good pivot point for shots, but to each his own. The key benefit is the easing of stress on the palm, which translate to a more comfortable wrist. This is especially notable when sitting in goal for long lengths of time.

But don't trust me- go find a vending machine near you and try it out yrself. It my sound simple, even a bit childish, but i'm never going back. Screw nickels, corks, and bar-ends- i've got my bouncy ball.

-W.

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