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Countervail is the Hottest Tech in Sports Right Now and We've Got the Field Hockey Exclusive
The pros are saying it's a #gamechanger...and the stats agree.
If you happen to be a tennis fan, you may have heard buzz about some of your fave pros using custom rackets with Countervail ® technology. Last year, the Australian and French Opens were won with Countervail rackets. And this year so far, the French Open has been won using Countervail.
So, if Countervail is crushing the tennis game, why are we talking about it in a field hockey blog post? And what the heck is it???
In a nutshell, Countervail is vibration canceling technology that strengthens your connection with your equipment. Since some of the motions in field hockey are similar to the motions in tennis, we decided to see if we could take the performance improvement seen in tennis rackets and duplicate it in field hockey sticks. Turns out, it worked! We're pumped to be rolling out the first-ever field hockey sticks with top of the line Countervail vibration-canceling tech for improved control and accuracy.
Check out our Q&A with Countervail's Jack Scott to learn how the tech started in response to a government project request, why it works and the long-term impact it can have on your health and your game:
It seems like the sports world is buzzing about Countervail these days -- you guys are right on the cutting edge! Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind this tech?
It's a classic case of developing a solution for one problem and realizing that the underlying concept can be taken and leveraged in so many other ways.
Believe it or not, the original purpose of Countervail wasn't sports performance -- it wasn't even a commercial product. Materials Sciences Corporation actually developed Countervail in response to a potential satellite need (that's about all I can say). We got to thinking that the basic science behind the tech could be used to mitigate vibration and interference in athletic equipment. Our first venture into the sports world was making custom skis and it's really just evolved from there.
What exactly is Countervail and can it be used to improve athletic performance?
Countervail is a high-tech composite integrated within the equipment structure, that enables extremely rapid energy dissipation without reducing power. Essentially, this means athletes can convert energy, amp up performance and focus on technique. Typically, you have to compromise on equipment weight or mass in order to achieve this (and you end up sacrificing power and accuracy as a result). Countervail gives you both!
How did you go from government work to field hockey sticks?
A couple years back, I was standing in a cubicle chatting with one of our engineers and there happened to be a snowboard hanging on a nearby wall. As a sort of offhand comment, we mused, "What if we took this composite and applied it to skis? How would it affect the energy transfer? Could it impact performance?"
So we tried it! The president of Bianchi heard about what we were doing with skis and picked up the phone. He asked if there was a way we could integrate Countervail into their bike frames to achieve less bounce and more control. We partnered with Bianchi and from there, we started exploring synergies with tennis equipment. Since then, we've worked with a number of high-profile tennis athletes who have commented on the noticeable performance improvement. STX leadership caught wind of the buzz, picked up the phone and asked what we could do to integrate the tech into field hockey sticks for enhanced control and sustained performance.
Some of the biggest names in tennis and cycling are using Countervail and now we're getting the ball rolling with field hockey. What's the biggest benefit to athletes at all levels, whether elite or amateur/junior?
Countervail actively dissipates energy much more rapidly than any other vibration damping option. When an athlete first picks up a racket or stick with Countervail, there's a noticeable difference. When they swing, the impact feels muted because it requires less energy. But what's unique about Countervail is that the vibration damping requires less energy exertion without actually reducing the power or strength of the tool, allowing athletes to focus on technique and accuracy.
Ultimately, this should yield higher, sustained performance with better health outcomes for athletes. With reduced energy expenditure, athletes should experience reduced wear and tear on their muscles, preventing injury. We've had athletes come back to us and say, "I don't feel nearly as worn out or beaten down as I normally do" which is great! Especially for players who are hitting the court or the pitch day after day, it really makes a difference.
What's the word from field hockey players?
So far, the feedback has been really positive! Players report a reduced amount of sting and feedback in their hands, compared to non-Countervail sticks. They've also commented that they feel more confident and empowered to play to their strengths.
The normal time required for energy dissipation interrupts a player's connection with their stick and can make them feel less confident in their skills -- often, players will feel pressure to adjust their game to compensate. With Countervail, players don't feel that disconnect. They feel that they can rely on their stick and feel confident in their shot.