Premium Polocrosse Racquets Made By Polocrosse Players For Polocrosse Players
In the world of polocrosse, few racquets have become as distinctive and recognised amongst the worlds top players as ours. Handcrafted in a purpose built facility on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, every RRIOTT Polocrosse Racquet is the collaborative result of a highly skilled group of dedicated craftsman that, like you, love to play polocrosse.
At RRIOTT Polocrosse, we are committed to building racquets of exacting and unparalleled performance because as polocrosse players that's what we want to play with. We play polocrosse (and tinker with) our racquets as much as you do. The only difference is that when we want to change a product, we come to work. We are proud of our workmanship and build every racquet as though it were going to be our own. So whether you play with a plastic or graphite racquet or prefer conventional cane, you can be assured that you are investing in a racquet of unequalled quality, performance and workmanship.
How To Choose The Proper Racquet
Polocrosse Racquets are one of the most important and individual pieces of equipment for the game of Polocrosse.
This section is designed and written for both beginning and experienced players so they may better understand the art of racquet making and the variables that go into racquet production. Through knowledge and working with experienced professionals it should allow each player to undertake the necessary steps to determine the proper racquet characteristics for each individual’s style and requirements. Once determined, your racquet maker should be able to duplicate racquets to your specification upon request.
Where To Start
The best place to start is with speaking to a professional. They are going to ask certain questions about your physical characteristics to determine your individual profile.
How tall are you? How much do you weigh? How would you describe your body type? Slender, medium, stocky? Are you a man, women or child? How long have you been playing? What is your handicap? What are your aspirations? Where do you play? How much? What are the field conditions? What is your budget? How many racquets do you break each year? How many racquets do you purchase each year?
From this profile we will determine the individual characteristics of the racquet that we would recommend for you. This will be based upon our experience in making thousands of racquets for players of all sizes, shapes and abilities around the world. If you visit our workshop from here we will make a prototype racquet for your trial and inspection. 95% of the time this racquet hits the mark. Sometimes we need to continue to refine the process by making modifications through trial and error until we together have it just right. During each step we keep copious notes to choreograph the process. Once the player acknowledges we’ve got it we keep a permanent record with all the characteristics to be able to duplicate the process upon request.
There is no perfect racquet for everyone. Individual differences in physical characteristics, playing styles and field conditions, all are important elements in matching the proper racquet to the individual player and conditions. It is the job of the racquet maker to work with the player to define the individual elements and characteristics of the racquet that are best suited to the individual player. By analysing the individual variables and defining them they are together able to determine the specific characteristics that are best suited to work for each player. To better understand the variables we need to look at and explore the different elements of racquets to determine which are best suited for you.
The process with experienced players is easier. They know the specific characteristics they are seeking. What is easiest for both the player and the racquet maker is for the player to provide the racquet maker with a favourite racquet or at least specifications of such a racquet if online. Then the racquet maker can analyse the elements and feel the player’s desires. We then have to define the elements, and remember the feel to duplicate it upon request.
What the Pro's Do
Professional players know that you get the best selection of racquets when a new shipment of canes arrives. We have standing orders with key customers to produce a certain number of racquets for them each year. When each shipment of canes arrives as we process them we select the top canes that are suitable for the player and put them aside. This allows the player and the maker the greatest opportunity to make the finest offering available. This assures the player of the best canes possible. For more information see the Gold Label page (link to gold label page).
Racquet Making Variables
The Polocrosse racquet in its simplest form is no more than an extension of a players arm designed to hold the polocrosse net. The net being the key component in any racquet is required to hold the ball once you have gained possession and throw the ball whenever you the player sees’ fit. Hence if everyone had 5 foot arms there would be no need for racquets we would just hold the nets in our hands. There are 3 main components in any racquet the Net, Shaft or cane and the Head all outlined below.
Undisputedly the most important component in any racquet and the way that many good racquet makers differentiate themselves from the pretenders. Hand stitched from a single piece of twine 11 meters long the net is an intricate series of nearly 100 knots forming a ball carrying pocket and a ramp to channel the ball in and out of the pocket.
A perfectly set net should allow the player to hold onto the ball in duress whilst allowing the ball to travel freely out of the racquet when and only when the player decides to dispose of it. Given there is less than 5 people in the whole world who commercially make polocrosse nets you can appreciate the how closely guarded the net making process is kept.
Being lucky enough to make our own nets RRIOTT polocrosse is able to modify and continually develop our nets ensuring that each net we produce is perfect for each of the head types in which it resides.
Many racquet makers are not as lucky and have to make do with one or two patterns hence when installing the nets in different sized heads the nets perform at less than optimum, often being too fast or deep and not having enough adjustment to make them any better.
Once we understand a players specific requirements we are able to adjust the net to suit before shipping so in 95% of cases the racquet arrives ready to play with. Obviously there are times when specific fine tuning is required to tailor the racquet exactly to the player’s requirements and again this is where RRIOTT Polocrosse really differentiates among our competitors. Each racquet is shipped with a net setting guide and you can also download a copy from this website, dispelling all the secrecy about how to adjust your net.
The second most important variable in racquet selection is the cane. Top canes are almost solely produced from the Manu plants. Manu cane comes in different sizes, weights, dimensions, flexes, and qualities.
The first job of the racquet maker is to match the right cane with the right customer. A Grade players have different requirements than beginners. A 100 Kg No 3 has different requirements than a 75 Kg No 1. Ladies have different requirements than men. Individual players’ style, physique and athleticism require an individual tuning of cane characteristics to a specific player.
The first element in cane selection is flexibility. Individual players prefer different racquet flexes. It is our job as racquet makers to align the proper flex of the cane to your individual playing preferences. Flex is affected by a variety of factors; the natural characteristic of the cane, its diameter, has it been cured properly, the taper of the cane, the number of knots. It is also important to remember that a cane racquet will open up after use. Therefore you need to buy it slightly stiffer than you want it to end up because it becomes more flexible as the fibres loosen up.
The weight of the cane is another element in consideration. The natural character of the cane and the curing process also affects weight. Where in the arc does the cane flex? How much? Most players prefer canes where the flex and the action in the cane is in the bottom 1/2 of the shaft towards the head. Careful selection of cane flex and flex distribution assures maximum power and ball feel. When we make ladies & children’s racquets we are careful to select canes that are lighter in weight not just thinner in diameter. Because cane is a natural product and the density varies the weight of the individual canes in the same dimension also can vary greatly. So as a racquet maker we carefully select the proper weight for the proper customer. When we make racquets we consider both the head weight and overall weight which combine with the flex to form the balance and feel.
The other important element in cane selection is quality. We grade all our canes into three classifications. Our objective is to really only produce racquets in the top two classifications, Red and Black Label. If we do a proper job with cane selection in Indonesia, then we will only have a few of the lower level of canes in the country. In our opinion most players should be playing with Red Label racquets and higher. We only offer the Yellow Label racquets when we get canes that do not meet our Red Label or better specifications. This approach differs greatly from racquet maker to racquet maker. Most racquet makers produce racquets from all canes and price them all the same. Most racquet makers leave it to the buyers to select. We prefer to use our expertise to try to help guide you.
The process of choosing canes starts in the jungle. Most suppliers use commercial harvesters that go out in the jungle to cut Manu for furniture and then they will select canes from that group that are usable in racquet production. What RRIOTT Polocrosse does is we have our own skilled cutters who go out and only harvest canes to make racquets and polo mallets from. We have exacting specifications in terms of size, taper; number of joints, criteria, straightness, that our cutters take into consideration. Before shipment to Australia they are again inspected. Only the top canes are sent to RRIOTT Polocrosse. Then thru each section of the manufacturing process we review the cane for quality specifications. We are continually refining and selecting the best of the best for use in our Black and Gold Label racquets. These top select canes are set aside and we use those solely for our premium racquets.
Many of you have asked it is necessary to go to the Black Label grade. That answer depends upon individual requirements. Certainly professional players need to use the absolute best racquets. For other players it would depend upon your budget, aspirations, experience, and preferences. Most beginning players will not be able to appreciate the nuances and advantages of a Black Label racquet. Our Red Label racquets are excellently suited for most players. Traditionally the top canes (black label grade) have all been kept in the back rooms for the national players. RRIOTT polocrosse has chosen to make these canes available to all players. For any rated players there is definitely a difference from having a top cane. For these players it is our suggestion to go to the Black Label grade because racquets are such an important component to performance in the game.
The least most important component in racquet manufacture is the head, Although some of the racquet makers will tell you that it is most important that you use a plastic head or the like, you will find they have a conflict of interest in only promoting their own racquets as some of these racquet makers only produce one type of head and as such they are bound to tell you that that type of head is the best.
I believe that I am in the enviable position of being the only racquet maker in the world producing racquets utilising all types of heads from graphite, polymer, cane and plastic coated cane and as a result I believe I can confidently comment on the pro’s and cons of each type of head without having any conflict of interest.
The reason I suggest the head is the least most important part of any racquet is that it typically is only the instrument that holds the net to the shaft, it serves very little other purpose.
Obviously what is important is that the choice of head is matched and balanced perfectly to the cane this is absolutely paramount to ensuring a racquet with the feel worthy of any player let alone a national or international player.
So what is the difference between each type of head and why would you choose one over the other? The answer to this question is simple “personal preference”. Some people prefer cane others polymer it really is that simple.
Typically you will find the worlds best players play with cane head racquets because of their superior balance and significantly lighter weight. And in all of my years playing polocrosse I have not found any substitute for cane, if you think about it if their was a substance as good or better than cane why would we not be using it for shafts as well as heads.
Because cane is a natural material it means that every shaft is different in weight, flex and diameter and as such every shaft requires a slightly different weighted head to achieve perfect balance. Cane heads afford us this luxury for example if we have a practically light and stiff piece of cane as a shaft we can select a cane head that exhibits similar qualities to match with the shaft and ultimately provide superior balance. With the arrival of synthetic heads this is significantly harder to achieve as each head is the same weight and flex hence realistically there is only one piece if cane that will balance perfectly with a plastic or graphite head. Having said this you would expect that in order to provide a perfectly balanced racquet every plastic or graphite head racquet would almost be identical. Not true most racquet makers shove any old piece of cane on plastic or graphite heads resulting in many racquets being head or grip heavy and poorly balanced. RRIOTT Polocrosse spend some considerable time carefully selecting just the right pieces of cane for each graphite and polymer head racquet to achieve the best possible balance whilst still offering a selection of flexes and weights (sometimes even adding counterweights to each end to ensure proper balance).
If cane head racquets are so superior in balance why do people sell and play with synthetic heads? Well there are a number of reasons for this the first of which is longevity. The introduction of synthetics has allowed us to make racquets with heads that last substantially longer than the traditional cane head racquets. I personally disagree with this philosophy in most cases although synthetic racquets last longer they are almost always not as well balanced or as lightweight as a cane head racquet so although you may not be replacing your racquet as often you will be playing with a substandard racquet for a longer period of time. Realistically a top quality racquet is a significant part of any player’s game and having to replace your racquet every season or so is a small price to pay to play with the best.
The second reason many use synthetic heads is for a specific feel you can guarantee that if you use a polymer head racquet and you choose to replace the head at any time it will feel exactly the same in weight and flex, Alternatively graphite head racquets exhibit a very different feel in that the bottom 1/3 of the racquet offers absolutely no flex whatsoever and certain players specifically prefer this type of feel.
Some of the traps for new players when it comes to selecting a synthetic head racquet that you should be aware of.
Injection Moulded Heads
Certain plastic heads offered by some our competitors are injection moulded and as result of the manufacturing process are potentially prone to air bubbles in many cases these air bubbles are within the core of the head and can not be seen resulting in a week spot within the head. Although most makers of injection moulded plastic heads offer a warranty this is of little comfort when your racquet brakes in the last chukka of the finals and it takes till the end of the game to realise it has broken and that’s why you were unable to pick up those 3 balls.
RRIOTT Polocrosse uses a secret 3 stage process that does not include injection moulding in the manufacture of all our Polymer head racquets and as a result we can guarantee a head with a constant density throughout with no air bubbles.
Shape Shifters: Many racquet makers who are reluctant to invest in development have taken to cutting racquet heads from plastic sheeting, Although this practice has been around for many years it has not been particularly successful due to the fact that many of these heads do not hold their shape once distorted hence once they have been trodden on by a horse or have been hit by an opponent the fail to return to their original shape leaving the player with a head out of shape the result of which can be a change in the way the net hangs causing the net to throw in a different manner than expected.
RRIOTT Polocrosse counters shape shifting in the way each polymer head is manufactured. The secret 3 stage manufacturing process employed by RRIOTT Polocrosse ensures each Polymer Head supports Reflex Memory technology ensuring that after each blow the racquet head returns to its original shape.
Balance and Feel
The most important and most difficult area of racquet making is balancing the cane. Each cane has specific properties and a feel. This feel only comes alive if the cane is balanced with the proper head.
After many years the racquet maker perfects the art of feeling, learning, evaluating and reproducing the proper balance. The correct balance enhances the cane and allows the power and natural characteristics to flourish. Balance is determined by aligning the proper head weight with the proper cane. Each cane has a small range of head weights that can be used to produce a truly balanced feel. When balance is achieved, we maximize the natural characteristics of all the parts.
Obtaining proper balance is truly an art. Some craftsman have a natural feel for a cane, others are able to develop the feel with experience and direction. Learning this skill takes many years and being able to reproduce it even longer. The artistry of proper balance and feel is what separates the masters from technician.
A critical element in analysing the proper racquet is the grip size. RRIOTT Polocrosse offers a range of different sizes of grips. It is important to determine the proper grip size for you and to make sure that you have consistency of grips.
Usually players with smaller hands prefer lighter racquets. Usually the players with the extra large hands use heavier canes and heads. It would be our suggestion that one of the first thing you do when you review your racquets, assuming that they came from many different racquet makers, is to check the grip size and make sure they are all the same. If not when you send your racquets to be repaired ask us to check the grip size and correct any that are not to specifications. It is very difficult to play consistently with racquets that have different grip sizes and characteristics.
SKYPE Me Now
RRIOTT Polocrosse Equipment
Lot 9 East Road
Phone +61 (0)3 59786650
Mobile +61 (0)414 326 206
Fax +61 (0)3 5978 786650
Copyright RRIOTT Polocrosse 2010
Selecting a Racquet
Cross Section of Injection Molded Racquet
Head Showing Air Bubbles
Cane Growing Wild Before Harvest
Cane After Curing & Harvest