Back in September, I played in the USCA 9W National Championship. They utilized lighter balls for the longer, rough turf. There's kind of a full discussion around what that was like, but what truly interested me is that on the following Wednesday night, I played on artificial turf for the final night of a charity event with standard 16 oz Sunshiny Pro 16s. They felt awful. Like soft ... almost like hitting little bean bags. I also immediately noticed the additional torque/stress on my wrists.
I've posted on this before, but it reminded me that in all of the discussion of interactivity for AC at the world championship level. I am surprised that no one has considered smaller balls and appropriately sized wickets. From an interactivity perspective, I think smaller balls should offer smaller roquet targets, challenges in accurate rushing due to the tighter radius and a lighter ball weight to wicket strength ratio. Admittedly, in practice, I find it easier to hit lighter (and/or smaller) balls straight, but I don't know if there is a good reason for that perceived straight line accuracy.
Anyway, that is a bit off-point ... this particular experience just highlighted for me the stress that 16 oz balls put on a player's wrist. I don't know what percentage of players actually get to play on lawns with the appropriate speed. So, I just thought for player health/croquet career longevity that it was a point to consider and actually was wondering if there had been testing. I know we saw an extensive testing study on the Oxford Croquet site for most challenging wickets a few years ago.
I played in the Denver 9W Nationals last year. We played with the lighter balls (PROZ BALZ) on long grass. These smooth balls are much faster than the traditional balls on rough turf. Your mallet also has an effect on your wrist. I also have played on artificial turf with heavier balls. I’m not sure what kind of mallet, or grip style you are using but they will have an effect on “torque/stress on one’s wrists”. Here is an interesting article by John Riches
Good points and an interesting article. Probably is a copyright violation to bring the full piece over from Oxford, so I just put in the link.