Friday, June 26

[PRODUCT REVIEW] Swax Lax Weighted Lacrosse Ball

Swax Lax - Weighted Lacrosse Training Ball
Words and photos by Laxwell Smart

Buckle up lax fanatics, another product review from the inimitable Laxwell Smart coming at'cha. Today on the big big show we have a training tool that will help you teach first time players how to catch without experiencing the fear of getting hit with the ball, help more experienced players work on their skills without getting grounded and more. 

At a glance, this ingenious piece of technology looks likes nothing more than a colorful bean bag. At first, it reminded me of a Hacky Sack ...  

What differentiates the Swax Lax Ball from a Hacky Sack or a mere bean bag is the fact that it's the size of and weighs the same as an actual lacrosse ball. Someone on their design team had their thinking cap on when they made these. Coaches, P.E. teachers and parents know how hard it can be to build up a kids confidence when teaching them how to catch and throw with a real, hard rubber lacrosse ball. The lacrosse ball is an interesting psychological phenomenon. A lot of folks that grew up here in New York City have seen the sport of lacrosse at one point or another, but less people than you may think have actually held a lacrosse ball in their hands. For example, say I'm playing wall ball here on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and say I were to miss a pass (Hard to believe right?  Just pretend that could ever happen for the sake of discussion), the ball usually rolls towards another part of the park and some kind hearted kid who was minding his own business will usually pick it up and throw it back to me. 7 out of 10 times (yes, that's a real statistic), the kid will say something like "Wow that ball is really heavy" and then ask me what the sport I'm playing is called. To the uninitiated, our fine sport of lacrosse looks like a lot of fun until you realize that if you were to miss a pass you might catch a black eye or lose your chompers. It is a rare occurrence that someone actually suffers a serious injury from missing a pass, however getting a youngster to believe that there is nothing to fear requires some crafty negotiation. The truth is, if a really young kid were to get hit with a ball, it could hurt and ruin their desire to want to continue learning how to play. At this point, you might be saying to yourself, "Laxwell Smart, you think your so smart ... They make soft lacrosse training balls, dummy!". Well pump your brakes, Einstein, I have an answer for that. You see the thing that makes the Swax Lax Ball so unique is that it doesn't bounce, Aha! Another frustrating part of teaching a youngster how to catch and throw is that when they miss, they have to chase the ball for 20 yards, over and over, and over and over and over again. After doing that a bunch of times, most kids will get discouraged and then it's a wrap. Time to pack it in. The next thing you know the kid is asking you to sign them up for Little League. If a child drops a Swax Lax Ball, they can just pick it up without having to go far in order to retrieve it, which in turn means more reps during your session. 

Pretty cool, right? But we're not done here yet. Don't even think about putting your stuff away and rushing out of here. There are a number of other reasons why the Swax Lax Ball is cooler than the other side of the pillow. As a coach, I often tell young lacrosse players who I've just gone over dodging with to practice dodging their mom, dog or a piece of furniture at home. Like most coaches, we want our players to have their stick in hand as much as possible. Another thing I'll tell them to do, is to practice switching hands in front of a mirror or to even use their shadow as a guide. The Swax Lax Ball allows kids to do this safely without the dangers of breaking things in their home. I've had a mom come up to me after a practice and tell me that their kid tried to roll dodge them during a study break and the lacrosse ball flew out of their stick and broke their favorite vase. 
Whoops, my bad. More experienced players can make good use of the Swax Lax Ball too. Once again, you can work on your stick skills at home safely and also practice your stick tricks minus the run-away-ball syndrome. With a little thought and planning, coaches can find numerous ways to use these balls in practice settings, and if you live in the North East, you're most likely starting your lacrosse season in a gym due to inclement weather. The Swax Lax Ball is perfect for gym practices. Also, both new and experienced goalies benefit from getting some reps in with the Swax Lax Ball without the risk of getting pelted with a real ball and once again don't have to worry about retrieving rebounds when it's time to go on a ball hunt. Well there you have it. A useful tool that can be used in a myriad of contexts for both the budding and experienced lacrosse player. I'm sure you can come up with even more creative uses for this tool. 

The Swax Lax Ball has proven to be durable, even in our tests on concrete and comes in a bunch of colors that you can order HERE.
If you have a product that you want us to consider for review, hit us up at "Attn: Laxwell Smart" - Stay tuned for my next review of a product designed to keep your lacrosse bag smelling fresh, the ODOR GLADIATOR.




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