In this week’s post, I’m going to write up a review for the Swax Lax Goalie Training balls.
But first, a quick story.
My freshman year of college at Cal I switched from middie to goalie. Literally minutes after I told the coach I would be ok with giving goalie a try he asked me to step in there as the team walked through some offensive sets.
While I’m in goal for the first time with zero goalie pads, still holding my middie stick, for some reason a guy on our team ripped a shot at me.
I still remember that feeling of intense fear as the ball whizzed by my legs. What did I sign myself up for?
Many pro goalies I’ve interviewed for the podcast said they never had much fear when first starting out. Maybe that’s why I’m a coach and not a pro goalie, my initial fear was intense.
When I put on the lacrosse goalie gear and donned a real goalie stick, I felt a little more protected but the apprehension was definitely still present.
It’s hard to learn the save movement and learn how to explode to the shot when you’re flinching and afraid of that very shot.
As a result, I always encourage goalie coaches to incorporate tennis balls into their shooting routine with goalies.
Tennis balls don’t sting like lacrosse balls and thus the element of fear is reduced. A goalie can build up their confidence without having a deep contusion take the wind out of their sails.
But the problem with tennis balls is they’re not lacrosse balls.
Which brings us to the Swax Lax training ball.
Swax Lax Goalie Training Ball
The Swax Lax balls are like heavy hackey-sacks that mimic the size and weight of a lacrosse ball but are a lot softer than solid rubber to limit the damage goalies take from shots.
When I say “mimic” I really mean it. Check out this weight comparison.
The Swax Lax ball weighs in at 146 grams while a normal lacrosse at 143 grams.
For comparison, here’s a tennis ball –
Nearly a third of the weight of a normal lacrosse ball at 57 grams.
In addition to weight, the Swax Lax ball is nearly identical in size to a lacrosse ball.
Lots of goalies already use tennis balls in their training routine so as not to get beat up from shots.
Tennis balls are great for goalies but for shooters they feel different because the ball is way lighter and also larger.
So if you’re doing a team drill like inside rolls where the goalie faces a lot close up shots in a short period, for goalie’s sake you’d like to use tennis balls to avoid unnecessary damage. But the shooters want a realistic shooting drill.
That’s the beauty of the Swax Lax ball. You get the same feel for the shooters and yet it doesn’t leave “Eye of Sauron” style bruises on the goalies. You know the ones I’m talking about…
You can shoot a Swax Lax ball just as hard as a normal lax ball. A lot harder to shoot the lighter tennis ball with the same velocity.
The only downside I found is because they’re not rubber they don’t have the same feel leaving the lacrosse stick. Meaning it fired a little high when shooting overhand. But since I was mainly training goalies this wasn’t a problem for me.
The Swax Lax ball has give. Here’s me pushing my finger into the side of one.
Didn’t get any video of this but I wanted to see what it was like taking a full velocity Swax Lax ball shot directly to the thigh.
Similar to a tennis ball shot, you feel it but it doesn’t sting and leave a tremendous bruise like the normal rubber of a lacrosse ball.
Goalie Swax Lax Balls
The goalie Swax Lax balls numbered 1 – 2 – 3. This is cool as you can you use it in a few drills where the goalie must focus on the ball extra hard to call out the number.
I like to do the Egg Toss drill with the Swax Lax balls. I hold all 3 balls in my hand and make the goalie call the out the number I throw – as soon as he/she can.
On the full speed shots the rotation of the ball makes the number not legible.
The numbers create the good habit of concentrating extra hard on the ball as the shot is coming your way.
The Swax Lax balls also come normal, without numbers and they come in a variety of colors and designs.
Cradling in the House
I was recently back at my parent’s home for Thanksgiving and picked up an old lax stick in their garage.
I showed my little 1-year-old niece how to play and then continued cradling around the house throwing sick dodges as my parents walked by. I mean I’m talkin’ seriously sick dodges.
I did however almost break their cable box when a normal lacrosse ball went flying out (sniper check came from somewhere).
The Swax Lax balls solve that problem as they’re perfect for indoors.
If your kid likes to cradle around the house like I do, probably worth it to invest in a pack of Swax Lax balls instead of a new $200 vase or $500 TV.
The size and weight feels like a normal lacrosse ball so cradling is all the same. But in the event you get hit with a sniper rusty gate, the ball isn’t going to cause any damage.
Swax Lax Balls Cost
A product review is not complete without a discussion of price.
A three pack of the Swax Lax goalie balls is going for $30 on Amazon.
You can get a 2-pack of the normal Swax lax balls (not numbered) for $20 on Amazon.
You can also get a 3-pack of non-numbered Swax Lax balls for the same $30 –
A three pack of tennis balls goes for about $7 ($2.33/ball) while a dozen normal lacrosse balls goes for about $26 ($2.16/ball). So we are paying a premium at $10/ball.
But it’s an elite (and specialty) goalie training product so we can expect the cost to be a little higher.
One thing I will say regarding durability is the Swax Lax balls are very well made.
I’ve played with a set of 3 balls for a few weeks now and there are no visible signs of wear and tear. I’ll come back and edit this comment if I change my mind down the road. But for now durability is awesome and it feels like a well-built product.
Swax Lax Review Videos
Here are a few videos from different folks doing a Swax Lax training ball review –
If you haven’t heard about the Swax Lax balls, you’re in for a treat. Or perhaps I should say your goalie’s legs and shins are in for a treat.
Lots of goalies use tennis balls in their training to reduce the damage done to your body and also to reduce the fear of shots, thereby building your confidence.
In addition to tennis balls, consider giving the Swax Lax ball a go. This weighted hackey-sack mimics the size and weight of a lacrosse but doesn’t sting like normal rubber.
As a bonus, you can get the goalie training balls which have numbers printed on them that aid in many visual and hand-eye coordination drills.
I hope you found this review helpful.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Anyone tried the Swax Lax balls yet? What are your thoughts? Anything I missed in this Swax Lax ball review? Leave me a comment down below.
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.
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