Lacrosse Playground recently interviewed Stefan Craine, the creator and founder, of the B-Lax Blast. The Blast is essentially a “regulation lacrosse ball attached to a cord that attaches to any stick.” Once the Blast is latched on to the head you toss the ball and the ball retracts back to your pocket. Check out the video and more info from the B-Lax creator himself on why he felt it was necessary to develop this product.
So Stefan, please tell our readers what B-Lax Blast is about?
The B-Lax Blast is the fastest training tool on the market. Practice, after all, is about the number of touches. Number of touches improves muscle memory, confidence and comfort. Even when you blow an execution (weak side catch or behind the back shot) your muscle memory is logging what didn’t work. The Blast is a regulation lacrosse ball, attached to a cord, that attaches to any stick head. You throw the ball out and the cord snaps it back to you. The Blast allows you to practice any pass, shot or catch very quickly. I tell players demoing the product that anything they do in the game with their stick, they can practice with the Blast. Unlike a wall or a Pitchback that run upward of $150 and are 2-D (stationary), the Blast costs under $20 and you can practice in 3-D or on the move (not stationary). For example, you can practice individual line drills (throwing and catching on the run), re-direction quickstick, or over the shoulder catches… whatever you do in a game.
The Blast sounds pretty reasonable, affordable and practical. When did you first create the product? How’d you get the idea?
I first created the product in 2001 for a couple of buddies kids in NY. They know that I like inventing things so they put me up to the challenge of inventing a rebounder. So every year I would return to visit them in NY and bring my new prototype. Two Years ago, I brought three new prototypes back with me and all the neighborhood kids were fighting over the product. The kids weren’t forced to use it (adults were BBQ’ing in the backyard and the 12 kids were in the front yard). I knew that I needed to take the idea to market then.
What materials are used to manufacture the product?
Three materials go into the Blast: (1) a low profile plastic device that slides onto any stick head, (2) an engineered compression cord to enhance bounce back and limit drag and (3) a special molded NCAA regulation ball that attaches to the cord.
Is this for all ages and skill levels?
Absolutely, but I’d say the largest market is for beginner and intermediate players because of the size of this market. But I’ve had D-1 players try it. They love practicing weak-side over the shoulder catches or underhand rippers on their walk across campus on their way to class.
What skills does it help a player develop?
As previously stated, the B-Lax, Blast improves any skill that a player wants to work on. Because of its speed (number of touches) it quickly improves confidence and comfort, especially on the weak side. There was a girl in my town who was tracking towards Colorado Team 180. I told her to practice here weak side with the Blast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, she was snapping off lefts to me with total confidence.
Is it for any position?
It is for any position including goalie and attaches to any stick head (guy or girl). As long as you need to work on something, the blast will work for you.
What position benefits the most from your product?
The position that benefits from it the most is the position that uses it the most. You know how coaches always say if you want to get better, carry your stick and ball with you wherever you go? Imagine now being able to throw and catch where ever you go.
Have you noticed a demand for the product in certain areas of the country and/or for certain age groups?
Demand has been great and is totally based on exposure. I’ve traveled to 10 major lacrosse tournaments this spring and summer, validating the product. It’s legit. Players, parents, and coaches like it. Both retailer and online sales are much better than expected. We’re on our second re-order from the manufacturer.
Who/what is your product’s competition?
There are two types of rebounders (pitchbacks which are stationary and what I call e-bounders which use an elastic cord that attaches to a stick). There are many companies who sell pitchbacks which run upward of $150. I know of 3 companies selling the e-bounders (B-Lax, BakLax, and LaxPrax). The major differences in the e-bounders are how the product attaches, where it attaches and the cord. There are pros and cons of each product. But the sport is booming, there is plenty of room for all and competition is a good thing! It keeps us all on our game.
Could you please elaborate on the feedback you’ve received: positive and negative.
Feedback has been tremendously positive. Here’s an example from a mom. “I have recently purchased two b-lax blast lacrosse trainers, one for my son and one for my daughter, both of whom are twelve. They absolutely LOVE using it! They are both using it to increase their skills in ways that just passing and wall balls could never do. Thanks for such a versatile training tool that can be used for the different skill levels that my kids have. Worth every penny!”
The only negative feedback is when a player starts out trying to throw and catch instead of getting used to the product with a simple bounce-shot and catch. Because it’s a new concept, a player needs to get the feel of the ball and cord rebounding back to the stick. It’s imperative that a player start with a bounce-shot and catch to understand how quickly the ball comes back and how the stick works with the cord. Once a player gets this (usually 5 – 10 minutes or so), they can move onto throwing and catching.
If you would like to hear more from Stefan about his product feel free to visit his site here.