Whispers turned into a grainy image or two, and then social media got its usual hit of clips and revealing photos. Finally, the Evo Warp Lacrosse Head website dropped, and Warrior had officially released their newest product to the market. It’s not actually available anywhere yet, but the market knows it will be available sometime soon. The website says “Spring”, so that means some time between February and late May, according to the D1 lacrosse calendar. Zing!
Ok, so now that all that is settled, what is going on with this product, and why does anyone care one way or the other? Well, it’s really a revolutionary concept if I’m being honest, because it’s a piece of machine woven “mesh” that is fully attached to the stick by non-traditional means. While great concepts are great, fantastic execution of concepts is even better.
Has the Evo Warp been executed fantastically? I’m actually pretty excited to find out. Take a gander…
Evo Warp Lacrosse Head Video
According to the website, and from just looking at it, you can tell the Evo Warp lacrosse head requires no stringing, or adjusting. Of course that also means you can’t adjust it, even if you want to. But maybe it’s super consistent and you won’t ever need to adjust it? Until I use one, there is simply no way to say one way or the other. As someone who strings a ton of sticks, I find this incredibly interesting. Sure, I love stringing sticks for kids, but if they could get an AWESOME pocket right away, and I didn’t have to have bleeding caloused hands all the time, even better. Many stringers may disagree with me here, but some players will always want “strung” sticks, so you’re safe.
If this technology helps new players, or any player for that matter, get a better stick, I’m all for it.
Ok, instead of going down a back and forth rabbit hole of what-ifs, I’m going to cover this in two sections. The first will be potential drawbacks, and the second will be potential positives. I’ve never seen any product that is 100% perfect, but maybe the Evo Warp will come close. I’m keeping an open mind on this one until I try it for myself.
Evo Warp Potential Drawbacks
- The first thing I’m thinking about is adjusting this stick. Regardless of how a stick is strung historically, pockets can change in different weather. Yes, it’s a pain to loosen a bottom string a little on a dry cold day, but when your pocket shrinks up just a bit, you can always let it out just a little. Same goes for tightening up during a hot humid day, or in a rainy game. Of course we have seen advances in materials, and I rarely, if ever, have to adjust my sticks with Otter Mesh in them, so if Warrior has used a truly high quality material for the pocket, this could be relatively small, or even non, issue.
- Cost. I’ve heard rumors on cost, but I’m less concerned about cost now, and more interested in cost down the line. I expect the product to be pricey at first, or at least on the high end of normal. That’s just the way things are usually done, especially for “revolutionary” products. Right? Right. But down the line, is this something that can be done for every beginner’s stick, while keeping the price point low and the quality high? If so, it’s a potential growth of the game changer. If it’s too costly, it would only help higher level players. This all assumes the product is excellent, by the way. If it’s not, this is a non-issue and it will go away quietly.
- Variability. While we all know the high, mid, low, etc style of pockets, there is a lot of choice right now in this department. I’m sure a super computer machine brain can weave just as many options, but how in the world do you figure out what works for you? This is a roll out issue really. How do you match the right pockets (that can’t be changed) to the right players? What if you decide to change your pocket? Do you need a whole new stick? I’m curious to see how retailers, Warrior, and consumers alike deal with the issue. It’s not a killer, just a concern.
- Fear of the New New. Some stringers may not love this new product, and many more out there are probably very skeptical about the Evo Warp. We’ve all seen gimmicks before, and I’m sure we will again. But we’ve also seen products labeled as gimmicks that turned out to be awesome. I remember how much people HATED Cascade Helmets when they first came out. Said they were destroying the game. Now everyone on your team and the goalie on the girls team wears one. They’re everywhere, and now THEY are the helmet standard. But they were hated. Oh man, were they hated. Can the Evo Warp pull a Cascade and rise above the noise? If it’s as good a product as the Cascade was and is, then probably! Usually that’s what good products do.
- Is it legal? How could it not be. No way Warrior invests this kind of time and money not to clear it with the NCAA first. No way. Right? Right… right? Definitely.
Evo Warp Potential Benefits
- Access AND good sticks for all? Ok, let’s assume you can buy one, and figure out which kind of pocket you want easily, and Warrior sends it to you direct from their weaving robot, who just finished beating Dave Morrow at chess. 2 out of 3 anyway. You get the stick, and it’s perfect. It doesn’t change, it does everything it’s advertised as doing, and you now have a perfect stick, which you can order a replica of, should this perfect stick ever break. That sounds great to me as a consumer who doesn’t know a good stringer, or maybe doesn’t even know anything about lacrosse. Their kid just plays it and loves it, and now they can get them a stick. If it all works out, this could be a good thing. If, and this is a big if, the price eventually drops down to make it affordable in beginner’s sticks, the sky is the limit for sustainable growth in the equipment department.
- No more illegal sticks. Warrior is NOT going to sell you an illegal stick. At least I hope they’re not. So these sticks could potentially take some of the required pocket measuring out of the game for the refs. I mean who is ordering an illegal stick other than me? Will the robot even allow me to order an illegal stick? Do you think the weaving robot is on Twitter yet?
- Consistency, say it with me. From the looks of this thing, the Evo Warp is going to be consistent to say the least. It’s so structured, it seems impossible for it to be anything but consistent. It also looks soft, but until I try one, I have no idea on how it handles. Trust NO ONE! Or trust some people, you know the ones. Of course you do. Again, this is a potential positive, but as I said in the opening, it’s all about the quality and the execution of this intriguing concept.
- Change the game… Warrior needs a game change right now. Don’t get me wrong, the company has made a huge name for themselves and expanded to other sports. but they need something in lacrosse to really re-affirm their place. Maybe it’s just me that feels that way, but I doubt it. I’m sure Warrior is looking to innovate. Who wants to be stagnant?
- Not the end of mesh or leather! Have no fear stringers, people will still need sticks strung for years and years. Probably more years than any of us have on this planet. Wooden sticks still exist, right? Ok, I think we can all calm down a bit. Even if Warrior makes 30,000 of these in year 1, that is a drop in the bucket compared to the heads already out there and the heads being produced without woven nets in them.
Basically, I only care about two things:
1) Does it work really well?
If it does, I’m on board on some level. If it doesn’t, RIP.
2) Assuming it works, can it make the game more accessible and affordable, and do so soon?
If they can, cool, let’s get after it! If they can’t, or won’t, then we’ll find something else.
That’s what I care about. Does it work, and if it does, can it help the sport grow?
Also, it looks weird, and I like that. So there.