Maybe you remember an old Hot Pot over on LAS where we talked about a Prototype STX shaft being used by 2011 NCAA Division 1 lacrosse players. As we’ve all known for a while now, the shaft is called the Alliance, and it’s definitely something a little different than what we’ve seen in recent years! Lax technology moving forward… always good to see!
I got my hands on one of these new Alliance shafts thanks to STX and gave it a whirl. I think you’ll be as impressed and pleasantly surprised as I was.
The shaft is made up of some super secret True Temper composite material, but it has the feel of a metal shaft when you first pick it up. The surface is a little rough, so it provides good grip, but not so rough that you can’t move your hands up and down easily. A nice middle ground, and a good start. The end of the shaft that you’re supposed to attach the head to is filled with what looks like graphite and this definitely helped me get the screw in there nice and tight. That’s a good, yet simple, tech advance right there!
The shaft is not as light as some of the other shafts out there, but it’s definitely not heavy either. It’s not as light as a Scadium shaft but there are definitely those out there who prefer a little bit of substance to their sticks… and the Alliance delivers there. The point of the shaft isn’t to be the lightest anyway though, so its relative lightness is really just an added bonus.
The point of the new shaft technology, the Flex Technoloy, is obviously that it flexes. But how much? And can you notice it? Won’t bendy shafts bend more for big strong guys than little guys? What does this do for your shot? Passes? SO MANY QUESTIONS!
The answers go something like this… the shaft flexes, but not to the point where it’s at a right angle or anything. More like 15-30 degrees at most. You can “feel” the extra whip around and snap with the shaft. I noticed it as soon as I started shooting. Passing was pretty normal, but when shooting I could feel the snap back of the flex shaft as the ball was leaving the stick. Don’t believe me? Fair enough. That’s why I made a video.
The “Won’t bendy shafts flex more for big strong guys…” question is a good one. And yes, it will. That’s why STX has made three different variations of the shaft. I got the 135, which is right in the middle, but they also offer a stiffer and more flexible option. The heavier option is for the big dogs, and the lighter version, which flexes more readily, is for touch players. Anthony Kelly would use the stiffest shaft while a high school attackman might favor the more flexible version.
One thing to keep in mind is that the the shaft will flex more or less depending on how hard you shoot. But this is similar to a stick with a little whip, or even some of the stretchier mesh pieces out there, so it’s nothing new. Shoot as hard as you can and the shaft flexes as much as it can. Shoot softer and it will throw more like a regular shaft. But unless you’re passing the ball at 50 mph+, I doubt you’ll notice the flex very much. And even then it will be minimal. Once I started throwing as hard as I could, the shaft definitely flexed a lot more.
I got the best results from the shaft when I shot overhand. I could control the placement and deal with the extra flex the best that way. But then again, I’ve never been a very consistent sidearm shooter, unless you consider going stick side high all the time consistent. Ok, that is consistent, just not in a good way. The shaft took a little getting used to, but it wasn’t like night and day. It was just a little different, and for me, a little better. I don’t love the added weight as compared to my Scandium shafts, but the overall feel of the Alliance shaft makes it a definite keeper. Love seeing the game evolve one little step at a time!