The Signature Lacrosse Pro S1 debut in the 2020 MLL season came with both praise and criticism. Lacrosse players and fans alike have had mixed feelings about the Pro S1, and we want to hear them all. At Signature Lacrosse, one of our main goals is to propel the progression of lacrosse equipment, and we would not be able to do that without feedback. We’re generally our own biggest critics, but we need to know the thoughts of lacrosse players of all levels to understand how it affects lacrosse players differently based on position, age, box vs field, weather conditions, and gender.
The Signature Pro S1 lacrosse ball is a revolutionary creation that we’re developing along side the best players and leagues to become the ideal lacrosse game ball for all lacrosse players at all levels of the game and improve the sport for the better.
That means we had to listen to the lacrosse community to identify, what worked, and more importantly what didn't work with the Pro S1 ball. And because the MLL lacrosse players were the first to be able to use the Signature Pro S1 in lacrosse, the Signature Lacrosse team wanted to know their unfiltered thoughts so we can put a better ball forward.
Signature Pro S1 MLL Players Survey
The world class lacrosse players of the MLL put the Signature Pro S1 to the test during the 2020 season, and their thoughts on the Pro S1 as the new official lacrosse ball of the MLL are only going to help us improve the Pro S1. This change to using the Pro S1 was a radical shift that was expected to ruffle some feathers, because people are creatures of habit. Change isn’t always easy for people, yet as we have seen in 2020 we learn to adapt and grow. To single out the positives and possibilities for improvement in the Pro S1 lacrosse ball, we separated the results into multiple categories of the Pro S1’s key attributes:
Increased Visibility - Color of the Pro S1
Increased Feel - Texture, & Grip of the Pro S1
Increased Performance - Aerodynamics & Release of the Pro S1
Signature Pro S1’s Visibility: Hyper Yellow
Visibility of lacrosse balls plays a huge role in the gameplay and the way the game is viewed by fans. The Signature Pro S1 features our very own color that we’ve been developing and researching for several years to make playing and watching lacrosse better. Our thought process is simple, increase digital visibility with better color, provide a better fan experience and increase the growth of the sport.
Hyper Yellow is more visually stimulating than traditional yellow, white, orange, or even pink lacrosse balls; and it really showed in the data that the MLL players appreciated the switch to the Signature Pro S1 lacrosse ball. And some players, like Nate Solomon, even got more out of the Pro S1 than they expected. The change to Hyper Yellow Pro S1 lacrosse balls makes catching lacrosse balls, saving lacrosse shots, and watching lacrosse on tv or mobile better for everyone.
Our data showed that 89% of the MLL players responded positively to the Hyper Yellow Pro S1 lacrosse ball and preferred it to other colors. There were rave reviews from players of all positions, but several MLL goalies were the biggest fans because the Pro S1 improved visual tracking of the ball during shots.
Signature Pro S1’s Feel: Texture & Grip
The surface of the Pro S1 lacrosse ball is covered with a dimple pattern that completely changes what you thought a lacrosse ball could do. Signature Lacrosse Pro S1’s were designed to make the sport of lacrosse faster and safer with lacrosse balls that have increased shooting speeds but reduced impact force. The development of the Pro S1’s texture and design is still a progression, but our team has made massive strides toward the best lacrosse ball possible.
The survey showed 52% of the MLL players responded positively to the feel of the Pro S1 in their lacrosse stick and preferred it to a regular lacrosse ball. MLL players showed a trend of “false impressions” of the Pro S1 believing that it was lighter than a regular lacrosse ball. These were “false impressions” because the Signature Pro S1 is actually the same weight as a regular lacrosse ball. This phantom weightlessness of the Signature Pro S1 was reported by multiple MLL players, and the cause is likely the release of the ball tricking them into thinking they weigh less. We’ll get to that release in the next section, but we’re still focused on the dimples’ grip and feel.
Besides the deceptive weight responses, there were mixed reviews on the grip of the Pro S1 lacrosse ball from the MLL players; some preferring the grip, while others thinking it felt slippery. This was an inconclusive finding but not one that we’re going to ignore. Opposite responses like this mean that there’s something wrong with the grip of the Pro S1 that isn’t giving lacrosse players that uniform experience we’re after. Every lacrosse player should have a gold standard of a fresh lacrosse game ball they can expect at the first whistle, and we want that standard to be the Pro S1 lacrosse ball. We know that our team is going to improve upon the Signature Pro S1 and get it to that level, and the grip is just one area that we know can be improved to make more players happy.
Signature Pro S1’s Flight: Aerodynamics, Release & Path
The Signature Pro S1 is exactly like a Signature Premium lacrosse ball in weight and composition but the two differ in the shape and texture. These differences make for a different flight path and release for the Pro S1 that MLL players seemed to have some strong feelings about in our survey. A few players found the release of the ball to be helpful as shooters, while others complained about soaring their long passes.
This sailing effect comes from the same cause as what helps those shooters- aerodynamic efficiency. The surface of the Pro S1 creates turbulence around the surface of the ball that helps reduce the drag on a lacrosse ball and keep it flying faster longer. This a fancy way of saying the Pro S1 slices through the air. Changing the level of drag makes for faster shots that can be controlled for curves, but soaring passes can occur when you launch the Pro S1.
The MLL player survey found that 32% of MLL players responded positively to the flight path and release of the Pro S1 when compared to regular lacrosse balls. Scoring below 50% on the flight path and release section told us two things - this is where we need to really focus our effort, and our lowest performing category still shows the Pro S1 had a positive reception for how different it is compared to Signature Premium lacrosse balls.
Individual responses generally showed that players liked shooting with the Pro S1 but didn’t feel confident on long passes. This only means that we have a new challenge ahead of us in developing the next generation of a better lacrosse ball at Signature Lacrosse. We want every lacrosse player to feel comfortable and confident when using a Signature Lacrosse product, and data like this helps us find the secret sauce for the best lacrosse ball in the game.
Signature Lacrosse & The Pro S2
Creating a lacrosse ball that can revolutionize the sport in ways we never thought possible may be closer than you think. Signature Lacrosse is not satisfied with complacency or adequacy, and a better lacrosse ball isn’t going to be made unless we listen to the players and make it ourselves.
We want to thank the MLL and the players for helping us learn more about how to improve the Pro S1 through this process. It was great to learn about their thoughts, and we also learned more about how to better conduct future research and development for the Pro S2. Understanding the “why” behind their responses allows us to connect with them and make a lacrosse ball that is going to make their lacrosse experience even better. The MLL players first used the Pro S1 only two days before beginning the 2020 season, and we really needed to get them the lacrosse balls much earlier so that they could get used to them. We plan to get players samples around three months or more before the beginning of the season starts next year!
So you can be assured that our team is already plotting and planning on how to improve upon the Signature Pro S1 and make lacrosse even better for everyone.