Less Fear, More Confidence: The Swax Lax Story

Laura Gump was inspired to create Swax Lax, a soft lacrosse ball weighing the same as a regulation ball.

“I quit!”

Laura Gump had accidentally hit her daughter in the head with a lacrosse ball while teaching her to catch in the backyard. For Gump, a member of the first Summit (N.J.) High School girls’ lacrosse team in 1981 and former University of Rochester player, the disheartening exchange inspired her to develop Swax Lax — a lacrosse training ball that’s the same weight and size as a hard regulation ball, only it’s softer.

Swax Lax, which Gump launched in 2015 after trying in vein to teach with tennis balls, beanbags and hacky sacks, is an excellent training tool for new players of all ages. It enables them to learn skills with more confidence and less fear of the ball. The balls are also ideal for indoor training, since they don’t bounce, roll very far or harm hardwood gym floors. More than 800 stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. carry the product.

With 30 years of experience as a player and coach, Gump was always passionate about making lacrosse more accessible. In 2008, she founded a non-profit camp, called Sum It Up, teaching children to become more self-confident through the sport.

“I soon realized from coaching my daughter and other young players that an early negative experience can cause a child to give up,” she said.

After several weeks of testing Swax Lax prototypes at her camps, Gump saw that the players were more confident about catching the ball. They didn’t flinch.

Gump brought 2,000 samples to the 2015 US Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore and nearly sold out.

Swax Lax balls have a soft fabric exterior, are hand-sewn and have a breakage rate of less than 1 percent. The company also has introduced miniature, goalie, stronger-grip and weighted versions. The balls come in multiple colors and patterns, including limited editions, and can be customized and collected.

“We believe that if you have a Swax Lax ball and a lacrosse stick, you can be a lacrosse player,” Gump said.

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