When ECD Lacrosse released the Mirage head, they knew they had a product that any goal scorer would benefit from. The head is a shooter's dream. But what about the guys who make a living by preventing goals? That's why ECD rounded out their offering in 2018 with the new Rebel line, which features a head designed specifically for offense and a meaty defensive head, thanks to feedback from ECD pros such as Michael Simon, Deemer Class and Ryan Drenner. Learn more about the new Rebel heads in the next installment of our Product Review series below.
The team at ECD sat down to design the Rebel heads with the goal of creating a family of heads that suited every position on the lacrosse field and played into the various strengths of those positions. That meant addressing the demands of an offensive player versus the demands of a defensive player.
"We wanted these heads to be the stick that any player could pick up and use – great groundballs, super consistent play, nice and stiff and durable," said Brian Schaaf, Director of Marketing for ECD. "And we wanted them to have a similar look, being the Rebel family, but we also wanted you to be able to tell they were very specifically designed for their position."
Few in MLL can offer more insight into the defensive aspect of the game than Outlaws D-man Michael Simon. A three-time All-Star who has played on four championship teams, Simon knows what it takes to play effective defense at the highest level. His input was crucial in the design of the defensive version of the Rebel.
“A lot of heads made specifically for defense are excessively wide," Simon said. "While the Rebel Defense is wider than the Rebel Offense, the channel is still narrow enough to allow me to feel confident with the ball in my stick.”
"[Simon] is a guy that can shoot the ball well over 100 miles per hour and if he can have a stick that allows him to bring the ball up the field more easily, he is a threat no matter where he is," said Schaaf. "He can shoot the outside shot and he can get inside and score. So, we wanted to create the defensive head that had a little bit of a tighter face shape to provide that control for him, so he could be that threat that he knows he can be."
With the Florida Launch last season, Ryan Drenner quickly established himself as a capable scoring threat in just nine pro games, racking up 18 points. The former Towson standout is also known around the league as a skilled stringer and took a liking to the creative freedoms granted by the design of the Rebel.
“I really like the face shape of the Rebel Offense," Drenner said. "I feel like it suits the way I like to string my sticks. The flare of the head being more in the middle allows me to string a low pocket with a strong channel which leads to a consistent smooth release.
“The subtle texture on the back of the head is such an awesome feature. I like to tie my top string and sidewalls as tight as possible and that little bit of texture ensures all my knots are secure and won’t loosen after time.”
Crafting lacrosse heads in 2018 is markedly different than it was even a couple of years ago thanks to technology advances and the difference in materials available. ECD has taken advantage of the newly available technology and invested in their own 3D printer, allowing them to print models of their heads and receive instant feedback on the design. The models are run through a series of computer simulations that quantify all the features of the head and instantly determine how the head responds to typical use.
"We can 3D print all these models and have the pro players come in and they can say, 'Hey I really like what’s happening here, but I kind of wish it was doing this instead' and we can turn around and have a new 3D print 24 hours later with those updates," said Schaaf. "Just the speed of how these heads come together now, and the fact that there’s less guessing involved in what is going to be effective when the final product comes, it’s been pretty wild."