Phantom Lacrosse was founded by a US Lacrosse certified coach who came to us in need of industrial design, engineering, branding, and website development. With his knowledge of the game and our expertise, we have created a line of products that disrupt and outperform industry giants.
Traditional lacrosse pockets are made from string and need to be broken in and frequently adjusted. Poorly strung pockets are the most common barrier to progression in the sport, and nearly all beginner pockets exhibit poor throwing dynamics off the shelf. This unnecessary technical barrier leads to frustration for beginners and diminishes the exposure of the sport as a whole. The Phantom Pocket seeks to correct this, taking the guesswork out of stringing a lacrosse stick by eliminating the string entirely. Molded from polypropylene and TPE, the pocket throws perfectly right out of package and maintains consistent performance for the lifetime of the product.
A traditional string pocket is woven into a lacrosse head at an average of 24 holes positioned along the head. The shaping of the pocket is the result of a delicate balance of tension between these strings. Phantom’s innovation reduces the number of contact points on the head to just 6, which vastly decreases the complexity of installation and entirely eliminates the need for adjustments. This approach is made possible through a strategic use of materials and a refined form.
Design For Manufacturability
The majority of the pocket is comprised of a tough but flexible elastomer that is overmolded to a slightly more rigid polypropylene frame. The elastomer mimics the play characteristics of a flexible mesh, while the PP frame supports the elastomer in key locations, absorbs high impact shots, and serves as the anchor point to the head. Due to the high physical stresses that the product would sustain, we approached the design process with manufacturability concerns at the forefront.
Existing standards of the sport dictated that the pocket must be soft and that a carried ball be visible. This meant that our design had to be mostly flexible material. Through an extensive process of prototyping and testing, the design evolved to have as minimal a frame as possible, while still delivering a perfect and consistent shot. These demands of the product, however, were in direct opposition to the standard overmolding process. During overmolding, the flexible material is injection over top of the more rigid material. Unfortunately, any minimal design of rigid frame becomes very difficult to hold in place during this overmold injection. To solve this issue, we turned to a less-common manufacturing approach that is more efficient and requires half the labor to produce an overmolded part. The catch is that the design must be specifically tailored to this process. Working directly with the manufacturer, we developed the final design, which utilizes the unique properties of the materials and process to maximum effect, all in a sleek and functional form.
To highlight the Phantom Pocket’s unique properties, we designed a lacrosse head with clean and aggressive lines. We removed over 30 string holes that perforate and weaken a normal lacrosse head, and replaced them with faceted surfacing. Where normally is found complicated and cluttered geometry, the Phantom Head has sleek exterior surfacing.
The unusual construction of the side rails is instantly recognizable to a player as unique, which in turn calls attention to the minimalist design of the Pocket. This “stringless” head fits the Phantom Pocket exclusively, however the Pocket itself is designed at a standard size that can be used with nearly any commercial lacrosse head.
A key aspect of the Phantom Pocket is its ease of setup. Phantom’s founder discovered that in addition to poor mesh configurations, many players also had string pockets that were incorrectly mounted. This further exacerbates shape drift and makes adjustments necessary on a more frequent basis.
Mounting the Phantom Pocket to a wide range of lacrosse heads with a quick and intuitive process proved an interesting challenge, more so without the use of any knots. The connectors also had to compliment the pocket’s play dynamics and stand up to the rigors of a high-intensity sport.
Through a process of ideation and iteration, we developed two connector types. The top connectors are rubber-like toggles with a rigid core that secure the top of the Pocket while also acting as shock absorbers to cushion incoming shots. The bottom of the Pocket is firmly affixed to the base of the head with a short length of string. This string is threaded through a clasp that snaps closed and bites onto the string, without any knots. Both toggles and claps install within 5 minutes with procedures that are intuitive and easy to communicate.
Paradox Nano Shaft
When the playing field is equaled in terms of technical equipment, players’ true ability and skill can develop and come to the fore; this is Phantom’s vision. During the development of the pocket, Phantom saw another opportunity to build upon this vision. The weight of a lacrosse stick shaft has a significant effect on the feel of the stick. A heavy shaft is slower to swing and more difficult to dribble and maneuver, but light shafts are significantly more expensive.
We helped Phantom design the Paradox Nano shaft – the lightest alloy shaft on the market. Utilizing a unique manufacturing technique and specialized alloy, Phantom can offer the Paradox Nano shaft at 1/3rd the price of competitor’s similar shafts and still beat them all on weight. We worked with Phantom’s manufacturing partner to push the boundaries of wall thickness We designed using finite element analysis to inform the design of the profile, producing a shaft that is incredibly light and resilient.
We developed the logo and abbreviated marks for Phantom for application across products and associated material. The branding strategy had to encompass a wide range of scales and materials, while maintaining presence and impact in a style fitting for Phantom’s positioning. Phantom’s visual identity expresses the brand’s ethos: energetic and streamlined, with honed precision.
We worked together with Phantom to develop a positioning and product introduction strategy, debuting the Pocket’s innovative product features with tradeshow displays and a product launch website. We also established the web store through which Phantom products are sold.
We also designed the Pocket’s direct sales packaging. Installation diagrams and a “how-to shoot properly” quick-start graphic get players on the field within minutes.