Gear Review: STX Crux i
An honest review by British college lax player Lucy Ford
I’ve been passionate about lacrosse from an early age, first playing at the age of 5. As I’ve grown up, playing and progressing to a high level, I’ve tried out many different sticks.
One of my biggest frustrations was that the best sticks out there were only legal for players in the USA. Here in England, despite the sport growing at a phenomenal rate, we do not have access to many elite-level sticks due to Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) regulations.
I would get upset seeing all of the sticks that were unavailable, so when STX began to advertise the Crux i, STX's first ever FIL internationally approved elite-level women’s stick, I was extremely excited, and couldn’t wait to have it in my hands.
The stick boasts several features that are new to European players such as the Precision Pocket, the pointed scoop and the String Lock feature - I have been itching to see the impact these features will have on my game...
My first thought when I held the ball for the first time in the Crux i was how comfortable it felt resting in the pocket. Normally, new pockets need breaking in before attempting stick tricks or fancy cradling. This didn’t happen with the Crux i. Before altering any of the strings to my preference, I was spinning the ball in my stick, cradling upside down and playing wall ball without the ball bouncing out. The stringing of STX’s precision pocket is easily impressionable, making it simple to mould the pocket to one’s liking.
However, it’s important to note that if it’s not tied correctly the absence of leather or rubber runners means that the stick can become illegal very quickly. Here, the use of the String Lock feature is imperative. I found it a little difficult to operate the String Lock feature initially, but once I figured it out I realised how vital it is to holding the strings of the Crux i in place. To tighten the strings, pull them as tightly as desired and fasten into the slots in the String Lock feature. Then, they are held in place and won't loosen throughout the course of a training session or game. This stick is the first stick available in the UK that has the String Lock feature and possibly the first one outside of the USA, although I cannot be certain of this.
I must admit I initially wasn’t too keen about the pointed scoop, as I actually found it harder to pick up ground balls, particularly at a fast pace. I felt that if the head had a more rounded scoop, the ball could be picked up more easily from different angles. However, the more I used the stick in games and game-like scenarios, I realised that this feature forced me to go in for a ground ball with more precision, accuracy and commitment. Thus, I was winning more ground balls than I usually do. The scoop also allows the ball to fall directly into the sweet spot (which, incidentally, can be moulded very low due to the low side walls – allowing maximum depth for a women’s stick), making it harder to be checked by an opponent.
The Crux i is the first stick that I have used with a 10° angle on the shaft. STX said that this feature drove the ball into the sweet spot of the pocket. I found this to be completely true – when cradling the ball, it always sits in the sweet spot. This gives me confidence in knowing that when I pass or shoot the ball, it always leaves my stick from the sweet spot, giving me maximum control, accuracy and power. This feature, paired with the pointed scoop, makes it very hard for the ball to leave the stick from either corner, which again maximises the accuracy of a pass or shot.
It is important to note that this stick features an STX composite shaft which is noticeably thicker than a typical women’s shaft. As a younger player, there was a time when I deliberately chose to play with a men’s shaft, meaning that for me the diameter of this shaft was fairly familiar– although the stick I was using prior to the Crux i did have a thinner shaft. Shaft diameter is really a matter of personal preference – some players like a thicker shaft, others do not.
For me it comes down to the overall weight of the stick - head and shaft together. In more recent years, I have greatly favoured lighter sticks as I feel that I am able to feel the precise location of the ball in my stick without looking at it – a very important aspect in the fast-paced game of lacrosse.
With the Crux i, STX has managed to pair a thicker shaft with an elite-level head without giving the stick much weight. The stick is a light, yet comfortable weight and I am very much able to feel the weight of the ball in the head when playing.
As an attacker, the Crux i meets all of my requirements. The biggest benefit is that this stick gives me the most accurate shot and the most ball control that I have ever had from a lacrosse stick. I would recommend it to all intermediate to elite level players out there, and would like to thank STX for the Crux i’s innovative design and construction. Play huge!
Lucy Ford, Attacker, University of Leicester Lacrosse. Follow Lucy Ford on Twitter.
Want more gear? To find out what's in Team STX athlete Lauren Benner's bag, click here.
The Crux i Complete stick includes a 1-inch Composite 10° handle. To learn more about the STX Crux i, click here.