What is Performance?
What do you think of when you hear “performance?” The word is bandied about pretty frequently in the sports world, but its definition always seems to be implicitly assumed rather than explicitly stated. For that reason, everyone has different ideas about what it is. The same dilemma applies when we narrow in on the lacrosse world. What does performance mean in a head? In a shaft? In a pair of gloves or arm pads? You’ve heard it before – “this head guarantees peak performance” and “that shaft is engineered to be high-performing.” True statements, to be sure. But could you definitively tell someone what they mean? Maybe, maybe not. Nevertheless, the creation of an understandable concept around the word itself is necessary and long overdue.
Is the definition of performance determined individually? It would certainly seem that with all of the confusion around the term already, performance is uniquely defined by thousands of different people who all think that it refers to different things. Take a shaft, for example. In 1991, a titanium shaft was considered to be high-performing by some at around 170 grams – heavy by today’s standards. Even before that, wooden shafts used to be the highest performance products for defenders especially, but now they’re mainly out of vogue.
All of that history just goes to show that our idea of performance changes over time and it changes from person to person. To one individual today, performance is the durability of a shaft, whether it can survive the tests of the season with ease. To another, performance might refer to the shaft’s weight, flex, and ability to help him bury the final shot of the game with seconds left on the clock. He may not care at all about the overall durability of the product as long as it follows through during the times that count. Those are pretty different ideas about what performance is and why it matters, but they definitely aren’t mutually exclusive.
Performance is not one thing or another. It is not durability or speed or weight separately. It is a concept, one that encompasses those values and places them on a positively correlated spectrum: an adjustment in the durability of a shaft has a proportional effect on the weight of the shaft, redefining its overall level of performance.
But it’s not as if a particular combination of weight and durability can result in a “low” performance. That comes back to the individuality of the concept. A low weight and potentially lower durability may not reflect a defenseman’s idea of high performance, but it could be exactly what an attacker is looking for. The reverse could be true for a shaft with high durability but an increased weight. So, a blend of weight and durability never results in a performance that is strictly low or high. Instead, the lens through which a player views the mix – offensive, defensive, et cetera – changes how he sees its performance.
This is Epoch’s view of performance. Our desire to break into the conversation and create a true concept around performance fits in well with our desire to fundamentally change lacrosse and its gear. It’s why we’ve engineered all of their composite shafts along a weight and durability graph. The progression of weight and durability proceeds succinctly from the Dragonfly Air to the Dragonfly Purpose, Dragonfly 9, Dragonfly Integra, and Integra X. Whether your version of performance depends on how light your shaft is or how well it will hold up over the season, an Epoch shaft exists that both encompasses and speaks to your beliefs about high performance.