How to Choose a Lacrosse Stick

 

how to choose a lacrosse stick

If you're looking to buy a lacrosse stick, but don't know what you should look for, keep reading to learn the ropes. As a beginner, you should focus on learning the game, then move onto the right equipment. As your first stop for any sporting equipment, we can help you find the right stick from the start, putting you in the best position to succeed.

With the number of customizations and the different types of sticks that companies offer, you can easily feel overwhelmed. For your convenience, we put together a complete guide to help you through the process of buying a stick for yourself or someone else.

Parts of a Lacrosse Stick

Let's start with the basics and talk about the components that make up a lacrosse stick.

The Head

The head is the upper part of a lacrosse stick, which can come strung or unstrung. It's used to catch, pass, shoot and control the ball.

If you're a beginner, we don't recommend buying string for the head. It's more important to start playing the game without worrying about customization. Plus, there are plenty of great lacrosse sticks that come with quality heads and strings already assembled.

There are four parts within the head:

 

  1. Sidewalls: These parts of the head determine its strength and flexibility. Heavy, stiff heads are most often used by defensive players, while attackers use lighter more flexible heads.
  2. Scoop: This section lets players pick balls up from the field. You can achieve better accuracy with a deeper "drop" in the middle scoop. A shallow drop makes it easier for a player to shoot or pass the ball on the ground.
  3. Pocket: Made out of string, you hold the ball in this area. A wider pocket will be slower and less accurate, but suitable for defensive moves like blocking shots. Whether or not you're an offensive or defensive player, if you're new to lacrosse, you should stick to a wider pocket while getting used to catching and handling the ball.
  4. Offset: This piece of the head is subtle. It refers to the small of a head's rail or sidewall in relation to the handle's center line. How well you can cradle the ball will be determined by how far the pocket's offset is behind the handle, with improved cradling the farther it sits from the handle.

 

The Shaft

The shaft of the lacrosse stick is equally as important and makes up the base of the stick. The length of shafts (referred to as handles) will change based on a player's needs.

aluminum alloy lacrosse stick

Due to the lacrosse shaft's importance, a lot of players have their preference for how the shaft should feel and what material it should use. There are five primary materials that shafts are made out of:

 

  1. Aluminum Alloy: For players that like a heavy, reliable stick, an aluminum alloy stick makes a great choice. We recommend this stick for beginners as it will be easier to control due to its weight.
  2. Titanium Alloy: More advanced players to enjoy this option. The lightweight shaft still has the strength to play defense.
  3. Scandium Alloy: The most elite and professional players use these shafts. Though they tend to be more expensive, their durability and lightweight design give players more agility and faster movement.
  4. Carbon Fiber/Composite: A solid choice for an experienced player. These shafts are the lightest of them all. Though these shafts are perfect for quick stick work, they are not recommended for beginning players, as they can be challenging to control.
  5. Wood: If you want to go old school, these wooden shafts are the way to go. They are durable and heavy, making them a choice for defensive players. Wood shafts are hard to grip, which can make a beginning player have difficulty handling it.

 

 

Tips for beginners

Now that you know the basics, we can start going into some more tips on picking your stick.

As mentioned with the string, some players like to customize their sticks by stringing them in a way that feels best, attaching new heads and switching out their shaft. If you're just picking up the game, buy a complete stick that you don't need to customize. This way, you can start getting comfortable with the game and figure out what sort of stick fits your play style best.

To pick out the best stick for you, start with a stick that has a wide face. This size of head will make it much easier for you to catch and scoop balls. The convenience of a wide headed stick will help you as you get more comfortable playing the game, letting you focus on learning the fundamentals.

Size

right size of lacrosse stick

Before you buy a stick, make sure you get the right size. The size of a player's stick will be based on what position they play, so you don't want to buy a defender sized stick if you want to play offense.

  • Attack: As an attacker or midfielder, you should go with a short, light shaft with a head of your choice. Since you're a beginner, you can still stick with a defensive, wide head. That said, more advanced attackers will usually use a light head with a narrow pocket, deep scoop and maximum offset.
  • Defense: Playing to a beginner's advantage, defenders and some midfielders use long shafts to make it easier for them to block shots, check harder and increase their reach. Some defenders use attackers heads, but most defensive players will go with a head that is powerful and tough since they will need to throw harder checks than those on offense. Many also like flat scoops and wide pockets to improve their defense
  • Goalie: A goalie's shaft is in between a defender's and an attacker's in length, as they need to be agile while still able to guard the goal effectively. Their heads are much wider than any other positions, getting up to 12-inches wide. The heads are designed to have a large circumference to block shots, making it easier to catch the ball.

 

 

Good Lacrosse Sticks for Beginners

 

men's and women's lacrosse sticks

We compiled some of the best sticks you can use as you begin to play lacrosse. They are accessible and perfect for newcomers to the game, while also being of the highest quality.

1. Men's Nexgen 54" Complete Defense Stick

This short defensive stick is perfect for new defense players who are still learning how to best control their lacrosse sticks. It features a wide head for easy catching and scooping along with Glide scoop technology for top-notch ground ball performance. The stick's lightweight alloy is accessible to many players while also providing the strength needed to play defense effectively.

2. Men's Evo Warp Stick

This stick is slightly more advanced but still accessible for beginner players who have begun to get the hang of the game and want to improve on offense. The mid-low pocket works to your advantage as it gives you better ball control and a quick release — ideal for any attacker. The Evo specific Warp pocket will provide you with reliable performance, and the material of the stick is made to perform well in all weather conditions.

3. Women's Mantra Rise Stick on Alloy

The low sidewall design of this stick gives it an almost perfect pocket formation. The flat scoop allows for easy ground ball pickup and it features TruOffset to help with ball control. The affordable price and great control this stick gives makes it perfect for beginning players.

 

Youth Lacrosse Sticks

If you are having troubling knowing how to choose a youth lacrosse stick, you can't go wrong with the Evo Warp Junior Stick or the Command Mini Lacrosse Stick.

1. EVO Warp Junior Stick

This 37-inch stick is designed for youth players and perfect for those picking up the game. It has a wide face to help players catch the ball and a flared bottom rail to hone accuracy and increase ball control. In addition to the head's design, the shaft is color-coded to demonstrate where they should hold the stick when they pass and shoot — the black section  and when they are catching — the gray section.

2. Command Mini Lacrosse Stick

This Under Armour Command Stick is very affordable and perfect for practicing the game anywhere. With a 24-inch metal shaft, the stick is compact and very portable. Many players like to use it to practice their cradling and tossing. This stick is designed for recreational play and as such is great to use in the backyard, on the beach or at a park.

Men's Buyers Guide

Men's and women's lacrosse play by different rules and will require different equipment, including their sticks. From different gear to the number of players on the field, men's and women's lacrosse differs significantly. Due to the differences, players should be aware of what sticks will work best for their gender's version of lacrosse.

For men, much of their stick size is determined by the level of physical contact the game requires, with body checking being legal play. Attackers sticks will be somewhere between 40 and 42-inches. A defender stick will be between 52 and 72-inches, while a goalie will have a stick between 40 and 72-inches.

The head of a men's stick has the option to be much deeper than a women's stick due to the amount of checking, with the depth determined by your preference and position. Its width must be between six and 10-inches.

Due to the physicality of men's lacrosse, regulations will require more gear for your safety. Men must wear a protective helmet, gloves and shoulder pads, with arm padsrib pads, athletic supporters and protective cups being strongly recommended — many leagues will require them.

Women's Buyers Guide

Like men's lacrosse, the size of your stick is based on your position, with the goalie still getting a larger stick — somewhere between 35 and a half and 52-inches long. Unlike men's lacrosse, attackers and defenders' sticks must be between 35 and a half and 43 and a quarter inches in length. While the men's game has different lengths, the women's game does not distinguish between the lengths of attackers or defenders.

The heads will tend to have shallower pockets and the shaft will be smaller in diameter due to women on average having a smaller hand size. As the heads will be much more shallow, when a ball is dropped into the pocket, the head's string will have to be tight enough to keep it even with or above the head's sidewall. Also, the head must be between seven and 9-inches.

As for gear, women's lacrosse gloves will require less padding than men's gloves. Though women's lacrosse is considered a non-contact sport, women will still require lightweight shoulder pads to protect against body shots. As for helmets, women typically only require goggles to protect the eyes  except for goalies who will need more protection overall due to their position. Like men, women should wear a mouthpiece while they play.

Youth Buying Guide

As your child starts to play lacrosse, the same rule applies for buying a beginner lacrosse stick no matter the age  get a complete stick first. Regardless of gender, it's important for them to use a stick that fits their size. While there are still size differences in lacrosse sticks in youth leagues, a child should have a stick they feel comfortable handling.

To get the right size, you should hold the stick next to your child, with the head on the ground. The shaft should only come up to their bellybutton. If you already have a stick, you can cut the stick's shaft to match their height.

The regulations and size of the head of the sticks stay consistent between adult and youth leagues. Note that a boy's pocket is made from hockey laces and interwoven synthetic mesh while a girl's pocket is made out of shooting strings, cross lacing and leather or synthetic thongs. Only the youngest girl's leagues will allow for mesh pockets.

Like women's leagues, girl's leagues will require less gear due to them not playing the game as a contact sport. You'll only need to get them a stick, goggles for eye protection and cleats. If your child plays goalie, however, they will need more protective equipment regardless of gender.

Ready to Buy a Stick?

buy a lacrosse stick

At this point, you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision about what stick will work best for you. If you're itching to hit the field and start playing the game, we have all the sticks and gear you'll need to become a pro.

Our website features a large selection of sticks, and if you'd like to speak with a representative about a question you might have, feel free to contact us.

If you'd like to visit a store in person, one of our associates would happily help you find the right lacrosse stick for your needs.


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