How To Buy A Lacrosse Stick
The lacrosse stick is an essential piece of equipment for the lacrosse player, and the type of stick you buy depends on a number of factors, including your position, skill level, and gender.
Types of sticks
Lacrosse sticks come in a variety of lengths and styles according to position and type of game played, with cost and durability as additional factors.
- Men's sticks generally have an aluminum handle
- All manufacturers now make more technically advanced sticks made of aluminum, graphite or even titanium
- These styles are generally more lightweight and durable than wood sticks, but more expensive
- Men use either a traditional or meshpocket depending on their position and playing style
- Women's sticks have either a wood or aluminum handle
- Wood sticks, like wooden baseball bats, are prone to damage and breaking
- These sticks utilize a traditional pocket
- The head on a women's stick is 1 inch above the center stop
- The head has an overall length of 10-12 inches
- Women's stick pockets are shallower than men's. The pockets must have 4 or 5 leather thongs and no more than 2 shooting strings.
- Plastic sticks are primarily used by younger players just learning the sport
- These are lighter, easier to break in and more durable than the models for more advanced players
- They usually utilize a mesh netting
- The plastic stick's pointed mouth makes it easier for younger players to pick up the ball and throw it accurately
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Anatomy of a lacrosse stick
- The type of handle you buy is very much a matter of preference
- Some players like heavy, thick handles for defensive purposes
- Attacking players generally prefer lighter, rounder handles for better faking and maneuverability
- Some players prefer square shaped handles for a better feel on which way the head is facing
Lacrosse sticks come with either a traditional woven pocket for more experienced players or a mesh pocket for novices. They also can be bought strung or unstrung.
- Traditional pockets
- These consist of nylon laces woven around 4 adjustable strips of leather
- The leather strips can be adjusted to fit any type of shot. They do need to be replaced after repeated use.
- A stiffer pocket is more accurate but gives less control while running and moving
- Mesh pockets
- They are made of a nylon webbing woven into the side of the pocket and require little or no adjustment
- Mesh pockets are looser and give less accuracy on passes and shots, but make it easier to control the ball when running
- These require less maintenance than traditional pockets
- The mesh netting does not control or absorb the ball as well as leather netting
- Goal keepers tend to prefer mesh netting because it reduces rebounds
- Pocket depth
- Pocket depth is mostly a matter of preference and playing style
- Generally, a deeper pocket provides more feel and ball control, while a shallower pocket gives you a quicker release but sacrifices ball control
- Ball-control players who do a lot of short passing should use a fairly deep pocket
- Fast-break players who tend to pass the ball over longer areas should use a shallower pocket
- Overhand shooters should have an average depth pocket (a ball width or less)
- Sidearm and underhand shooters should have depths of a ball or more
- Shooting strings
- Shooting strings, positioned horizontally near the top of the stick's head, affect the ball's balance and direction
- Overhand passers usually put in 3 or 4 shooting strings to make a smooth path for the ball to run out of the pocket. Heavy skate laces are best used for this.
- The shooting strings determine whether your shot will have "whip,"which occurs when the ball is released smoothly and gradually. Experienced players prefer a whippy release.
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Proper stick length according to position
The length of your stick depends almost entirely on the position you play.
Attackers should buy a stick that is close to the minimum length of 30 inches to allow for more control and maneuverability
Midfielders should buy a slightly longer medium-length stick to allow them to play both offense and defense
Defenders should use the longest stick they are comfortable with, usually around 60 inches, for greater reach
Goaltender sticks are generally 42 inches long
- Younger players should make sure they choose a stick that fits them comfortably, regardless of position. It is more important to be able to handle the stick and ball comfortably.
- Women's sticks range only from 36 to 44 inches. The exact length depends on the position--longer (43-44 inches) for defenders, shorter (36 inches) for attackers.
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