Choosing A Men’s Lacrosse Stick

It’s the fastest game on two feet — and you need a stick that keeps up with you on the field. Learn how to choose the right lacrosse stick, shaft and head for your game.

PARTS OF YOUR LACROSSE STICK 

  •  The head is the top part of your lacrosse stick and it can be purchased strung or unstrung.
  • The bottom “handle” of your stick is the shaft.
  • Some players customize their game with individual heads and shafts. Complete sticks feature both a strung head and the shaft.

PROPER STICK LENGTHS BY PLAYER 

Stick length measurements refers to the combined head and shaft length.

  • Attack and midfielders need a short stick measuring between 40 and 42 inches.
  • Defensive and midfield players should try a longer shaft of 52 to 72 inches.
  • Goalies can have a stick between 40 and 72 inches based on their preference.
  • Youth players need a stick they can handle comfortably. Choose the stick that fits them regardless of position.

LACROSSE STICK SHAFT 

Men's Lacrosse Stick Shafts

  • Modern shafts, sometimes referred to as “handles,” are typically made of hollow metal.
  • Most lacrosse shafts are made of aluminum, titanium, scandium, alloys or carbon fiber composite.
  • They are usually octagonal and some come with texture to provide a better grip.
  • The open end of the hollow shaft must be covered with tape or an end cap made of rubber.
  • The head of the stick is usually attached to the shaft with a screw to keep it in place.
  • Choosing the shaft material comes down to personal preference. Titanium shafts are typically the strongest and aluminum shafts usually are the most lightweight. Scandium shafts offer a balance between the two.
  • Composite shafts stay at a consistent temperature outdoors.

LACROSSE STICK HEAD 

Men's Lax Stick Webbing

  • NCAA Head: Legal under NCAA rules only. These heads meet the minimum width measurements allowed by the NCAA and are not legal under NFHS and youth lacrosse rules.
  • NFHS Head: Legal for NFHS (high school) and youth lacrosse.
  • Universal Head: Legal for play at all levels of lacrosse (NCAA/High School/Youth). These heads meet both the NCAA 2010 and the current NFHS width measurements.
  • The head of the goalie’s stick is much larger and may be 10 to 12 inches wide under US Lacrosse and NCAA rules.
  • The side portion of the head may not be more than 2 inches tall in any league.
  • For legal play, the pocket depth must pass this simple text: When a lacrosse ball is placed in the pocket, the top edge of the ball must not sit deeper than the lowermost edge of the sidewall.

Choosing Men's Lacrosse Stick

LACROSSE STICK POCKET TYPES

Lacrosse sticks come with either a traditional woven pocket or a mesh pocket. Heads are either strung or unstrung.

  • Mesh pockets are the most commonly used pockets. They are made of nylon webbing woven into the side of the pocket and require few adjustments.
  • Goalies tend to prefer mesh because it reduces rebounds.
  • A stiffer pocket is more accurate for shooting or passing but provides less control while running and moving.
  • Traditional pockets consist of nylon laces woven around 4 adjustable leather straps, which can adjust to fit any type of shot.
  • Pocket depth deeper pocket provides more feel and ball control, while a shallower pocket gives you a quicker release.
  • Ball-control players who do a lot of short passing and dodging should use a deep pocket.
  • Fast-break players who tend to pass the ball over longer areas should use a shallower pocket.

When using a new lacrosse head, make sure the pocket is broken in before play. In the men’s game, breaking in pockets is largely a personal preference. For an ideal fit, adjust the shooting strings and throw it a few times until it feels right with your release and then tie shooters.

LACROSSE SHOOTING STRINGS 

Shooting strings are positioned horizontally near the top of the stick’s head and affect the ball’s balance and direction. Three or four shooting strings, commonly hockey skate laces, are used to make a smooth path for the ball to run out of the pocket while nylon strings are used for a “crisper” feel.

The shooting strings determine whether your shot will have “whip,” which determines the angle of the ball leaving the head. The more whip in your stick, the lower the ball goes when you throw it. Typically, attack  players would want more whip.

HELPFUL HINTS FOR BEGINNERS 

  • To learn how to throw properly, find a stick that has a wide face for easier catching and flat scoop for ground ball pickups.
  • Wide head makes it easier to master the fundamentals.
  • Aluminum shafts tend to be more durable.
  • New players should check with their coach to see if their head needs to be broken in before play
  • A short stick is used by both attack and midfield players and is much easier to control than a long stick. Its short length makes it easier to dodge defenders and score in a “tight” situation.
  • The long stick is primarily used by defenders, which makes it much easier to poke check and keep the offensive player further away. Goalie sticks have a much larger head that makes it easier to assist in blocking shots.
  • More advanced players will want to use a lacrosse head that allows for more intricate adjustments. This will allow the player to adjust the stick to fit a changing playing style. One aspect of the lacrosse stick that can be adjusted from player to player is pocket depth. Deeper pockets allow for better ball control and shallower pockets are best for quicker release. A player’s pocket depth is up to their personal preference.