Attackmen with lightning-quick reflexes. Physical defenders looking to force a turnover. Fearless goalies ready to make a last-second save.
Every player on the lacrosse field has a responsibility to their team. To make the most of their opportunities, they need to come prepared with the right lacrosse head on their stick.
The head — the top part of the lacrosse stick — is used to carry, throw, shoot, pass and catch the ball. Heads come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs and the head you use will be influenced by both your position and skill level.
“The shape of the head makes a huge difference,” DICK’S Sporting Goods Associate, lacrosse coach and former player Ryan Wallace said. “They have even started making heads for specific positions now. They have face-off heads, defensive heads, and midfielder and attack heads.”
WIDE VS. NARROW
Depending on your skill level and position, the size of your head can also make an impact on your game.
“The wider heads are better for defensive players and beginners,” Wallace said. “They are good for anyone who is scooping the ball a lot. The narrower you make the head, it becomes more accurate but harder to catch the ball. That is for more advanced players or attackers.”
The lacrosse head a goalie uses is larger than that of other players, coming in at between 10″ to 12″ wide.
STIFF VS. FLEXIBLE
The sides of the head are called the sidewalls, and they can affect the strength, weight and stiffness of the head. Choosing between a flexible head or a stiff head will, once again, come down to your position and preference. Consider:
- Stiff Heads – These are heavier, putting more power behind defensive moves, which makes them a strong choice for defensive players looking for something sturdy.
- Flexible heads – These are more lightweight and great for making agile movements. Attackers and midfielders who are often passing and shooting usually prefer these models.
CURVED VS. FLAT
The top of the head, also known as the “scoop,” can affect the way you lift balls from the ground. It is also where the ball leaves the pocket on shots and passes. Lacrosse stick scoops are measured in width and drop and are found in two popular forms:
- Curved – These are U-shaped and are usually better for advanced players, since the curve can help with accuracy on passing and shooting.
- Minimal or Flat – These tops are typically the choice of beginners, because they make it easier to pick up ground balls. They are also a popular choice for defenders.
The pocket is where the ball resides in the head. As you advance in the sport, the pocket you choose will come down to personal preference and playing style. Heads can be purchased either strung or unstrung.
You will also need to choose between a traditional woven or mesh pocket. Mesh pockets are made of nylon webbing woven into the side of the pocket. These are the more popular type of pockets in the men’s game and will need fewer adjustments. A traditional pocket consists of nylon laces woven around four leather straps that are adjustable depending on preference.
No matter if you’re looking to make a big save in front of the net or score the game-winning goal, finding the right lacrosse head can help boost your strengths when you step onto the field.