How to Buy a Lacrosse Stick

Selecting the correct Lacrosse Stick can be very difficult, but the A Chic with Stix staff is here to make your decision stress free! Below are some helpful tips on how to choose the best stick for your level and position. Remember, “Serious gear, for serious female athletes” is our motto.

Lacrosse Head

Lacrosse heads are the most varied, and also the most important piece of lacrosse equipment in your line-up. They come in all sizes, shapes, designs, and price ranges. But remember, a great lacrosse head can make a huge difference in your game, giving you improved accuracy, ball handling, check strength, and shot velocity.

With such a huge selection and variety out there, knowing what to look for to find the lacrosse head for you can be a confusing process. When choosing a lacrosse head though, it’s all about finding the one that will highlight your skills, and fit your position,
your style, and your budget.

First of all, it’s important to understand the parts of a lacrosse head, to get a sense of how they differ, and what these differences mean to your game:

  • Sidewalls
    • Affect the strength and stiffness of the head, determining its effectiveness in body and stick checks.
    • Can range from flexible to very stiff.
      • Stiff heads are heavier, but deliver harder checks, making them good for defensive players.
      • Flexible heads are lightweight and malleable, making them great for picking up ground balls and fast, agile movements.
    • Give the head and pocket its shape and depth.
    • Can be low, mid, or high, affecting the pocket’s depth and how the ball is kept in the pocket, also known as ball retention.
    • Sidewall height can also affect shot and pass accuracy.
  • Scoop
    • The top portion of the head used to pull balls off the ground.
    • Also where shots and passes leave the pocket.
    • Scoops are measured in width and drop. Drop refers to the dip in the center of the scoop.
      • Dramatic drop scoops deliver maximum shot accuracy
      • Minimal or flat scoops are great for playing ground balls.
  • Pocket
    • Refers to the area towards the base of the head where the ball resides.
    • Head’s pockets can either come unstrung, or complete with factory strung pockets. New players should have their heads pre-strung, while experienced lacrosse players will want to customize their pocket.
    • Pocket width is determined by the head itself.
      • Wide pockets are good for new and defensive players, since they deliver less accuracy and make it harder to hold onto the ball, but give you a wider area to block shots and passes.
      • Narrow pockets deliver the best accuracy and ball retention, but make catching and blocking harder.
  • Offset
    • Refers to gradual decrease of the rail, or sidewall, in relation to the center line of the handle.
    • An offset puts the scoop behind the line of the handle, improving cradling and ball retention.
  • Canted
    •  Similar to the offset head, angled down at the throat of the stick.
    •  Provides quicker passing and shooting.
    • Preserves control.
  •  Curved
    • The scoop and sidewalls gradually curve down at the throat.
    • Assist with power and accuracy.
    • Better balance and feel.
  • Onset
    •  Extend straight out from the handle.
    • Best used by players beginning to learn the sport.

Lacrosse Shaft

Just as diverse, yet not as complicated as heads, lacrosse shafts are used to control the ball, put power and accuracy behind shots, and check the competition.

Lighter shafts keep you more agile and faster down the field, while stronger shafts hold up to regular abuse and deal out serious checks. The balance between these two features is referred to as a stick’s strength-to-weight ratio. Generally, the more expensive a shaft is, the lighter and stronger its material.

In the modern world of lacrosse, popular companies such as STX and Harrow use advanced metal alloys and carbon materials to build space-age, lightweight, and strong shafts for unprecedented performance.

Shafts today are made from:

Aluminum Alloy Alloy Lacrosse Shaft Strong and light aluminum-based alloys create some of the most affordable and accessible lacrosse shafts for all players and positions.

  • Not as strong as other, more advanced materials
  • Versatile and easy to use
  • Without a natural grip, most lacrosse companies add grip patterns or tack for more control
  • Perfect for young and developing players
Composite Alloy Lacrosse Shaft Made of high-grade carbon fibers, composite shafts are incredibly strong, yet amazingly lightweight.

  • Carbon composite shafts naturally feature a solid grip
  • Feel warm in cold weather, and cool in hot conditions
  • Designed for intermediate to advanced players
  • Perfect for attackers
Titanium Alloy Lacrosse Shaft Stronger and lighter than aluminum, titanium lacrosse shafts are designed to take and dish out hard hits.

  • Lightweight won’t slow you down
  • Plenty of strength for checking or defending
  • Perfect for advanced players
Scandium Alloy Lacrosse Shaft With the highest strength-to-weight ratio in the game today, Scandium sticks have quickly become a favorite amongst top level players.

  • Extreme durability for lasting performance and strength
  • Lightweight for fast movements and improved agility
  • Preferred by elite and pro-level lacrosse players

When picking a new lacrosse shaft, it’s also important to find one that feels good in your hands, and gives you total control of the stick. Some shafts include a built-in grip, texture, or tack areas on the surface to help you wield it more accurately.

Positions

Generally, every player uses the same basic equipment; lacrosse stick, eye guards, mouthguard, cleats, etc. However, differences exist in these pieces of gear that make them better suited to the needs of different positions on the field. For instance,an attacker on the front lines is going to need lightweight gear to keep him/her moving quickly through traffic. Defenders, on the other hand, need stronger gear to help block shots and repel attackers.

Check out the following chart to see the differences between each pieces of lax gear, across every position on the field:

Equipment Position
Attack Defense Goalie


Lax Shafts

An attacker or midfielder (middie) uses a  lighter shaft for faster, more agile, aggressive moves. Defensive players and middies use more durable to help block shots. Goalies use a durable, but light shaft to block shots, but to remain agile while in the goal.


Lax Heads

Attack and defense heads are interchangeable. Although attackers generally prefer lightweight heads with a maximum scoop, narrow pocket, and maximum offset for improved ball retention and shot accuracy. Attack pockets are can also be strung differently. Attack and defense heads are interchangeable. Although defensive players generally prefer a stronger, more durable head to throw hard. Flat scoops are also better for plays off the ground, and a wider pocket allows for more blocking area. Goalie heads are significantly different than attack and defense heads in both size and shape. Up to 12″ wide, the larger circumference and shape allows for better shot blocks and ball retention in goal.

Try it Before You Buy It!

Ultimately, the best way to find the right lacrosse stick for you is to come to A Chic with Stix in Fair Haven, NJ. We have lacrosse experts ready to help you out and turf available in the store for you to get a feel for the stick before you purchase it. For more information on our sticks check out the Lacrosse Sticks section of our website. We carry the following lacrosse stick brands:

 

-Kendra