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  • Things to Consider When Buying a Stick
  • Stick Readiness
  • Stick Terminology

Things to Consider When Buying a Stick

It is very important to buy a stick that fits your skill level. New players should consider a head with a wider throat area which makes it easier to learn the art of catching the lacrosse ball. Most performance heads will be narrower at the base of the head and form a channel to guide the ball for accuracy but this makes catching the ball more difficult. Performance heads are used by older and more advanced players.

  • Stick Length - Men's attack/midfield sticks run between 40-42 inches in length whereas men's defense sticks usually are between 52-72 inches in length. Measurement is from the Top (scoop) end to the end of the shaft (butt-end). An attack/midfield sticks can measure no shorter than 40” inches to be legal. Some 4th grade and younger leagues allow players to have a shorter stick. Be sure to ask your coach if it is allowed.
  • Stick Weight - Lighter heads and shafts add maneuverability and allow you to generate more speed on your shot. This is especially important for players in attack positions. Heavier, thicker shafts increase the strength of your stick which is often preferred by defensive players.
  • The softer the mesh in the lacrosse head, the more forgiving it is, thus making it easier to catch the ball.  Stiff mesh or dura-mesh provides more power on your shots and passes.
  •  Lower side rails allow for a deeper Pocket, which helps you maintain control of the ball, while being checked. A shallow Pocket allows for a quicker release for pass or shot, but does not offer that much ball control. Beginners should use somewhat of a deep pocket until they are more experienced to know what kind of a Pocket they prefer.

Stick Readiness

If you spend enough time and energy making sure your stick is throwing, catching, and shooting correctly, you will discover a world a difference in how you play lacrosse. Making sure your stick is strung correctly and learning how to make adjustments yourself once your stick is strung is the one of the best things to know. Sticks change the way they throw and catch all the time with weather and other conditions (stretching, knots come undone or strings break) which makes you always have to re-adjust your stick to make sure it is throwing/shooting and catching the way you like it. Ask friends and other players what works for them and how to make adjustments to your stick.

Player's will never reach their full potential in lacrosse if they do not put time into understanding the physics and maintenance of a lacrosse stick. Understanding the personal connection between the individual's throwing motion, the material in the stick, along with the ball are so important. It can make all the difference. Playing lacrosse with a bad stick is like trying to dribble a flat basketball or like trying to play baseball with a tree branch instead of a bat. Not even a good player can overcome the limits of an uncared for stick. Time and care must be shown to your stick to make all the difference in your game. Your stick is your weapon in lacrosse, making sure your weapon is accurate and ready-to-go is what makes a good player, along with a lot of practice on the wall.

Stringing Your Stick
Several lacrosse stores in the area like East Side Lacrosse and Dick's Sporting Goods string sticks. You might also ask for help from high school players who often have to restring their stick themselves. YouTube is also a great resource for advice on how to string your stick.

Cutting Your Stick
Most youth players do not know that they can and should cut the shaft of their sticks. Most purchased sticks measure about 41" to 42", from the top/scoop end of the head to the butt-end of the shaft.  Cutting the shaft close to the minimum length is the best thing for short stick player at young a age, due to their size. It makes learning and using stick skills so much easier.  Defensive players can cut their shafts a little if it allows them to control their stick better, until they get bigger, minimum would be 52". As each player grows in size a longer stick will be needed. Older players use a Defensive length of around 70" to 72".

For Short Stick Offensive players, here is the current rules on stick length sizes:

  • 1st to 5th Grade Players may use a Minimum stick length of 37" inches.
  • 6th to 8th Grade Players may only use a Minimum length of 40" inches. 
  • 40" inches will be the minimum length in High School and in College.

To cut the Shaft of the stick, remove the plastic or rubber butt-end off the end of the shaft. Then measure with a measure tape, from the top/scoop end of the head to the end of the shaft (butt-end) Make a mark at your desired length and make your cut using a metal hack saw, Be sure to have a parent cut or assist you with cutting your stick. Once your stick is cut, use sand paper to clean up any rough metal on the end of your shaft. Now place your butt-end on the bottom of your shaft, use tape to secure the butt-end, if it is loose.  A butt-end is required on your stick to play lacrosse.

** The butt-end will add another 1/4 to 1/2 Inch. So if you want your stick at around 40" make your mark at exactly 40", cut, then place your butt-end on and you will be at a safe legal length of 40 and 1/4 Inches. ** 

Stick Terminology

  • Offset (n) - angle at which the front of the head is curved if viewing it from the side; a full-offset head maximizes control and feel whereas non-offset (no curve) or mid-offset heads are recommended for beginners for learning how to throw properly.
  • Scoop (n) - the top part of the lacrosse head used to "scoop" up the ball.
  • Throat (n) - the width between the lower curved part of the head, where the ball pass through to catch the ball in the stick.
  • Pocket (n) - the stringing or mesh in the head of the stick that catches, holds and directs the ball when passing or shooting.
  • Legal Pocket (n) - The entire Circle of the ball cannot be seen in the pocket from a side view of the head. If the entire ball can be seen then the pocket is Illegal.
  • Shooting Strings (n) - The strings towards the top of the head, usually Hockey Lace or Nylon strings are used. Helps controls the ball release and whip out of the stick when throwing.
  • V-Pocket (n) - A V-Shape String located right in the middle of the head around the pocket, usually Hockey Lace. Helps keep the ball in your pocket for more ball control when cradling. 
  • Sidewall Strings (n) -  Nylon strings on both sides of the head that run along the bottom rail of the Sidewall. These strings determine the depth of your pocket.
  • Sidewall (n) - either side of a lacrosse stick head.
  • Whip (n) - the amount of downward direction in the balls path coming out of the stick on an overhead shot or pass as a result of contact with the shooting strings.