I am of the mind, that in life, there are a few things where you just get what you pay for. This is one of those things. Less expensive sticks are priced that way for a reason. Girl’s lacrosse has restrictions on pocket size. Pocket size can have a huge effect on the player’s ability to play- and thus their confidence. Therefore, be careful in choosing a stick. This could color your player’s future more than you know.
Consider three things when pricing a women’s lacrosse stick:
The player’s age and ability. It may not be wise to buy a beginner’s stick for a player who is in high school as their skills may develop quicker. Beginner sticks often don’t have an offset head, and thus have a smaller overall pocket, which could lead to failure to catch, and the mental self-criticism that goes along with that.
The position the player will be playing. Some sticks are more flexible in the head and may not be proper for a defender. In my opinion, the stiffer Solo is great for defenders Other sticks may have a more offset head, and will provide more accuracy and shooting power.
How much dedication the player has to the sport. Some say: It is not wise to spend a great deal of money on a stick is the player is not sure how long she will be interested in the sport of Lacrosse. BUT: if your player spends her first-weekend clinic failing at catching because she has a cheap stick, it make be hard to break that mindset, “I can’t catch”. Sometimes it’s the arrow, not the Indian. In the end, remember that you most likely want a stick that your player will grow into rather than out of. Besides- there are so many kids getting into lacrosse these days. Couldn’t you sell it to some other kid for half the price you paid for it, leaving everyone happy?
Wooden Lacrosse Sticks:
In high school and college, we played with wooden sticks from Cranbarry and Patterson. I still have one. I keep it around for posterity, and to let my players mess around with it from time to time. They are almost impossible to pick up ground balls with. And: they are hard to catch and throw with because they are much like a tennis racquet with sides. In other words- learn to catch with that, and you can catch with anything!
We only played with them at the time because the resin headed sticks were so atrocious! If I had been presented with the choice of today’s resin sticks with a nice offset head and a composite shaft, I wouldn’t consider a wooden stick.
Molded Head Lacrosse Sticks:
Molded head lacrosse sticks are now the most popular on the women’s lacrosse scene. There are various types of molded heads that can be found on the market. Offset, non Offset. Open sidewall or closed sidewall. Which one you choose should depend on your position and abilities.
Types of Stick Heads:
There are several different types of stick heads. First there are Non-Offset heads with closed sidewalls that are recommended for the beginning player. This type of head makes it easy to learn catching and throwing. These heads are typically straight… don’t curve at the top. This means they are easier to pick up ground balls with. As a beginner, the ball spends a lot of time on the ground….
Sticks with offset heads are geared mostly to the more technically sound player. The Impulse and Tempest from Debeer or the Backlash from STX are created for the more advanced player and have different release points to increase accuracy and shot speed. They have a deeper apparent pocket, though, so a larger sweet spot.
I happen to like the new STX pipeline and the Warrior Amante. They have their weak points, though: The Pipeline stretches when it gets wet, and is tough to keep tied tightly. So, your pocket may become illegal in a game. That’s ugly if you just scored a goal and the other team (rightfully so) calls a stick check on you. This type of head is geared mostly to the more technically sound player. It is a great second or dry weather only stick. I love that pocket. The Amante has a great offset head with a killer shooting pocket. It’s curved nature makes it tough to pick up ground balls with. The solution? Don’t drop the ball!
Types of Pockets:
There are several types of pockets now available for girls and women:
The Traditional pocket uses the original method of lacrosse stringing. This uses 4 leather wider thongs that run vertically from top to bottom in the stick head. These are interlaced with a coated string, giving strength and stability to the pocket for ball retention.
Then: Debeer and Brine use the Trakker and Web-X pockets. These pockets are made up of synthetic leather thongs that are sewn together to create a pocket that requires very little adjustment and is extremely weather-resistant. These pockets do not have as much adjustability and feel as a traditional pocket but are good for beginning players who will not constantly adjust their pockets. If you have a rainy spring as we do, and players are young, these pockets are great!
The Pro-Trakker and Precision Pockets are from Debeer and STX. These pockets incorporate various pocket styles of both traditional and synthetic. The Debeer Pro Trakker pocket has two natural types of leather that are on the outsides of two synthetic types of leather that are sewn together between them. This pocket provides a lot of adjustabilities in that the center section can be strung or adjusted to hang lower than the outside. The groove in the middle created by this stringing technique provides shooting accuracy and speed. These advantages are even more accented by the lower sidewalls found on some of today’s sticks. The STX Precision Pocket is a combination of two natural types of leather on the outside with two pieces of heavy gauge string that run down the center of the stick head with a spiral pattern of two more strings that go down the center of them. This pocket has a wonderful feel as it requires no break-in time. For catching the precision pocket shapes to the ball no matter where it hits in the head of the stick. The extra feel of this pocket will build confidence in the player’s game. Shot speed also increases with the Precision Pocket due to it’s flexibility and broken-in feel.
Types of Shafts:
When I was a kid, the second reason I played with a wooden (stick) handle was so my hands wouldn’t freeze to my aluminum shaft in early March practices. Now that sport specific gloves and composite shafts are available, I cannot see a reason for this.
This is a basic type of shaft that comes with most stock complete lacrosse sticks. Usually, these handles are a little heavier. But they are durable and make a good choice for beginning players. As mentioned above: aluminum is a temperature sensitive material and the player may require tape or gloves for improved grip and warmth in the winter.
Alloy compound shafts are now in the women’s lacrosse market place. These shafts are an aluminum base mixed with a lighter metal (titanium) to create a lighter feel but maintaining the strength. Alloy shafts use thinner walled tubing and come in a variety of shapes. Examples would be Teardrop / Octagon / or Hourglass design. You will usually see codes such as CU31 or CU55 on the handle, which will denote alloy composition on some alloy handles. Alloy shafts are also temperature sensitive. Their strength to weight ratio makes them a good choice for upper-level players.
The lighter the shaft, the better, as long as strength is maintained. It creates a larger difference in the balance of the stick once the ball is in the pocket. One can actually develop acute enough fingertip feel to know whether the ball is still in the sweet spot or not. Even more pronounced: dropping the ball and not knowing it, and still cradling and running with the ball on the ground can be eliminated by having a light shaft.
Composite handles have hit the market big time. Companies such as Harrow, Warrior, and Brine have brought their versions to the market with a rush. STX has had their composite handle on the market for some time. The composite handles have several properties, which make them now worthy of the price tags they carry.
First: composite shafts are the most temperature consistent option. The composite material does not get hot and cold like aluminum and alloy shafts. This can eliminate the need for tape and gloves for players who do not like to use them.
Secondly, composite shafts on the market today have a textured surface or flat/stickier surface that is very useful during wet weather conditions.
Composite shafts are very lightweight and extremely strong. With the reduced possibility of breakage and the ability of quicker stick work. The composite shaft has definitely found it’s placed in the women’s market.
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