Choosing a Shaft
For a lacrosse player the shaft is arguably the second most personal piece of equipment in the bag, not far behind their head. Your stick is your lifeline on the field and you need to be comfortable with what stick you are using. There are many different types of lacrosse shafts on the market, but choosing the right one can sometimes be difficult given how many choices you have. Your position and age level will largely deteremine which type of shaft you should use and which one will be best for you. Hopefully the guide below will help you narrow down some selections and choose the appropriate shaft.
Initial Steps & Questions in Choosing a Lacrosse Shaft:
What position do I play?
DEFENSE: Lacrosse is unique where defenders are allowed to use a larger sized shaft then others. Here's an overview of defense shafts, often called "d-poles," from one of our ComLax experts:
We generally categorize d-poles into two levels of play - intermediate and advanced.
Intermediate defense shafts are for the player in the U12 or U13 range who has really just recently decided that they want to focus on just playing defense. All defense shafts in this range (around $80-120) will provide you with a light feel and very durable product.
For the more experienced lacrosse player, we recommend advanced shafts. At this point, a more experienced player has started throwing checks and requires a even more durable, tougher shaft. These generally range from $120 to $250. At the higher end of that price range are the lightest, most durable shafts made of composite or titanium, which will provide you with optimum performance and feel.
ATTACK/MIDFIELDER: Most players simply refer to these shafts as "A/M" shafts or "attack" shafts. While the material and durability in these won't differ much from what you find in defense shafts, these shafts are far shorter in length and have a bit more of a variety in shape, style, grip and texture, which makes for additional price point levels than a d-pole. Mike walks you though all these options in this video:
Finally, here's a photo of the Attack/Midfielder ("A/M") shaft and the defense ("d-pole") shaft, so you can visualize the difference in size:
Lacrosse Shaft Materials
Wood shafts ruled the game for a long, long time. With the innovations in the game of lacrosse over the past ten years, however, wood shafts are no longer the standard on the lacrosse field (though you can still see and buy them occasionally). Today you'll find most players using metal or composite shafts. What's the difference? A metal shaft will be more stiff, while the composite material in a shaft will provide you with a little more flex (similar to a hockey stick). The differences between metal and composite are explained in more detail by one of our ComLax experts here:
As you consider metal vs. composite, know that there are benefits for each one and one isn't necessarily better than another. If powerful shooting is a big part of your game, then it's likely you'd benefit more from a composite. But not everyone's game is 100% focused on the power shot. That said, a lot of it is feel and what is most comfortable for you.
What kind of grip do I want - or do I even want grip?
There are many different variations of grip now and players don't need to tape up their stick like a candycane anymore so that they can get a grip they want. There are different variations of grip on the shaft - some have a sandpaper-ish feel, some have a rubberized type grip or there is the traditional smooth gloss-type grip.
What type of shape do I like?
There are also different types of shapes on lacrosse shafts which will create a different feel in your hands. The traditional octagonal feel is still very popular but companies have begun to experiment with other shapes. With a more aggressive shape you will notice an increase in the shaft's feel in your hand. There is no "one grip to rule them all" but you should try out a couple and see which one you prefer the best. Here's a photo of the three shapes in a lacrosse shaft:
When do I need a new shaft?
If you see some paint chips or very small dings on your shaft, don't panic - you do not need a new one! Major dents and bends make your shaft very susceptible to breaking in half. Mike explains here why large dents and bends are bad for your game:
Remember, you want to find a handle that will fit your needs and that you are comfortable with. What is comfortable and cool with your friends and teammates may not work for you. They are not the one playing with it, you are!
Lacrosse companies like Brine, STX, Nike and Warrior were the original players to the lacrosse market but as innovations to equipment started happening, companies began transitioning from wood to alloy shafts. Now companies like Maverik, Gait, Under Armour and Epoch have entered and become major players in the lacrosse shaft business.
Check out all the shafts we carry on our ComLax Shafts Page!