Picking a Lacrosse Head 101
Lacrosse is a sport that was originally played by Native Americans as a medicine game, a war game or a way to help your tribe show your dedication to mother earth and how connected your spirit was with the creator. In the original days lacrosse sticks were wooden sticks hand carved by the individual so that you could connect the game with nature and make a stick your own.
But in modern times we now have companies that can produce high quality plastic heads like; Brine, Nike, Warrior, STX, Maverik, Under Armour, Gait, Thompson Lacrosse and others to give players the latest innovations in the game of lacrosse. But the connection that one has with the stick is something that will never change. Your stick is an extension of your personality and playing style and when selecting a lacrosse head, you should look for one that is going to suit your needs and your needs alone.
There are a lot of different heads on the market but the biggest thing is to choose a head that is right for you. One stick may be good for your buddy, but it may not be the best choice for you so you need to figure out what you want in your head and what you may not necessarily need. Lacrosse is an individualized sport in a team game where each player has their own style and no two players are alike.
The following is a comprehensive guide the differences between lacrosse heads how to choose the right one for you.
The Most Common, Basic Question
If you walk into any ComLax store for the first time, it's likely you'll be a little overwhelmed by the amount of choices you have for lacrosse heads. By far, the most common question we get from parents and a lot of players is "what is the difference between ALL these lacrosse heads?" In large part, the difference in pricing is technology-based and involves variances in the quality of the plastic being used and the overall durability of the head. See our video here for more information:
What Are The Different Parts of a Lacrosse Head?
This is another very common question we get. The best way to explain each part is with visuals, so we put this very quick video together for you, explaining what the scoop, sidewall and throat are and what each of them do.
OK. How Do I Know Which Head To Get?
A large part of which lacrosse head to select is based on your playing experience. Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced player?
Beginner: When you are just learning the basics, your best bet is likely a complete stick. The stick should have a head with a wide face to make catching much easier. Having a softer mesh is also a good idea as this will minimize the ball bouncing off too hard (like a tennis racquet) and it will make cradling the ball easier. Complete sticks also tend to have a flatter scoop, allowing beginners to easily pick up the ball.
Intermediate: As players learn the game more you can start to try different types of heads with different face shapes and see which one you want. As players get more advanced they should look for heads that will make their passing and shooting more accurate and picking up ground balls easier. You can then start to look for heads by the position you play. These heads will typically have more advanced technology in the plastic and will be more durable for you.
Advanced: Once you have been playing for many years and are skilled enough you can then transition into heads that have even more advanced technologies. This means more holes for stringing, a more aggressive pinch on the face and a more rounded scoop. At this point, you know what type of pocket you like and where you want the ball to sit in the head and many at this level have learned to string thier own stick.
Elite/Pro: The Elite/Pro level stick are the ones being used at the NCAA level or professional, though these heads are available to purchase for any player. At this level, you are getting the absolute top-grade plastic materials at their lightest, stiffest and strongest. These will generally have the same amount of stringing holes as an Advanced head, but the face of the head is often even tighter with these.
Here's another video giving you even more details on the differences in heads at each playing level:
Head Shape In Relation to Position
Within the past couple of years we have seen lacrosse head manufacturers start to design heads based on position. The position you play isn't the defining factor on which head you should buy, but it will make it easier for you to narrow down your choice.
Offensive: Players who are the centerpiece of their team's offense and need to be able to control the ball. Offensive players need to be able to pass and shoot with accuracy and power to be successful. These players often want a tighter throat to help keep the ball in the pocket as well as a nice pocket placement so that they can get powerful passes and shots off.
All-Around: These players need to have a stick that can handle playing both sides of the ball; offense and defense. These heads need to be able to protect the ball while carrying it on offense but also need to be able to handle throwing a bunch of checks and intercept passes on defense. On offense they need to be able to throw with accuracy and speed but on defense have the ability to stand up to the everyday beating a defender gives out.
Defensive: Defenders need to be able to stop the offense plain and simple, they need a head that will be able to withstand all the checks and ground balls they encounter. Usually defensive heads have a flatter scoop and are stiffer to prevent from warping. Defenders will also need a head that is wide enough so that they can get their stick into passing lanes and intercept a pass.
Goalies: This is pretty simple - goalies need to stop the ball so they have the largest heads on the field. They need to be able to have a head that will be able to take up the net but also need it to be accurate enough to make those outlet passes. You want a goalie head that is sturdy enough to handle those fast shots as well as being light enough to make those outlet passes.
Here's another video with more detail:
Remember you should pick a head that is based what YOU need in a lacrosse head, not what everyone else is using or what your friend said is cool. If you have any questions you can always stop into one of our locations and talk to our lax leads or call our customer service line.
To shop for lacrosse heads now, just click here!