Lacrosse Stick Information
Importance of the Pocket
Lacrosse is like no other game, in the aspect that our sticks are unique to us and us only. Yes some people have the same head and shaft but rarely do you find someone with a similar playing style, pocket, and shooting string set up. This mainly because no 2 players are the same, although there are better and worse ways to do things this no right or wrong, this game is an art not a science and the right stick set up is the one you prefer. There's this saying in lacrosse, "It's the wizard, not the wand," referring to the fact that how expensive or nice looking your lacrosse stick it doesn't make you an all-around better player. You can give the best players in the world the worst stick in existence and they're still going to be great.
Now, in my years of coaching and playing lacrosse I have learned that there are better and worse heads based on preferences. But no matter the lacrosse head or shaft, the most important thing is a the way it is strung. The pocket controls how the ball comes out of the head and where the ball sits in the head, more so than the head itself. I cannot stress enough the importance of a good pocket, especially if you are knew to lacrosse. A bad pocket can corrupt a young players form leaving him with bad habits. You typically see this when you buy pre-strung or factory strung heads from a store. Another big No-No is letting your friend who is also new to the game string your head. Typically newer stringers, string people lacrosse heads with too much whip making passes fly low or into the ground. This will frustrate newer players and they usually end up quitting the game.
Custom Strung VS Factory Strung
A good lacrosse pocket will help you possess the ball better as well ad pass and catch more consistently. If you look at the image on the right, that is a factory strung pocket pulled off of lacrosse retailers website for sale right now. If you look at how shallow the pocket is, that's going to make it harder for the ball to stay in the stick. Also when passing, because of how shallow the pocket is, in order to throw the ball with a pocket like this you have to adjust your form which leads to bad habits. Now if you look at the custom strung pocket on the left,it's deeper and going to hold ball more securely. Also if you look at the custom strung pocket, when the ball leaves the stick that pocket is going to act as a ramp to guide the ball out.
Lacrosse Head Regulation
STX Stallion U
If you look at the image above you see 2 similar lacrosse heads. Both heads are manufactured by STX, and both are apart of their Stallion product line but one is legal and the other is not, Why is that? Well beginning in 2018 in high school lacrosse play, heads have to be 3 inches wide in the throat. If you look at the picture above, the lacrosse on the left has a much wider throat (the part of the base closer to bottom) than the head on the right. Before 2018, both heads WERE legal in high school play but the head on the right was NOT legal in college play. College level play requires a wider head, to make it a tad bit harder to offensive players to hold onto the ball, and now high school level play is going to wider heads as well. So it is important to make sure when you buy a lacrosse head that it will be legal for high school play from now on. If you look online or in a store the easiest way to tell is if the head name has a U or X in it, that means it will be legal in high school play. For example STX Stallion U 700 is legal for both but the STX Stallion is not legal for high school play. Warrior Evo 4X is legal for high school and college but the Warrior Evo 4 is not. Others way to tell is by reading the description of the head, if it says Universal, that means that it will be legal in high school play. A lot of lacrosse heads are dropping the X and U in the names because almost every head being produced right now is already legal for both like the Maverik Kinetik although it doesn't have a U or X in it, it is legal. If there is ever any doubt never hesitate to ask us at
What's the Difference:
Between an Expensive Lacrosse Head and a Cheap Lacrosse Head?
There are a ton of lacrosse heads on the market ranging from $30-$100+, so what's the difference? Before anything what we have to understand is a better lacrosse head does not make you better, but it can help make things easier. Look at it as if you're looking at a sushi chef. A sushi chef's knife can range from a few thousand dollars to $15,000, because when cutting sushi in a high-end restaurant, it's about precision and speed. So if you took a experienced sushi chef and gave him a regular Wal-Mart brand knife and you took me and gave me a $15,000 knife and had a competition and judged us on cutting precision or speed, I would get destroyed because no knife, or no tool can make up for years of knowledge, and practice, and hard work and even god given talent. But now you take 2 very experienced sushi chefs and you gave one a Wal-Mart knife and the other a $15,000 knife and have a competition between them, when you have a level playing field of 2 individuals who have put in equal amounts of time and have equal amounts of skill then the tools do come into play. Same thing goes for lacrosse, although the stick can't make you better, it can make things easier.
So when you're paying more for a head, what are you paying for?
The biggest difference between a lower-end head versus a higher-end head is the plastic. What you will see in a lower-end head is a plastic that is going to hold very well through the course of a season. Cheaper plastic will warp faster over time, which can lead to the head becoming flimsy, illegal or easier to break. Cheaper plastic is going to be more affected by the weather as well. In the heat, a lower-end head will become noticeably softer and flimsier and in the cold the head will become harder and more likely to snap or break. The plastic in a higher-end head isn't immune to weather or warping but it is going to be better. It will also hold up better over time. Although the plastic will become flimsy in heat and harder in the cold weather, the temperature will have less affect.
After the plastic, the other big thing you get when you buy a higher-end head is a very gimmicky technology. A lot of these technologies are marketing ploys to push a new product a company is putting, STX has C-channel and Warrior pushes their Sym-rail. Almost all of these technologies have to do with strength-to-weight ratio. Companies are always trying to make lacrosse heads stronger and lighter. Plastic has its limitations as a material, I never pay attention to any of these marketing ploys, just know when you buy a high-end head from a notable company, they're all comparable in strength-to-weight ratio.
Lastly, an important difference between higher-end and lower-end head is, how easy the head is to string. I've said this a couple times but it is very important to know that a good stringer can string any head, and string well regardless of the head or mesh. A good stringer can make any head throw perfect for someone, but a cheaper head is harder to adjust. When stringing a head the more sidewall holes, the easier the pocket is to customize and find tune to an individual. Cheaper heads are bare bone and typically offer 6 to 7 less sidewall holes. You may be thinking why would they put less sidewall holes on a cheaper head? Because they want you to buy the higher-end heads. It costs them nothing extra to put holes in the side, but they end charging way extra for them.
An Offensive, Defensive, and Face-off Head?
Lacrosse companies like to push these marketing ploys and stereotype players by position to get us to constantly feel like you need a new head to fit YOUR game to their head, where it's quite the opposite, your lacrosse head should fit YOUR game. There are these stereotypes that Midfielders have to play with a high-pocket because they cradle two handed more often and Attack-man play with a low-pocket because they should cradle one handed. For me it's the opposite, I play attack with a high-pocket because I prefer to cradle two handed and I like a quick release. So for me I play with an STX Stallion U 700 which is primarily marketed to Midfielders. I also have seen a lot of midfielders who like lower pockets, it is all a matter of preference. Find a head that fits your needs, because their heads made to be strung with high, mid, and low-pockets. So there are really only 2 categories, there are Offensive heads and Defensive heads. Face-off is a category that can be included with offense.
When I look at Offensive lacrosse heads, I see 2 different types, there are WIDER offensive heads, which make it easier to catch in traffic and PINCHED offensive heads make holding onto the ball easier.
Warrior Evo 5X
STX Surgeon 700
String King Mark 2A
Above are images of the top 3 Wide Offensive heads in my opinion. Below I'm going to talk about advantages and disadvantages of using a wider head for offense.
The wider the face shape, the more surface area you have to catch the pass. I typically recommend wider offensive heads to beginners because it does offer "more room for error" when catching
Wider heads are typically stiffer, which means they will be less affected by weather and hold up over time.
Also as heads are exposed to heat, over time they become more pinched. If you are using a Pinched offensive head, as it warps it has less "room for error before it becomes illegal" because heads have to be 3 inches wide. So by using a wider head you have more time before it could become illegal.
The wider the head the less secure the ball will be in the stick, making it easier for the ball to get knocked out.
Wider heads are a little bit tougher to string than pinched heads, especially if you like a high pocket. But there are ways to help that based on what mesh you use.
Wider heads are less accurate. This is false, accuracy is 100% based on the consistency your pocket and your ability as a lacrosse player.
Wider heads are easier to scoop ground balls with. This is false, every high school legal head has a scoop of 6.5 inches.
Wider heads are made to be strung with low pockets. Yes and no, although wider heads are typically strung with lower pockets, they can also be strung with higher pocket.
Nike Lakota U
Under Armour Command Low
East Coast Dyes Mirage
STX Stallion U 700
Above are 6 of the top pinched offensive heads on the market. Pinched heads are more popular for offense than wider heads. Below I'm going to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of pinched offensive heads.
The narrower face shape allows the ball to move less in the head, and thus making it harder for it to come out of the head.
Pinched heads are easier to string than wider heads, especially if you prefer a high pocket.
Pinched heads are slightly harder to catch with than wider heads.
Pinched heads, when they become warped, become illegal faster.
Pinched heads are more accurate. This is 100% false, accuracy has to do with pocket consistency and your skill as a player.
Pinched heads give you more hold. Yes and no, they do but hold has more to do with the pocket than the head.
Pinched heads help you shoot faster. No, great shooters can shoot just as fast with wider heads.
Remember when purchasing or selecting a lacrosse head their is no wrong head, it is all based on preference. Yes, wider heads are easier to catch with, and pinched heads help you hold onto the ball but great players can catch just as well with pinched heads and hang just as well with wider heads. The stick doesn't make the player. Another thing to keep in mind is do your research, ask questions and watch reviews of the head on YouTube. Channels like ECD Lacrosse, ClutchFanatic37, and Mainley Mesh. All these YouTube channels do great reviews of lacrosse gear.