The 10 Best Lacrosse Shafts
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in October of 2016. Originally invented by northern Native American tribes, lacrosse has become a popular sport among high school and college students throughout the United States. Having the right gear can greatly improve a player's performance on the field, so we put together a list of shafts that offer a range of styles, materials, and prices to meet the needs of attackers, defenders, midfielders and goalies. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 10, 2020:
Picking a good lacrosse shaft is going to have a lot to do with your personal style of play, so there are certain variables to pay close attention to when comparing models beyond the obvious (like what position you play). Flex is among the most important of these, as it will affect everything from the weight of your checks to the power of your shots. Defenders could usually do with less flex, as they need to be able to check hard, and as added flex will absorb some of that energy, meaning it won't hurt or hinder your opponent as much, at least not though padding. That makes heavy wooden choices like the RipWood USA or the Burd Wood Works Hickory smart options for particularly physical defenders.
Forwards and attacking mids with an eye for the goal are going to want more flex, as that can offer both more power and a more deceptive release that can fool goalies. Models like the Epoch Dragonfly Eight or the East Coast Dyes Carbon Pro can provide you with a lot of flex, with the East Coast Dyes model snapping back to its original position faster than most others, so you can pass back and forth accurately without worrying that the residual whip in your shaft will make it harder to receive. Of course, this flexibility is often the result of composite material use, and that can create a shaft that's much weaker than aluminum or wood counterparts.
ARC Sick Shafts If you're looking for something you can really customize, you'll appreciate what this company has to offer. You can take any of their wide assortment of cuts and flexes and have it engraved to say just about anything you desire. You can even pick a butt end color to make sure it all matches your team, and the price isn't that bad, either. arclacrosse.com
A Brief History Of Lacrosse
The rules of the game were usually decided upon the night before, and the only constants seemed to involve not going out of bounds or touching the ball with your hands.
If you think people are wild about sports today, you should've seen how Native Americans felt about lacrosse a few centuries ago.
Early lacrosse matches were truly sporting events. Starting in Canada as early as the 17th century C.E., multiple tribes would come together for games of "stickball." Only men were allowed to play, and up to a thousand of them would compete simultaneously in games that would last from sunup to sundown.
The fields could be truly massive, as well, with the goals being up to 500 yards apart. No, wait — that was the minimum distance, and sometimes they were as much as six miles away from each other.
The rules of the game were usually decided upon the night before, and the only constants seemed to involve not going out of bounds or touching the ball with your hands. There was no passing, either, as it was considered cowardly to not just bowl over anyone standing in your way.
The medicine men from each tribe would serve as coaches (and likely trainers when people inevitably got hurt from running into each other at full speed). They even created a version for the women, which used shorter sticks, although the ladies usually just passed out refreshments during breaks in the men's game.
The matches were played for a variety of reasons, including religious festivals, dispute mediation, combat training, and presumably, pure bloodlust. Oh, and to give the tribes something to bet on, which they did in spades.
When some French Jesuit missionaries first encountered the sport, they were horrified — but it was the British who would find the game to be truly costly. In 1763, members of the Ojibwa tribe invited British troops to leave their fort and watch the game, and once the fort was unattended, the Ojibwas ran in and killed everyone inside (they didn't even have the decency to build a giant wooden horse).
The game persevered, however, and soon European settlers were playing it, as well. It became popular in high schools and colleges around the turn of the 20th century, especially in the northeast. It was even briefly an Olympic sport, but was discontinued after the 1908 Games.
It's still played today, especially at private schools, although it hasn't quite caught on as much as sports like football and basketball. Then again, no one has ever used football or basketball to capture a British fort...yet.
Picking The Perfect Stick
It's hard to be at your best without the proper equipment. That's why golfers are so particular about their clubs, shortstops fuss over their mitts, and wrestlers have trouble wearing earmuffs. Anyway, the point is that, if you're hoping to excel at lacrosse, you're going to need a premium stick.
Your decision will rest in large part on what position you play, as well as how advanced you are. Defensemen need longer sticks than offensive players, so keep that in mind while shopping. If you're buying for a youth player, though, all that matters is that they can comfortably handle it.
If you're buying for a youth player, though, all that matters is that they can comfortably handle it.
Decide on what kind of handle you prefer. Composite handles are the most popular, as they offer a good balance of strength and flexibility, with minimal need for tape. Alloy shafts are becoming more widely-used, especially as lighter metals are being introduced. They tend to be temperature-sensitive, though, so you'll have to tape them well. Wooden options are also still occasionally seen, especially in the women's game.
Buying the head will depend on a lot of things, most notably the rules of your league. Many have specific regulations concerning head width, so check with your officials before you buy something you can't take back. Rookies should opt for one that's already been strung for them.
The stiffness of the pocket should be tested, as well. The stiffer the pocket, the more accuracy you'll command, but you'll also find it difficult to control the ball while moving. Likewise, a deeper pocket gives you more control while a shallower one lets you get rid of the ball more quickly.
Unfortunately, it will be hard to find the perfect stick for you right off the bat — you need to spend some time experimenting with different options, as well as getting to know your style of play. After some tinkering, though, you should be able to find a model that enables you to absolutely dominate the competition.
Failing that, just find one that makes it easy to whack somebody really hard.
Tips For Elevating Your Game As A Beginner
If you're just starting out, the game may seem incredibly fast, and it's hard to understand anything — except how much you're struggling. Luckily, there are some ways to get your bearings in a hurry.
Don't try anything fancy until you're good enough to pull it off, and be sure to communicate well with your teammates.
The most important skills to master in lacrosse are throwing and catching. When you're receiving a pass, act like you're catching an egg — drop the head a little bit in the direction of the throw as it reaches you, so that it doesn't pop out.
Be sure to face the passer when you're catching, as this gives you a better view of the pass as it's incoming, as well as making it easy to get in the proper stance to cradle the ball into the head.
Do the exact opposite when you're passing, though. All you need is a little eye contact so that your teammate knows it's headed their way, then then whip the ball while turned sideways. This helps put some distance between the ball and any defender with greedy intentions.
Don't try anything fancy until you're good enough to pull it off, and be sure to communicate well with your teammates. If you can do the basics well, and you're on the same page with everyone else, you'll have a leg up on your competition.
Of course, if you find your legs are too high up, it means you've been knocked flat on your back.