Benefits of Foldable Goals Over Fixed Goals
As any dedicated lacrosse player knows, consistent practice is key for developing and sharpening your skills. Having your own lacrosse goal at home provides the opportunity to get out in the yard and shoot whenever you want without needing to commute to a field or shared practice space. But traditional fixed lacrosse goals can be bulky, heavy, and hard to move around. That’s where foldable lacrosse goals come in! Foldable lacrosse goal frames are designed to collapse down for easy transport and storage when not in use. Here are some of the biggest benefits foldable lacrosse goals offer over fixed goals:
Portability – Foldable lacrosse goals can collapse down into a much more compact size, making them easier to move. Wheeled foldable goals allow a single person to transport the goal from storage to field and back with minimal effort. This allows you to set up your goal anywhere with ample space, and store it securely when not in use.
Storage – Storing a full-size fixed lacrosse goal takes up a lot of space, which is impractical for most family garages or sheds. Folding lacrosse goals collapse down small enough to tuck away in a corner when not needed. No more giant goal taking up your entire garage!
Adaptability – Foldable lacrosse goal frames allow you to adjust the sizing as needed. Narrow the width for young beginners, then expand to official size as skills improve. Lower the height for youth and raise it up to full regulation 10′ for advanced high school and college players.
Mobility – Wheeled foldable lacrosse goals provide excellent mobility for shooters. Easily create passing and shooting drills by moving the goal quickly around the yard. Shift locations as the sunlight changes without needing heavy equipment or multiple people to hoist and lug a fixed goal.
Affordability – Quality foldable lacrosse goals are available at lower price points than traditional fixed goals. The folding design requires less materials, and the portable nature reduces shipping costs. This makes foldable goals accessible for players of all ages and budgets.
When considering goals for home practice, foldable lacrosse goals provide excellent advantages over fixed goals for storage, transport, adaptability and affordability. Investing in a rugged foldable goal with smooth-gliding wheels is worth the upgrade over fixed goals for dedicated players aiming to take their skills to the next level through consistent practice.
Compare Durability of Different Frame Materials
The frame is the structural foundation of your folding lacrosse goal, so durability is a major factor to evaluate when shopping options. Foldable lacrosse goal frames are typically constructed using aluminum, steel or composite materials. Here’s an overview of each frame type:
Aluminum – Aluminum goal frames are lightweight while still providing good stability. Pure aluminum is prone to bending and denting, so look for thicker-gauged aluminum tubing or alloys which increase its ruggedness. Squared aluminum tubing offers more stability than round tubing. Anodized aluminum treatments improve weather resistance. Aluminum won’t rust, but may corrode over time.
Steel – Steel foldable lacrosse goal frames offer exceptional durability and ruggedness. However, steel is also heavier than other frame materials. Powder-coated and galvanized steel treatments help resist rust and corrosion. Stainless steel offers increased resistance to the elements. Steel tubing thickness impacts stability and weight capacity.
Composite – Composite frames utilize reinforced polymers, carbon fiber or fiberglass. Composites are highly durable while remaining lightweight. Materials like carbon fiber combine strength and flexibility, springing back into shape after impacts. Composite won’t corrode like metal frames. However, severe impacts may cause cracks or fraying.
When comparing frame materials, aluminum provides a lightweight but potentially less durable option, while steel offers maximum ruggedness at the expense of increased weight. Composite frames give a “best of both worlds” combination of durability and light weight.
Consider the age and skill level of players, and how portable the goal needs to be. Higher steel content boosts durability for competitive high school and college players, while youth and beginners may favor lighter aluminum or composite frames. Checking buyer reviews can help determine real-world durability when choosing the best frame material for your folding lacrosse goal.
Consider Weight and Portability
One of the major advantages of a folding lacrosse goal is the ability to transport and set up the goal with minimal hassle. But with portability comes considerations around weight and mobility features.
When collapsed and stored, weight may not be a significant factor. But the weight of the goal frame, net, and any included ballast bags or stabilizers does come into play when moving the goal around your yard to shoot and practice drills from different angles and distances.
Wheeled folding lacrosse goals allow a single player to tilt back the frame and roll the goal into position. Non-wheeled models require lifting both ends to maneuver the goal, which quickly becomes strenuous over a long practice session. Integrated wheel systems that rotate the entire frame on a sturdy axle provide the best stability and maneuverability.
If your yard has slopes or uneven terrain, large treaded pneumatic wheels can help navigate those conditions smoothly. Small hard plastic wheels may struggle on surfaces besides flat level grass. The wheel size and tread impact how easily you can roll the goal, especially once weighted down for added stability.
When collapsed for storage, portable goals with folding joints and quick-release pins can quickly break down into a compact rectangular shape. Fixed-joint goals may be bulkier even when collapsed. Measure your available storage space before purchasing.
Finally, consider if you need to transport the goal in a vehicle to get to an offsite field. Foldable goals designed specifically for vehicle transport offer further size reductions and convenient carrying handles.
Prioritizing weight, wheel design, folding efficiency and transportability will ensure your new folding lacrosse goal provides years of hassle-free portability for backyard practice sessions and rapid set up for games anywhere a level playing surface is available.
Folding vs Non-Folding Nets: Pros and Cons
Along with the goal frame, an integral component is the netting that catches errant shots and indicates scores. Foldable lacrosse goals typically utilize either a traditional fixed net, or a net designed to fold up with the frame.
Fixed nets remain attached at all times. This eliminates the need to attach and detach the net each time the goal is set up. Fixed nets may last longer since they are not being collapsed and reopened repeatedly. However, fixed nets make the collapsed goal frame more bulky for storage. Care must also be taken not to snag or tear the net when folding the frame.
Foldable nets attach with velcro, bungee cords or quick-release clips to allow the entire goal to fold into a compact shape. A benefit is the frame stores very small without loose netting. Foldable nets also make it easy to swap out ripped or worn netting. On the downside, folding nets require more time to properly attach each time you set up the goal. Weak attachment systems may allow the net to sag after repeated shots.
In terms of durability, nylon lacrosse netting provides high strength and weather resistance at an affordable cost. More premium options include durable Dyneema netting which offers maximum longevity against ripping, or weatherproof Polyethylene netting that sheds water and remains flexible in cold weather.
For training younger players, “bounce back” netting catches shots then returns the ball to the shooter. This enables repetitive shooting practice without constantly retrieving balls from the goal. However, bounce back nets lack the accuracy of fixed nets for shot placement.
When selecting foldable goal netting, fixed nets provide year-round permanence at the cost of bulkier storage, while foldable nets allow ultra-compact storage between uses but must be properly re-attached during set up. Assessing your needs for storage space, set up time, and net longevity will dictate the best net type for your folding lacrosse goal.
Determine Ideal Goal Size for Your Needs
Foldable lacrosse goals are designed for ultimate adjustability, with the ability to resize the width, height, and even depth to suit players of all ages and skill levels.
For young players just learning the game, smaller goal openings allow them to defend more easily and build confidence making saves. Narrower goals also force accurate shooting technique. As players improve, widening the goal incrementally prepares them for full-size competitive goals.
The adjustable headers on folding lacrosse goals allow you to raise or lower the height as needed. Low heights under 5 feet help beginning kids develop shooting and passing techniques before testing higher shots. The NCAA, high school, and youth league standard height is a challenging 10 feet tall for competitive play.
Expanding goal depth away from the net challenges shooters to hit longer shots from up to 15 feet behind the crease. Shallower depths force players to develop quick release shots and accuracy from tight angles.
Standard officials goal dimensions are 6 feet x 6 feet. Narrowing the width allows players to defend the goal more easily, improving their positioning and footwork.
Investing in a folding lacrosse goal with a fully adjustable frame, headers, and net gives you the ultimate flexibility as players grow. Start young kids off small for confidence, then tweak the dimensions over time to challenge their skills as they improve. Before you know it, your backyard goal will have them conditioned for facing championship dimensions on the field!
Pick Wheels vs No Wheels for Mobility
One of the biggest differentiators between portable folding lacrosse goals is whether the goal includes built-in wheels or requires manually lifting and carrying the goal anytime you need to reposition it.
Wheeled folding lacrosse goals allow a single player to tilt back the frame and roll the entire goal into a new position. Quality wheel systems have sturdy axles that rotate the full frame for maximum stability while moving. Large pneumatic wheels with rugged treads easily navigate grass and uneven terrain in your yard.
The effortless mobility of wheeled folding goals enables dynamic solo and team drills:
- Roll the goal incrementally further away to practice long range shooting.
- Shift the goal left and right to alternate side shooting angles.
- Quickly widen the goal for fast break shooting practice.
- Narrow the width to focus on precision shooting technique.
- Spin the goal frequently to shoot and move from all angles.
In contrast, non-wheeled folding lacrosse goals require two people to fully lift both sides of the goal frame to manually relocate it. This becomes exhausting over long solo practice sessions. You lose the ability to fluidly move the goal for dynamic drills working on different angles, distances and goal widths.
Wheels do add slightly more assembly time, and a bit more weight. But the massive boost in mobility and drilling flexibility leaves no doubt that wheels are an indispensable upgrade for your folding lacrosse goal.
Assess Ease and Speed of Setup/Breakdown
One advantage of a folding lacrosse goal is the ability to rapidly set up or collapse the goal as needed. But breakdown and setup speed can vary quite a bit depending on the goal’s joint and locking mechanisms.
Look for folding joints with quick-release pins, spring-loaded push-button locks, or efficient latch systems. The fastest folding goals can collapse down in 60 seconds or less. Flimsy or overcomplicated locks will slow you down.
The most adjustable goals allow you to independently change the width, height, and depth. Having to unlock multiple joints to widen the goal for example, is far less efficient than single-action width adjustment.
Wheeled goals typically require a few more minutes to lock the wheels and axle system in place before use. Confirm that wheel attachments are secure, as loose wheels could destabilize the goal during competitive play.
Easy breakdown is also key for storage and transport. Sections that disassemble logically with quick fasteners allow the goal to be stowed compactly. Goals that fold down into a single consolidated frame pack the smallest.
Be sure to consider who will be setting up and adjusting the goal most frequently. Youth players may struggle with overcomplicated locking mechanisms. Fiddly attachments that take too long to secure can drain valuable minutes from practice time.
Prioritizing fast, foolproof setup and breakdown will get your lacrosse goal ready for action as quickly as possible, while seamless takedown lets you store it out of the way until the next backyard session.
Compare Brands: Quality and Reputation
When investing in sports equipment like folding lacrosse goals, purchasing from an established brand with a reputation for quality can provide peace of mind that your goal will deliver lasting performance.
Leading lacrosse brands like STX, Brine, and Maverik offer folding goal models built with the quality and durability expected from their products. But be aware that some brands shift manufacturing to third parties for folding goals, so check if the brand designs and produces their own goals in-house.
Lesser known brands can still deliver quality goals at more affordable prices by cutting out the premium paid for the big brand names. In these cases, take time to verify construction methods, frame materials, and stability from reviews and testimonials.
When possible, choose brands that field test goals using actual competitive play before finalizing the product design. Goals designed and abused by lacrosse players themselves tend to highlight durability issues and opportunities for improvement more quickly.
Carefully read through online customer reviews from verified buyers to spot potential quality concerns like flimsy net attachments, hardware that rusts quickly, or goals that collapse easily from player contact. Video reviews can provide closer insight as well.
While paying a premium for an established lacrosse brand can offer some quality assurance, lesser known brands can provide substantial savings on equally well-designed goals. Taking time to research reviews and construction gives confidence you’re choosing the best folding lacrosse goal regardless of brand recognition.
Budget for an Affordable Yet Durable Folding Goal
Finding the sweet spot between price and quality is key when purchasing folding lacrosse goals for home use. The good news is that major advancements in goal design make sturdy, long-lasting folding goals very affordable compared to the past.
Factors that impact folding goal pricing include the frame material, net type, brand name recognition, and included accessories. Here are some tips for getting the best value:
- Aluminum frames with composite joinery offer lightweight durability at a budget price point compared to steel.
- Fixed nets minimize costs over more complex folding nets.
- Lesser known brands can equal premium name brand quality at substantial savings.
- Start with a basic goal first, then add accessories like ballast bags, carry bags, and wheel kits later as needed.
When researching options, look for goals in the $150 to $400 range from brands that back their products with at least a 1-year warranty and responsive customer service. Many offer far longer 5-10 year warranties against defects.
If your budget accommodates it, upgrading to advanced frames like carbon fiber can provide a decade or more of use before needing replacement. This pays for itself long-term.
The days of flimsy playpen-style goals are gone. Taking advantage of folding goal innovations brings serious lacrosse training capabilities to any family backyard at very reasonable prices compared to permanently installed fixed goals.
Shop for Deals Online vs Local Retailers
The internet provides more options and better prices when shopping for folding lacrosse goals, but local retailers still offer benefits for some buyers.
Buying online provides convenient home delivery, and allows easy price comparisons across brands and sellers with just a few clicks. Large online retailers like Amazon offer free shipping and hassle-free returns if the goal doesn’t meet expectations.
Direct purchases from folding goal manufacturers cut out any middleman markup, though shipping bulky goals can be pricier. Many offer discounted package deals when buying goals with ballast bags, carry cases, and other accessories.
Local sporting goods stores allow hands-on inspection before purchasing, and may match some online pricing. But selection is limited to brands they carry, and prices tend to be higher than online stores. Instant gratification may balance out the premium cost for some buyers.
Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are options for finding used folding goals nearby, though it can be hit or miss on availability. Inspect used goals closely for damage prior to purchasing.
Unless you need a goal urgently, purchasing online provides the widest selection and lowest pricing. Factor in shipping costs when comparing options. Local retailers can make sense for convenience or to inspect products firsthand before purchasing.
Read Reviews to Choose the Best Rated Products
With so many folding lacrosse goal brands and models available, sifting through online customer reviews can provide valuable insight into real-world performance, durability, and ease of use.
Focus on verified purchase reviews, as these come from actual goal owners detailing their first-hand use experiences. Video reviews that showcase goal set up, features, and durability tests are extremely helpful.
Key areas of feedback to look for include:
- Stability – Does the goal stay upright during aggressive shooting practice and checks?
- Assembly – Is the goal straightforward to set up and break down?
- Portability – For wheeled goals, do the wheels function smoothly?
- Adjustment – How easy is it to tweak width, height and depth settings?
- Durability – Does the net, frame, and hardware hold up season after season?
Also pay attention to any consistent complaints indicating potential design flaws or quality issues to avoid. No product pleases every buyer, but consistent critical themes do warrant consideration.
By digging into buyer reviews and ratings across several top folding lacrosse goal options, you can zero in on the models that consistently meet or exceed owners’ expectations for value, function, stability, and longevity.
Ensure Proper Anchoring for Safety and Stability
To maximize stability during intense backyard shooting sessions, folding lacrosse goals must be properly weighted down and anchored in place for safety.
Sudden impacts from checks or heavy shots can cause unsecured goals to shift or even tip over. Proper anchoring reduces this risk and lets players focus on practicing versus constantly re-stabilizing the goal.
Built-in peg holes allow screw-in ground stakes to firmly anchor the goal legs into grass or dirt. For portable goals, dual-side stabilizer bars with pegs prevent side-to-side motion. Secure hooks and cordage can also fasten the goal into a fixed fence or post.
For added rear-facing stability, some goals accommodate slide-in weighted ballast bags. Fill canvas bags with sand/soil and lock them into the rear base frame. Multiple bags can counterbalance the weight of a leaning player.
Wheeled folding goals require even more ballast weight to prevent the goal from rolling. Start with 100-150 lbs of rear ballast, and add more if needed to fully immobilize the goal during live play.
Take time to properly stabilize your folding lacrosse goal in all directions before use. This eliminates any chance of collapse, while giving players the confidence to shoot, deke and check aggressively knowing the goal is locked solidly in place.
Follow Proper Care and Maintenance Guidelines
Folding lacrosse goals are designed for easy set up and breakdown between uses. But taking a few extra steps to care for your goal properly will maximize its lifespan.
Always fully disassemble the goal after use and store it in a clean, dry area. Foldable goals conveniently stow along a garage wall without occupying much space.
Regularly inspect all joints, net attachments, and hardware. Tighten any loose screws or fasteners, and replace any heavily worn or damaged components. A basic multi-tool kit can re-tighten most hardware onsite.
Wipe dirt and grit from goal tubing, and touch up any scratches or chips in powder coatings to prevent corrosion. Lubricate any tight or sticking adjustment joints as needed.
Allow wet netting to fully air dry before stowing to prevent mildew growth. Check netting for tears, and replace compromised sections or full nets as required. Tattered nets can snag sticks and fingers.
For wheeled goals, inflate pneumatic tires to the recommended pressure, and confirm wheels roll smoothly each season. Add lubricant to squeaky wheel axles.
With regular inspection, cleaning, and parts replacement when needed, a quality folding lacrosse goal should provide many years of reliable service. Taking time for proper maintenance saves money over having to prematurely replace a heavily worn or damaged goal down the road.
Follow Proper Anchoring Techniques for Safety
A folding lacrosse goal is only as stable as its anchoring system. Properly securing your goal ensures safe play and minimizes tip over risks.
For permanent or semi-permanent installation, screw sturdy ground anchor stakes into the feet of the goal frame. Angle stakes outwards for maximum friction. In grass, use longer 12″+ stakes; shorter stakes work for hard dirt. Hammer stakes fully into the ground so only the looped head is visible.
Portable goals benefit from dual-sided lateral support bars staked into the ground. Attach support bars parallel on each side of the goal about 2 feet back from the net. Securely drive a steel stake through each support foot to create lateral tension resistance.
For quick set up on any surface, stake anchor bags can be filled with sand or soil and hung from goals posts to provide rear ballast weight. Start with 100lbs of ballast weight and add more if needed until the goal remains fixed in place when shaken.
On hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete, tape down folded weights along the back base for friction. Position against a sturdy fence or wall and lash the goal into place using heavy ropes or high-tension cords.
Wheeled goals need far more anchoring force – up to 300 pounds of ballast may be required. Test stability before play and keep adding weight until the goal cannot be budged in any direction.
Taking time to properly anchor folding lacrosse goals prevents unfortunate and dangerous tip-over accidents. Take advantage of every integrated anchoring option and accessory to maximize goal stability for active training.