Compare Attack, Midfield, Defense, and Goalie Lacrosse Heads
When selecting your lacrosse head, one of the most important considerations is the position you play. Attack, midfield, defense, and goalie players all have different needs and styles of play that require optimized head shapes and features. As an attack or offensive midfielder, you’ll want excellent ball control and quick passing, so you may look at heads with deeper scoops, flexible sidewalls, and pinched heads to cradle easily. Midfielders cover the entire field, so you’ll need a more balanced head with quick transitions. Defensive heads focus on checking, scooping, and disrupting passes, with wider faces for capturing ground balls. Goalies need stiff yet lightweight heads with flat scoops and optimized stringing for improved rebound control. Testing out position-specific heads can help you find the best fit for how you play on the field or in the box. Ultimately finding the right balance of ball control, passing, shooting, checking, and scooping for your position gives you an edge. Don’t just use an attack head for defense – get a head optimized for how you actually play.
Review Features Like Offset and Sidewall Hole Patterns
When examining different lacrosse heads, pay close attention to key features like offset and sidewall hole patterns. Offset refers to how far back the scoop is from the top of the head, affecting ball control, scooping, and passing speed. Heads with lower offset sit closer to the shaft, making it easier to keep the ball in the pocket on cradle. Higher offset heads give you more power on passes and shots but are harder to retain possession. Midfielders and attack may want lower offset for control, while defenders want more offset for clearing speed. The sidewall hole pattern is the holes cut into the sidewalls that allow you to string the head. Wider spaces between holes allow deeper pocket stringing, while tight patterns create shallower pockets with more hold. Attack players generally want wider sidewall holes for deeper pockets to improve ball control. Defenders need tight patterns for quicker ball release on checks and pokes. Finding the right offset and sidewall pattern combination can optimize your head’s performance. Testing out how different heads pass, catch, and retain possession based on these features can help you find your ideal setup. Focus on high or low offset heads and open or closed sidewall patterns to get the ball control, speed, and release you need for your position.
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Consider Head Shapes Like Pinch, Scoop, and Taper
Lacrosse heads come in a variety of shapes that impact handling and playstyle. Three key shapes to look at are pinch, scoop, and taper. Pinch refers to how narrow the bottom of the head is near the throat. Heads with more pinch focus on ball retention and control, ideal for attack players who want to improve cradling. Wider heads with less pinch make scooping ground balls easier. The scoop shape at the top of the head affects ball capture – curved and rounded scoops are best for ground balls, while flat scoops give you more power on passes and shots. Taper refers to how much the head narrows from top to bottom. More taper improves ball control, while less taper provides strength when poking checks. Testing out pinched, curved, and tapered scoop heads can help offensive players improve possession and passing. Wider, flatter, and less tapered heads are better for defenders who want to disrupt and capture during transitions. Finding the right combination of pinch, scoop, and taper gives you excellent handling no matter your position or style of play. If you’re unsure about lacrosse head shapes, ask teammates or coaches for tips on the best options for how you specifically play on the field.
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Pick Durable yet Lightweight Materials Like Composite and Titanium
When selecting a lacrosse head, pay attention to the materials used in construction. You want something lightweight for quick maneuvers, passes, and shots, but also durable enough to withstand checks and impacts. Many of today’s best lacrosse heads use advanced yet lightweight composite materials like EnduraFORM, which provides consistent head flex even after significant use. Other sturdy composite heads utilize tough alloys like Scandium or aircraft-grade aluminum. These maintain their structure without extra weight. Manufacturers also use titanium in high-end heads, combining extreme strength with featherlight feel. The Native Titan Pro Head uses premium titanium for professional-level stiffness and durability. Testing out composite and titanium heads can help you find the optimum balance of sturdiness and lightweight feel. Make sure to read reviews to see how well different material constructions hold up over time. While basic plastic heads are cheaper, higher-end composites and alloys will be more rigid and outlast lower grade plastics. Investing a bit more upfront ensures you get extended play out of a head constructed from advanced lacrosse materials designed for reliable high-performance.
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Choose Strung or Unstrung Based on Your Stringing Skills
When buying a new lacrosse head, one key decision is whether to get a pre-strung model or an unstrung head you’ll string yourself. Pre-strung heads are ready to use out of the box, great if you’re a beginner or need a backup stick. They come pre-assembled with mesh, so you can hit the field immediately. Drawbacks are less customization and a voided warranty if you alter the pockets. Unstrung heads let you create your ideal customized stringing setup. But it requires time, knowledge and stringing materials to lace in mesh and dials in the pockets yourself. If you’re new to stringing, opt for a pre-strung head first before attempting an unstrung model. Learn techniques from coaches or YouTube channels like Stringers Society so you can eventually string your own sticks. Consider getting an unstrung head of a style you already know to simplify initial stringing. And utilize pre-assembled kits with mesh and strings to make lacing your first head easier. With practice, you’ll be custom stringing unstrung heads tailored exactly for you. Until then, pre-strung models allow you to develop fundamentals while immediately playing.
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Test Head and Shaft Balance for Quick Passing and Shooting
When piecing together a new lacrosse stick, an important factor is achieving proper overall balance between the head and shaft. The balance point impacts the feel and handling of your stick. Heads that are too heavy or light relative to the shaft can make passing, catching, and shooting more difficult. Test potential heads by attachting them to your shaft and holding the assembled stick horizontally at its midpoint. A perfectly balanced stick will sit flat in your hand without drooping up or down. Too much weight in the head will cause it to drop, while an overly light head will lift up. You want the head and shaft weight to counterbalance. This lets you swiftly transition between cradling, passing, and shooting without extra effort adjusting for balance. Consider lighter carbon fiber shafts if your head feels too heavy, or beefier aluminum shafts if your head is too light. Swapping heads and shafts until you find the right equilibrium improves performance. Don’t just assume any head and shaft will have synergistic weight – take time to test balance using your actual stick to optimize feel in all facets of play.
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Get the Right Face Shape Like Hourglass, Oval, or Diamond
Lacrosse head face shapes are another key factor to consider for optimal performance. The main options are hourglass, oval, and diamond shapes. Hourglass heads are widest at the top and bottom with a pinched middle for excellent ball retention while cradling. STX developed the first hourglass shape with the Proton head in 1994. Oval shapes create a wider surface area along the entire head length for greater passing and shooting power. They lack the defined pinch of hourglass heads. Diamond shapes use pointed scoops and sidewalls that converge to a point at the bottom. This gives you superior ball control for quick stick moves and tight passing. Hourglass shapes are ideal for midfielders and attack players who want enhanced cradling. Defenders benefit from wider oval heads for checking and disrupting transitions. Diamond heads offer offensive players better command on winding runs and around the crease. Testing face shapes using drills for passing, catching, and shooting can help determine the best option. Consider an hourglass or diamond if you need more finesse and possession, or opt for an oval shape for power. Selecting the optimal face shape improves your lacrosse IQ and confidence with the ball.
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Pick Heads Optimized for Ground Balls, Faceoffs, and Shooting
When selecting a lacrosse head, think about optimizing performance for key facets of the game like scooping ground balls, taking faceoffs, and shooting. For ground balls, heads with an aggressive taper and a curved, rounded scoop make picking up loose balls easier. STX designed wider channels along the scoops of heads like the Surgeon 500 for quickly guiding ground balls into the pocket. For faceoffs, pinch and stiffness become more important for clamping down on the ball during draws. Heads like the Warrior Noz also have an angled scoop to get under the ball on faceoffs. For shooting, flatter scoops and oval shapes provide more power and direct impact on cage. Pocket shape also affects shot speed and accuracy – mid-pocket placements allow faster release but less hold. Test heads using drills focused on ground balls, facing off, and shooting to dial in performance. A great all-around head excels at everything, but you can also swap out specialized heads for game situations that call for scooping, facing off, or ripping shots. Taking time to find heads optimized for key facets of your lacrosse game eliminates weaknesses and makes you more well-rounded.
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Look at Newer Tech Like EnduraFORM for Consistency
Lacrosse brands continue innovating head technologies that boost performance. One newer advancement to look for is EnduraFORM, introduced by Maverik in their latest heads. EnduraFORM is a composite material that maintains its structure and flex even after heavy use. As other heads break down over time, EnduraFORM retains its shape and consistency regardless of weather conditions or a season’s worth of checks and impacts. This gives you reliable precision and handling for the entire lifespan of the head. Maverik built optik 3.0 and tactik 3.0 heads using EnduraFORM to provide elite level players with unparalleled consistency. It also offers unprecedented durability – the tactik 3.0 survived Maverik’s “truck tests,” enduring 800 miles atop a vehicle without structural damage. For newer technologies like EnduraFORM, read lacrosse gear forums and reviews to verify improvements versus older composite blends. While pricier than other plastic heads, next-gen materials like EnduraFORM deliver quantifiable performance benefits you won’t get from standard plastics. Invest in tech that boosts your level of play through durability, precision, and consistency.
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Consider Heads Made for Box or Field Lacrosse
When selecting your next lacrosse head, determine whether you primarily play box lacrosse or field lacrosse. Heads engineered specifically for box or field have structural differences that factor into performance. Box lacrosse heads have more defined pinches and hourglass shapes for excellent ball retention, necessary in tight confines. They also utilize more rigid sidewalls and materials to withstand constant physical play. Field lacrosse heads offer wider faces and more flexible sidewalls for covering space on advances and dialing in passing across longer distances. Models like the Nike Lakota U are specifically constructed for field play. Warrior makes box-specific heads fitting league dimensions like the Burn FO with an optimal pinch and stiff sidewalls. Even heads advertised for both box and field play may lean more towards one style. Read product descriptions and reviews to ensure the head aligns with your version of the sport. Testing prospective heads using drills replicating the tight quarters of box lacrosse or the running of field lacrosse can verify performance. Getting the right head designed for how you actually play improves skills tailored to the unique pace and style of your game.
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Check Head Reviews and Recommendations
With so many lacrosse heads available, researching reviews and recommendations can simplify the selection process. Look at lacrosse gear sites like LaxRatings.com for expert assessments on the latest heads. Sort by attack, midfield, defense, or goalie heads to read reviews catered to your position. User reviews on retail sites like LacrosseMonkey provide firsthand feedback on comfort, durability, and performance. Lacrosse message boards like laxpower.com have active discussions comparing heads that highlight pros and cons. YouTube channels like EastCoastDyesTV offer detailed overviews of new heads along with stringing tips. Consulting coaching staff who observe heads during game play can provide impartial advice untainted by marketing claims. Don’t just read reviews of brand new models – look at feedback on heads after months of use to evaluate longevity. Take into account your level of play and specific needs as well – top collegiate heads may offer features overkill for a high school player. Weigh reviews and recommendations against your personal requirements to determine if a head’s advantages apply to you. Leverage insights from both experts and actual users to make the most informed decision.
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Compare Prices from Top Brands Like Maverik and STX
To get the best deal on your next lacrosse head, take time to compare prices across top athletic brands like Maverik, STX, Warrior, Nike, ECD, and Brine. Prices often vary between official manufacturer sites, authorized dealers like Lacrosse Unlimited, and major retailers like Lacrosse Monkey. Sign up for brand email lists to get discount offers and codes that can save you 10-20% on heads. Buy last year’s models on clearance as new versions hit the market each season. Off-season sales in fall and winter let you stock up on heads at reduced prices. Shop end-of-summer clearance for the best selection and deepest discounts. Buy combo head and shaft packages that bundle together at a discounted rate. Consider lightly used heads via lacrosse forums and SidelineSwap if willing to sacrifice new condition for major savings. Set price drop alerts on heads you have your eye on for automatic notifications if the price is reduced. Compare coupons and promos across retailers, and don’t be afraid to ask customer service for any available unadvertised deals. Investing time into researching prices results in big savings on quality lacrosse gear from top athletic brands.
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Find Heads for Your Position’s Style of Play
Lacrosse heads are engineered with specific positions in mind, so find an option that matches your style of play. For attack players, pinched heads with flexible sidewalls and scoops optimize ball control for quick sticks and tight passing around the crease. Midfielders cover the length of the field, so more evenly balanced heads with decent scoops suit fast breaks and two-way play. Defenders value wider heads with stiff sidewalls and flat scoops for checking, intercepting passes, and slowing transitions. Goalies need stiff paddle-shaped heads with excellent rebound control for stopping high-velocity shots. Trying out heads outside your position can expose weaknesses – long poles and stiff heads hinder offensive maneuvers. Read product descriptions to ensure the head is matched with your position instead of assuming any model will suffice. Drill with position-specific heads using game scenarios like rolls to the cage on attack or protecting leads on defense to dial in appropriate play. Don’t borrow a teammate’s head tailored for their style – get one designed specifically around your positional needs for superior performance where it matters.
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Get Free Stringing with Select Pre-Strung Heads
One way to maximize value when buying a new lacrosse head is taking advantage of free stringing offers on select pre-strung models. Brands like STX and Maverik include free custom stringing along with mesh kits with certain heads. This allows you to customize the pockets and top stringing to your exact specifications, a perk usually reserved for unstrung heads. STX’s Heads Up program lets you customize stringing on pre-strung Sequel and Avior heads via a stringing profile kit. Maverik’s Custom Strung program offers dialed-in stringing based on string placement guides when buying Optik 3.0 and other heads. Providing details like pocket depth, mid/high pocket placement, shooting strings, and your stick side guarantees an ideal preset string job matching your game. Take time to outline the stringing elements you need for quick releases, hold, and control. Opting for free custom stringing on pre-strung heads gives you the best of both worlds – no need to string yourself while still enjoying a personalized pocket. Just make sure to get any changes submitted before your head ships to take full advantage of included stringing services.
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Test Heads Using Drills Tailored to Your Position
The best way to evaluate new lacrosse heads is testing them using position-specific drills. For attack, focus on quick stick ball control through winding dodges and rolls at X. Midfielders should run full field transition drills for scooping, clearing, and driving top shelf shots on the run. Defenders need to drill stick checks like pokes and slaps to test ground ball play and disrupting passing lanes. Goalies require reaction drills with high shot volumes to assess heads at stopping different ball velocities. Mimic game situations like pick and rolls or clear attempts instead of just generic passing. Try heads from other positions – long poles on attack reveal sluggish handles. Swap your normal gamer for a new head during shooting drills to compare feeling, control, and rebound effort. Test different head flex and stiffness using checks and faceoff clamps. Don’t just assume any head performs equally – the wrong head leaves you exposed in key areas. Drill with purpose catered to your position before committing to a head for game use. Proper positional testing verifies heads optimize your skills where it matters most.
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