Choose Between Offset or Straight Designs for Faceoff Heads
When selecting a new lacrosse head for facing off, one of the first decisions is whether to go with an offset or straight design. Offset heads are characterized by a lower sidewall on one side, which drops the scoop and channel lower to the ground. This asymmetrical construction helps get under the ball during the clamp and provides excellent ground ball performance. Straight heads have matching sidewalls on both sides for a more balanced, symmetrical shape. This gives you a bit more versatility if you take faceoffs but also handle other on-field responsibilities. Straight heads lift the ball higher off the turf when clamping, which some players prefer. Evaluate your technique and needs – do you scrap and grind for every ground ball, or lift and push cleanly? Choose an offset head like the Stringking Mark 2F or a straight head like the Warrior Burn FO to support your facing off style.
Offset heads like the Stringking Mark 2F or Nike CEO offer a few key advantages for faceoff specialists. The angled sidewalls lower the scoop and channel drastically on one side, getting you closer to the ground when clapping the ball. This makes it easier to get underneath on low ground ball scrums, giving you better control when ‘raking’ or scraping the ball free. The asymmetrical shape also funnels ground balls right into the upper channel area on ground balls, making it easy to start cradling right off the whistle.
Straight heads like the Warrior Burn FO maintain even sidewall heights across both sides. This provides a more balanced, symmetrical shape and feel. When facing off, straight heads tend to pop the ball higher off the turf on the clamp rather than keep it lower to the ground. Some players prefer this for a quicker exit and transition after the draw. Straight heads also offer a bit more versatility, as field players can take faceoffs but also handle other responsibilities. The symmetrical shape lends itself better to passing, shooting, and stick handling versus a highly angled offset head design.
Making the choice between offset or straight comes down to your facing off style and technique. If you scrap and grind, using physicality and body positioning to wrestle every ground ball free, an offset head gives you an advantage. The lower sidewalls get you closer to the ball for better control. If you’re a quicker facing off specialist who likes to pop and lift the ball cleanly off the turf, a straight head lifts the ball higher to make that easier. Think about when facing off – do you prefer to pin the ball low and tight to the ground, or do you lift and push out for a smooth exit? Choose an offset or straight faceoff head that aligns with your style.
Consider Stiffness and Flex Points for Quick Ground Balls
When evaluating faceoff lacrosse heads, it’s important to consider the stiffness and flex points of the head frame. This greatly impacts how the head moves on ground balls, as well as durability over time. Stiffer heads with multiple flex points help channel and funnel ground balls, while more flexible heads absorb checks better. Finding the right blend is key for facing off success.
Stiff heads like the Stringking Mark 2F place an emphasis on ground ball performance. The head frame features thicker scandium and titanium alloys for increased stiffness, helping it hold its shape. This allows it to channel ground balls into the pocket very well. Multiple flex points across the sidewalls also let the head flex to ‘funnel’ ground balls centrally as you rake and scrape. You get excellent ball retention and control on faceoffs.
More flexible heads like the Warrior Burn FO focus on durability. Softer materials like injected polymer flex better to absorb checks, slashes, and general facing off contact. However, very flexible heads won’t channel ground balls quite as authoritatively. There’s more ‘give’ when contact is made. You’ll need to supply more energy and motion to wrench ground balls free during scraps.
The ideal faceoff head finds a blend of stiffness and flex. Stringking uses thick scandium and titanium alloys but strategically tapers the sidewalls. This adds flex while retaining ground ball performance. Warrior uses softer injected polymer but focuses on multi-point flex technology. This creates needed stiffness while absorbing checks. Evaluate overall stiffness but also look for heads with multiple flex points across the sidewalls and scoop area. The right blend maximizes ground ball performance and durability.
Faceoff specialists need every competitive edge when battling at the X. Maximizing ground ball control while retaining durability requires a head with ideal stiffness and flex points. Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F use thick but tapered alloys to add stiffness without sacrificing flex. Others like the Warrior Burn FO aim for durability over stiffness. Look for heads with a smart blend of materials and technologies to get ground balls consistently while withstanding facing off abuse.
Pick Proper Pocket Type for Your Play Style
The type of pocket you string into your faceoff head can make a big difference in performance and feel. Shallow pockets optimize ball retention but reduce holding power, while deeper pockets cradle better but sacrifice some control. Finding the right pocket type for your facing off style is crucial.
Shallow pockets with a low pocket and tight channel are ideal if you want to clamp and retain possession, then push or pass quickly out of the faceoff. A Stringking Mark 2F or CEO strung shallow keeps the ball locked in tightly so it doesn’t pop free when facing off or scrapping for ground balls. However, these pockets don’t hold or cradle the ball quite as securely once you start moving up the field.
Deeper pockets allow much better ball control and feel once the faceoff is over. You can cradle and handle the ball better when running off the faceoff fast break or moving into offense. However, deeper pockets in heads like the Warrior Burn FO don’t clamp down and ‘trap’ the ball as tightly during faceoffs. You’ll need to supply more force during the clamp to prevent pops.
Many faceoff specialists string two pockets, keeping a shallow trap pocket for facing off but also a deeper backup option for post-faceoff play. You get the best of both worlds – tight ball control on faceoffs but better feel running off. If stringing two pockets, make sure both pockets are located and anchored in the proper upper sidewall areas for maximum ball control. Consider skip shooting for tighter channel definition.
Choosing the right pocket type ultimately depends on your faceoff style and role within your offense. If you’re a pure FOGO focused on clamping possession then pushing the ball upfield quickly, go for a shallow pocket. If you like taking shots off the draw or dodging off the faceoff, a deeper pocket provides better feel. Or string a shallow primary but a deeper secondary for versatility. Dial in your pocket for success at the X.
Add Faceoff Sidewalls for More Control and Hold
Many of the best faceoff lacrosse heads feature extra sidewall stringing options to let you customize stringing for max clamping power and ball control. Additional leather, nylon or rubberized sidewalls give you more ability to string tight channel pockets critical for facing off success.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F have specially designed sidewalls for adding multiple nylon strings to tighten up the channel. This allows you to string horizontal sidewall knots to tighten the sidewall gap around the ball, increasing clamping power and ball retention. You can also add vertical sidewalls to close the top of the upper channel around the ball when facing off.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO utilize rubberized materials on the sidewalls which increase grip and friction against the ball. This extra grip adds clamping power to help the ball stick on top of the plastic instead of popping free. The rubber also reduces ball rattle within the head so the ball stays locked in tighter.
Standard sidewall configurations don’t maximize ball control like faceoff-specific sidewalls. Many normal heads only allow two nylon sidewalls, which leaves the channel wider and less defined. By adding more horizontal and vertical sidewalls through extra holes or grippy material, the channel can lock down tighter around the ball when facing off for better clamping power.
Evaluate if potential heads offer additional sidewall stringing options or materials. This customization potential allows you to string the tightest channel possible, eliminating extra room around the ball during faceoffs when possession is on the line. Advanced sidewalls let you max out the head’s clamping power and ball control for every faceoff, ground ball, and scrap situation.
Select Lightweight Materials Like Scandium or Titanium Alloys
When facing off, lightweight yet strong materials are ideal for increasing speed and quickness when scrapping for ground balls. Many top faceoff heads now use ultra lightweight alloys like scandium, titanium, and magnesium to shed critical ounces.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F utilize thicker scandium or titanium alloys in their construction. These materials are exponentially stronger than the traditional plastic and nylon used in most heads, allowing the sidewalls and scoops to be thinner and lighter. For example, the Mark 2F weighs in under 5 ounces strung despite its stiff construction.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO and CEO are experimenting with magnesium and other alloys to reduce weight. Magnesium is an incredibly strong but extraordinarily light metal, enabling these heads to optimize stiffness and flex points without extra mass.
Standard nylon and plastic heads weigh much more, usually over 6+ ounces strung. Those extra 2 ounces may not seem like much, but can slow your hand speed, reaction time, and acceleration out of the clamp. Over the course of an entire game taking faceoff after faceoff, lightweight materials make a significant difference.
Every ounce matters when battles at the X come down to tenths-of-seconds and millimeters of ground ball control. Evaluate new heads not just for durability and ball control, but critically analyze the materials used. Scandium, titanium, magnesium – these high-tech alloys optimize the strength-to-weight ratio. Go ultra lightweight without sacrificing stiffness for consistently quicker faceoff wins.
Look for Durable Yet Compliant Scoops for Cradling
An optimal faceoff head needs a scoop that can withstand abuse during scraps and clamps, but also flex and comply with cradling motion. Rigid scoops resist flexing which hinders ball control, while overly flexible scoops loses their shape. Finding the right blend is key.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F use thick scandium and titanium to add stiffness and durability to the scoop and sidewalls. However, intelligent tapering and cutouts allow the scoop to retain some “give” and compliance when cradling. Too much stiffness prevents the scoop from flexing with the ball to cradle smoothly.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO aim for maximum durability and stiffness with the molded polymer construction. The stiffer scoop takes loads of abuse but doesn’t have as much flex. You’ll need to provide more energy and motion from your top hand to cradle smoothly.
The best faceoff scoops balance stiffness for durability against flexibility for compliance and feel. Look for tapered or thinned out areas across the scoop to allow some flex and bend. Also consider flex points or hinges near the throat to isolate scoop flex. Durable yet compliant scoops take abuse during clamps but won’t hinder cradling.
Whether cradling up the field quickly on the fast break or attacking from X, you need a scoop that handles both tasks. Prioritize scoops with strategic cutouts, flex points, or materials that add compliance without sacrificing durability. Durability alone leads to rigid scoops that hinder cradling. Compliance alone leads to weak scoops that deform permanently. Seek out that optimal blend of both qualities.
Seek Heads With Room for Custom Stringing and Topstring
Having ample stringing holes and options is crucial for customizing faceoff heads to suit your playing style. The best heads feature multiple top string holes, sidewall holes, and anchor points for personalized pocket and whip preferences.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F have strategically placed sets of topstring holes all along the sidewall and scoop. This allows you to string custom pocket and whip locations for personalized ball hold and release. You can also thread multiple sidewalls through extra holes to tighten the channel.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO feature wide gaps and generous spacing between each plastic sidewall. This leaves room for creative stringing angles and pocket placements using anchors, double sidewalls, or unique interlocks.
Minimal holes and tight stringing corridors restrict creativity and customization. With all the extra holes, grooves, and spacious sidewall gaps, you can string any desired pocket shape at your preferred height, location, and depth. More room to work translates to better optimization for your specific game.
Don’t settle for heads with limited or restrictive stringing real estate. Between the sidewalls, scoop, and throat, ensure there are holes and wide gaps for total creative control. Whether you like defined mid-pockets, intricate whips, or tight channels, customizable stringing lets you max out performance.
Favor Options With a Focus on Ground Ball Performance
The most critical responsibility of a faceoff head is controlling ground balls off the clamp and during pickups. Opt for heads with technologies and design elements optimized for ground ball performance.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F feature an asymmetrical offset design to dig under ground balls, along with strategically stiff sidewalls to corral rolls and errant scrambles. The head almost funnels the ball into your stick on ground balls.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO use a straight shape but increase grip and friction through rubberized sidewalls. The tacky grip grabs ground balls to prevent rattling around and pops on faceoff clamps.
Generic heads lack specific ground ball enhancements. Traditional shapes and plain plastic materials allow the ball to easily squirt free on faceoffs or rolls. Controlled chaos is the name of the game at the X – choose heads embracing the chaos through unique GB-focused tech.
During battles at the faceoff X, possessions are won and lost by ground ball control. Evaluate heads not just for their durability or feel, but specifically for technologies like offset walls, stiff materials, grip enhancers, and strategic string holes that directly improve ground ball performance. Dominate the loose ball battles with heads purpose-built for ground ball excellence.
Evaluate Widths and Shapes for Different Technique Needs
Faceoff heads come in a variety of widths, shapes, and geometries – each design lends itself better to certain facing off techniques and preferences. Analyze options to find an ideal shape for your style.
Wider heads like the Stringking Mark 2F provide a large clamp and “rake” area for physical scrappers who wrestle for ground balls. The expanded width funnels loose balls directly into your stick for quick control.
Narrower heads like the CEO bite down tightly with the hands for contained clamps and lifts. Less width means quicker rolls, pops, and direction changes to get the ball upfield fast.
Traditional wider midfield heads don’t optimize ground ball control like purpose-built faceoff shapes. Generic shapes also lack focused flex points, stringing holes, and stiff walls that excel at facing off. Dialing in an ideal geometry boosts early clamp success.
Wider shapes suit scrappy grinders who use their stick and body position to rip away ground balls. Narrower shapes benefit quick handed faceoff guys who swiftly pop and lift balls upfield. Match your style of play to the optimal head width, geometry, and face shape for consistent possessions off the whistle.
Check for Chin Rests to Improve Clamping Ability
Specialized chin rests allow you to clamp down with maximum force when facing off, improving early ball control and retention. Opt for heads with integrated rests to boost your power and leverage.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F have built-in tapered chin rests located just below the scoop. Resting your chin on this platform when facing off lets you push forward hard with your legs to drive clamping power through your stick.
Other heads like the CEO leave the chin rest area open for stringing custom rests. You can interlock sidewall strings to create your own platform area for resting your chin during faceoffs.
Heads without chin rests make it hard to drive your body weight and leverage through the stick when clamping. Your chin slips off the smooth plastic, reducing clamp force. Integrated or custom rests solve this issue.
Look for heads that either incorporate a chin rest into the design, or provide ample room to interlock a custom rest during stringing. Applying your full body and leg drive into the chin rest transfers maximum power into the clamp – the first step towards faceoff dominance.
Pick Options With Strategic Vent Hole Placements
Vent holes seem simple, but their placement impacts stiffness, flex, and weight distribution. Optimal faceoff heads strategically integrate vent holes to enhance ground ball control.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F place vents across the sidewalls and scoop to target flex and directional stiffness. Vents on one sidewall increase flex for scooping ground balls, while fewer vents on the other maximize stiffness for clamping and ball retention.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO focus vents in the throat area. This retains stiffness in the scoop walls for durability, while adding flex at the neck to help absorb checks during play.
Generic heads with random vents just add ventilation without considering structural impacts. Vent holes go beyond cooling – their placement fine-tunes performance. Vents shouldn’t be an afterthought but an intentional design choice.
Treat vent analysis like stringing. Where you place vents, how many, and their shape directly impacts stiffness, flex points, and weight distribution. Dialing in vent holes through engineering optimizes ground ball control while retaining shape and strength in key areas like the scoop and sidewalls.
Look for Brands Used by Elite College and Pro Faceoff Specialists
The best endorsement for a faceoff head’s performance comes from usage at the highest levels. Opt for heads proven successful by top NCAA and MLL faceoff dominators.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F are used by standouts like TD Ierlan at Yale and Joe Nardella formerly of the Whipsnakes. Their success facing off against other D1 and pro studs proves the head’s ability to win key matchups.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO are favored by top faceoff guys like Trevor Baptiste formerly of Denver. Seeing these heads perform under pressure instills confidence in their design and tech.
Unknown niche brands without proven success against elite competition are risky. You want heads that have been battle-tested and vetted for ground ball excellence at the highest levels. Go with established options favored by the best in the business.
Seeing heads like the Stringking, Warrior, and Nike designs used by D1 and pro stars shows that the tech delivers when it matters most. Their stamp of approval after facing top opponents all season long speaks volumes. Follow suit with the heads proven to perform under bright lights.
Consider Replaceable Parts to Extend Faceoff Head Lifespan
Replaceable scoops, sidewalls, and other components allow you to prolong the life of your head and customize performance. Maintain peak condition without buying new heads as often.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F feature a detachable screw-in scoop that can be swapped out when worn down. This prevents you from having to replace the entire head due to scoop damage, saving money.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO have detachable and replaceable sidewalls. As the sidewalls weaken from continual ground ball abuse, you can swap in new walls to restore clamping power and channel shape.
Non-replaceable parts force you to buy entirely new heads once any area wears down excessively. With interchangeable components, you can replace only what’s damaged and retain overall structural integrity much longer.
Replaceable parts aren’t just for convenience or cost savings, they also allow performance customization over time. Swap in stiffer scoops or higher sidewalls to alter flex and stiffness as you desire. Seek out heads with detachable pieces for extended lifespan and tuning.
Compare Costs to Find the Best Value Faceoff Lacrosse Head
Specialized faceoff heads carry a premium, but offer technologies you won’t find in generic options. Compare pricing and features to determine the best value for your budget.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F fetch $95+ for their ultra lightweight scandium/titanium alloy construction. This premium pricing reflects advanced materials that shed critical grams of weight.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO retail for around $75, slotting them more as a mid-tier option. They utilize proven tech but with less exotic materials to optimize value.
Generic heads can be had for under $50 in many cases, but lack the focused faceoff features. Cutting cost comes from using standard materials in straightforward designs better suited to general play.
Raw price shouldn’t be the only consideration – analyze the technologies you’re getting for the money. Lightweight alloys, flexible sidewalls, strategic string holes and other features carry value. Weigh costs against the design and component upgrades for your budget.
Read Reviews to Choose a Faceoff Head That Fits Your Needs
With so many new heads releasing offering unique tech and customization, reading reviews provides key insights you can’t get from just specs alone. Dive into feedback to make the right choice.
Heads like the Stringking Mark 2F draw rave reviews for their ultra lightweight but stiff alloy construction. Users praise the ground ball control and quick release. Potential downsides like less versatility are also revealed.
Other heads like the Warrior Burn FO earn kudos for the rubberized sidewalls aiding clamping and hold. Reviewers mention the softer throat requires more break-in time but improves durability long-term.
Specs don’t tell the whole story – unbiased reviews highlight real-world performance feedback you can’t glean from charts alone. Take both positives and negatives into account to determine ideal pros/cons based on your game.
Rather than just buying based on brand recognition or budget, use reviews to dig deeper into a head’s specific strengths and weaknesses. Match those findings against your playing style, technique, and skill level to make the optimal choice.