Choose the Right Length for Your Position
When selecting a Gait Ice lacrosse shaft, one of the most important considerations is choosing the right length based on your position on the field. Attackmen and midfielders generally opt for shorter shafts in the 30-42 inch range to allow for quicker stick handling and improved ball control in tight spaces. Defenders prefer longer shafts between 52-72 inches that provide extended reach for checking opponents and intercepting passes.
For attackmen, a shaft length of around 30-36 inches provides excellent maneuverability for dodging defenders and shooting in close quarters. The shorter length gives you quicker hands for stick tricks, allows you to shield the ball more effectively on drives to the cage, and offers enhanced accuracy on quick release shots.
Midfielders have more versatility in their shaft length selection based on individual style of play and team strategy. A midpoint range of 38-42 inches enables strong cradling during transitional play as you move the ball upfield. It also gives you enough stick control for scrappy ground ball battles at the face-off X. Some midfielders like to go even shorter for tighter stick work, while others bump up near defender length for extended pokes and passing lanes.
No matter what position you play, be sure to test out different Gait Ice lacrosse shaft lengths during practice to find your ideal fit. Consider your individual strengths, the level you play at, and how the shaft length affects your fundamentals. With the right length dialed in, you’ll maximize your performance on the field.
Consider Weight and Balance for Quick Sticks
One of the key factors to consider when selecting a Gait Ice lacrosse shaft is finding one with the ideal weight and balance for your quick stick shooting and passing. A lighter shaft allows you to move your stick more swiftly, getting your hands in and out of tight spaces against defenders. But you also need enough heft to create torque and deliver powerful checks and shots. The balance point along the shaft length also affects feel and control.
For attackmen and midfielders focused on stick skills, a ultra-lightweight composite or alloy shaft between 150-200 grams can provide that quick release you need for blistering shots and no-look feeds. This lets you whip your stick through cradles and transfers with less drag. A shaft with a balance point closer to the head also quickens your hands, while more mid-balanced options offer a fulcrum point for added power.
Defenders lean towards heavier durable alloy shafts in the 200-300 gram range since they take — and dish out — so much punishment. The extra weight allows them to throw stronger checks that knock opponents off stride. A center-balanced shaft gives them leverage to control the middle of the field. Goalies also favor heavier sticks to flick away shots with authority.
No matter your position, test out the feel of different Gait Ice shafts during passing, shooting and live drills. Move the stick around and get a sense of the speed of your hands based on weight and balance. Dialing in the proper heft and balance for your game can take your quick stick fundamentals to the next level.
Pick Composite Over Alloy for Durability
When selecting a Gait Ice lacrosse shaft, one of the big material considerations is composite versus alloy construction. Advanced composite shafts made of materials like carbon fiber, kevlar, and fiberglass offer superior durability and a longer lifespan compared to aluminum alloy models. Their durability comes from the resin matrix binding the composite material, making them highly resistant to denting, bending, and weathering. Alloy shafts based on aircraft grade aluminum provide good strength at a lower price point, but they tend to degrade faster from checks, slashes, and exposure to rain and moisture.
For elite level players competing against physical defenders, the extra durability and longevity of composite Gait Ice shafts makes them well worth the investment. They maintain their pop and responsiveness season after season, while alloy models are more prone to developing lead and whip over time. Goalies also favor composite for standing up to rifle shots.
Another advantage of composites is their weather-resistant properties for maintaining stick feel and performance in all conditions. Alloy shafts can become slick when wet. Composite also provides more customization options and technologies like vibration damping for improved comfort and control.
The decision depends on your budget and willingness to pay up for premium performance and longevity. For most competitive players, especially at the high school, college, and pro levels, opting for advanced composite construction over standard alloys is advised. The extra seasons of playability justify the higher initial cost for a Gait Ice lacrosse shaft built to last.
Go for a Smooth Glossy Finish for Better Ball Control
When choosing a Gait Ice lacrosse shaft, pay close attention to the exterior finish and how it impacts overall ball control. Shafts come in a variety of finishes from smooth glossy coats to grippy matte textures. For elite stick skills, a super smooth glossy finish allows the ball to slide effortlessly up and down the shaft during cradling, quick sticks, and shooting. The slick surface provides less friction against the ball for crisper handling and passing.
A glossy polyurethane or vinyl coating on composites like the Gait Ice provides an ultra-smooth finish for premium feel and increased control. The polished look also gives the shaft an aggressive style. For alloy models, an anodized finish protects against corrosion while maintaining a slick exterior.
While some players opt for tactile gripping textures for inclement weather play, smooth glossy finishes are ideal for dry conditions when you want the ball moving freely. The slick finish lets you sell defenders with convincing ball fakes as you roll the ball smoothly across your shoulders or switch hands behind your back seamlessly. It also improves catching on the run and quickly transitioning from cradling to passing or shooting.
Test out the difference in ball control between glossy and textured finishes during stick work drills and shooting. For training your hands and developing next level stick skills, a super slick glossy shaft like the Gait Ice allows you to take your game to the highest level through enhanced feel and ball control. The finish subtly improves touch for crisper feeds, fearsome shots, and ankle-breaking moves.
Choose Strong Sidewalls for Powerful Checks
When selecting a Gait Ice lacrosse shaft, pay close attention to the sidewall strength and construction. The sidewalls play a key role in transferring energy from your hands through the shaft into powerful checks against opponents. Stronger sidewalls allow you to lay harder slashes without compromising durability. Advanced sidewall technologies like double-wall construction are ideal for aggressive defensive play.
On elite shafts like the Gait Ice, robust composite sidewalls made of interlaced kevlar or carbon fiber strands provide next-level strength and stability. Their interwoven layered design makes them highly rigid while retaining flex for shot speed. Double-wall construction adds an extra composite layer for even more fortified sidewalls.
Sturdy space-age sidewalls allow pole defenders to unleash punishing pokes, lifts, and body checks that knock attackers off balance and dislodge the ball. They also enable driving clears and locking down cutters in transition. For long stick midfielders, robust sidewalls provide a key advantage in physical ground ball scrums.
Be sure to test sidewall strength during checking and live drills. Look for minimal vibration or noise on impact. When you make contact, energy should transfer cleanly through solid sidewalls, not get lost to flexion or reverberation. Elite strength for elite checks gives you a physical edge over opponents and better disrupts their offense.
Get an Aggressive Taper for Faster Shot Speeds
One key factor in lacrosse shaft performance is the taper design from top to bottom. More aggressive tapers with more dramatic drop-offs provide increased shot speed and ball velocity. When selecting a Gait Ice shaft, look for taper profiles optimized for generating high-power shots. A harsh taper loads energy as you bring the stick through the catch, adding whip to your shooting motion.
Many elite shafts like the Gait Ice feature a taper that quickly slims down near the throat of the head. This enables increased flex and whip generation for players looking to crank cannon shots on goal. Attackmen benefit most from an extreme taper, though middies can also utilize the design for ripping sidearm lasers from up top.
To test out taper impact, take a series of shots with the same head and mesh using different shaft tapers. Look for designs where the top hand placement provides stability for shooting accuracy, while the throat area can maximize downward flex and recoil speed. An aggressive shaft gives you quicker acceleration into the catch and more energy transfer for smoking shots.
Dialing in the right taper design allows players to fully optimize their shooting mechanics and generate maximum ball speed. While beginners benefit from more gradual tapers for control, experienced shooters can handle extreme tapers that catapult shot velocity to the next level.
Add Textures for Superior Grip in All Conditions
While smooth glossy finishes provide excellent ball control, some players opt for textured lacrosse shafts for enhanced grip, especially in wet conditions. When selecting a Gait Ice shaft, consider adding tactile grip features to improve handling. Strategic grip textures allow you to cradle and pass with confidence even in the rain, snow, or humidity.
Many elite shafts offer optional grip coatings in key areas on the upper handle and near the butt end. This provides tactile control where you need it most while maintaining smooth ball play. Some textures include spiral micro-ribbing that runs vertically up the shaft, providing almost a barbell grip. Others use grippy pads or tape in high-wear areas.
Testing out grip options in wet weather is key. Look for textures that maintain secure control without overly hindering smooth distribution. More grip below hand placement is optimal to resist sliding. Also ensure any grip coatings are durable and don’t degrade over time.
Dialing in strategic gripping textures allows you to play through all conditions across an entire season confidently. The textures provide an extra degree of control when you need it, helping excel despite the elements.
Pick Stiffness Level Based on Your Playing Style
One of the most important factors when selecting a Gait Ice lacrosse shaft is dialing in the right flex profile and stiffness level for your game. Lacrosse shafts come in a range of flex options from rigid to extremely whippy, providing power or control respectively. Determine the right blend of stiffness based on your position, mechanics, and how you like to play.
For example, elite offensive players focused on shooting power tend to prefer a stiffer, more rigid shaft construction with minimal whip and flexion. This directs more energy straight into the head during shooting for maximum velocity. Defenders also benefit from stiffer shafts that provide better checking power and control when jostling for ground balls.
On the other hand, developing players looking to enhance their stick skills and passing prefer more forgiving intermediate to soft flex shafts. The increased whip allows them to develop proper mechanics with more margin for error. It also aids in passing, allowing the shaft to flex and spring the ball out of the pocket.
Be sure to test different stiffness levels to find your ideal flex and power. Consider balancing trade-offs between precision, power, and developing technical skills when dialling in flex. An ideal shaft matches your level, skillset and playing style.
Get a Shaft with Precision Flex Points for Accuracy
High-performance lacrosse shafts like the Gait Ice utilize engineered flex points to improve shooting and passing accuracy. By tuning the shaft to flex in precise areas, it creates more consistent shot pockets and better ball control. Look for shafts integrating advanced technologies to optimize flex.
Many elite shafts tweak wall thickness, sidewall design, and composite make-up to control bend zones. For example, some shafts concentrate whip lower down to increase hold and aim on shots. Others focus flex higher up to assist cradling and quick stick passes on the run.
Testing out various flex zone designs helps you find your optimal ball placement and accuracy. Dialing in superior control takes repetition and getting a feel for how the shaft reacts during mechanics. Precision flex points provide a subtle advantage you’ll notice in catching, shooting, and dishing the rock more consistently.
While beginners benefit from uniform flex, experienced players can take advantage of strategically tuned flex points for next-level precision. Combined with practice and skill development, advanced shaft technologies provide an edge to take your passing and shooting percentages to the next tier.
Choose an Eye-catching Design for Intimidation
In addition to performance factors, many players also consider aesthetics when selecting a new Gait Ice lacrosse shaft. While functionality comes first, you want a shaft that looks and feels tailored to your style of play. Bold colors and head-turning designs give you confidence and can intimidate opponents.
Many elite shafts feature tribal patterns, logos, and neon accent colors for styling that pops. The vivid designs make you stand out on the field and get in the other team’s head. A brash scheme also gives your stick personality and character. It shows you take pride in your gear.
While clean understated looks have their appeal, adding some flare gives your game swagger. Match the design to your personality and team colors. Look for detailing that makes your stick an extension of your identity and enhances your mentality. A fierce style matched with your skills elevates you above the competition.
Bring your shaft to practice and see if your teammates react to its eye-catching look. Test if going bright or minimal motivates you more. While performance comes first, don’t underestimate the power of aesthetics in giving you an edge. Turn heads and intimidate foes with bold Gait Ice style.
Opt for a Matte Finish for Glare Reduction
While glossy lacrosse shafts provide excellent ball control, the high-shine finish can produce annoying glare in bright lighting conditions. To reduce glare, some players prefer matte finish options like those offered on Gait Ice shafts. The muted look helps improve visibility.
Matte finishes use textured coatings and paints to scatter light rather than directly reflect it. This diffused finish significantly cuts down on bright hot spots and glare spots that can hinder your vision, especially on sunny days or under stadium lights. It allows you to track the ball better with less distraction.
Players report greater comfort playing with matte lacrosse shafts since the finish reduces eye strain. The benefit is most noticeable for goalies staring down shooters as they wind up. But all positions benefit from minimized glare and improved sight lines in all lighting conditions.
Be sure to test matte versus glossy finishes across various times of day to gauge the glare reduction impact. While less stylish, a matte shaft provides functional benefits across positions in any arena. Dialing in the right finish improves visibility for consistently sharper vision and better overall play.
Ensure Excellent Construction Quality for Longevity
When investing in an elite lacrosse shaft like the Gait Ice, it’s crucial to inspect construction quality to ensure longevity across seasons of play. Top-tier shafts utilize meticulous engineering and manufacturing for superb durability over the long haul.
From high-grade aerospace materials to advanced composite layering techniques, premium shafts are built to last. Robust space-age designs withstand season after season of checks, hacks, and inclement weather. Proper quality testing also ensures consistency across production runs.
Inspect graphics alignments, seam smoothness, symmetry, and flex balance in-hand to gauge construction precision. Small imperfections point to looser tolerances. Check for any weak points or gaps in layering along the sidewalls. Top composites feel rock solid all around.
Also ask teammates how new their shaft looks after a season or two of heavy use. Elite construction shows minimal degradation or performance loss over time. With a well-built shaft like the Gait Ice, you get season after season of consistent elite play as it holds up physically and retains pop.
Don’t settle for anything less than exceptional construction quality in your lacrosse shaft. Your gear should match the care and precision you put into your game. Demand enduring excellence by selecting shafts built to last at the highest level.
Select the Proper Diameter Profile for Comfort
An often overlooked factor in lacrosse shaft selection is optimizing the diameter profile for superior comfort and control. Shafts come in a range of handle diameters, tapers, and dimensions to accommodate different hand sizes and gripping styles. Take time to find your ideal fit.
Test out different shaped grips and thickness levels during intense practice sessions. Look for a diameter that allows secure grip and quick sticks without cramping your hands, even when wet. Having the optimal handle size dialed in boosts performance through four quarters of play.
For players with smaller hands, slender handles around 0.5 inches may be ideal for easy control. Those with bigger mitts usually prefer meatier 0.75-1 inch grips. Taller players also often opt for an extended bottom handle for extra leverage when cradling. Custom adjustable plugs provide even more personalization.
Don’t simply default to a generic shaft diameter. Experiment with different grip shapes and dimensions during live action to determine your ideal lacrosse shaft handle for uncompromising comfort and performance. Enhancing your connection through smart ergonomics provides a subtle but noticeable advantage.
Look for Advanced Vibration Dampening Features
To reduce fatigue and improve comfort, advanced lacrosse shafts integrate enhanced vibration dampening technologies. Features like multi-layer composites, foam inserts, and polymer buffers help absorb shock, impact, and sting. This allows for better ball feel and control.
Premium shafts from Gait utilize lightweight aerospace-grade composites layered in optimal configurations to isolate and reduce vibrations. Some models incorporate internal foam or rubberized grip inserts to further dampen sting. Cushioned graphics and strategic polymer placements also dissipate shock.
Testing out various dampening technologies during intense practice helps you gauge their impact on fatigue. Look for a smooth, muted feel on checks and passes without a sharp sting. Proper dampening allows you to play harder for longer with less negative feedback or reverberation in your hands.
While new players may not notice subtle vibration differences initially, they become more apparent over time and during games. Seeking out shafts engineered for ideal dampening and comfort provides a performance advantage you’ll appreciate as skills improve.
Research How Pro Players Customize Theirs
One great strategy when selecting your next Gait Ice lacrosse shaft is researching how the pros customize their setups. Elite players extensively test and tweak their shafts to optimize every advantage possible. Study their specs and modifications for insight.
Many pros opt for ultra-lightWEIGHT shafts under 180 grams for maximum speed. Several snip an inch or two off factory length for increased ball control. Others re-tape their upper grip area for superior handling. Some add aftermarket rubber grips or auxiliary sidewall buffers for comfort and protection.
You’ll also notice pros matching their shaft flex and balance precisely to their position and individual style of play. Watch film and read interviews to understand their thought process when dialing in gear. Adapt insights from their customization process to your own specs and mechanics.
While few play at the pro level, learning how the best lacrosse athletes on the planet optimize their equipment provides helpful perspective. Implementing similar thoughtful, performance-focused customizations allows you to extract every advantage from your setup. With lacrosse, incremental improvements in gear make a meaningful difference. Study and implement pros’ customizations to take your game up a notch.