Finding the perfect youth lacrosse stick can be a daunting task for parents of aspiring young players. With so many options on the market, it’s tough to know where to start. As the 2023 season approaches, here’s an inside look at the 15 must-have features to consider when choosing a youth lax stick for your budding superstar.
Choosing the Right Youth Lacrosse Shaft
The lacrosse shaft is often overlooked, but choosing the right one is critical. Opt for a durable yet lightweight alloy or composite shaft that meets age and size requirements. Flex and stiffness impact passing, shooting, and cradling – important to get right! For beginners, a fixed, non-adjustable shaft allows them to focus on developing skills rather than adjusting their stick constantly.
As kids grow and progress, upgrade to an adjustable shaft. This allows lengthening the stick as they grow taller. Look for quality screws that hold up under frequent adjusting. An octagon shaft helps promote proper hand placement for excellent stick skills.
Lightweight and Balanced
Heavier lax sticks wear out little arms quickly. Look for ultra lightweight composite, alloy, or titanium shafts under 100 grams. Counterbalance the shaft and head to prevent fatigue during play. A balanced youth stick improves performance all over the field.
Proper Stick Length
Length corresponds directly to age and height. Check manufacturer guidelines, but generally stick length equals the height of the player minus about 6 inches. This allows free arm movement and full extension. Long poles for defense can wait until later years after fundamentals are established.
Stick Stiffness and Flex
Stiffness improves ball control, passing, and shooting power. As skills progress, a flexible “whip” shaft generates velocity for blistering shots on goal. For beginners, err on the stiffer side for enhanced performance early on. Ease into more flex as stick handling improves over time.
Choosing the Best Youth Lacrosse Head
The lacrosse stick head is vital for scooping, cradling, passing, and shooting. While small details differ, focus first on basics:
- Comfortable, rounded frame shape
- Lightweight durable construction
- Legal sidewall dimensions per rules
- Adequate width for good ball control
- Quick break-in for enhanced handling
Hard mesh pockets with nylon thread deliver excellent performance once broken-in. Softer varieties pocket balls easier initially. Consider player age, skill level, and position needs when selecting the ideal head.
Traditional leather and synthetic pockets require more breaking in than popular pre-strung mesh.Mesh facilitates confident catching and improved feel. PACK easier initially, but mesh outperforms long-term. Allow young players to choose style based on personal preference and comfort.
Complete Stick Sets
Complete youth stick sets with heads and shafts designed to work together take guesswork out of sizing. Brands like STX, Maverik, and Warrior create sets meeting size guidelines at every age and stage. Sets ensure proper fit as kids grow year after year.
Personalize sticks with colorful tape, stickers, and custom stringing. This builds attachment and pride. Add decoys matching team colors and logos to build team spirit! Enhance performance and safety with protective end caps.
Goalie vs. Field Sticks
Goalies need extra protection from blistering shots. Look for thicker shafts and enhanced shielding in heads. Wider heads and deeper pockets help goalies intercept and control rebounds. Sturdier construction prevents warping during play.
Boys vs. Girls Sticks
Variances accommodate different styles and strategies. Lower pockets and more flex work for finesse games often seen in girls lacrosse. Options with higher pockets and more stiffness align better with hard, physical boy’s play.
Sticks By Position
Midfielders sprint endlessly, so light short sticks are best. Defensive long poles help protect the cage. Precision shooters need stiff sticks that cradle smoothly. Experienced coaches guide ideal specs for each spot on the field.
Care and Maintenance
Check screws and tape regularly, re-tightening and re-wrapping as needed. Store sticks safely to prevent damage. Wash gently with warm water and mild detergent to prevent dirt buildup. Condition leather pockets to increase longevity.
Choosing the perfect youth lacrosse stick involves many factors. Careful selection provides the right tool for developing skills and confidence in aspiring young superstars. With the right stick, endless hours of practice transform beginners into tomorrow’s lacrosse champions.
When selecting the best youth lacrosse head, parents and players need to consider several key factors to find the ideal match. The head impacts handling, control, passing, catching, scooping, and shooting performance. While stylish colors and designs matter, focus first on function when evaluating your options.
Selecting the Best Youth Lacrosse Head
Start by considering the age and skill level of the player. Beginner and intermediate players need a head that offers excellent ball control as they develop fundamental stick skills. Look for a medium-width head with a rounded frame shape that fits the ball securely.
For youth players with better stick skills, a slightly narrower head provides more of a quick-release “whip” motion that generates velocity on passes and shots. The best heads have just the right blend of ball control and ball-release action.
Getting the Right Fit
Heads must be regulation size for the player’s age group and level of play. Many tournaments and leagues require meeting sizing guidelines, so confirm what is approved. Measure width and length carefully. A head that is too large hinders handling and control.
In addition to size, evaluate the overall frame design. Rounded shapes promote excellent ball control for youth players. More angular designs geared toward elite high school and college players may not be the best choice for youth just learning the game.
Today’s youth heads offer fantastic durability thanks to space-age alloys, composites, and plastics. Look for heads made with sturdy yet lightweight materials that can handle rough play from rambunctious youngsters. Quality youth heads should hold up for at least a full season of action.
Avoid flimsy heads prone to warping that quickly lose their shape and handling. Premium materials may cost a bit more but deliver much longer lifespan and sustained high performance over cheaply made options.
As exciting as it is to buy a new stick each season, adjustable heads allow players to modify performance as they grow and skills progress. Quick release screws make it a breeze to widen or tighten the throat as needed.
Upgradeable sidewall stringing options enable enhancing the pocket design over time. The best adjustables grow along with aspiring young superstars saving parents from frequent expensive purchases.
Quick Break-In Time
Heads with stiffer sidewalls and tighter pinches often require substantial break-in time before optimal handling and control are achieved. Look for designs allowing a “quick release” break-in measured in days or weeks rather than months.
Quicker break-in times build confidence for youth players as they experience enhanced feel and ball control. Proper pocket design also facilitates quicker break-in for peak performance in less time.
Choosing the best youth lacrosse head involves balancing key factors like fit, materials, adjustability, shape, and break-in time. With so many great options available today, young lacrosse stars are sure to find the perfect head to take their game to the next level.
Finding a Lightweight Youth Lacrosse Stick
As the youth lacrosse season approaches, players and parents alike start thinking about gear for the upcoming year. One of the most important pieces of equipment is a properly sized lacrosse stick that provides the right balance of durability, weight and handling for a growing lax player. I’ve put together this guide to help you find the best lightweight stick for your young athlete heading into the 2023 season.
Why Weight Matters
Lacrosse sticks come in a wide range of weights, with some shafts and heads tipping the scales at over 1 pound. While a heavier stick might work fine for high school or college players, it can be cumbersome and tiring for younger kids still developing strength and coordination. The extra weight can slow down their shots, passes and cradling. It’s a lot to handle!
The right youth stick should weigh between 10-15 ounces total. This keeps it light enough for speedy handling, but with enough heft for solid passing and shooting. Durability is also key since those sticks take a beating, so finding the ideal balance of lightweight yet sturdy materials is essential.
Choosing the Right Shaft
The shaft is the “handle” of the lacrosse stick that players grip and maneuver. While most shafts weigh around 5-7 ounces, junior models are typically 3-5 ounces. The main options are aluminum, composite, titanium and alloy shafts. Alloy and titanium tend to be the lightest while retaining strength. Composite shafts with carbon fiber or polymer construction are another great lightweight choice.
Look for flex and stiffness ratings too. Youth players benefit from more flex and “give” while cradling and passing. Avoid super stiff shafts meant for face-offs and defense. Instead, find a shaft with a beginner/intermediate flex rating around 50-70. This helps amplify ball speed on shots without being too whippy.
Picking the Perfect Head
Lacrosse heads come in a range of styles – mid/high-school, college and elite/pro levels. For youth players, mid-school heads offer shallower pockets and slimmer profiles. They’re sized for smaller hands with tighter stringing for improved control. Materials like polymer and nylon fibers keep the weight down vs. college heads made from thicker plastics and metals.
Pocket shape and depth are other considerations. Pre-strung heads with a mid/shallow “V” pocket are ideal for beginners. This pocket style makes scooping, cradling and passing much easier vs. a deep pocket. Just check league rules on pocket depths for age groups.
When paired with the right lightweight shaft, these junior heads can create a stick weighing as little as 8-12 ounces. Be sure to factor in stringing material too, like nylon over traditional leathers. Every ounce counts when cutting weight for youth players!
Putting It All Together
The final step is attaching the head to the shaft using tape, glue or a screw. If needed, shafts can be cut down to proper size. Then lace on some end cap tape for grip and you’ve got a complete youth stick ready for action. With the right head and shaft combination minimizes fatigue, while instilling confidence and enhancing skill development.
While pricier than adult sticks, buying a thoughtfully engineered youth lacrosse stick is a wise investment. With the right stick in their hands, young athletes will have endless hours of fun ahead scoring goals, dishing assists and representing their team. The added control and command from a lightweight design allows them to focus on improving fundamentals and mastering techniques as their aptitude grows. Before you know it, they’ll be ready to trade up to an intermediate stick and dominate on the field!
Getting the Proper Stick Length for Your Child’s Age
As a parent of an aspiring young lacrosse player, one of the most important considerations is getting the right stick length for their age and size. Having a stick that is sized appropriately will allow them to develop proper fundamentals and gain confidence on the field. Here’s a guide to help determine the ideal length based on your child’s age and height.
Why Stick Length Matters
Using a stick that is too long or short can negatively impact performance. An oversized stick is challenging to control and maneuver. It forces players to reach and strain, throwing off cradling, scooping, passing and shooting mechanics. Conversely, undersized sticks hinder a player’s reach and power. With less surface area for catching and throwing, it’s tougher to corral passes and deliver velocity on shots.
The optimal length amplifies leverage and control while minimizing fatigue. Properly sized, players can swing and handle the stick freely without restriction. This builds confidence, enhances skill development and simply makes the game more fun!
Length Guidelines by Age
General stick length recommendations are:
- 5-8 years old: 37″ – 42″
- 9-11 years old: 40″ – 48″
- 12-13 years old: 47″ – 52″
- 14+ years old: 52″ – 72″
However, age is just one factor. Height, arm span and position also determine ideal length. Defenders tend to benefit from longer sticks for poke checks and intercepting passes. Meanwhile, shorter sticks provide better ball control for attackers.
Getting the Right Fit
The best way to size a stick is to have your child hold it with arms relaxed at their side. The head should come to their waist or hip area. Another method is to have them grasp the end and extend the stick straight out. It should reach between the tip of their nose and just over the top of their head.
Err on the shorter side if they fall between lengths. Give them room to grow into the stick over the season vs. starting with one that is too large. Keep re-evaluating as they progress in the sport and hit growth spurts.
With adjustable shafts and interchangeable heads, it’s easy to modify stick length. Simply switching shafts or removing the end cap can yield another 1-3 inches as needed. This fine tuning helps dial in the optimal dimensions as kids develop.
The Right Start
Starting out with a properly fitted lacrosse stick is the first step in your child’s development. Take the time to get the sizing right and you’ll give them the best opportunity for success through fundamentals and confidence. With a stick length tailored to their current size and skills, the stage is set for a fun, exciting season ahead mastering the game they love!
Understanding Stick Flex and Stiffness
When shopping for a youth lacrosse stick, you’ll see terminology about “flex” and “stiffness” used to describe shafts. This refers to how bendable or rigid the shaft is when force is applied. Finding the right flex and stiffness rating is key for optimal performance and skills development.
Why Flex Matters
Proper flex allows the shaft to “give” as players cradle, pass, catch and shoot. Some bend enhances feel, control and pocketing of the ball. Increased flex also boosts shot speed as the shaft acts like a slingshot whipping the ball forward on shots. For youth players, more flex makes it easier to execute fundamentals until strength builds over time.
Conversely, shafts that are too stiff hinder ball control skills. Without any bend, the ball will bounce out of the pocket more easily. It also forces young players to overcompensate with their arms and hands rather than using a natural, fluid motion.
Reading the Labels
Manufacturers rate lacrosse shaft flex or stiffness on a numeric scale – usually starting around 50 for max flex and increasing up to 100+ for very stiff models. Youth shafts typically have a beginner/intermediate rating in the 50-70 range. Here’s a general guide to ratings:
- 50-60: Maximum Flex, Beginner Youth
- 60-70: Intermediate Flex, Advanced Youth
- 70-80: Medium Stiffness, Entry Level HS
- 80-100+: Stiff, College/Pro Level
Higher numbers indicate increased stiffness and resistance to bending. Anything above 80 would be too rigid and uncomfortable for most young players.
Choosing What’s Right
Consider your child’s age, size and skill level when choosing flex. Younger or entry level players do best with more whip and bend in the 50-60 range. As they get older and stronger, look for intermediate flex shafts in the 60-70 category to allow for more advanced techniques.
Also factor in position – midfielders tend to prefer a “medium” stiffness around 70 for quicker feeds and shots between the lines. Meanwhile, attackmen opt for more flex in the 60s for superior ball control around the crease.
No matter what, proper flex should minimize fatigue and make fundamental stick skills feel smooth and natural. With the right flex and stiffness, handling the ball will become second nature in no time!
Budget-Friendly Youth Lacrosse Sticks Under $100
Gearing up for youth lacrosse doesn’t have to break the bank. While premium sticks run over $150, there are high quality budget options under $100. With smart shopping, you can outfit your young athlete and stay within a reasonable price range.
Here are my top picks for affordable yet durable youth lacrosse sticks priced under a Benjamin:
Maverik Optik Youth Stick
Maverik is one of the top lacrosse brands, and the Optik is their budget-priced youth stick. The composite shaft has intermediate stiffness and flex for excellent handling. The head provides a mid-depth pocket for superior control. Cool graphics offer style kids love too.
This versatile stick from STX has an alloy handle and a strung head with a mid-level pocket. The price is nice, but it doesn’t skimp on quality. A great choice for a first stick that will last through years of youth play.
Brine Clutch Rise
Brine outfitted the Clutch Rise with a composite shaft and mid-tier head designed for intermediate players. It’s lightweight, durable and ready for play right out of the wrapper. Tons of value for the money.
Warrior Nemesis 2 Youth
The Nemesis 2 from Warrior Lacrosse utilizes a strong yet nimble alloy handle with textures for grip. The head has a shape and stringing ideal for developing skills. It’s ready to rock right off the shelf.
Nike Vapor Lax 3 Pack
Can’t decide on just one stick? Nike’s 3 pack includes two short sticks and one long stick covering all the bases. Fiberglass shafts and synthetic leather heads offer everything needed for practice and games.
While lower priced, these sticks still offer key features like lightweight shafts, flexible heads with proper pocket depths and durable construction. With the right stick, young players build skills and confidence each time they step on the field. Quality gear doesn’t have to devastate your wallet thanks to these budget youth options.
Premium Youth Lacrosse Sticks for Elite Players
As the temperatures rise and spring returns, young lacrosse players across the country are eagerly anticipating the start of a new season. For elite youth players with dreams of playing lacrosse at the highest levels, having the right equipment is crucial for success on the field. This is especially true when it comes to lacrosse sticks, which can greatly impact a player’s level of play. While there are many excellent lacrosse sticks on the market designed for youth and junior players, finding the absolute best lacrosse stick takes some research. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the top premium lacrosse sticks that young lacrosse superstars should have in their bags for the 2023 season.
The Anatomy of a Great Youth Lacrosse Stick
All lacrosse sticks have two main components – the head and the shaft. For youth players, the optimal head has a narrower face and tighter sidewalls, allowing for greater ball control and quick, accurate passes and shots. As players get older and advance to higher levels of play, head designs widen to meet regulations. The shaft is the “handle” of the stick, and high-end shafts for elite youth players are lightweight and offer excellent flexibility and responsiveness.
When shopping for an elite youth lacrosse stick, durability is also key. Young players are tough on their equipment, so opting for a stick constructed from materials like composite alloy metals will keep it in play far longer. Enhanced weatherproofing is another useful feature, ensuring the stick won’t degrade from exposure to the elements during practices and games.
The Warrior Nemesis Youth Lacrosse Shaft
Warrior makes some of the most popular lacrosse shafts on the market, and for good reason. The Warrior Nemesis youth shaft has incredible touch and feel, with a gripped texture and tactile sandblast finish for ultimate ball control. Weighing in at an ultralight 5.5 ounces, the Nemesis allows players to move their sticks quickly during cradling, passing, and shooting. It’s constructed from Warrior’s Zone Flex alloy handle, giving it the perfect blend of stiffness and flex. An angled end cap improves accuracy, while Warrior’s SlideTrac system lets players customize their grip. From box lacrosse to elite travel teams, the Nemesis gives youth players an edge.
The Maverik Kinetik Youth Lacrosse Head
Pair the Nemesis shaft with Maverik’s Kinetik head for an unstoppable youth lacrosse stick combo. The Kinetik features an optimized mid-level pocket designed for excellent ball control and quick release. Its EnduraForm sidewalls increase durability and stiffness, while the head’s design provides wider scoops for easy ground balls. For elite players who take a high volume of shots during games, the Kinetik is a top choice. With pinpoint accuracy and next-level ball control, it’s easy to see why so many All-Star youth players choose the Maverik Kinetik.
The ECD Carbon Pro 2.0 Lacrosse Shaft
Known for its incredibly engineered lacrosse gear, ECD outfits elite lacrosse players at all levels of the game. The ECD Carbon Pro 2.0 is one of the most popular lightweight shafts on the market. At just 5.2 ounces, players report feeling like the stick is an extension of their arm. The carbon composite construction offers superior durability while remaining sleek and responsive. For developing players looking to take their game to the next level, the precision, control, and speed of the Carbon Pro 2.0 can make a dramatic difference.
The StringKing Complete Jr. Lacrosse Stick
Sometimes choosing a separate shaft and head is too much trouble. In those cases, the StringKing Complete Jr. stick is ideal. With an alloy shaft and StringKing’s high-performance junior head already attached, it comes ready for elite play right out of the box. The head features an optimized mid-low pocket design for excellent control, along with a narrow face and stiff sidewalls to take your game to the next level. With the Complete Jr., StringKing has engineered the perfect youth lacrosse stick for dominant players who want to stand out on the field.
The Epoch Dragonfly Youth Lacrosse Shaft
Epoch sticks have exploded in popularity in recent years thanks to innovative technologies that maximize feel and control. The Epoch Dragonfly youth shaft offers some of the best features on the market. It utilizes Epoch’s proprietary Dragonfly composite material to deliver ultra-responsive flexion and stability. With vibration-dampening features that reduce impact shock, the Dragonfly helps prevent arm and hand fatigue. It also incorporates texture zones on the grip for confident handling. At 5.5 ounces, it promotes quick cuts, rolls, and transition moves. If you’re looking for a cutting-edge lacrosse shaft engineered for elite play, the Epoch Dragonfly is a top choice.
The Nike Vapor Elite Youth Lacrosse Head
The instantly recognizable Nike Swoosh symbolizes excellence in sports. For youth lacrosse, Nike’s Vapor Elite head offers high-end performance perfect for aspiring superstars. The head features a maximum offset for enhanced ball control and deep pocket placement. Strategic stringing holes allow players to customize stringing based on position and preference. Stiff rails increase accuracy while the widest scoop in youth lacrosse makes ground ball collection easy. As an added bonus, the iconic Nike design looks as good as it performs.
The STX Surgeon 700 Youth Lacrosse Shaft
STX makes some of the best lacrosse shafts across all levels of play, including youth leagues. The STX Surgeon 700 combines elite-level performance with excellent durability. The composite handle reduces vibration and offers an amazing feel when passing, catching, and shooting. With technology that stiffens the shaft during checks but softens it for cradling, it provides the best of both worlds. A tactile grip gives players ultimate control. For the price, it’s one of the best values for a high-performance youth lacrosse shaft.
The Maverik Range Youth Lacrosse Head
Another offering from Maverik, the Range head is designed to take an elite player’s game to the next level. Its Dictrail pocket system improves holding and control across a wider sweet spot. A stiffer scoop and sidewall rail increases power and durability. For youth players who tend to bend and warp their stick heads over time, the Range withstands even the toughest play. With pinpoint passing accuracy and excellent feel on ground balls, Range gives players a tangible edge over the competition.
The Gait Ice Youth Lacrosse Shaft
At just 5.1 ounces, the ultra-lightweight Gait Ice shaft caters perfectly to small but talented youth lacrosse players. It’s constructed from high-grade alloy for superior stiffness without excess weight. Optimized flex grooves below the head improve feel while reducing hand and arm fatigue. For elite box lacrosse players who play at lightning speeds in tight quarters, the Ice promotes fast transitions and quick shot releases. With excellent damping qualities to soften checks, it’s built for the punishment of youth box lacrosse games.
The ECD Bravo 1 Lacrosse Head
We’ve already covered ECD’s Carbon Pro shaft, and the company’s Bravo 1 head is a perfect pairing. Optimized specifically for elite midfielders, the Bravo 1 excels at quick passes, effortless scooping, and pinpoint shooting. ECD’s Rap Technology stiffens the scoop and sidewalls for unmatched durability. A pre-strung pocket design requires minimal adjustment out of the box. For dominant young players who control the tempo and make an impact all over the field, the Bravo 1 promotes confident, mistake-free play.
While budget-friendly starter sticks have their place in youth lacrosse, elite players require high-performance gear designed for domination. With innovative flex profiles, lightweight materials, optimized pocket placement, and maximum ball control, these premium lacrosse sticks give budding superstars the tools needed to play their best game. From youth leagues all the way up to college recruiting showcases, having the right stick can take a player’s skills to the next level.
Mesh vs. Traditional Pocket for Youth Sticks
One of the biggest decisions facing youth lacrosse players and parents when selecting a new stick is whether to go with a traditional string pocket or a mesh pocket. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand the key differences before deciding which is best for your young athlete.
The Lowdown on Traditional Stringing
For generations, lacrosse stick pockets were strung using leather and synthetic lace threading that formed the channels andDiamonds known as traditional stringing. Many lacrosse purists argue that a properly broken-in traditional pocket offers better overall performance. The main benefits include:
- Superior ball feel and control – Traditional pockets “grab” the ball better thanks to multiple points of contact.
- Faster breaks in – Leathers and synthetics soften quicker than mesh.
- Better hold – Friction from traditional materials secures the ball extremely well.
- Easier adjustments – Re-stringing a traditional pocket is simpler than mesh.
- Improved durability – Leathers and synthetics stand up well over time.
However, traditional stringing isn’t without some drawbacks. Namely, pockets can bag out over time, especially in wet conditions. Keeping the right pocket shape requires constant maintenance too. For busy parents and kids, that time commitment can be a hassle.
The Mesh Pocket Alternative
Mesh pockets offer many advantages that make them attractive for youth players and parents:
- Reduced maintenance – Mesh retains its shape much better than traditional materials.
- All-weather reliability – Rain and humidity don’t affect mesh as much.
- Greater consistency – Identical pockets shape on every head right out of the box.
- Lighter weight – Mesh contributes less overall weight than leathers and synthetics.
- Adjustability – Swapping mesh is easier than restringing a whole traditional pocket.
With that said, mesh does have some limitations to consider:
- Less control – Mesh doesn’t grip the ball quite as well as traditionals.
- Slower breaks in – Mesh needs more time to soften up.
- Less hold – The ball sits a bit looser in mesh pockets.
- Less feel – Mesh mututes some of the tactile feedback from the ball.
- Not as durable – Mesh can rip or tear over time.
Going With Gut Feelings on Pocket Choice
When deciding between traditional and mesh pockets, there are a few key factors to consider:
- Position – Some positions benefit more from control (traditional) vs. hold and speed (mesh).
- Skill level – Advanced players gain advantages from traditional stringing while beginners appreciate mesh consistency.
- League rules – Many youth leagues regulate pocket depth and shooting strings that impact pocket options.
- Weather – Players in wet climates may prefer mesh while traditional works better in dry areas.
- Maintenance – Parents and kids with busy schedules often prefer less pocket upkeep.
While pros and cons exist for both pockets, having an open mind is key. Some players alternate between traditional and mesh pockets depending on seasonal needs. Others stick loyally to one preference their entire career. At the youth level, keeping an open mind helps young athletes discover what works best as their skills progress.
Top Mesh Pocket Options for Youth Sticks
Most major lacrosse brands now offer mesh pocket kits or pre-strung heads compatible with their youth shafts. Here are some top mesh pockets to consider:
- Warrior Warp – One of the most popular mesh pockets with consistent performance right out of the bag.
- Maverik Memory Mesh – Provides excellent shape retention and fast break-in time.
- StringKing 3D Mesh – Adds extra dimensionality for greater ball control.
- ECD Hero 2.0 – Optimized for quick breaks with super tight channel walls.
- STX Stallion 700 – Durable mesh design with exceptional ball hold and control.
Great Traditional Stringing Options
While traditional stringing requires a bit more expertise, brands offer kits and pre-strung options. Here are some excellent traditional pockets for youth sticks:
- StringKing Mark 1 – Features premium leathers for consistent pockets with great hold.
- Epoch Cobra X – Utilizes wax-infused Cobra X leathers for all-weather durability.
- Nike Vapor – Pre-strung with blended nylons and leathers for optimized feel.
- Warrior Nemesis – Combines synthetic, nylon and traditional leathers for control.
- Gait Viper – Made with double-X nylons for adjustable yet consistent pocket placement.
While mesh pockets provide convenience and consistency, traditional stringing still delivers optimum feel and control for many players. Thankfully lacrosse brands continue innovating on both fronts, giving youth athletes excellent options for taking their game to the next level.
Complete Youth Lacrosse Stick Sets with Shaft & Head
While some lacrosse players obsess over finding the perfect shaft and head combination, others prefer the simplicity of an all-in-one complete stick set. Many top brands now offer full youth lacrosse sticks with both components already attached and ready for action right out of the box. For busy families looking to minimize setup hassles, complete sticks deliver awesome performance without the guesswork.
What to Look For in Complete Stick Sets
Complete lacrosse sticks simplify shopping, but it’s still crucial to choose the right one. Here are key factors to consider:
- Weight – Lighter shafts/heads allow for quicker handling and tighter cradling.
- Balance – Properly weighted sticks feel uniform throughout the shaft and head.
- Materials – Composites like alloy metals offer the best durability and performance.
- Flex profile – Optimized flex where head meets shaft improves handling.
- Grip texture – Tactile grip zones on the shaft prevent slipping.
- Pocket type – Mesh vs. traditional pockets impact overall feel and control.
- Pocket placement – Proper depth and sweet spot improve ball control.
- Scoop size – Wider scoops make ground ball pickup easier.
While stick technology continues advancing, finding the optimal blend of these performance factors separates the best youth complete sticks from the rest.
Complete Stick Value Packs
Some brands offer complete stick sets bundled with complementary accessories for maximum value:
- Warrior Rabil Next Complete – Includes shaft, head, helmet, gloves, and arm pads.
- Nike Vapor Complete – Comes bundled with Nike youth shoulder pads.
- Maverik Rome Complete – Packs a stick bag, sweatshirt, and embroidered sports towel.
- Brine Clutch Rise Complete – Adds Brine youth gloves and an athletic T-shirt.
- STX Youth Complete Team Pack – Outfits an entire team with shafts, heads, and bags.
With added gloves, padding, bags, apparel and more, bundled sets deliver even more value beyond the stick itself.
Lightweight Complete Sticks for Speed
When every ounce counts, ultra-light sticks promote the quickness essential for elite play. Some top lightweight options include:
- Maverik Kinetik – At just 16 ounces overall, it’s one of the lightest complete sticks available.
- Epoch Dragonfly Complete – Weighs only 17.2 ounces for incredible downfield speed.
- Nike CEO Complete – Thanks to featherlight shaft and head, it tips scales at 16.5 ounces.
- STX Surgeon 600 Complete – Scant 17 ounces overall for lightning-fast transitions.
- Warrior Evo Next Complete – Optimized 18 ounce weight feels like an extension of your hands.
Youths who prioritize speed and quickness demand equipment allowing them to fly across the field unfettered. Thanks to ultra-light materials, today’s top complete sticks deliver.
Complete Sticks Engineered for Positions
Some brands design complete sticks tailored to the needs of specific positions like attack, midfield, defense and goalie. Position-optimized options include:
- Warrior Aero Complete – Specifically designed for field attack players.
- Maverik Rome Complete – Built for versatile and well-rounded midfielders.
- STX Hammer 700 Complete – Ideal for aggressive defensive players.
- StringKing Complete 2 Goalie – Optimized stick length, head, and pocket for goalies.
- Nike CEO Complete – Constructed for offensive players who take high shot volumes.
Sticks built for specific positions give developing players an advantage out on the lacrosse field. Brand engineers analyze the unique needs of each position to build complete sticks that match players’ roles.
Complete Wood Lacrosse Sticks
While composite materials dominate most modern sticks, some traditional wood models remain popular for their classic vibe:
- Maverik Medicine Complete – Wooden stick with Traditional leathers and rawhide laces.
- Nike Vandal Complete – Throwback hickory stick with leather and nylon stringing.
- Brine Clutch Rise Wood Complete – Hand-crafted ash stick with pre-worked pocket.
- Warrior Classic Complete – 100% wood stick with comp cotton stringing and real leather.
- STX Stallion Elite Complete – Rock maple construction with double Traditional stringing and wax.
For some players, the retro look and feel of wood complete sticks connect them to the roots of this classic sport. While not ideal for competitive play, they make great collector’s items.
Choosing a complete lacrosse stick set simplifies one of the most critical gear decisions facing young athletes. With advanced yet easy-to-use sticks designed for all positions and skill levels, players can spend less time shopping and more time dominating on the field.
Customizing a Youth Stick to Match Your Team Colors
Beyond performance, one of the coolest parts of youth lacrosse is showing team spirit through your gear. Adding your team’s colors to your stick is a great way to showcase your lacrosse pride. With some creativity and customization, you can make your stick truly unique.
Picking the Perfect Stick to Customize
Virtually any stick can be customized, but some models offer more possibilities than others:
- Removable grip sticks – Allow replacing grips with team colors.
- Multi-color heads – Enable swapping out shooter strings, sidewall accents, and logos.
- Hybrid materials – Combinations of composite, wood, leather etc. provide contrast.
- Interchangeable parts – Replaceable grips, end caps, sights and more allow mix-and-match customization.
Sticks with multiple interchangeable pieces make customization easier. Opt for a model offering lots of options.
Using Team Color Grip Tape
An easy way to customize any shaft is wrapping different colored grip tape just below the head. Some cool ideas:
- Solid team color grip tape wrapping the entire shaft.
- Alternating grip tape rings in team color patterns.
- Team name or mascot graphic grip tapes.
- Multi-color diagonal or criss-cross grip tape designs.
- Combining multiple rolls of grip tape to make unique effects.
With so many grip tape colors and patterns available, the possibilities are endless for custom creations matching your team colors.
Swapping Lacrosse Head Colors
Another easy way to customize sticks is swapping out factory stringing colors for versions matching your team colors. Options include:
- Trading solid shooter strings for team colored accents.
- Alternate shooting string colors weaving team color patterns.
- Using custom dyed leathers and lace in team colors for traditional pockets.
- Subbing team color mesh for standard pockets.
- Replacing sidewall stringing, logos, and accents with team versions.
With pre-strung and stringing kits in most colors, it’s simple to give your stick head a team vibe.
Adding Stickers and Decals
Stickers let you plaster your lacrosse stick with team pride. Cool concepts include:
- Team logo and mascot head/shaft stickers.
- Stickers with jersey numbers and player names.
- Using temporary tattoos as unique lacrosse stick decals.
- Combining custom sticker designs for one-of-a-kind looks.
- Adding sticker words like “hustle” and “grind” that capture team mentality.
With sticker packs available online or create your own, the options for decking out your stick in team colors are endless.
Dyeing Composite Lacrosse Shafts
For a truly unique look, consider dyeing your composite shaft using fabric dye. Here’s how:
- Scuff shaft surface lightly with sandpaper so dye penetrates.
- Plug both ends with tape to keep dye out of interior.
- Using gloves and newspaper, apply dye in coating motions.
- Once fully covered, wrap shaft in plastic wrap and let sit 1-2 hours.
- Remove wrap, rinse away excess dye, and let dry 24 hours.
With some patience, you can transform your shaft into the perfect team color. Just avoid getting dye on grip tape or strings.
Painting Wood Lacrosse Shafts
Custom paint jobs give wood shafts team flair. Ideas include:
- Full coverage paint jobs in solid team colors.
- Painting the upper shaft only to contrast with natural wood.
- Using paint pens to create designs, names, and jersey numbers.
- Combining paint techniques like sponging for unique looks.
- Finished with lacquer to protect new paint job.
Follow essential steps like surface prep, primer, and careful taping and you can give your wood shaft a slick team vibe.
Swap Team Colored Lacrosse End Caps
Replacing standard end caps offers a subtle yet noticeable way to customize sticks:
- End caps matching exact team color schemes.
- USA themed red, white and blue end cap combos.
- Alternating caps on each end for multi-color looks.
- Tribal pattern and graphic designed end caps.
- Initials or jersey numbers embossed into end caps.
With all types of caps available, switching end hardware lets you add finishing team touches.
Customizing your lacrosse stick is all about imagination, creativity and experimentation. Combining tape, stringing, paint, dye, decals and hardware, you can design the ultimate team stick that showcases spirit while still dominating on the field.
Picking Out a Goalie Stick vs. Field Lacrosse Stick
One of the first big decisions facing youth lacrosse players is choosing between a goalie stick and field stick. While they share some basic similarities, these two stick types are engineered very differently to serve distinct on-field purposes.
Key Differences in Goalie vs. Field Sticks
Understanding how goalie and field sticks vary is crucial when selecting the right one:
- Length – Goalie sticks run 40-72″ vs. 30-42″ for field.
- Shaft design – Goalie shafts thicker with flattened grips.
- Shaft flexibility – More rigid shafts on goalie sticks.
- Head shapes – Wider heads with deeper pockets on goalie sticks.
- Shooting strings – Illegal on goalie sticks.
- Materials – More composites in field sticks while goalie sticks often wood.
These construction differences make each stick ideal for the unique needs of their respective positions.
Choosing the Right Goalie Stick
Picking the best goalie stick involves several considerations:
- Length – Taller goalies need longer sticks for wider coverage.
- Weight – Lighter sticks easier to maneuver yet may sacrifice durability.
- Throat design – Flared throats funnel shots into pockets.
- Pocket depth – Deeper pockets help secure saves.
- Balance – Proper weight distribution aids quick transitions.
Finding a goalie stick complementing individual size, technique and level of play is key.
Specialized Goalie Stick Options
Some goalie sticks engineered for specific techniques and scenarios include:
- Nike Inline Goalie – Optimized for inline/roller hockey goalies.
- Maverik Rome Rise – Ideal for tall youth goalies.
- Brine King Complete – Excellent for beginner goalies.
- Warrior Nemesis Goalie – For goalies who play out of the crease.
- STX Shield 100 – Built rugged for elite, high-volume goalies.
Today’s goalie sticks tailor construction to complement kid’s individual skills and style of play.
What to Look For in Field Lacrosse Sticks
For field players, key stick considerations include:
- Weight – Lighter sticks easier to cradle, pass, and shoot.
- Balance – Properly weighted from end-to-end maximizes control.
- Shaft flex – Optimal flex adds whip on passes/shots.
- Grip – Textured grips prevent slippage during play.
- Pocket placement – Optimal ball control and hold.
Finding the best blend of these performance elements results in a field stick matching a player’s strengths.
Field Sticks Designed for Positions
Many field sticks engineered with specific positions in mind. Some top options:
- Maverik Kinetik – Speedy design ideal for midfielders.
- STX Surgeon – Excellent stick for versatile attack players.
- Nike Vandal – Great for defensive players who deliver big checks.
- Warrior Evo Warp – High-performance stick engineered for face-off specialists.
- Epoch Integra – Loved by top offensive players who take lots of shots.
Finding field sticks tailored to your position gives young players key advantages out on the field.
Trying Out Goalie and Field Sticks
Since everyone has different preferences, trying out different stick styles and brands is recommended. Considerations:
- Attend demos to test sticks hands-on before buying.
- Borrow sticks from coaches and teammates to find optimal fit.
- Use adjustable length sticks to experiment with sizes.
- Don’t overlook used sticks to trial cheaper.
Testing an assortment of field and goalie sticks makes dialing in the perfect match easier.
While goalie and field sticks differ significantly, both are vital lacrosse tools. By understanding key variations and trying out different models, young players can find the ideal stick to match their play style, skills and love for this great sport.
Boys vs. Girls Youth Lacrosse Stick Differences
Looking for the Best Youth Lacrosse Stick in 2023? The 15 Must-Haves for Junior Lax Players
The game of lacrosse may look similar for boys and girls at the youth level, but there are some key differences when it comes to the equipment. Choosing the right lacrosse stick is one of the most important decisions for any young player. While the basic constructs are the same, boys’ and girls’ sticks have variations that align with the rules and style of play in boys and girls lacrosse.
For young players just learning the game, having the right stick can make a huge difference in their enjoyment of lacrosse. Understanding the distinctions and finding the best match for your child’s age and skill level will set them up for success on the field. Here is an overview of the major differences and top considerations when picking out a great youth lacrosse stick.
Stick Design and Construction
The overall design and makeup of lacrosse sticks differs between boys’ and girls’ models. Boys’ sticks have a wider head with a deeper pocket that sits lower on the head. This allows for greater ball control and makes scooping up ground balls easier. Girls’ sticks have a narrower head and shallower pocket placement for improved handling and passing precision.
Shaft materials also impact performance. Metal and composite shafts are more durable options permitted for boys’ sticks, while girls’ shafts must be made of wood, plastic or rubber. Composite and rubber shafts provide some flex, which can increase passing and shooting velocity in boys’ sticks. Wood shafts give girls more control over stick movement and placement in tight spaces.
There are specific dimensional requirements for heads based on age level and gender. The width, length, pocket depth and shooting string placement are regulated to align with the skills and strength of developing players. The sooner players get used to legal stick dimensions, the easier it will be to transition to new requirements as they get older.
For youth boys’ sticks, head widths range from 3 to 6 inches maximum based on age. Pocket depths can be up to 3 inches. Girls’ youth stick heads measure between 5.5 to 8 inches across and pockets cannot exceed 1.5 inches in depth. The sidewall dimensions also increase with age on girls’ sticks. Understanding the current specifications will ensure you get a stick compliant with league rules.
Pocket and Stringing
The stringing pattern and pocket construction differs between boys’ and girls’ lacrosse sticks. Boys’ pockets traditionally utilize four to six leather shooting strings in a deeper U-shape, which provides superior ball control. Girls’ sticks incorporate nylon shooting strings and a wider top opening above a shallower pocket for quick and accurate passing.
Mesh pockets have become very popular for youth sticks in both boys’ and girls’ lacrosse. Pre-strung mesh pockets allow for quick stringing and consistent pocket shape. While mesh was more common in boys’ lacrosse initially, there are now many mesh options approved for girls’ sticks that offer reliable performance.
Finding the right stick length is key for any young player to build skills with proper technique. The lacrosse stick should come up to the player’s armpit when standing straight up. Youth lacrosse shafts range from 30 to 60 inches, with girls’ sticks on the shorter end for optimal ball control.
Attack players tend to prefer a longer shaft, while shorter sticks work well for defenders who need quick stick movement. Midfield is a balance, around 42-48 inches. Goaltender sticks are typically 36 to 42 inches for boys and 35 to 43 inches for girls. Let your child test out different lengths to find what works best for their position and comfort level.
The overall weight of the stick will impact performance and endurance, especially for younger kids still developing strength and stamina. Composite and metal materials found more often in boys’ sticks make them heavier than girls’ sticks. Finding a lightweight stick option will help improve mobility and prevent fatigue.
For girls’ youth lacrosse sticks, look for a head and shaft combination around 8 to 12 ounces. Boys’ youth sticks range from 12 to 16 ounces on average. The lighter weight makes it easier for young players to handle the stick properly and work on developing skills with less strain.
Certain playing positions call for specific stick features that can provide an advantage. Attacker sticks benefit from a large head and deep pocket for improved control, while defender sticks need a quick release and solid checks. Goalies look for durability and ergonomic handles to cover maximum area in the crease.
For midfielders, flexibility and speed are key factors. A lightweight but stiff shaft paired with a mid-range head width helps maximize carrying, passing and shooting across the entire field. Considering your child’s position helps narrow the choices for an optimal youth lacrosse stick.
Lacrosse stick pricing ranges from under $50 for basic options to over $150 for more advanced features. While cost does play a role, make sure not to sacrifice quality, especially for younger kids first learning the sport. A stick with inconsistent performance or durability issues can lead to frustration.
Look for sticks offering solid construction, materials suited for youth play, and correct dimensions. For girls, sticks with mesh pockets approved for all levels generally provide consistent results without breaking the bank. Investing in a stick built to last through a season and beyond is worth the extra budget.
With the right guidance, you can find an excellent youth lacrosse stick with all the necessary features for your child’s age, skill level and budget. Keep these key differences and considerations in mind as you shop for boys’ and girls’ options. Selecting a stick tailored for your young athlete will give them the tools to take their game to the next level!
Hard Mesh vs. Soft Mesh Pocket Preferences
Looking for the Best Youth Lacrosse Stick in 2023? The 15 Must-Haves for Junior Lax Players
When it comes to youth lacrosse sticks, one of the biggest decisions is choosing between a hard mesh or soft mesh pocket. The type of mesh used can significantly impact how the ball releases, accuracy, and overall performance. Young players developing their skills need a pocket that matches their style of play and provides consistency. Understanding the benefits of both hard and soft mesh helps identify the right option.
Hard mesh pockets use a stiff nylon material to maintain pocket structure and offer defined hold points for improved ball control. Soft mesh incorporates more flexible nylon fibers that move with the ball upon release for excellent feel. While both deliver great results, there are factors to consider when deciding between hard or soft mesh for your youth player’s stick.
Release and Accuracy
The way the ball comes out of the pocket has a major influence on passing, catching, and shooting precision. Hard mesh offers more defined release points from designated shooters, allowing players to master specific ball placement. The stiffer fibers provide a consistent channel for accuracy.
Soft mesh shapes to the ball, creating a trampoline effect upon release. This flexible launch can make catching easier for beginners but more difficult to control exact placement on passes or shots. The softer pocket absorbs some velocity but provides excellent feel.
Pocket Shape and Structure
One benefit of hard mesh is the ability to pre-form a defined pocket shape that maintains structure over time. The stiff nylon strands hold their position for consistent catching and throwing mechanics. Players can get used to the same grip points during breaks in.
Soft mesh tends to stretch and loosen more easily as it breaks in. While it begins with a formed shape, the flexible pocket can shift as the strands move. This allows the player to shape it gradually but requires more tuning to keep a preferred form.
The debate between hard and soft mesh durability depends on playing style. Hard mesh withstands heavy abuse from face-off battles and holds up well against poking checks. The stiff strands are less prone to damage from physical play. However, repeated impact from hard passing and shooting can cause fraying.
Soft mesh may bag out easier from heavy use but often sustains less fraying or holes. The more flexible fibers absorb impact rather than fraying under pressure. Both types must be inspected for holes and damage after significant use. Proper pocket maintenance helps maximize the lifespan.
Inclement weather can impact mesh performance. Soft mesh tends to absorb more moisture, which causes the pocket to bag out when wet. This changes the release and feel until it dries fully. Hard mesh retains its shape better when wet but can become slick with rain, affecting grip.
In cold weather, soft mesh remains flexible while hard mesh can become stiff and brittle. This reduces the pliability needed for catching. Consider the climate and weather typically played in to determine if soft or hard mesh may hold up better.
Players often want to use new sticks right away, but the break-in time for mesh varies. Hard mesh pockets maintain their shape out of the package. Some minor shifting occurs as the shooters and mid-diamond stretch slightly with use. Full hard mesh break-in can take one to three months.
Soft mesh requires more significant break-in to achieve the desired channel and pocket placement. Depending on use, it can take three months or longer to get full pocket formation. Some players prefer this gradual break-in feel, while others like the defined shape of brand new hard mesh.
Position and Skill Level
A player’s position and overall skill level may dictate mesh preference for their stick. Beginning players often fare better with soft mesh for the forgiving release while learning proper mechanics. Defenders benefit from the softer feel when intercepting passes and checking.
More advanced players playing midfield or attack can utilize the precise passing and shooting of hard mesh. Face-off specialists also prefer stiff mesh for grip and scooping. Goalies need a mesh that retains its shape and provides a quick release when clearing.
An advantage of soft mesh is the ability to continually customize the pocket formation even after significant use. As strands stretch or bag, players can tweak shooters or add new ones to adjust channel depth and ball placement. This level of customization is more difficult with hard mesh.
On the other hand, players who like a certain pocket shape may prefer the defined structure of hard mesh. Once formed, it stays consistent without needing further adjustments. It comes down to preference for pocket flexibility or defined shape.
The choice between hard or soft mesh comes down to a player’s needs and preferences. Considering release, durability, weather, skill level, and customization will help determine the best option. Proper stringing and maintenance also impact overall performance. Finding the right mesh gives developing players an advantage on the field.
Youth Lacrosse Sticks for Different Player Positions
Looking for the Best Youth Lacrosse Stick in 2023? The 15 Must-Haves for Junior Lax Players
Choosing the right lacrosse stick is crucial for young players, and the optimal features can vary based on position. Attack, midfield, defense, and goalie each have specific needs when it comes to passing, shooting, checking, and scooping. While universal stick options work for beginners, players start tailoring their sticks as skills progress. Understanding key factors for each position helps identify the best youth lacrosse stick.
Stick length, head design, pocket type, shaft material, and weight all impact performance. Finding the ideal combination gives budding lacrosse players an edge on the field. Here is an overview of what to look for in a great youth stick based on playing position:
Attack players need excellent ball control and shooting accuracy in front of the goal. A stick with a wider head and deeper pocket provides superior cradling and handling ability. The extra depth helps grip the ball for quick shots or dodging defenders.
A longer shaft up to 60 inches allows for wider reach on passes and checks. Lightweight composite or titanium materials are easier to maneuver. A soft mesh pocket with good hold produces consistent placement on shots.
In the midfield, players handle both offensive and defensive responsibilities, so a balance of skills is ideal. A moderately deep pocket combined with a mid-length shaft around 42-48 inches provides versatility. Shooting strings should allow for accurate passes upfield.
A stiff but lightweight composite shaft gives both good checks on defense and power on clears or shots in transition. Midfielders benefit from a mesh pocket with moderate break-in time to shape as skills develop.
Good defenders utilize quick stick checks and solid body positioning, so lightweight maneuverability is imperative. Shorter shaft lengths from 30-40 inches paired with narrower heads provide excellent mobility. The pocket should release smoothly for quick interceptions.
Mid-depth traditional leather pockets maintain their shape well during physical play. Composite shafts with some flex are ideal for checking without sacrificing ball control. Defenders need excellent footwork in coordination with stick movement.
Goalie sticks are designed for maximum blocking area and quick outlet passes after saves. Wider heads up to 15 inches wide help fill more of the goal space. The sidewalls should have sturdy construction to prevent warping.
Mesh pockets with little to no break-in time allow for quick releases upfield. A moderate pocket depth helps with control. Shaft lengths for youth goalies range from 36-42 inches for efficient movement within the crease.
Goalies also rotate two sticks – one for saves and another for clearing – to utilize optimal features for each role. Saucer-shaped heads scoop ground balls, while flared heads provide accuracy.
In youth lacrosse, face-offs require specialized techniques and sticks to master the fast transitions. Wider heads give an advantage in initial clamping, and sidewall stringing helps lock the ball in place. A wider throat on the scoop helps pick up ground balls.
Stiff hard mesh maintains its shape around the face-off area and provides defined hold points. A composite shaft with some flex offers excellent scooping power. The perfect face-off stick is an essential tool for possession off the draw.
For players just starting lacrosse, a universal stick can help build fundamental skills that translate across positions. Intermediate head widths with mid-range pocket depths perform adequately for all roles.
Composite or lightweight alloy shafts suit new players. Softer mesh pockets with some give provide all-around performance as players determine their eventual position fit.
With the right guidance, young athletes can find lacrosse sticks tailored for their position. While beginners do well developing skills with a versatile stick, elite youth players recognize the advantages of optimizing features to their role. Understanding key components for each position is crucial when looking for their next game-changing lacrosse stick.
Keeping Your Kid’s Stick in Good Condition
As a parent of a young lacrosse player, you know that having the right equipment is essential for your child to enjoy the sport and perform at their best. A properly strung lacrosse stick that is well-maintained can make all the difference when your kid hits the field. While it’s tempting to buy a new stick each season as your young athlete grows and develops new skills, taking care of your child’s stick so it lasts for multiple seasons is key.
Lacrosse sticks, especially those made for youth players, can be prone to breaking and warping. The head and shaft take a beating during practices and games, not to mention being tossed in bags and left outside. With some basic maintenance and care, you can add years of life to your kid’s stick and save money in the process.
Storing the Stick Properly
One of the biggest threats to the longevity of a lacrosse stick is improper storage. The intense temperature changes combined with moisture in the air can cause the head to warp and the shaft to crack. Make sure your child stores their stick in a climate-controlled space, like inside the house. An unheated garage or shed invites trouble. If storing inside is not possible, at least keep the stick covered and off the ground.
During the off-season, loosen the screws on the head just a bit to relieve tension on the plastic and reduce warping. Maintain the shape by storing the stick with a lacrosse ball wedged in the head. Whether displayed on a wall mount or tucked safely in a closet, take time to store sticks properly so they stay game-ready.
Re-Stringing the Head
The flexible laces that create the pocket in the head of the stick will loosen over time. Frayed and stretched strings make catching and throwing difficult for young players. Regular re-stringing keeps the pocket crisp and improves performance. Depending on how often your child plays, plan to re-string the head at least once, if not twice, per season. If new to stringing, ask for help from the coach or other lacrosse parents.
When re-stringing, inspect the head for any cracks or warps. Even small weak spots impact ball control. Carefully remove all old strings and thread the new laces through the holes. Tying knots securely prevents loose strings that can distract your kid during play. The ideal pocket depth and style depends on your child’s position, so ask before tying off the final knots.
Protecting the Shaft
While designed to withstand checks from sticks and bodies, lacrosse shafts still need some TLC. Pay special attention to the area just below the head, as this part endures the most abuse. Cracks and splinters here alter the flex and feel of the stick.
Wood shafts specifically require extra protection with tape in the top area. Fiberglass and composite shafts hold up better to repeated impacts but still benefit from some padding on the upper shaft. Wrapping tape or foam around this vulnerable zone keeps the shaft from chipping. Your young athlete will thank you when their stick still feels solid, even after a rough game.
Knowing When to Replace
With proper storage, stringing, and taping, you can keep a youth stick in play for several seasons. However, there comes a time when the head simply loses its shape or the shaft flexes too much. Be on the lookout for cracks, significant warping, or splintering. If the ball is popping out of the pocket frequently or your kid complains the stick just feels “off,” it may be time to retire it and get a new one.
Growth spurts are another reason to pay attention to the fit of your child’s stick. Shop for junior sticks marked with your kid’s age, weight, and height. As your young athlete gets bigger and stronger, look for longer shafts and larger heads sized for their current physicality. Don’t wait for them to complain – stay ahead of equipment needs as your youth player develops.
Lacrosse gear represents a significant investment, so make the most of that investment with proper care. Keeping your child’s stick in ideal condition improves safety, ensures consistency, and saves you money. A few simple maintenance steps extend the life of sticks so your kid can give their all out on the field.