Selecting the Optimal Lacrosse Stick Tape for Your Playing Style
When taping a lacrosse stick, one of the most important considerations is selecting a tape that complements your playing style and lacrosse position. For attackmen who rely on finesse stick moves and quick handling, a softer, more flexible tape is ideal to allow for creativity. Defenders who see a lot of physical play need a stronger, heavier tape that can withstand checks and holds up to wear and tear. Midfielders benefit from a tape with balanced properties since they play both offense and defense.
Goalies have particular taping needs due to the demands of their position. Using thicker tape in multiple layers reinforces the head against high-velocity shots. Taping around the scoop helps protect it from dents and damage. Since goalies need to control and pass the ball cleanly, the bottom of the scoop should be left untaped. For youth players first learning proper technique, a softer tape makes it easier to develop fundamental stick skills. Ultimately, testing different tapes to see what feels best for your specific lacrosse stick and position leads to the optimal taping results. With the wide variety of lacrosse tape brands and materials available, players can dial in the ideal tape for their game through experimentation.
Preparing the Stick Before Taping for Best Results
Properly preparing the lacrosse stick head before taping is an important step that is often overlooked. Taking the time to clean and set up the head will allow the tape to adhere better and create a more durable taping job. Start by removing any old tape, debris, and dirt from the head using a clean cloth or towel. This eliminates uneven surfaces under the tape that could cause bubbling or peeling. Use a pocket shaper to mold the pocket area into the optimal depth and hold for your position. Attackmen tend to prefer a shallower pocket for ball control while defenders opt for a deeper pocket to facilitate checking and passing under pressure. Goalies need the deepest pockets to withstand the force of repeated saves. Shape the sidewalls of the head as well so they run straight from top to bottom. Sidewalls that flare out improperly can lead to less accurate shots and passes. Ensuring the scoop is smooth and flat makes it easier to tape evenly across the head. Scrubbing the plastic with warm water and dish soap removes built-up dirt and oils so the tape bonds tightly. Allow the head to dry fully before taping so moisture does not become trapped underneath. Newer heads with glossy finishes benefit from a light scuffing with fine grit sandpaper first to help the tape grip. Take the time to string the head optimally for your position before taping also. Doing preparatory steps like these before taping enables the tape to adhere as intended for greater longevity. Rushing into taping without proper head preparation often results in the need for immediate retaping once the first tape job fails. Following these best practices for preparing your lacrosse stick head before applying tape leads to better taping performance and hours of play without issues.
Taping the Butt End for Optimal Ball Control
The butt end of the lacrosse stick head requires special taping techniques to optimize ball control. Begin by wrapping tape around the very bottom of the head’s throat to create a base layer. Pull the tape tight as you work your way up and around the sides forming a smooth foundation. Avoid creases and overlap the tape wrap by half its width to form a strong bond. With the base layer complete, start wrapping tape around the ball stop area in a tight crisscross or cross-hatch pattern. This provides extra grip and tackiness ideal for scooping ground balls cleanly. Continue the lattice pattern 6-8 inches up the head, using 4-5 intersections per inch. The exact spacing can be adjusted based on player preference and position. Defenders may opt for a more textured lattice to help them maintain possession when checked. For goalies, extend the lattice pattern even further up the head for maximum ball control during saves and clears. Wrap over the lattice taping with a smooth, tight top layer running perpendicular to the underlying crisscross tape. This seals the lattice work securely underneath while providing a consistent surface on top. The smooth wrap should extend 2-3 inches above the latticed area so players can achieve optimal thumb placement and leverage. Avoid letting the cross-hatch tape or top layer extend too high, as this can reduce ball feel during cradling, catching, and passing. For youth players with smaller hands, keep the latticed taping lower on the head for easier handling. Perfecting the butt end lacrosse stick taping provides excellent ball control no matter the conditions on the field.
Creating a Smooth Base Layer of Tape
After taping the butt end, the next step is applying a smooth, consistent base layer of tape across the entire head. Start just above the top of the latticed butt end area and wrap tightly up the sidewalls in a spiral pattern. Pull the tape taut as you work your way up to prevent bunching or ripples. Overlap each wrap by half the tape’s width to create a solid bond and ensure there are no gaps where the tape edge meets each revolution. Continue wrapping up both sidewalls simultaneously, keeping the tension and overlap consistent. Meet at the top of the scoop and cut the tape. For a super smooth finish, stretch a short piece of tape over the cut edge horizontally to seal it. The base layer provides an even foundation for subsequent taping steps. It also protects the head from nicks and wear. Opt for a thicker, heavier tape for the base layer if possible, especially for goalie sticks. Apply two layers if a single wrap does not provide adequate thickness. Defenders also benefit from extra protection in the base layer to withstand checks. Be sure the base layer completely covers the underlying sidewall stringing holes. Bumps or indentations from the stringing underneath will telegraph through and make further taping more difficult. Taking the time to properly apply a high-quality base tape layer results in a perfectly smooth surface ready for customizing with specialized tape patterns. It also extends the time between re-taping by protecting the head from damage. Combining optimal base layer techniques with proper head preparation provides the ideal foundation for taping a lacrosse stick.
Adding Texture with Cross Lattice Taping
Once the smooth base layer is applied, players can further customize their lacrosse stick taping jobs by adding a cross lattice pattern. Unlike hockey, lacrosse regulations allow for textured tape that provides extra grip and control. Start the lattice below the midline of the head and wrap over the base layer in a crisscross, grid-like pattern. Keep the intersections close together – about 4-5 per inch works well. The exact spacing can be adjusted based on position and personal preference. Attackmen and midfielders may opt for a less dense pattern to maintain optimal feel for cradling and passing. Defenders benefit from a tighter lattice for checking stick security. Goalies need maximum texture to support their unique needs in net. Wrap the lattice tape firmly at a 45 degree angle, alternating diagonals with each pass up the head. The intersections should show an X pattern without gaps, and stand out from the smooth base layer. Ensure the lattice is centered and runs straight up the sidewalls. Uneven or skewed taping can negatively impact throwing mechanics and accuracy. Once each sidewall is latticed, wrap a top layer perpendicular to the underlying crisscross to seal it in place. The smooth top layer helps optimize ball control during passes, shots and scooping. Avoid any bunching, overlaps or ripples on the top tape layer. The lattice provides not only added texture, but an intriguing aesthetic as well. Teams often tape their sticks in coordinated colors and lattice designs for unity. Lacrosse stick tape rules afford players creativity options not seen in most major sports. Taking advantage of cross lattice taping over a smooth base layer allows players to dial in the ideal balance of grip, control and style.
Reinforcing High Wear Areas on the Stick
When taping a lacrosse stick, it’s important to provide extra reinforcement in high wear areas most prone to damage. Focus on protecting key contact points and surfaces that see the most abrasion during play. The bottom sidewalls just above the scoop tend to chip and peel first as sticks clash on ground balls and checks. Wrap an extra layer or two of durable tape in this area, using the previous smooth wrap as a base. The extra thickness adds protection while maintaining clean lines. The scoop itself also benefits from an extra tape layer across the top to guard against dents and fraying along the edges. For goalie sticks in particular, wrap wide tape around the outside curve of the scoop to shield it from ball impact. Defenders should tape just below the head’s throat where checks often connect. An extra wrap or two anchored to the base layer helps minimize cracking. Use extra strip tape pieces wrapped horizontally to reinforce high friction points along the sidewall edges prone to pitting and tear. The exact taping additions can vary based on play style and head construction, but focusing on the most vulnerable areas maximizes durability. Be careful not to overdo high wear tape reinforcements in ways that add too much bulk or alter throwing and handling mechanics. Applying supplemental tape judiciously only where needed prevents premature breakdown without compromising performance. Proactively reinforcing high wear zones enables a lacrosse stick tape job to maintain integrity and survive repeated impacts over a full season of play.
Taping Around the Scoop for Durability
The scoop area of a lacrosse stick head takes a beating over time from ground balls, errant passes, and routine wear and tear. Taping around the scoop properly is key to maintaining its structural integrity. Start by anchoring the tape at the base of the scoop near the sidewalls. Wrap tightly in a clockwise spiral pattern up and around the left side. As you reach the apex, run the tape horizontally along the top of the scoop several times to provide maximum protection. Continue winding down the right side in a counter-clockwise pattern, keeping the tape smooth and taut. Overlap each pass by half the tape’s width to create a solid bond. Upon reaching the bottom edge, wrap the tape vertically for several passes to box off and reinforce the corners. The full coverage helps shield the scoop from dents, chips, and fraying along the edges. Goalies and defenders should use extra thick tape or even multiple layers around the scoop for added durability. Be sure to press the tape firmly into any cracks or damaged spots for repairs. Take care not to let the tape build up too much thickness along the scoop’s outer rim, which can inhibit proper pocket depth. Allowing the bottom center edge to remain untaped preserves passing and shooting accuracy. Taping the scoop properly balances needed reinforcement with ideal ball release. Keeping the tape job smooth and crease-free enables it to hold up longer before requiring replacement. Taking the time to fully tape around the scoop ultimately extends a stick’s usable life on the field.
Leaving the Bottom of the Scoop Exposed
When taping the scoop of a lacrosse stick head, it is important to leave the bottom center edge untouched. This exposed area allows for proper stringing and pocket function to throw, catch, and shoot the ball accurately. Begin the taping on the sides of the scoop near the sidewalls and work up and over the face. Avoid angling the tape inward too sharply on the diagonal approaches to the bottom center. Keep the tape edges an inch or more away from the actual bottom to create the desired opening. Leave at least a fingertip width space clear so the ball can release cleanly on shots and passes. Wrapping tape farther up under the scoop can pinch the pocket and alter the throwing mechanics in a negative way. Midfielders and attack need to retain optimal ball control and crisp release. For defenders, an exposed scoop aids in connecting with clearing passes under pressure. Goalies rely on a free scoop end to funnel saves up into their stick pocket smoothly. While full taping coverage provides protection on the rest of the head, limiting tape on the bottom center scoop is crucial. Players can test the pocket after taping to ensure the ball releases as intended. Adding extra tape is simple if a larger opening proves necessary. Maintaining this key untaped scoop area provides the right balance of durability and high performance when taping a lacrosse stick head.
Taping the Sidewalls in a Crisscross Pattern
The sidewalls of a lacrosse stick head take a beating, so taping them properly is key. After applying a smooth base layer, add texture and protection by taping the sidewalls in a crisscross pattern. Start just below the scoop area and wrap the first piece diagonally down toward the throat of the head. Keep the tape nice and taut. About halfway down the head, start a second diagonal piece in the opposite direction, intersecting the first strip at roughly the midline. Continue applying crisscrossed diagonal strips moving down the head, alternating sides with each pass. The intersections should overlap slightly and form X shapes for optimal strength. The exact angle of the diagonal taps can be adjusted, but 45 degrees typically works well. Maintaining consistent tension is important to prevent bunching where the strips overlap. Once the crisscross lattice is applied from scoop to throat, do a final wrap-around sidewall pass perpendicular to the underlying pattern to seal it in. Defenders may use a narrower lattice spacing for added texture when checking. Goalies can crisscross over multiple alternating color tapes for a bold look befitting their critical role. Midfielders and attack can utilize fewer intersections and wider spacing to retain optimal ball control during play. No matter the specifics, crisscross sidewall taping adds eye-catching style while boosting durability. The tape intersections reinforce vulnerable notching areas prone to developing holes from repeated impacts. The alternating latticed pattern also helps evenly distribute stresses on the sidewalls compared to simple up-and-down taping. Executing crisscross sidewall taping properly pays both functional and aesthetic dividends on the lacrosse field.
Sealing the Ends to Prevent Peeling
Allowing lacrosse stick tape to peel loose over time diminishes performance and necessitates frequent re-taping. Taking steps to properly seal the ends of the tape job prevents premature lifting or unraveling. When finishing a wrap, use short horizontal pieces of tape layered perpendicular to the main spiral to box off the end. Folding the tape back on itself to create a smoothed edge also works well. For the top lateral tape passing across the scoop, simply fold the remaining tail back and adhere it to the layer below rather than leaving a loose edge. Where different diagonal lattice pieces meet at intersections, be sure to slightly overlap the ends and press together firmly to avoid peeling. The butt end latticing deserves extra attention to prevent the angled strips from lifting upward. Consider wrapping over it horizontally or even in an X pattern before adding the final perpendicular top layer. When changing tape direction, always start the new piece several inches overlapped onto existing tape to anchor it. Taking time to properly start and stop each tape segment eliminates loose edges vulnerable to catching and tearing. Carrying spare tape during games allows for quick on-the-fly reinforcement of any spots starting to peel before they unravel further. Proactively sealing all tape edges from the start and making repairs as needed results in fewer in-game re-taping stoppages and more consistent play.
Considering Weather Conditions When Taping
The weather and field conditions on game day should factor into lacrosse stick taping strategy. Cold, wet weather calls for more aggressive tape that can withstand moisture. Begin with a water-resistant base layer wrap before adding any texture taping. Opt for a durable, all-weather tape with thicker adhesion. Tightly wrapping lattice and other patterns creates a moisture barrier while improving grip. Consider extra wraps on key areas like the scoop and butt end that see the most exposure to the elements. Carry backup tape to make repairs as needed during wet play. In sunny, hot conditions, choose a lighter tape that won’t soften and ooze residue. Fully wrapping the scoop and upper sidewalls helps protect from UV damage and warping. Players can also experiment with more open lattice or two-tone designs to create visual interest when the tape job is highly visible. For indoor lacrosse, thinner tape with maximum pliability aids ball control and handling in tight spaces. Unique color patterns stand out sharply on artificial turf under the lights. No matter the conditions, take the time to properly seal all tape edges and intersections to prevent premature peeling, especially under wet weather stresses. Having the right tape for the conditions and taping strategically for durability allows players to perform at their best regardless of outside variables.
Taping Goalie Sticks for Maximum Protection
Goalies require specialized lacrosse stick taping techniques to provide maximum durability under repeated shot impacts. Start by applying multiple base tape layers using a heavy duty, high adhesion tape. Wrap the head and sidewalls thoroughly, building up extra thickness on the scoop and lower sidewall edges. Next, add a tight crisscross lattice spanning the entire head for added structure. The dense diamond pattern better withstands the physical forces goalies contend with. Consider color coordinating the lattice work for style points. Wrap wider pieces horizontally around the scoop several times for increased dent resistance and wrap the throat area for strength when blocking shots. Weatherproof tape layered over the lattice work helps minimize moisture damage during rainy games. Replace thinner butt end handle tape with multiple wraps of durable tape all the way up the shaft for improved grip when outlet passing under pressure. Carrying extra tape for in-game repairs is a must. Goalies should re-tape before each game and at halftime to keep their sticks in prime condition all season long. Taking the time to fully tape a goalie head using reinforced techniques extends longevity in the crease. Don’t forget to leave the bottom center of the scoop untaped for ideal ball control. Proper taping allows goalies to play with confidence knowing their sticks can withstand even the highest velocity shots.
Removing Old Tape Completely Before Re-taping
Allowing old lacrosse stick tape residue to build up under new taping leads to subpar results. Always remove all existing tape and adhesive fully before applying fresh tape. Start by slowly pulling up a corner of the old tape at the top or bottom edge. Carefully peel it back, keeping the tear line in the tape itself rather than ripping the head materials. Use a pocket knife to gently pry and lift tape in stubborn areas if needed. Take care not to gouge or scratch the head. After removing all tape, scrub any remaining sticky residue with a towel and soapy water. Rubbing alcohol works well also to cut through built-up adhesive. Check for any leftover flakes around lattice intersections or uneven clumps of tape matter that could cause lumps or peeling under new tape. A clean cloth dampened with lacquer thinner can tackle the most stubborn deposits. Let the head dry fully before re-taping to avoid trapping moisture underneath. Newer heads may require lightly scuffing with sandpaper first since ultra-smooth plastic can repel new tape. Prepping goalie heads before re-taping deserves extra attention since they see the most extreme use. Taking the time to completely remove old lacrosse stick tape allows the new application to bond optimally across a clean surface for the best results and longevity.
Applying Consistent Tension to Prevent Bunching
Inconsistent tape tension when taping a lacrosse stick leads to frustration from bunching, rippling, and premature peeling issues. Maintaining proper tension as you work is key for smooth, lasting results. Use the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand to tightly grip the tape end. With your other hand, keep the head steady and use your thumb to apply forward pressure right where the tape meets the plastic. Pull firmly with the gripping hand to keep the tape taut as you make each pass up, down or around the head. The tape should lay flat without any wavering or gaps between loops. Avoid pulling too aggressively or you may warp the head shape. When doing latticework, keep the crisscrossed pieces tight and evenly aligned. Wherever tape segments meet, be sure to press and smooth any intersections firmly. Uneven overlaps or raised ridges where pieces join will be prone to catching and tearing. When changing taping direction, maintain consistent diagonal or perpendicular angles to prevent bunching. Take care not to let tape wind up too far inward when wrapping the scoop or performance may suffer. Keeping even tension from start to finish results in a smooth, professional taping job ready for optimal play on the field.
Practicing Taping Techniques to Master Proper Form
Like any lacrosse skill, perfect taping technique requires repetition and practice over time. Players should tape and re-tape their sticks frequently to master the nuances involved. Experiment with different motions, tensions and taping patterns to see what works best. Use an old head initially to get comfortable with wrapping smoothly up the sidewalls in a spiral motion without bunching. Practice crisscrossing lattice pieces methodically and evenly across the plastic. Having patience and avoiding rushing the process leads to increased consistency. Work on keeping diagonal intersections and anchor points sturdy so they resist peeling or catch tears later on the field. Proper hand positioning and posture while taping makes the job easier and less taxing on the wrists and fingers. Develop personal strategies on when to re-grip new tape pieces and where best to start/stop segments. Study how the pros flawlessly tape their lacrosse sticks and try to emulate their techniques. The more a player tapes their stick, the more muscle memory develops. Quick stick re-taping and repairs become second nature. Partner practice sessions allow players to tape proactively before tape fails in games and causes turnovers or broken play. Putting in focused repetitions taping lacrosse sticks transfers to superior on-field performance.