Advice for First-Time Lacrosse Stick Shoppers
So, your daughter wants to try lacrosse and now she needs her first stick. First, if you have a local sporting goods store in your area, start there rather than heading to a giant box store like Dick’s or Modell’s. Aside from the benefits of shopping local, the store clerk is much less likely to sell you a toy “fiddle stick” or a boys’ lacrosse stick; in addition, the cost savings is minimal.
For the uninitiated, a fiddle stick is a cute little stick that large sporting good stores often stock in the toy section. The head of a fiddle stick is undersized, so a regulation-sized lacrosse ball gets stuck in the pocket, making it difficult to catch and throw. To make matters worse, fiddle sticks are typically boys’ sticks.
This brings us to a critical point: So how are girls and boys lacrosse sticks made differently and why? The pocket on a boys’ lacrosse stick is deeper and made of mesh string. This is intentional, so that it’s difficult for an opponent to dislodge a ball from the stick as a player is running down the field. Boys are allowed to check or hit each other with their sticks, which explains why boys wear shoulder pads, gloves, arm pads, and helmets.
Unlike the boys, female players are not allowed to knock into each other or hit (“check”) each others’ bodies. The pocket of a girls’ stick is made primarily with string with a few off-setting strings or leather thongs, which are known as the shooting strings. There is almost no pocket on the girls’ stick, making it more difficult to run and cradle. Cradling is the motion lacrosse players use to keep the ball from falling out and protecting. To confirm that you’re buying a girls’ stick, check if you can see the top of the ball from the sidewall when you hold the stick sideways. (You can loosen up the strings once you get home to make it easier for your daughter to throw, catch, and cradle as she’s learning the sport.)
Cutting the Lacrosse Stick Down to Size
The shaft on a girls’ stick is often quite long for the average K–4th grader, so you may need to cut a few inches off the shaft. Most sporting good stores can do this for you in the store using a saw. You can also do this at home. Just pull off the rubber cap known as the “butt” at the end of stick, cut the shaft, and then put it back on afterwards.
A common rule of thumb for determining proper stick length is to have your daughter hold her stick about a third of the way down from the stick head so the stick is parallel to the ground. Whatever part of the shaft is sticking out past her armpit, give or take an inch, can be cut off. This makes a big difference for new players when they’re learning to catch and throw.
How Much Do Beginner Lacrosse Sticks Cost?
Beginner lacrosse sticks range from $35 to $50. Popular brands include: STX, DeBeer, and Brine. Honestly, there’s not much difference between the starter sticks. Practice is the only thing that makes a difference a this point. (If you shop online, just be sure to buy a girls’ lacrosse stick.)
- Consider borrowing a stick from a friend or sister if your daughter is just starting out. (At Sum It Up, we try to have a large supply of sticks to loan out for this reason.)
- Be sure to put your daughter’s name on the stick—90 percent of the sticks are pink so they all look alike!
- After you know the stick is the appropriate length, put a sticker or piece of tape about a third of the way down the shaft. This will remind your daughter where to place her top hand when throwing and cradling.