Lacrosse is one of the oldest sports played in the US and Canada. It came into existence in the 15th century, and was traditionally played by the Native American people. It is played with long-handled racquets or sticks, and a solid rubber ball. It has four major types - men's field lacrosse, women's lacrosse, box lacrosse, and intercrosse. The equipment differs in all the variations of the game.
Lacrosse rules for women are designed such that they allow minimal contact between players. Lacrosse sticks for girls vary slightly in design than the ones for men. The stick consists of a handle (also called the shaft), the head, and the pocket (made of shooting strings). The length of the stick must be between 35½ to 43¼ inches.
How to Choose Lacrosse Sticks for Girls
Choosing the Shaft
When buying a girl's stick, make sure you choose the right kind of shaft. You will find shafts of all materials like wood, aluminum, plastic, composite or alloy. If you are new to the game, opt for aluminum or plastic, these are pocket-friendly, more durable and better from a functional point of view. You may be required to wear gloves if you use aluminum shafts while playing in cold weather. If you are a professional player, you can buy lighter and sturdier shafts that are made of alloys and composites. An octagonal shaft, rather than a circular one, allows the player to get a firm grip on the stick.
Choosing the Head
Choosing the appropriate kind of head is also an important criteria. Ideally, it should be made of a synthetic material like fiberglass, plastic, or it should be wooden. It should be 7-9 inches wide, and attached securely to the shaft with screws. The most popular ones are 'molded head lacrosse sticks'. There are numerous options available: offset, non-offset, open sidewall, and closed sidewall. If you are a novice, choose non-offset heads with closed side walls. Being straight at the top, you can use them to quickly learn how to pick, catch, and throw balls. Advanced players should go in for offset heads for better speed and accuracy because they are curved throughout.
Choosing the Pocket
Selecting the right kind of pocket for the head is crucial too. Pockets for girls' sticks are generally made of leather or nylon thongs. Girls who have just begun learning the game can use mesh pockets too. The pockets must be strung with 4 wide thongs running vertically and should be interlaced with 8 or 12 strings. This provides strength to the pocket to hold the ball. The pocket should be shallow. US Lacrosse, the governing body for the sport in the US, clearly states that while holding the stick horizontally, if the ball is placed in the pocket and pressure is applied, the top of the ball must remain above the top of the sidewall. This means that the depth of the pocket is right.
Apart from the above particulars, the positions of the players and the pricing are also important factors to bear in mind when buying the right stick.
Based on Player's Position
The primary lacrosse positions are the goalkeeper, defensive and offensive positions, and the midfielders. If the player is a goalkeeper, opt for a wider head (but not more than 12 inches wide), and you stand a better chance at saving the opposing team's shot. The length of the stick can also be up to 48 inches. The pocket can have 6 or 7 vertical thongs, whereas other field players are only permitted 4 or 5. You can select a mesh netting for your pocket if you are the goalie. If you are a defender, choose a longer stick that is stiffer and not very flexible. Midfielders can opt for either a shorter or longer stick, according to their preference. Attackers usually go in for a shorter stick.
Based on the Price
The budget is an important factor, especially when the player's commitment to the sport comes into picture. Spending a fortune on buying a stick may come to nothing if the player is not sure how long she will continue with the sport. But at the same time do not buy a cheap or low-quality stick for a beginner, for if she cannot grasp it right and play well to begin with, she might lose interest in the sport altogether.
There is a wide variety available in the market to choose from. Or else, you can always seek your coach's guidance on buying the latest gear that's just right for you.