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The fast-paced action of lacrosse demands reliable, sturdy protective equipment. Learn more here. How To Buy Lacrosse Protective Equipment
Lacrosse is undeniably a contact sport and it requires specific protective equipment to ensure the player's safety. Most leagues mandate that lacrosse players wear specific protective gear. Having the right equipment that both fits and functions properly is imperative to the safe enjoyment of the sport.
How to buy a lacrosse helmet
Helmets are required equipment for all lacrosse players
Lacrosse helmets incorporate a 4-point buckling system to assure they stay on as well as to allow for a better fit
They are made of a hard plastic with a wire mesh cage, or face mask, to protect the front of the face
It is required that the face mask have a center bar running from the top to the bottom for better protection
Goalie helmets add a throat protector
Determining your helmet size
Helmets come in a variety of sizes and are usually measured in inches
To ensure a player's safety, it is important that his/her helmet fit properly
Players are also required to wear a mouth guard, most of which attach to the face mask area of the helmet by a plastic strap for convenience
Although mouth guards are not mandatory in all leagues, they are highly recommended because they not only protect your teeth, but also soften blows to the head and prevent against concussions
Mouth guards either come pre-formed and eventually mold to the mouth during use, or can be softened by heating and then formed by biting down on them
Mouth guards come in general sizes to fit youths, teenagers and adults
How to buy lacrosse gloves
Lacrosse gloves have heavy padding on the tops of the fingers and around the wrist to protect against being hit by a stick
The palm is made of leather or a leather substrate for comfort and handling with thick pads around it for protection
It is okay for gloves to be a little large, as long as the padding covers all areas of the hand and wrist
Determining your glove size
Most manufacturers use different sizing levels for their gloves--usually small, medium, large, or extra large--but in general they range from youth sizes of about 9 inches up to full adult sizes of 16 inches
Use a tape measure to measure the distance from where your elbow pads will end to the tip of your fingers. This number equals your glove size.
Different manufacturers use different sizing methods, but the chart below is a good indicator of the glove size you should buy based on the above measurement
Determining Your Glove Size
How to buy lacrosse pads
There are a number of pads that need to be worn during a lacrosse game.
These protect the vulnerable rib area
Some versions wrap around to protect the lower back and kidney area as well
Shoulder pads protect the shoulders as well as the upper part of the chest
Determining the right shoulder and rib pad size
Most pads are sized according to body type
To measure, wrap a tape measure around your chest just below your armpits
Different manufacturers use different sizing charts, but the chart below provides a general guide
Determining Your Shoulder Pad Size
Elbow pads are required equipment in most leagues
They cover the elbow as well as the upper arm and forearm
Most elbow pads are adjustable and are secured with hook-and-loop straps, so sizing is general in terms of body size
There are also a varying numbers of straps available on different pads to help with adjustments
You may want to add a forearm slash pad for further protection in a sensitive, highly vulnerable area
Determining your elbow pad size
Measure the distance between the edge of your shoulder pads and the cuff of your lacrosse glove
The top of the elbow pad should leave no exposed skin between the shoulder pad and the glove
Different manufacturers use different sizing methods, but the chart below is a good indicator of the elbow pad size you should buy based on the above measurement
Determining Your Elbow Pad Size
15.5 and above
Choosing The Right Lacrosse Stick
The lacrosse stick is an essential piece of equipment for the lacrosse player, and the type of stick you buy depends on a number of factors, including your position, skill level, and gender.
Types of sticks
Lacrosse sticks come in a variety of lengths and styles according to position and type of game played, with cost and durability as additional factors.
Men's sticks generally have an aluminum handle
All manufacturers now make more technically advanced sticks made of aluminum, graphite or even titanium
These styles are generally more lightweight and durable than wood sticks, but more expensive
Men use either a traditional or meshpocket depending on their position and playing style
Women's sticks have either a wood or aluminum handle
Wood sticks, like wooden baseball bats, are prone to damage and breaking
These sticks utilize a traditional pocket
The head on a women's stick is 1 inch above the center stop
The head has an overall length of 10-12 inches
Women's stick pockets are shallower than men's. The pockets must have 4 or 5 leather thongs and no more than 2 shooting strings.
Plastic sticks are primarily used by younger players just learning the sport
These are lighter, easier to break in and more durable than the models for more advanced players
They usually utilize a mesh netting
The plastic stick's pointed mouth makes it easier for younger players to pick up the ball and throw it accurately
Anatomy of a lacrosse stick
The type of handle you buy is very much a matter of preference
Some players like heavy, thick handles for defensive purposes
Attacking players generally prefer lighter, rounder handles for better faking and maneuverability
Some players prefer square shaped handles for a better feel on which way the head is facing
Lacrosse sticks come with either a traditional woven pocket for more experienced players or a mesh pocket for novices. They also can be bought strung or unstrung.
These consist of nylon laces woven around 4 adjustable strips of leather
The leather strips can be adjusted to fit any type of shot. They do need to be replaced after repeated use.
A stiffer pocket is more accurate but gives less control while running and moving
They are made of a nylon webbing woven into the side of the pocket and require little or no adjustment
Mesh pockets are looser and give less accuracy on passes and shots, but make it easier to control the ball when running
These require less maintenance than traditional pockets
The mesh netting does not control or absorb the ball as well as leather netting
Goal keepers tend to prefer mesh netting because it reduces rebounds
Pocket depth is mostly a matter of preference and playing style
Generally, a deeper pocket provides more feel and ball control, while a shallower pocket gives you a quicker release but sacrifices ball control
Ball-control players who do a lot of short passing should use a fairly deep pocket
Fast-break players who tend to pass the ball over longer areas should use a shallower pocket
Overhand shooters should have an average depth pocket (a ball width or less)
Sidearm and underhand shooters should have depths of a ball or more
Shooting strings, positioned horizontally near the top of the stick's head, affect the ball's balance and direction
Overhand passers usually put in 3 or 4 shooting strings to make a smooth path for the ball to run out of the pocket. Heavy skate laces are best used for this.
The shooting strings determine whether your shot will have "whip,"which occurs when the ball is released smoothly and gradually. Experienced players prefer a whippy release.
Proper stick length according to position
The length of your stick depends almost entirely on the position you play.
Attackers should buy a stick that is close to the minimum length of 30 inches to allow for more control and maneuverability
Midfielders should buy a slightly longer medium-length stick to allow them to play both offense and defense
Defenders should use the longest stick they are comfortable with, usually around 60 inches, for greater reach
Goaltender sticks are generally 42 inches long
Younger players should make sure they choose a stick that fits them comfortably, regardless of position. It is more important to be able to handle the stick and ball comfortably.
Women's sticks range only from 36 to 44 inches. The exact length depends on the position--longer (43-44 inches) for defenders, shorter (36 inches) for attackers.
This is Lacrosse
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