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The Stylin’ Strings Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Lacrosse Head

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The most frequent questions we hear from our customers are “What is the best head?” and “What head should I buy?” We are here to help, whether you’re buying your first head, or you’re experienced and looking to try something new.

These rules of thumb will help you weigh different aspects that come into consideration when selecting a new lacrosse stick. Before we dive into the selection criteria, we would like to explain that there might be subsequent letters and/or numbers given in the head model’s name that denote what level of play is intended for the product. Each head is listed on our website with full disclosure regarding the legalities of individual items, so feel free to review this material on your own.

One of the first main factors that must be taken into account is price. Accordingly, a high price doesn’t necessarily translate into a better product. Higher prices will, however, broaden your selection to include heads that offer advanced technology, such as enhanced plastic molds like c-channel technology, better plastic compounds, and R&D by professional athletes. To offer a personal example, while one of us attended Lynchburg College, one of the All-American midfielders would use nothing but an AV8, STX’s staple beginner level head. He went on to play for the Philadelphia Wings and occasionally  saw pictures of him still using an AV8.

Players of the same positions tend to prefer the same features when selecting a head. Attackmen tend to be the most picky and lean toward the tightest pinched heads to offer the most ball protection for cradling one handed. They also value lightweight heads to be able to quickly avoid checks by defensemen and offer more of a feel of the ball when seated in the pocket. Popular choices for these players include:

Midfielders tend to use heads falling in between the characteristics of predominantly offensive or defensive products. A head with a moderate pinch and a stiffer construction are favored due to enduring more abusive play than would be encountered at the attackman position. Popular choices for these players include all heads listed above in the attackman section, plus:

Defensively, wider heads dominate because the position is extremely reactionary, where wider heads allow passes or shots to be picked off and knocked down easier. A wider head also helps make quick ground ball pickups smoother. Stiffness is also an important factor for defensemen because stiffer heads transfer more of a check’s energy to the opposition, offering the greatest opportunity to dislodge the ball, or leave a nice welt. Popular choices for these players include:

All Universal

Other characteristics to consider are the layout and quantity of stringing holes along the bottom sidewall rail, the head’s offset, and the location of the widest part of the sidewall structure.

More stringing holes allow for a greater number of pocket configurations and stringing the perfect pocket becomes less of a chore. Locks and double knots can be placed in the exact position for the pocket style being created.

The offset of the head refers to the dropping down of a head where the shaft is inserted into the head, also referred to as the throat area of the head. This innovation gives players a more precise feel of the ball and better ball retention while cradling as well as increased accuracy and precision when passing and shooting.

Lastly, each head has a portion of the sidewall that is wider than the rest, and some portions are longer than others. Maverik has done a great job explaining this feature with their newest line of heads:

The Optik head features what Maverik calls a “Level 2” sidewall, meaning that the widest part of the sidewall construction is close to the throat of the stick. This adds protection and precision to players who use mid to low placed pockets.


Alternatively, the Maverik Tank features a “Level 5” sidewall, meaning the widest part of the sidewall construction is closer to the scoop of the head, giving immediate control to those who like their pocket to sit higher up.

Please note that this is a separate characteristic of heads, one that is different than the pinch of the head when looking at the face.

There are many factors that go into selecting the most appropriate head and this is a broad overview of where to start your search. We will expand on this article in the future to cover this subject in more detail, so be sure to check back soon. As always, if you have any questions we are more than happy to assist you over the phone at 717-846-0800 or by email at [email protected]

In 2009, Adam O’Neill, Harry Alford and Thomas Alford launched Lacrosse Playground as the preeminent site for lacrosse gearheads. For years Lacrosse Playground provided lacrosse fans with tutorials and tips on how to string a lacrosse head, up-close looks at the gear the top players used and sneak peeks at equipment and uniforms before they were released. More than 10 years and millions of visits later, Lacrosse Playground has relaunched with a focus on storytelling. Our mission is to provide comprehensive coverage of the latest lacrosse news, share insights into the sports betting and fantasy lacrosse world and showcase the lifestyles and personalities of the sport of lacrosse through articles, videos and podcasts.

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Noblefart
Noblefart
6 years ago

i think you have the STX Stallion and Surgeon mixed up.

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