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Beginning Gear For Women's Lacrosse: What Kind Of Stick Should I Buy?

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Because lacrosse is still a club sport in many school districts outside of the east coast, it's a perfect sport for beginners of all ages. Unlike men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse requires minimal gear since it's non-contact sport (although stick-checking is allowed). To get started, you'll need to purchase a stick, mouthguard, protective eye-wear, cleats, and ball.

The stick is the most important piece of equipment you'll need to pick up. Since you never touch the ball with your hands, the stick will be an extension of your body. You'll want to understand the different stick materials, parts, and variations so that you can find one that feels most comfortable and works for your position on the field.

The Shaft

Even if you decide to click here for more info or buy your stick online, you'll want to go into the store so that you can find which material and width feels most comfortable in your hands. Length doesn't matter as much because you can always cut down a stick to your desired height.

A lighter-weight shaft is great if you are a center or midfield player and need to run constantly up and down the field. If you play defense or other heavy-stick checking positions, you may want a heavier weight that can take the abuse.

Common materials for shafts include aluminum, composite, and titanium. While they aren't the strongest material, aluminum shafts are great for beginners because of their affordability. As you advance, you may want to invest in a composite or titanium shaft.

To get a good feel for a stick, try cradling it in the store. While one stick may be considered more suitable for a beginner or easier to handle, you really should channel the "wand chooses the wizard" feeling and go with one that feels right in your hands.

The Head

The good news is that most heads can be unscrewed and changed out, so you can mix and match heads and sticks to find an ideal fit. If you find an inexpensive, beginner stick, and love the head, you can move the head over to an advanced stick later on.

The lacrosse head actually comes into contact with the ball and can make differences in your shooting accuracy, velocity, and checking. The head is also made of different parts like the sidewalls, pocket, and scoop.

For beginners, you'll want to go with a head that has fairly flexible, lightweight sidewalls. As you run to pick up the ball, these heads will be kinder with their give. And since beginner lacrosse has more ground balls than passes in the air, you'll need all the help you can get to pick up grounders quickly. But if your coach wants you to play on low defense, you may want to opt for a less flexible head so that you can make strong checks.

Unfortunately, unlike men's lacrosse, the pockets (meshed rope on the head) on women's lacrosse sticks are much more shallow. This can be especially frustrating for beginner's since the ball will have a tendency to fall out. Advanced players may want to string their own pockets, but the stick you buy should already have a pre-strung pocket. Go for a pocket that's wider. While shooting may not be as accurate with a wide pocket, they make catching much easier.

Like the pocket, the scoop (top portion of the head) should be wide. Make sure the scoop is flat or less-curved so that you can pick up ground balls more easily. As you advance, you may want a scoop with more curve so you have more power in your shots.

If you keep these different components in mind, you're sure to find the perfect beginner's stick.