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Let’s Talk Women’s Lacrosse Handles

Women's Lacrosse Sticks

Choosing the correct women’s lacrosse stick can be a tough decision and can potentially affect your game. The head and stringing of the lacrosse stick are essential, and the handle is just the stick that the head is on, right? Wrong! The handle of the lacrosse stick can also affect a player’s game tremendously.

The two major types of lacrosse handles are composite and alloy. While many girls quickly jump on the composite bandwagon, it’s important to fully understand the setbacks and advantages to each material. These types of handles can be compared on four different levels: the handle’s performance in the weather, its stiffness, the range of designs it can come in, and its weight.

How the handle acts in different weather conditions is what many girls base their handle preference on. If you want a handle that will remain more temperate in extreme heat or the frigid cold, then composite material is right up your alley. By comparison, your alloy handle will fluctuate depending on the weather. Also, if you are playing with an alloy handle in the rain, chances are your hands will slip. However, there is hope for all of you alloy lovers out there! All of these problems can be simply fixed by either using cloth tape on your stick or by wearing gloves.

Another important factor is how stiff or malleable you want your stick to be. Since composite handles are made up of a mix of materials, they can be more prone to breakage. However, the bright side to the stick being less stiff is that it can bend. Certain handles are designed to slightly bend with enough force, which is called flex technology. This can add extra whip to your passes and shots. Alloy, on the other hand, cannot bend, making it a much stiffer stick and less prone to breakage.

If design and colors of your shaft are important to you, then you may lean more towards a composite handle. Composite handles tend to come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and finishes that make them more appealing to players. Alloy, unfortunately, is more limited.

Who wants to run with an obnoxiously heavy, awkwardly balanced, lacrosse stick up and down the field? Certainly not many. Alloy handles used to be really heavy but now, thanks to modern technology, they can be just as light, if not lighter, than a composite handle. Most alloy handles are made of scandium, titanium, or a mix of the two, called Sc-Ti.

There are so many important things to consider when choosing the best lacrosse handle for you, and that is why Longstreth Sporting Goods is here to help. Both the associates in the Longstreth retail store and customer service are here to assist you in choosing your dream lacrosse stick. We are prepared to answer any and all of your women’s lacrosse related questions in order for you to get everything you have ever wanted out of a lacrosse stick. Ask us anything!


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Features and Functions of a Women’s Lacrosse Head

Womens-Lacrosse-Head.jpg

Women’s Lacrosse Head
Women’s Lacrosse Heads differ widely from the men’s version to better fit the needs of the women’s lacrosse game. While the men’s stick has a deep mesh pocket to ease catching and carrying the ball, the women’s stick has a tighter pocket that requires proper technique to keep possession while cradling.

Curve of the Scoop
The scoop is the widest part of the women’s lacrosse head and is used to pick up the ball and also can improve accuracy when passing and shooting. Scoops vary in width and curvature. They range from a flat design where the scoop has a little curve at the top, to a more “U” shape, where the scoop has a lot of curve at the top. Heads with a flatter scoop are designed for developing players because it makes it more suitable for picking up ground balls.  The “U” shaped scoop will channel the ball better during a pass or shot, making it perfect for improving shot accuracy.

The Sidewall and Angle of the Scoop
Sidewalls, like the rest of the head, are made of plastic mold and connect the strings to the lacrosse head. They vary in flexibility and depth. The shape and depth of the sidewalls directly affects ball control. A lower sidewall allows for a deeper pocket, which increases ball control. Most elite heads have dropped sidewalls for this reason. Beginner sticks tend to have flatter or straighter sidewalls to help teach younger players proper technique. The angle of the scoop from the sidewall area determines the way the ball will be released from the head. An extreme angled scoop provides more whip and accuracy when shooting. A flatter scoop will have less whip and not as advanced ball control.

Weight of the Head
The weight of the head is usually due to the head having more plastic, which not only increases the weight, but also makes it stiffer. This is beneficial to defenders, midfielders, and other players who are often stick-checking and aggressively going after ground balls. A lightweight head usually has thinner sidewalls and is more flexible. Many attackers, or midfielders that shoot, like having a head that is lightweight because it makes them feel like they have more control. A light head will make it more flexible, which can make them ineffective on ground balls and landing hard checks. It also makes the head more susceptible to breaking.

Width of the Head
Narrow heads are good for ball retention and accuracy, while wider heads have more surface area for blocking and catching the ball. Wide heads tend to be more desirable to defensive players. Attackers tend to like the more narrow heads, and midfielders look for a balance depending on whether they are more offensive or defensive.

Ball Stop
This thin piece of rubber or foam that is meant to cushion the ball as it sits in the pocket. Women’s lacrosse heads feature a larger ball stop area since the pocket is not as deep as the men’s and the ball comes in contact with the ball stop more often.

The Pocket 
The pocket is where the ball resides. Pockets include the center piece, nylon stringing around the center piece, and leathers or thicker nylons on either side of the center piece. There is also a top string at the top, which may need to be replaced depending on what surface you play on and how often. The sidewalls strings, in conjunction with the top string, help to secure the pocket to the head. Sidewalls strings are also susceptible to breaking and are usually easy to repair. The last strings in the pocket are the shooting strings. They can be strung into a head in different shapes and positions, as long as they meet the stringing requirements. The most common shape and combination is a shooting string at the top threaded straight across, and then a U or V-shaped string below.

Visit http://www.longstreth.com for details on the huge selection of women’s lacrosse sticks, heads, and gear. Longstreth Sporting Goods specializes in bringing the best of the best equipment to the female athlete. Check out the great selection of women’s lacrosse equipment at Longstreth.

7 Things Every Lacrosse Parent Should Know

Female lacrosse players on the sideline of a game

Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports, but most parents, unless they have been lacrosse athletes themselves, don’t know much about the sport and might never have watched a game before their children became players.  Here are 7 things every lacrosse parent should know:

  1. Learn about the Game

This fast-paced sport can be bewildering. Here are some things to learn:

  • The different positions and their responsibilities.
  • How the game is played
  • Foul rules

Longstreth Sporting Goods has a great selection of books – check out the 2017 US Women’s Lacrosse Rule Book or read about the history of the game in Women Play Lacrosse

  1. Don’t Talk to Officials

Everyone cringes when parents become overly critical of officials or coaches, but no one is hurt more than that parent’s child. As a matter of fact, lacrosse etiquette says that parents don’t comment on calls at all. It is out of order to say anything either good or bad to the officials and it is important to stop other parents from doing so because it can cause your team to have a penalty.

  1. Volunteer

Like most sports, lacrosse coaches can often use another set of hands and eyes to help either in practices or games. Ask your daughter’s coach if you can be a:

  • Timer
  • Scorekeeper
  • Equipment manager
  • Concessions helper
  • Film manager
  • Statistician

Getting in on the action yourself is a way to learn about the game and also a way to get to know other players and parents. Better yet, you can go back on the sidelines and help other people understand what is going on during the play.

  1. Be Positive

Any competitive sport can cause strong emotions in both players and parents but remember that, as a parent, you set a tone for your player when you communicate with the coach. Remember to speak thoughtfully, kindly, and in a positive manner to the coach, and also to your child when talking about the coach. Coaches often spend far more time coaching than they ever get compensated for, so be appreciative!

  1. Don’t Assume-Ask

Is your daughter or another child not given much play time?  Or you see a player coming off the field and you don’t know why? Don’t assume there is some prejudice against the player or imagine the coach doesn’t think she has talent. There could be other reasons a player comes off the field, such as:

  • The player has been asked to make a change on their own and hasn’t yet done it.
  • The player may have been sent in for a particular short job on the field.
  • A player may feel winded and choose to sit out a while, which is allowed.

6. Take the Long View

Did your team lose?  Take the opportunity to give your daughter some life lessons about the value of being challenged, learning to practice harder, and learning to work together as a team. Is your player disappointed by tryouts? Sympathize but also help them see what they can do to improve for next time.

  1. Know the Equipment

Making sure your daughter has the right lacrosse equipment for playing her game and practicing her skills is an important part of helping her succeed in this fast-paced game. Make sure to choose a stick that fits her height and skill level. The handle on a stick can be shortened for smaller players, as long as the full crosse is within the legal length.  Keep some lacrosse training balls handy for her to hone her skills. Make sure she has good quality cleats so that she has a strong footing in the ground and slip-ups are minimized.

Need help? The lacrosse managers at Longstreth Sporting Goods can provide you information. We specialize in outfitting female lacrosse players and are happy to answer any questions. Feeling fancy? Come in to our store and get your custom strung lacrosse heads at Longstreth!

My Daughter is Starting Lacrosse – What Equipment Does She Need?

equipment

Congratulations!  Your daughter is going to play an intense and exciting game which will challenge her to develop physical stamina, hand-eye coordination and the ability to work with her team. Here is what she is going to need to play well and keep safe:

Lacrosse Stick

Of course, the most important and personal piece of equipment for each player is her stick which has two parts: the handle, and the head. Both pieces come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes that give young women different advantages depending on the position they play and how they like to handle the ball.  However, without knowing all the ins-and-outs of the game, how is a beginning player supposed to choose? Here are some guidelines:

  • Heads with flat scoops and wide faces help beginners catch and pick up the ball.
  • Stick head choice can depend on position: narrow throat for offensive player wanting increased accuracy; stiff, flat head for defenders for hard checks and stability on groundballs; sturdy head for goalies to withstand hard shots.
  • Stick length can be between 35.5 and 43.25, but beginners often opt for a shorter stick for better control.
  • Handle material advantages differ: alloy is strongest in moderate weather, composite is softer and more flexible in extreme weather; titanium is lightest and strongest but can make a stick top-heavy.

ASTM Approved Lacrosse Goggles

Safety is first and wearing goggles that meet the current ASTM International standards is a must to protect your daughter’s eyes. Lacrosse goggles:

  • Are made with soft padding, rubber, plastic, and wire.
  • Should fit snugly on the face, be comfortable and provide good side and ground vision.
  • Can be made for girls who wear glasses.
  • Should be tried on before buying.

Mouth Guard

Available in a variety of fun colors, shapes, and flavors, lacrosse mouth guards protect teeth but are lightweight and comfortable.  In addition:

  • Girls like to show their style with their mouth guard colors.
  • Mouth guards allow girls to breathe, talk, and even drink.
  • You can buy them for girls who have braces.
  • Flavors include: bubble gum, mint, fruit, and lemon-lime
  • Mouth guard cases are a good way to store them.

Lacrosse Cleats

The right lacrosse footwear will help players have good traction on grass, mud, or turf. The cleats are usually designed with 4 studs on the heel and 6-8 on the front.  Choose cleats that are:

  • Lightweight and breathable for flexibility and comfort.
  • Stiff enough to absorb impact and protect from foot fatigue and injury.
  • Not too tight or too loose, with about 1/2 inch of space between toe and shoe.

Optional Lacrosse Equipment

For protection or cold weather comfort, some players like to wear gloves.  In addition, players often want to have their own balls for individual practice. One inexpensive but important piece of lacrosse gearfor beginners is the Cradlebaby, a lacrosse training ball attached to an lanyard-type band which allows players to practice stick work, cradling, and improve wrist strength.

Worthwhile Investment

Yes, buying your daughter lacrosse equipment will be an investment, but the total cost will probably be less than private lessons in many sports. Better yet, you will get the enjoyment of watching her grow in confidence, agility, and pride in her sport and her team.

Women’s Lacrosse: A Basic Introduction to the Game

Women's-Lacrosse

Women’s lacrosse is an exciting game both to watch and to play. Because ball possession is integral to winning, both individual skill and team effort are important. Here is a basic introduction to the game:

Rules and Fouls

Like most ball games, the team with the most goals wins. Here are the basic rules:

  • Games start with a draw between two opposing team players at the center of the field.
  • Play consists of teams passing or cradling the ball while running toward the goal.
  • Teams gain possession by intercepting, retrieving ground balls, capturing (checking) balls from an opponent’s stick, or blocking a shot or pass.
  • Athletes can only use stick-to-stick contact. Stick to body and body to body contact is illegal.
  • Players must stand immediately when the official’s whistle is blown.
  • If the ball goes out of bounds, the team that touched the ball last loses possession. Off of a shot, the possession goes to the closest player to where the ball goes out.
  • Fouls are called for illegal stick use, illegal equipment, illegal field position, or taking a dangerous shot.

Field

Originally, women’s lacrosse field size was unlimited. However, in 2006, women’s lacrosse adopted regulation fields which are somewhat similar to  to a regulation soccer field.  There is a restraining line (30 yards infield from each goal line) which limits each team to 7 field players to engage in settled play. Defense is allowed 7 field players and a goalie between the restraining line and their defensive endline.

Positions

A women’s lacrosse team has 11 field players and one goalie. A team must have five players behind the restraining line when the ball is in their offensive end (this includes the goalie), and must have four players behind the restraining line when the ball is in their defensive end. On the draw, only three players are able to be on the circle, between the two restraining lines. This includes 1 person from each team taking the draw and two people from each team on the outside of the circle. Field players are usually divided into:

  • 4 players on attack
  • 4 players on defense
  • 3 players in midfield

Equipment

In addition to needing the right pair of lacrosse cleats for fast action on the field, players need sticks, goggles, mouthguards, and balls.

Sticks

The most important aspect in choosing a lacrosse stick is finding one that meets the player’s skill level, experience, comfort level and age.

  • Size: most sticks are roughly 42 3/4″. The STX Lilly is shorter and meant for very young, short players.
  • Diameter: options are women’s traditional 7/8″, mid-size (inbetween 7/8″ and 1″) and full size  1″.
  • Shape: octagon, concave octagon, rounded octagon and teardrop.
  • Materials: Alloys are stronger but less temperate in extreme weather. Composites are less strong but have a softer feel and are more flexible. While Sc-Ti is extremely strong and lightweight, these handles can make the stick feel top heavy.
  • Finish: soft, smooth rubberized or alloy.

Heads

The type of lacrosse stick head chosen sometimes depends on the position played. Defenders often prefer a stick head that is flatter and stiffer to deliver powerful checks, while midfielders often prefer a head that offers more flexibility for quick releases.

Goggles

Goggles protect the player’s eyes, so fit and vision are the most important factor in choosing them. Upgraded titanium cage can make the goggles more lightweight but just as protective and strong.

Gloves

Generally, gloves are optional for women’s lacrosse players, but they might be worn for warmth in cold weather, or for increased grip and or protection for the hands.

Balls

Official lacrosse game balls must follow specific NCAA regulations for color, weight, and bounce, so it is important to choose certified balls. Soft bean bag practice balls are useful for indoor practice.

Equipping Women’s Lacrosse Players

Young women lacrosse players require equipment specially developed for their skillset situations. Longstreth Sporting Goods specializes in equipment that is designed specifically for the needs of women lacrosse players of all levels.