Shafts 101

To play the game you gotta have one, we all know this. But how do decide when you’re just starting out in the game. Here, we’re gonna breakdown the ins and outs of buying a lacrosse shaft. For those veterans of the game, who knows you might just learning something.

FIRST UP – WHAT POSITION DO YOU PLAY?
It sounds obvious, but some players miss even this most basic step. In lacrosse, defenders, goalies and attackmen/midfielders use different length shafts. The NCAA is actually who determines the length of lacrosse shafts.

Attack/Midfielders:
These players use 30″ shafts, aka the “short sticks.” Attack players also tend to favor a lighter design, which makes it easier to move faster down the field.

Defense:
These players go with the long 60″ shafts. Defenders need stronger handles that can withstand delivering punishing checks.

Goalies:
These players go with the 40″ shafts. They need the combo of strength and agility.

Virginia 6A Girls' Lacrosse Semifinal Westfield vs Battlefield

MATERIAL:
Lacrosse shafts today tend to come in a variety of materials that can greatly affect cost, weight and durability.

ALUMINUM ALLOY
Great for younger, less experienced lacrosse players. Aluminum alloy, while not as durable or strong as other materials, is lightweight and easy to handle. Aluminum shafts don’t have natural grip properties so they tend to be enhanced with grip technology.

Two good options: Brine Swizzbeat and Warrior Alloy

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SCANDIUM ALLOY
Used by elite and professional level. This is the most popular lacrosse shaft material. It’s lightweight, stronger than aluminum. It offers excellent durability.

Two good options: STX Stallion and Brine Scandium Elite

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TITANIUM
Ideal for advanced players. This is one of the top lacrosse shaft materials. It delivers that sought after combo of lightweight durability for checking or defending. 

Good Option: Warrior Titan

CARBON FIBER/COMPOSITE
Great for  intermediate to advanced players and attack players. We’ve seen carbon fiber pop up every where in recent years from shoe outsoles to protective gear – shafts are no exception. Carbon fiber was developed for rocket ships and race cars and it’s no surprise that it makes an excellent material for lacrosse shafts. It’s lightweight and virtually unbreakable. They also offer natural grip properties. This material can also offer the added benefit of remaining warm in cold weather, and cool in hot weather.

Good options: Epoch Dragon Fly

Maryland v Duke

ANOTHER FACTOR – SHAPE
The shape of the handle plays a big part in hand feel. Octagon is the traditional, most popular option.

NEXT UP – DO YOU DIG GRIP?
Many shafts these days have been enhanced with grip technologies or texture treatments. Some are added after production, so are integrated in the material and some are etched into the shaft itself. In the old days, everyone taped their shafts, but these modern grip technologies make that step obsolete for many.

Grip really is a personal preference – do you like the sandpaper-ish grit feel, a rubberized grip or tradition smooth handle?

ADVICE FOR FEMALE PLAYERS
Women’s specific shafts often have a slightly smaller diameter to allow for a better grip. The length also tends to be shorter falling between 35″ to 43″. Just as with the guys, female attack players opt for a shorter length, while defenders go for the longer handles.

FIND LACROSSE.COM’S FULL SELECTION OF SHAFTS HERE.