Buying Guide for Beginner Lacrosse Players

Your kid is picking up the sport of lacrosse for the first time in 2017 and that’s great! Lacrosse is a unique sport with rich history and a close knit community. But, as a parent we understand that suiting up your little one for the first day of practice can be a daunting task. That’s why we are here to help.

Unlike many other sports like basketball or soccer, lacrosse requires a handful of equipment to just step onto the field. That’s why we have put together the following buying guide to help walk you through what equipment is required and what gear is best for your young athlete.

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Boy’s Buying Guide
Much like hockey, there is a list full of equipment need to play boy’s lacrosse. All players on the field, with the exception of goalies, are required to wear a helmet, shoulder pads, arm pads, gloves and a mouth guard. Each piece of equipment comes in a variety of styles and brands which allows players to find gear that best fits their preferences but can also make the buying process confusing. Thankfully, when it comes to equipment for beginners, the pads comes relatively standard between brands. There are a few differences between brands of starter equipment, but as you’re going through the buying process it is important to keep in mind your budget and your child’s level of interest in the game.

Helmets
There are two great helmets from Cascade in the market that are designed specifically for youth players, the CS-R and CPV-R. Both come in around the same price range so you will want to consider your kids age and size when choosing between the two. The CS-R is geared towards younger and smaller kids in the U-12 division but comes with a simple Velcro fitting system so that it can grow with your young athlete. The CPV-R on the other hand has a slightly larger shell with a more advanced SPRFit fitting system. We recommend the CPV-R for players who require a larger size but are also starting to step up from the little leagues into more of an intermediate level.

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Protective Equipment
As mentioned, the protective equipment designed for young players just learning the game comes relatively standard across brands as they all keep 1 goal in mind, keeping your young athlete safe. To fully outfit your player you will need to pick up a pair of gloves, arm pads and some shoulder pads. All beginner equipment will work for players at any position on the field so you will not need to worry about specific gear for midfielders versus defensemen and so on. The biggest difference in beginner gear lies in the price as single pieces of equipment can range from $14.99 to $49.99 so you will want to focus on your budget and the level of interest of your kid when investing in this equipment.

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Complete Sticks
There are hundreds of options and combinations of lacrosse sticks on the market, which is why we recommend focusing on the complete stick offerings for your youth players. As the name suggests, complete sticks come with a shaft and strung head together making them game-ready right out of the box. Although defensemen in the game of lacrosse use longer sticks than offensive players, it is important to outfit your young athlete with a stick that fits their size as you could imagine it is very difficult to learn the game when you can hardly handle your stick. Most youth coaches will recommend taking the stick, putting the head at your child’s feet and measuring up to their belly button then cutting the shaft down to meet that height. This will help them handle the stick with ease and ensure a positive learning experience. Since you will be modifying this piece of equipment, it is important to take note of your child’s size and your budget as they could very well outgrow their cut down youth stick in a season or two.

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Goalie
Unlike every other field player, the goalie is only required to wear a helmet with a throat guard, gloves, a protective cup and a chest protector. Similarly though, this equipment comes relatively standard between brands so again you will likely focus more on your budget when making your buying decision. Although there are gloves specific to the goalie position, at the beginner stage, they are not required. Goalie gloves comes with reinforced protective around the thumb making that part of the glove generally stiffer. This could be hard for a young player t there are gloves specific to the goalie position, at the beginner stage, they are not required. Goalie gloves comes with reinforced protective around the thumb making that part of the glove generally stiffer. This could make it hard for a young player to use these types of gloves so we would recommend sticking to the regular youth gloves. There are not many complete stick options for goalies so you will likely need to purchase a head and shaft separately. Goalie heads are unlike any others on the field as they are much wider and do not have any restrictions in game when it comes to the depth of the pocket. When buying these pieces, we would recommend focusing on strung heads and entry level shafts as you will also need to adjust the length of the shaft depending on your player’s height.

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Girl’s Buying Guide
There is significantly less equipment required to start playing girl’s lacrosse which will make the buying process much easier. Essentially, your young athlete will need three items to hit the field: a stick, a pair of goggles and some cleats.

Goggles
As girl’s lacrosse is a non-contact sport, a lot of protective equipment is not needed outside a pair of plastic or metal goggles. However, there is an on-going debate about whether headgear or more of a helmet like piece of equipment should be used and required. For now, any headgear outside of a pair of goggles is not required but that may change over the next couple of years. So when purchasing a pair of goggles, similar to most youth equipment, you will want to focus on your budget over anything else because the rules for required equipment may change. There may be a few more bumps and bangs in girl’s youth lacrosse compared to elite level women’s lacrosse so we would advise getting a pair of goggles that not only fit well but cover a larger portion of the face to provide more protection.

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Complete Stick
Thankfully it is more common to find women’s lacrosse sticks come as complete sticks rather than separate heads and shafts. When you get to the elite level, there are different widths and styles of lacrosse heads meant for different positions on the field, but for youth players we recommend finding a head that has a wide face shape so there is more area to catch and scoop the ball. Even if your young athlete requests an elite level stick, it’s important they master the fundamentals first. Most youth complete sticks will come with an alloy shaft and likely in a 7/8th inch diameter which is smaller than the 1 inch diameter of men’s sticks. Both diameters can be used with women’s lacrosse heads, but the 7/8th inch is recommended for youth players so they can get a better grip on their game. All complete sticks come in a standard size, so you will want to measure the stick with the head at your child’s feet up until their belly button and cut down the handle to fit. Having a shorter stick will make handling it more manageable and ultimately more fun when they play the game of lacrosse.

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Goalie
Similar to the boy’s game, the goalie in the girl’s game is required to wear a helmet with a throat guard, gloves and a chest protector and will use the exact same equipment. A few manufacturers do make goalie equipment specific for women, but that equipment is meant for older and more elite level athletes. So, the same equipment suggested for youth boy’s goalies will apply for youth girl’s goalies.

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We are overjoyed that your young one is trying out lacrosse for the first time and we hope that our buying guide has helped alleviate some stress when outfitter your young athlete. Having the right gear and equipment that fits will make for a more enjoyable experience while learning the game of lacrosse. If you have any further questions about youth lacrosse equipment, feel free to reach out to us on Twitter and Instagram and make sure to check out our Beginner page.