Choosing the right lacrosse shaft to go with the head of the lacrosse stick is largely a matter of personal preference. However, there are certain factors to be considered, including the position you play, your lacrosse association’s regulations, how the lacrosse stick feels in your hands, and your skill level.
- Attack - Players in the attack position are the scorers. They use a short stick. A stick with a short shaft gives the player more control when passing or shooting. It allows them to maneuver around other players more easily, and by holding it in one hand, it acts to help maintain a player's balance when they make sudden reversals of direction to find an open lane to shoot at the goal.
- Midfield - In this position, a player helps both the offense and defense. A player who is more offensive-minded would choose a shorter shaft, while a defensive-minded player would opt for the long stick.
- Defense - The long stick is the choice if your main role is to stop the other team from scoring. A defenseman spends much of his time on the field checking other players and trying to poke the ball away. The longer shaft allows for greater reach and is more effective than a short stick in thwarting an offensive player from scoring.
- Goalie - Protecting the net requires you to use a stick with a long shaft. Like a defenseman, the longer stick gives a greater reach, but it also blocks more of the open net. If you are a goalie, you want the biggest stick with the widest shaft allowed by the rules of lacrosse.
College lacrosse leagues are popular across the country. The NCAA oversees lacrosse leagues for both men and women in Division I, II and III competitions. According to Section 17 of the NCAA rules, the full length of a short crosse (the shaft and head) must be either forty or 42 inches. A long crosse can be anywhere from 52 to 72 inches in length. The goalie's cross has the widest range of length and can be anywhere from 40 to 72 inches in total length.
National Lacrosse League
The National Lacrosse League is a professional indoor lacrosse league that has teams in both the United States and Canada. Because the field of play in indoor arenas is smaller than a standard outdoor lacrosse field, the rules for the length of lacrosse sticks are somewhat different than those in NCAA lacrosse. According to the guidelines set forth in National Lacrosse League rules 30, 31 and 32, all players, except the goalie, must use a stick that measures between 40 and 42 inches in length. The goalie is afforded the choice of having a stick between 40 inches and 72 inches in length.
Years ago, lacrosse shafts were made of materials like wood and bamboo. Today, lacrosse shafts are made of hollow metals such as aluminum and titanium or of lightweight carbon fiber composite. Titanium is the strongest and aluminum is the more lightweight metal. Carbon fiber composite shafts are strong and stay at a constant temperature. They will not feel as cold to the touch in freezing weather as a shaft made of metal.
Making your Choice
Youngsters who may barely stand five feet tall should not be using a lacrosse stick that is taller than they are. When your child is just starting out, stick with a shorter stick until they learn to use it well. As they get older, they can choose a longer stick based on the position they play and how well they have developed their skills. Players should choose the length and composition of a lacrosse shaft based on their personal preferences while staying within the limitations of the rules of lacrosse.