The game of lacrosse is played with three stick sizes that vary depending on the positions of players on the field. The sizes have distinct advantages and drawbacks, but the customization for length of any stick is governed by a strict minimum set forth in the US Lacrosse rules. Cutting the shaft of a stick is permitted, but the stick must meet these proper guidelines or a player risks being penalized or disqualified from participation.
Choose a short stick if you play the attack or middle position. The minimum length of the shaft on a short stick is 30 inches. With the head attached, the lacrosse stick should measure 40 to 42 inches. Many players of these positions favor the shorter stick because it allows better ball control and cradling in crowded situations when defenders are trying to stop the offense. Players also find it easier to score using a shorter stick as it requires less windup to shoot.
Select a long stick length for players at the defense position. As per US Lacrosse rules, the minimum length of a long stick is 60 inches. Defensemen prefer the long stick as it keeps a bigger space between the offense and it is easier to poke-check with this size. Due to the extra length, cradling becomes more difficult as the ball can be dislodged from the net easier by opposing players. There is less control with this kind of stick, so it is up to each player to decide if his skill level is advanced enough to handle it. Defense can be played with a short stick.
Much like hockey, a goalie's stick is designed differently than that of other players in the game because its main purpose is to keep the ball out of the net. The typical length of a goalie's stick shaft is 40 inches. The goalie's stick has a much larger and wider head than the other sticks because it is used to protect the goal. This head measures 10 to 12 inches wide. While it is easier to stop the ball with this much net, it does make passing and cradling more difficult than with a long stick.
Tips & Warnings
- When cutting a stick shaft, be careful using the sharp tools needed to complete the task and be sure to finish the butt end of the stick properly. Any sharp exposed edges on the metal handle must be taped and capped in accordance with US Lacrosse rules, or it will result in a penalty and possible ejection from the game.
- Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images