For a player, or parent new to lacrosse, purchasing that first set of gear can be rather daunting. Below is a list of the necessary equipment and some information to help you better understand what it is you need to be looking for when purchasing equipment. Men’s and women’s equipment varies to a decree and I have separated the descriptions below. I hope it helps. Let me know if you have further questions.
Required Women’s Equipment:
Women’s specific stick, women’s specific helmet, mouth guard, and cleats. While not required, women’s specific gloves are recommended.
STICKS: You must have a women’s specific head and shaft that meet US Lacrosse guidelines for youth lacrosse. HERE are the guidelines. Stick technology has not changed in years. Buying this year’s new stick will only get you a higher sticker price. Check clearance sites and find last years’ expensive sticks on sale. Summer is a good time to find great deals.
HEMETS: Starting in the spring of 2018 season TVYLA will mandate that our women practice and play wearing a women’s specific NOCSE rated lacrosse helmet. If you purchase your own helmet, please purchase a black helmet to match the team’s uniform in order to comply with NHFS uniform rules. With a helmet of another color you will run the risk of a referee not allowing them to play with a mismatched helmet.
MOUTH GUARD: See below for advice on mouth guards.
GLOVES: Gloves are recommended but not necessary. Find a good deal on a clearance page and save a few bucks. These gloves are little more than minnow protection from incidental stick checks and for added grip on a stick. Please stick to team colors.
CLEATS: Any field sport cleat will work. There are cleats specific to lacrosse, but soccer cleats work just fine, as well. If you already have a pair, no need to buy another.
Required Men’s Equipment
Helmet, mouth guard, shoulder and arm pads, gloves, athletic supporter and cup, cleats and a stick. Goalies require the addition of a throat guard for their helmet, chest protector, and, while note required, additional pelvic protection is very highly recommended. We do practice for a portion of the season on pavement, so a good set of running or athletic shoes are beneficial. A second back-up stick is not required, but strongly encouraged. As we are a TEAM, it is preferred if the gear you purchase matches the colors this team wears on the field. Red, white and black.
HELMETS: Nearly any lacrosse specific helmet will work fine, as long as they . For TVYLA players, it is necessary that when purchasing a new helmet, you make sure it is black. As lacrosse in both Sandpoint and our region progress, local governing bodies will become more strict on adherence to NFHS uniform rules. Helmets may have scarlet red trim on the brim, and vents, but the body must be white. If you already have a helmet of another color, don't worry. Right now, no one is enforcing this rule, but IF you buy a new one...make sure it is white. The Cascade Pro-7 is the most popular and most expensive helmet on the market. While it claims to be more proficient at preventing concussions, I have not been able to find any statistical data that show this to be the case. This would be the only advantage to spending the extra money on a high end helmet. While purchasing used gear is encouraged and a great way to save a few bucks, this is not the place. You never know what kind of shape a used helmet is in and what kind of blows it has already absorbed. Please contact us before purchasing a helmet as we try to place a group order each season to take advantage of team pricing.
MOUTH GUARDS: Old school mouth guards are cheap, but only work to mitigate dental injuries. Some of the newer ones are also designed to mitigate concussions, as well. These are certainly worth the extra dollars. There is good data showing they are beneficial. Every player is required to wear a mouth guard at all times during play, be it in a game, or in practice. We recommend you consult your family dentist to best fit your child with a mouth guard. There are several models available on the market that can be fitted at home and provide excellent protection for around $20. Most dentists make custom ones, but they can be costly. Mouth guards must be of a bright color so officials can easily see if one is being used. Worn out, or chewed up mouth guards do not work and will not be permitted.
SHOULDER PADS and ARM PADS: Unlike in football, lacrosse shoulder pads and arm pads are not intended to soften blows from body checks. They are intended to blunt potentially painful stick checks. Look for comfort and cost. There is no reason to pay full price for the latest/greatest product here. Shoulder/arm pad technology has not gotten any better since I picked up my first stick in 1991. Look for the sales on these guys.
GLOVES: Again, a comfort item. Higher end gloves do provide some better dexterity and may help a more advanced (High School Varsity level) player. But, again, this year's glove is no better than last year's and the one on sale is the better choice. (Please, though, try and stick to team colors.)
RIB PADS: While not required, rib pads can be nice for attackmen and middies who find themselves attacking the goal on a frequent basis. There is no need for rib pads for youth players U12 and younger. The cheaper, the better. Seeing a trend here?
CLEATS: Any lacrosse cleat will work. And any soccer or football style cleat will do just as well. If you already have a set, no need to buy more.
STICKS: I will break this into the three components, but first will say that in twenty years of playing lacrosse, there have been few advances in lacrosse stick technology. If it sounds like a gimmick, it probably is...
HEADS: The most important thing here, is that you have a LEGAL head. There are three types: NCAA approved, NFHS approved, and Universal ones that are BOTH NCAA and NFHS approved. You have to have a head that is NFHS approved. If it is only NCAA approved, you cannot play with it in this league. Any cracked or broken head is illegal and cannot be used.
Most heads are fine to play with. Less expensive heads are wider throughout the throat making it easier to catch for beginner players, but they are far more difficult to string an effective pocket into. More expensive sticks have a tighter throat that helps keep the ball in the pocket when being checked and allow for a better strung pocket. An expensive head on clearance should be ideal. Again, this year's head is no different from last year's head. Find a head on sale, and make sure you buy unstrung heads...I'll explain later...
SHAFTS: To start, there are three sizes: Attack (40"), Defense (60"), and goalie (somewhere in between). For beginners, grab an attack shaft. (And for youth guys...no D-Poles. U-15 and up can use long defensive sticks, but not in the youth league. The common opinion in the lacrosse community is that letting young players use longer stick will impede the development of their stick skills, as well as their positional play. They look tempting, but are not beneficial.)
The guys are always asking what the best lacrosse shaft is. My answer: The lightest and cheapest shaft you can find. Shafts are the biggest gimmick in lacrosse. It amazes me how many there are, and how little differences there are between them. For defensemen, weight is certainly an issue. A lighter stick is easier to throw around when checking. However, just because a shaft is expensive, doesn't mean it is lighter or tougher than the rest. Shafts rarely break, no matter the make or model. I have been using my defensive shaft for twenty years. Lots of bends, no breaks. Again, go for the one on sale.
POCKETS: The pocket in the stick of a lacrosse player is by far the most important piece of equipment they own. A player can use a poor pocket, but will certainly develop poor technique to go with it, and their play will eventually be handicapped. There is not a factory strung pocket on the market that is worth playing with. For this reason, purchase unstrung heads and have someone here string it for you. The club buys stringing material in bulk to help keep costs down. I can be contacted for both.
I hope this helps, and please feel free to contact me with any further questions,
Teton Valley Youth Lacrosse Association