Monday, December 22, 2008

Does It Really Matter What Type Of Lacrosse Stick You Have?

Question: Jon,
does it really matter what type of stick you have? i mean i went from a $40 one to a $130 and i really cant tell the difference besides the weight. do you have any advice on how to improve my stick skills ive been playin for 4 years and im still havin trouble forgetting to cover my butt end any advice?

thanks, shane

Answer: Shane thanks for the great question. You are on to something for sure. I have always said that the greatest difference between sticks is not the stick (head, shaft) itself but the pocket that is in it. But even then, you can have a great pocket in a really cheap stick and still play really well. Case in point: My three year old son has a little one of those mini Warrior sticks with a killer pocket in it. You can fake and shoot anywhere with that little stick and it's awesome.

I would also say that the more "elite" a player you are the more you will feel a difference between sticks. There are sticks that feel "light" in your hands and others that are "heavy". Some would even call them "dead". But I would say that 98% of most players wouldn't be able to really tell the difference.

I'm 36 years old and when I started playing lacrosse there were about ten sticks to choose from. And you could either get an aluminum shaft or a wood shaft. The big news was when Titanium shafts came out. (Which are still the best choice in my opinion.) Now, with the advances in manufacturing they can pump out new sticks in no time. Little cuts in the sidewalls, off-set, pinched, no pinch, etc. A lot of it is hype.

I was just writing to another player and telling him about the STX Excalibur. It's the all-time best selling lacrosse head ever. Very simple in design and has obviously stood the test of time.

In my opinion there are three major factors to choosing a stick. (Not in any particular order.) They are: stiffness of the head, width of the head, and width and shape of the scoop.

The stiffer the head the more durable it's going to be. The width of the head is going to make it easier to catch passes but will allow the ball to be checked out of the stick easier. The shape of the scoop is going to help you with ground balls. That's it.

Now if you should 110 miles per hour then maybe an extra cut in the sidewall is going to help you. But what most guys forget is that the stick is only one aspect of the game. A guy like Kyle Harrison is still going to run right by you no matter what stick is in his hands or yours for that matter. The stick is just one small part of what makes great players great. I've always wanted to see a game of all-americans played with stock sticks. Just one stock pocket. Give them five minutes with sticks and let them play and you'd still see the best players play their best. The sticks may change it's the hands that make the player.

On that note: Advice on improving your stick skills. Wall ball. Play. Play. Play. Experiment. Work your opposite hand. If the only trouble you are having is covering your butt end then what I would suggest is that you are at a bit of a plateau. To bust through it you need to become comfortable with how the stick feels with your hand on that butt end. Right now it doesn't feel good to you. Here's my suggestion: For a whole week just focus on your bottom hand on that butt end all the time. Even if you pick your stick up out of your car make sure your hand is on that butt end. No matter where you are on the field, keep your hand on the butt end. You've got to groove a path in your brain where it feels comfortable with your hand down there. Ideally you do this for twenty-one days. That's how long it really takes to groove a new habit. But start with seven days. Then try it again. You've just got to break the habit, once that's done you're golden.

Good luck with that Shane. Hope this helps. Really appreciate the feedback if this helps you. If you've got any more questions just email me through our forums or my blog. Kick butt and let me know how it goes. All the best,

Jonathan -

What Should I Use For A Long Stick Middie? A Defender Head or a Middie Head?

Question: Hey Jonathan,
I'm wondering, as long stick middie, if you would recommend a more defender head or a midfielder head.

Thanks a bunch,

Answer: Nathan I would recommend a more defender head. Basically all of the advantages of having a defender head to not take away from any of the advantages of a middie head. With a defender head you most likely are going to get a wider head, with a stiffer make up, with a wider scoop that is going to help you with ground balls. To be honest, you wouldn't mind those features if you were just playing middie. Most middie heads are narrower to begin with which make them less forgiving to catch with but easier to hold on to the ball when checked. As a long pole you're going to be dishing the ball more quickly to a short stick so you won't need the narrower head.

So all in all I'd go with a defender head.

A head that goes both ways? The Excalibur. I think it's the longest running head design in STX history and I've played with a lot of defenders who use it. Just a really nice, all purpose head.

Hope that helps. Let me know which one you go with.

Jonathan -

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just Started Playing Lacrosse. Do You Think I Can Play In College?

Question: just started playing lacrosse for 5 monthes and I am a junior in highschool. i do wall ball a lot and I am on a club team. Do you think I have a chance to play lacrosse in college? Is there anything I can do to get better?

Answer: Orion, my friend from high school was a baseball player. He played four years of high school baseball and never even touched a lacrosse stick. He picked one up at college and played four years. Yes, you can play in college. It will depend on what college you go to but it is possible. There is always a level that you can play.

Is there anything you can do to get better? There are tons of things you can do to get better. Keep up the wall ball and play, play, play. Read all you can. Watch videos of games so you can see how the game works. It's a great game and you'll have a ton of fun with it.

Jonathan -

Saturday, December 13, 2008

15 Years Old and New To Lacrosse. What Should We Do?

Question: My son is a 15 yr old freshman. He is a great baseball player who is considering switching to lacrosse this spring. Very athletic and currently playing JV hoop. We live north of Boston. What would be the best thing he could do to learn the sport and gain some skills before spring tryouts?

We have a league nearby but it appears too competitive. We have some south-of-Boston leagues but they are too far.

Do you have any contacts north of Boston? Would one-on-one training be the best thing at this stage for starters?


Answer: Hey there Jon. Quite simple really.

1) Get him a good stick with a great pocket from Commonwealth Lacrosse. It's important he have a good pocket as he will learn how to cradle and throw properly. Great Christmas gift.

2) There are a ton of videos at that you can buy to help him get started.

3) Find him a wall where he can throw a ball against. This will single-handedly be the number one thing that he can do. Stick skills will be his biggest challenge so get him started now.

It's awesome that he is athletic and he will find the offenses very similar as in basketball. But to get him up to speed you need to get his throwing and catching up to snuff asap.

When I coached in Bedford, Mass. I had a ton of athletic kids but they couldn't throw and catch. When he can throw and catch he can do anything.

Don't worry about the leagues yet. If he's got some buddys who play it would be great for him to throw and catch. I used to throw tennis balls indoors in the garage because it had a nice tall wall and the tennis ball didn't break things (much).

Hope that helps!

Jonathan -