How To Choose a Youth Lacrosse Stick (Why Youth Sticks Are Different)
In the sport of lacrosse, lacrosse sticks come in all different shapes and sizes. From d-poles to youth sticks, choosing the right size can be a task in its own right.
Why are youth lacrosse sticks different? Well, with most youth equipment, youth lacrosse sticks are smaller in order to accommodate for children’s sizes compared to that of teenagers and men.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at how to choose a youth lacrosse stick and dive into the differences a bit deeper between youth sticks and regular lacrosse sticks.
Choosing a Youth Lacrosse Stick
If you are a parent or a player that is needing to purchase a youth stick, then the process can be intimidating, considering just how many options and selections there are to choose from.
Before you dive into deciding what stick you want, you’ll first have to figure out your position.
- If you are a goalie, then looking at a youth stick isn’t really an option, as all goalie heads are all the standard size.
- For long poles, you can get a youth lacrosse head, but the shaft that comes with it won’t be enough.
- If you are an attack/midfield player, then you are in luck, as many companies and lacrosse stores carry complete youth lacrosse sticks that are suitable for these positions.
- To get a d-pole capable of use for a youth player, simply get a regular-sized long stick and cut it down.
At the youth ages, it is important to find a length that the player is comfortable with playing d-pole, and it may take some adjusting to find out what is best for them.
Youth sticks vary in price and can go from anywhere from $30-$40, all the way to over $100. When it comes to lacrosse equipment, you do get what you pay for, and I cannot stress that enough.
So, if you are worried about sticks being priced high just for the name, it generally isn’t the case here with lacrosse; however, if you cannot afford a top-of-the-line stick, no worries!
Many websites always run great sales on equipment, and it usually isn’t difficult to find a good deal on a quality stick.
When it comes to lacrosse, there are some giant names out there. Some of these brands include:
- ECD (East Coast Dyes)
These are all brands that are highly popular and trustworthy in terms of making quality sticks.
So, if you come across any of these, I’d make time to check it out to see if it may be the right fit for you.
There is a limited number of brands that produce youth sticks, and I’d say STX and Warrior are at the top in this specific area.
Hopefully, more companies begin to make youth sticks with the sport of lacrosse growing, but only time will tell just how much efforts are put into this field.
One of the most important things when it comes to youth sticks is a comfort. At such young ages, the players should feel as comfortable as possible with their sticks.
Comfortable equipment that fits right will not only help them develop a passion for the sport of lacrosse, but it will also help grow their confidence as well, which is yet another important aspect for young athletes.
TIP: Tape is a great addition to add to shafts, as it will help with the grip, as well as indicate where a player’s hands need to be for a shot and/or pass.
Why Are Youth Lacrosse Sticks Different?
As I mentioned before, the reason that youth sticks are made different is to accommodate for the size of youth players.
Also, standard size sticks would be much harder for youth players to control. With youth sticks, they are able to control and play the game much easier.
Before youth sticks rose in popularity, many young players would struggle using larger sticks as they were too long and weighed them down as well.
This allows for this new era of youth players to develop much more quickly and become acquainted with the game.
Having these new waves of players becoming comfortable with playing at an early age will only continue to help grow the game of lacrosse and bring it into a new light that it has yet to be in. Sometimes we dismiss the importance of minor details, but they can be game changers for the new generations to come.
Because of the raise of awareness on the impact of these minor details, more people are investing on formation, not only in the clubs but at a personal level. That’s why courses like the one sponsored by Rob Pannell are becoming more and more popular nowadays.
Our recommendation is to provide as much formation and knowledge as possible, but always respecting your kids’ opinion, and never forcing them as if they were professionals.
What Are the Differences between Standard and Youth Lacrosse Sticks?
The main difference between youth and standard sticks is, of course, size. The head and shaft are made smaller from standard-sized sticks.
The price difference is noticeable as well, which I’m sure you’ll find out by yourself when you go shopping for your stick.
As I mentioned before, though, there are no goalie sticks and/or d-pole sticks that are made custom for youth players on a large scale.
This is something I’d hope will change as the sport of lacrosse grows, but only time will tell.
Besides size and price, though, there isn’t that much difference between sticks. They look and play similar, and if you order, they are great for working on your stick skills, which we’ll get into more a bit later.
Are Youth Lacrosse Sticks Similar to Standard Sticks?
While there are differences, there are also similarities between youth and adult lacrosse sticks as well.
In fact, besides size and weight, they are practically the same thing.
The head and shaft all are similar and have many of the same traits. Also, in terms of the stringing, it follows identical patterns as well.
Differences Between Types of Lacrosse Sticks
In lacrosse, one thing is subject to change throughout age and competition levels, and that is the head.
In case you aren’t familiar with what a lacrosse head is, it is what is attached to the shaft, and is what holds the mesh as well.
Head shape changes throughout competition, from youth to high school, to college.
It has to do with the amount of “pinch” a head can have, which gives a player more/less hold on a ball, depending on how much a head is indeed pinched.
Also, certain rules continue to change in terms of what you can do in stringing jobs as well throughout the various types of competition. This typically deals with shooters, which are strings that go through a stick to help guide the ball in a certain direction and give the player a certain type of feel as well.
#Best Stick Youth Lacrosse
Overall, lacrosse equipment choice is based on a player’s preference. So, when it comes to equipment, certain players will gravitate to certain brands.
However, if you are clueless as to where to start for a youth lacrosse stick, I do have a great recommendation.
STX Lacrosse Stallion 50 Youth Lacrosse Complete Stick
Complete youth stick, designed for development.
STX is a fantastic lacrosse brand that is on the rise. Although it has been primarily known for its mesh, it is quickly growing in size and what all they offer. Their youth sticks are at the mid-end of the budget, making their sticks a great option.
Also, the quality is great, in the head, shaft, and mesh.
The reason this sticks out to me so much is due to the fact that these come strung usually pretty well.
If you are a beginner or buying this for your child, then you’ll most likely get a stick that is factory strung.
This means that the stick comes pre-strung and is “ready” for use, but usually, these stringing jobs are terrible to play with. StringKing, on the other hand, usually does a good job on their factory stringing, which is a blessing in disguise.
What’s Wrong with Factory Stringing on a Lacrosse Stick?
To be honest, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with factory stringing. However, there is a large issue right now, which is, in my opinion, hurting youth lacrosse as well.
Typically, a factory-strung stick will be done poorly, making it difficult to control the ball, let alone pass and catch.
Having a bad stringing job can really deter players away from the sport, especially if they aren’t able to perform it properly.
This needs to come to an end, as the lacrosse community does not need to lose players due to bad stringing jobs – especially at the youth level.
Places such as Dick’s are offering stringing jobs in-store, but depending on the location, this won’t be much better, if any, than factory-strung heads.
Alternatives and Solutions to a Factory-Strung Lacrosse Stick
If you have fallen victim to purchasing a stick with a poor stringing job, don’t worry.
Many companies, such as ECD and StringKing allow you to order your stick for special stringing, which will be done at a higher quality level than the standard factory stringing.
Also, if you are up for the challenge of stringing yourself, there are quite a few tutorials available on YouTube that can help tremendously as well.
Are Fiddle Sticks the Same as Youth Lacrosse Sticks?
One common misconception I see is that some think that youth sticks and fiddlesticks are the same. Although these do look similar, they are indeed not the same.
What is a Fiddlestick?
Fiddlesticks are primarily used for small, fun games like beach lacrosse and setting up in the backyard for fun, and they should not be used in games, or at practices.
Although the fiddlesticks are fun, they are not the same as a youth stick, so make sure you do not confuse the two when it comes time for purchasing a stick.
However, fiddlesticks are a great way to introduce the sport of lacrosse to new players and allow them to become comfortable with the game before they even officially step on a field for an official practice.
Should an Adult Ever Use a Youth Lacrosse Stick?
For starters, obviously, these are meant for youth players. However, if you are an older player, these types of sticks can have benefits to your game as well.
In fact, I highly recommend these sticks to help develop your stick skills, no matter what position you play. It can develop quicker hands, better handling, and even improve your passing/catching as well.
If you are looking for a great way to develop stick skills and incorporate some new training new methods, this is a great route to take.
Other Youth Equipment for Lacrosse
Sticks are not the only pieces of equipment that are used for youth-specific athletes. Pads and gloves are also made for youth players as well, so that is something that you’ll certainly want to keep an eye out for when getting ready to play lacrosse.
Also, there are youth helmets, cleats, and so on, which you’ll also need as well in order to play. In total, the equipment required is (Amazon links):
This equipment can usually be found in stores that carry lacrosse sticks, but there are many online options out there as well, and you may find yourself getting a better deal with this route.
We have made a guide on all you need to know about lacrosse equipment. Get all the details by clicking here.
How Much Should I Budget for My Lacrosse Equipment?
With the laundry list of lacrosse equipment that is needed, you are probably wondering just how much this will end up costing. Well, lacrosse is certainly an expensive sport, and cost you quite a bit of money.
It is hard to create an average for how much you’ll be spending, considering the wide spectrum of prices on equipment, but you should at least expect to spend over $500 when getting all of the equipment.
However, as I mentioned, equipment cost varies quite a bit and can go lower, depending on the deals you can find, to much higher, if you get the best equipment out there.
If you are on a tight budget, sideline was a great place to find cheaper lacrosse equipment, and many of it is in great condition as well.
Even if you have a larger budget, I recommend checking out the site and doing a scan over the equipment that is available.
When Should a Youth Player Switch to a Standard Stick?
This is a tricky question, as lacrosse is in an awkward stage in terms of rules and regulations and varies from place to place.
Generally, once a kid reaches middle school lacrosse, then the switch is made to a regular-sized stick.
Changes in weight will be the biggest difference, as well as ball control during the change for previously youth players.
If you are a parent, expect to have to spend more money from your pocket for a regular-sized stick as well, as they are more expensive.
However, the good thing about the switch at this point is that a player is given more customizable options for their stick, which is certainly a fault at this point for youth sticks, which we’ll be getting into later.
Issues with Purchasing a Youth Lacrosse Stick
The sport of lacrosse is currently growing at a rapid pace. However, despite the growth, there are still many challenges that are facing/stalling its growth.
One of the largest issues, in my opinion, lies in the youth of the sport.
Youth sticks are extremely limited in their range of options compared to regular sticks, and I feel like this certainly needs to change.
There needs to be a large increase in the variety of youth sticks available, and I also believe that customization needs a makeover as well.
Giving more variety of products for youth players to choose from can only help the sport of lacrosse grow, which I hope we see in the next few years.
Is Lacrosse Too Dangerous a Sport for Youth?
Many parents are concerned with their children playing lacrosse at such a young age.
The truth is, lacrosse certainly can be dangerous, but no more than any other sport young kids play.
With the proper protection, you should have hardly any worries about your child being seriously harmed. Bumps and bruises should be expected, but these are minor and won’t cause any serious harm to your child.
Benefits of Playing Lacrosse as a Youth
There are also many benefits to playing lacrosse, which can help your child tremendously in many ways. Some of these include:
- Physical & mental strength
- Overall well being
Yes, lacrosse is certainly a full-contact sport and the risk of injury will indeed always be there. But this risk is not unique to lacrosse. Lacrosse is truly a unique sport, and it has many benefits attached to it that any kid can benefit from.
If you want to learn a bit more about the mental preparation from a professional’s perspective, check out this interesting course by the pro lacrosse player Rob Pannell.
Overall, youth lacrosse sticks won’t be too hard to find. There is quite a large selection not only online, but stores can also carry great youth sticks as well.
As I mentioned, I highly recommend STX (Amazon link) as a great youth stick to pick up.
However, if you don’t have a lacrosse store around you, no worries, online shopping can be just as effective, especially if you know what you want to get as well.
In terms of how they differ from other sticks, it mainly comes down to size. Not only are youth sticks smaller in size, but they are also lighter. They can also be used as a great training tool for stick skills as well, so you don’t just have to be a youth player to pick one of these types of sticks up.