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How To Buy Lacrosse Protective Equipment
Lacrosse is undeniably a contact sport and it requires specific protective equipment to ensure the player's safety or he can get hurt. Most leagues mandate that lacrosse players wear specific protective gear. Having the right equipment that both fits and functions properly is imperative to the safe enjoyment of the sport. 
 
Equipment Overview(Recommendations and guidelines)
When buying lacrosse equipment, getting the most expensive is not always the best option. Good starter kits are available for around $200 and will meet the needs of most beginning players. 

Men's Lacrosse Equipment:
  • Men's lacrosse stick
  • Helmet
  • Elbow pads
  • Shoulder pads
  • Gloves
  • Mouth guard
  • Protective cup
  • Optional: Cleats, rib pads 
Men's Lacrosse Sticks: $30–$300
The lacrosse stick is composed of the head, pocket, and handle. You can purchase a complete stick or purchase the items separately to get exactly what you want. If your child is just starting out in lacrosse, it is best to go with a complete stick in the starter price range. The Stick should be cut to 30” to start out at the U-9 level and it is the minimum length to participate at the U-11 age group. U-13 must be at 36” minimum and U-15 must have a 40" minimum. Shorter stick lengths for the younger boys will aid in their development of throwing skills by having their body execute the proper mechanics. (Could you imagine a 4 year old trying to learn how to shoot a basketball with a collegiate/pro size ball? His mechanics would change just to compensate for the size of the ball, not a great learning curve.) 
 
Heads:
Made of plastic, heads come in various models. Beginner sticks have a larger face and wider scoop to make it easier to pick up and catch the ball. Advanced sticks vary in features based upon the player's position, playing style, and skill level. Call Lacrosse International or your local lacrosse retailer for recommendations.  
 
Pockets:
The three main types of pocket are hard mesh, soft mesh, and traditional. Soft mesh makes an easier catching pocket for beginners. Hard mesh is the most popular and allows for a more consistent pocket and a harder throw. The traditional is made of nylon cord and four leather pieces. Traditional pockets provide a better feel of the ball in the stick, but its need for constant maintenance is normally beyond the beginner to intermediate player. 
Handles:
Handles are available in four sizes, attack/middie length (30-inch), defense (60-inch), and goalie (40-inch). Most complete sticks come with a standard aluminum handle, which is fine for most beginners. Upgraded handles are available in various alloy metals and composites. Upgraded handles are stronger and lighter than standard aluminum.  Idea: If your son is under 60lbs., depending on strength, it would be advantageous to purchase a lighter handle so throwing the ball is not such a strain. Problem: the lighter handles are much more expensive. Solution: attend the Swap Meet and try and pick up a handle that someone has grown out of that is of the lighter materials, then be sure to donate it back to the program when you are done. 
 
Helmets: $100–$250
A helmet consists of the shell, face mask, chin strap, visor, and chin. All lacrosse helmets provide essentially the same protection, so the most important aspect of buying a helmet is ensuring the proper fit. We can’t stress enough to make sure the helmet fits properly before you leave the store. Also make sure it has the required NOCSAE certification sticker on the back.  Be very careful when buying used helmets and ensure that there are no loose parts, rivets or bolts. This is especially important if your son is at the U-13 or U-15 level and he is playing in off season clinics, camps, tournaments ..etc. Note: We will add decals from the organization to match our uniforms. If your son is a few years from his first H.S. season, then you may want to consider purchasing a helmet with the H.S. colors (see coach Rego for helmet info)
 
Elbow Pads: $25–$90
One of the primary tactics of lacrosse is stick checking, in which a player tries to disrupt an opponent's pass or shot by striking across the arm with his stick, requiring most players to protect their arms with elbow pads. Most elbow pads use some sort of Velcro to keep the pad at the appropriate spot on the player's arm. Each model provides various protection and comfort features.For youth players below U-11, a basic entry-level arm pad will do, but as they get older and increase their level of play, you will see why more protection is needed. Especially since the person doing the checking is not as skilled as the college guys and will likely miss his intended target many times and use a good amount of force to do so.  Generally, attackmen need the most arm protection, middies slightly less, and defensemen may opt for a neoprene sleeve.  Put an arm pad on and smack it with a stick right in the store, you will know right away if it is enough protection. Some like to have their shoulder pads cover their arm pads, creating an armadillo effect, this is a good idea for the youth to increase protection and not leave “gaps” in coverage. Note: if your son has skinny arms and the pads slide down his arm in the course of play, you may poke holes in the top of the arm pad, insert a shoelace, and tie them around the plastic covering of the shoulder pads creating a one piece system for arms and shoulder. That will keep the pads in place and you will never lose them!!!!
 
Mouthguard: $1.50–$100
Mouth guards are mandatory in all leagues, because they not only protect your teeth, but also soften blows to the head and prevent against concussions They must be connected to the helmet and a player cannot play without one. It can’t be clear either.  Our organization provides one but if you are looking for a more advanced mouthpiece that affords greater protection and easier to talk with, then see your dentist. He can make a custom mouthpiece that will be easier to use, this is especially true if your son has braces. 
 
Shoulder Pads: $30–$180
The main reason players wear shoulder pads in lacrosse is to protect their collarbones from stick checks. Pads vary from the bare minimum (covering just the collarbone) to high-tech pads that protect the shoulder, upper arm, front chest, and back. A good entry-level shoulder pad will cover the upper chest, collarbone, shoulder, and upper arm and can be purchased for $30–$40. They work for most youth players who don't have a prior shoulder injury. Football shoulder pads are not recommended as they do not provide enough freedom of movement above the shoulder. Make sure the collar bone is covered as well as the sternum of the chest. This tends to get overlooked when sizing kids, equipment too large or too small tends to create open spaces for injury. 
 
Gloves: $25–$200
Because gloves provide the direct connection between the player and his stick, they are considered a player’s second most important piece of equipment. Lacrosse gloves protect the hands from the ball and stick checks. Entry-level gloves are made out of a durable cloth, while higher-end gloves are covered with synthetic leather. Gloves come in four general sizes, 8-inch (for 1st–3rd grades), 10-inch (4th–6th grades), 12-inch (7th–10th grade, and 13-inch (adult). Because hands vary in size, make sure your player tries the gloves on at the store to make sure they get the proper fit. If they can’t feel the stick, they will not have as much success. Although virtually impossible, make sure that there are minimal “gaps” between the glove and the arm pad, the cuff of the glove will cover the bottom portion of the arm pad. Coordinate this with the shoulder pads for the true armored fit.
 
Cup/Supporter:
Pretty simple and available at most sporting goods stores. While no one will check your child on this issue, don't let him play without it. If Your son experiences chafing, allow him to wear bike shorts, long pair of shorts or cut off sweats as an underlayer, then the supporter, and finally his game shorts to feel more comfortable.
 
Cleats: $30-$100
If your child already has soccer cleats, stay with those. They'll work fine. With any footwear, fit and comfort are the most important features, not price. If you want to buy a lacrosse-specific cleat, look for something with a speed cleat (the cleat directly under the toe). Football cleats are the most common. Stay away from baseball cleats, they are illegal for lacrosse play.    

 
Basic Guidelines for ordering equipment for your child, follow the weight more so than the ages. There is no substitute for trying on the actual equipment and having a knowledgeable person fit your son properly. We recommend Angelo's Soccer Corner for their personal service and they are available year round. (See sizing charts below)   
 
Pads and Gloves
Age Weight Glove Size Pad Size
6-8 Under 80 lbs 8” XS
6-8 81-105 lbs 10" S
9-13 106-150 lbs 12" M
14-18 151-210 lbs 13" L
18+ 210+ lbs 13” L

  
  
Sizing guidelines

  • NoteDifferent manufacturers use different sizing methods, but the charts below are a good indicator of the sizes you should buy based on the measurements in each section.

  Determining your helmet size

  • Helmets are required equipment for all lacrosse players (hockey helmets not allowed)
  • Lacrosse helmets incorporate a 4-point buckling system to assure they stay on as well as to allow for a better fit
  • They are made of a hard plastic with a wire mesh cage, or face mask, to protect the front of the face
  • It is required that the face mask have a center bar running from the top to the bottom for better protection
  • Goaliehelmets add a throat protector.
  • Helmets come in a variety of sizes and are usually measured in inches
  • To ensure a player's safety, it is important that his helmet fit properly, see the Helmet sizing chart below
CASCADE LACROSSE HELMET SIZING CHART (other manufacturers may vary)

 
 
APPROXIMATE (in inches)
APPROXIMATE
CLH2 SIZING
HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE
HAT SIZE
X-Small (XS)
Up to 21 1/4
6 to 6 3/4
Small (S)
21 1/2 to 22 3/8
6 7/8 to 7 1/4
Medium (M)
22 3/4 to 23 5/8
7 1/4 to 7 5/8
Large (L)
23 3/4 to 24 1/4
7 5/8 to 7 3/4
X-Large (XL)
24 3/8 and up
7 7/8 to 8 1/4
 
 
(in inches)
 
CPRO SIZING
HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE
 
(XS) X-Small
Up to 21 1/2
 
(S/M) Small
21 1/2 to 23 5/8
 
(L/XL) Large
23 3/4 to 24 3/8
 
   
 
CS Youth Sizing  One size fits many
 
   
 

     

Determining your glove size
  • Use a tape measure to measure the distance from where your elbow pads will end to the tip of your fingers. This number equals your glove size.
Determining Your Glove Size
Size Inches cm
Small 9 23
Small 10 25.5
Medium 11 28
Medium 12 30.5
Medium 13 33
Large 14 35.5
Large 15 38
X-Large 16 40.5
X-Large 17 43

  

Rib pads
  • These protect the vulnerable rib area
  • Some versions wrap around to protect the lower back and kidney area as well
  • Recommended for U-11 level and above, not a good investment if at the basic level.
Shoulder pads
Determining the right shoulder and rib pad size
  • Most pads are sized according to body type To measure, wrap a tape measure around your chest just below your armpits
Determining Your Shoulder Pad Size
Size Inches cm
Senior Small 28-30 71-76
Senior Medium 32-34 81.5-86.5
Senior Large 36-38 91.5-96.5
Senior X-Large 40-42 101.5-107
     
Junior X-Small    
Junior Small 22-24 56-61
Junior Medium 24-28 61-71
Junior Large 28-30 71-76