The game of lacrosse might look like a simple one at first sight, but there is a lot more going on than what you might think. There are all kinds of things that are going on when you look closer on the field, and one of them revolves around the goalie. A goalie must be vigilant at all times to repel the opposition, and a big chunk of his or her success is going to come down to equipment. A goalie head that isn’t up to snuff isn’t going to yield good results. Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at the world of lacrosse goalie heads in our buying guide. We’ll also be reviewing the most popular goalie heads on the market at the moment so that you can get a grasp on what you want and need. So, let’s get to it so we can get you back to the field!
Top Lacrosse Goalie Heads Comparison Chart
|Name||Strung/Unstrung||Price||Where to Buy?|
|STX Eclipse 2 Goalie Head||Unstrung||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Warrior Nemesis Goalie Head||Unstrung||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|STX Shield 100 Goalie Head||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Brine Eraser Goalie Head||Unstrung||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Brine Eraser 2 Goalie Head||Unstrung||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Lacrosse Goalie Heads Buying Guide
The goalie is a unique individual. Much like in hockey or soccer, you need someone that doesn’t mind putting themselves in the line of danger. But it’s not just about throwing yourself in front of shots. It’s about positioning, being smart, working on your reflexes, and also your equipment. You can be as great at the first three as anyone and still find yourself coming up short if you don’t have the right stuff to go with your game. A lacrosse goalie needs to have a head, then, that is not just big so that it can catch shots. That much is obvious. But it’s more than that. A lacrosse goalie needs to have one that is quick, too. If it’s impossible to move around for him, then he won’t be able to make the save in time. It’s also got to be durable. If the stick is quick to move around, but takes a beating and breaks under pressure, she won’t be able to make very many saves. It’s a fine balancing act that you have to walk, but you can and will find something that is just right for you with the right research and a little bit of hard work to pinpoint what you need and like while on the field of play.
Most players in the game of lacrosse don’t think too much about their sticks. They don’t have to. They just go to the store, pick up a few, and see which one they feel the best with. They go pay for it and they hit the field. It’s when you get a little bit older and better at the game that these decisions become more important to you. For a goalie, though, you have to always be thinking about trying to get an edge over the competition. There isn’t much of a choice for you to go with complete sticks, that is if you want to be your very best. There are, obviously, going to be chances for you to go that route, but if you want to be able to hit the heights and reach your full potential, then you will want to go with setup that is of your own choosing. By examining yourself and your traits, you can tailor your equipment to fit you and make your game better. When you go with a complete stick, you are basically flipping that on its head. You are saying that you will adjust to the stick, which is not the way it should go. You shouldn’t be the one conforming to the stick. It should conform to you and help transform your very own game. If you need to save money, then a complete stick is the way to go. But if it’s more about you getting your best possible performance, then you will want to go with your very own setup that helps emphasize your own game.
Differences Between Goalies and The Rest
It should go without saying that goalies and other players are different. One of them has volunteered, or been selected, to get pelted at with hard lacrosse balls that fly at high speeds. The others are doing the flinging and running about. But in terms of equipment, there are some key differences that revolve around the sticks that need to be pointed out for you.
The shaft is one thing that is different. Unlike with many players, especially those that are mids, the shaft is going to be shorter for a goalie. You would think off the top of your head that everything would be as big, long, and heavy as you could get it, but it’s actually counter intituitve to think that way. A goalie shaft is typically going to be around 40 inches and is shorter to increase the ease of movement for the goalie. Just think about how people used to wear chain mail and full body armor. It was great for preventing injury, but boy did it slow you down. This is a similar idea.
The head is also going to be much different, thus the reason we are talking about it today. The goalie head in lacrosse is much, much larger than a regular player. This way, the goalie is able to make saves and catches at a much higher rate than he would ever be able to manage without a bigger ‘net’ to catch with. This is just common sense. If you go to the lake and see a ton of fish, you know there are going to be ample opportunity to eat. But you can’t get full with the smallest of nets. Instead you want as big of one as you can handle, to reel them all in. It’s the same proposition in regards to lacrosse goalies, too!
One of the pieces of the goalie head that we have to examine is the ‘net’ itself. The mesh that is used is very important for a goalie. At first glance, it’s all about saving shots. But that’s just a part of the job that a goalie has. Like other sports in modern times, the goalie in lacrosse has to be adept at passing the ball and getting the attack started for his or her team. Without this skill, he and his team can lose out big time to rivals. Not only is the goalie the vaunted last line of defense, but he or she is also the beginning of the attack. So, mesh plays a big role in helping launch the attack. Some forms of mesh are going to be better than others. You might want something that allows you to rip the ball better, and to get that you want a pattern that is both large and consistent. Many contend that the 12 diamond is the best, since it is great for not only catching and passing as well. Some people will refer to the mesh as the ‘pocket,’ and it is typically made from Nylon to help ensure that it lasts as long as possible.
The shaft, as discussed previously, is a big part of the stick as a whole. In order to standout as a strong goalie, you have to have a clear game plan put in place. You’ve got to know what you want and what fits your style the best. In general, the head of a lacrosse stick is going to be stiffer for players as they get closer to the goal. The more forward a player, the less stiff it needs to be since they are able to control it better. A goalie head actually needs to be closer to that, since you need to be able to zoom it around quickly in order to make those eye-catching saves. Keep this in mind so that you don’t get tricked in the future by wording!
The main thing to look at in regards to flexibility is at the ‘scoop’ of the head. The goalie head’s scoop is the very top portion of the head. This is area that is used to scoop up balls, hence the name applied to it. For goalies, though, this area has even more importance since you have to be making saves from those shots that are just hammered in at you. Flex works, in conjunction, with the stiffness of the stick as a whole, to help you make those saves. What you do not want to see happen is the head flexing so much when the ball hits the stick that it bends your head and then still goes into the goal despite your best efforts at positioning yourself properly. To make sure that doesn’t happen, many of the best goalies have decided to stick with the same heads for a very long time. Once you have picked one, you tend to stick with it. So, get out there and try one out so you will have a better understanding and know if it will hold on for you or not.
Narrow Or Wide
This is an option that is talked about in a lot of circles in the lacrosse world, and you might just see this out there, especially when you are looking at complete sticks. In lacrosse, the wider the head is, the more control is offered. You are not only able to throw the ball more accurately but you also have more room to catch and the feel is a lot better. The more narrow, conversely, the more quickness you get. It’s more precise, too, and this is why a lot of players that are in the upper echelon use this type. They don’t want something slow and clunky, after all. For a goalie, the wider the head is, the better. This is that way so you can save shots as well as possible, and also to help you make passes. Since you are already at the back, you need to be on the money with your passing. One mistake from there could lead to a sure fire goal for the other team, so it’s very much a necessity to have.
The more advanced you get, the more options you will have available at your disposal. But there are some clear drawbacks to be had. Heads for defenders are usually very stiff, while heads for midfielders are more rounded and have more control yielded to them as a result. More advanced heads, though, are made with much less material. What this does is drive down the weight, making them more responsive. This means they are faster due to being lighter, but it also means they are harder to keep control of. If you are a better player that has mastered the fundamentals, this won’t scare you too much. But if you are a newer player, or if you just don’t have as much skill, then you should stick to a more generalized head, which should suit your needs just fine.
Strung vs Unstrung
If you want to go in alone and do a lot of the work by yourself, then you can choose to buy a head that is unstrung. This just means that you will have to choose your own mesh to go with, which is a good idea if you are already going out and customizing your entire stick anyway. The reason you would want to go with strung is because you like the mesh that is included in that stick. Generally, it will be a little bit cheaper to go with an unstrung one, but it won’t save you that much in reality since you will have to find mesh anyway and then have it installed.
As far as installation goes, you have a couple of options to pick from. You can either go to a shop and let someone do it for you, which will cost a bit more, or you can do it yourself. There are a lot of different ways that you can string it up, and there are resources available online for you if you choose to do so. They can be searched via Google fairly easily, and YouTube is also a good starting point for you as well. If you have someone in your family or a close friend that can do it, that’s also a good shout, too.
Some Buying Principles
One of the things that you should keep in mind here is your experience level. If you are a seasoned pro, so to speak, you can rest a little easier. You will have some prior knowledge of the sport, and because of that, you can make a better decision right off the bat. Perhaps you know that you like your goalie head to be set up a very specific way. You know all the terms well and know what you want and need, so you can feel much more free to just order online. However, if you are buying for the first time or are leaving the world of complete sticks behind, then you might just be perplexed by it all. While it’s great information to have, you might be thinking, it’s going to be hard to zero in on what you need without having felt it before. If this is you, then it’s very much suggested that you go to a local sports store or shop and see what they have. Try it out for yourself and see if you like it before you commit to it. It’s not always the most fun or easy thing to do when you attempt to send something back that you ordered and didn’t like. This is a good way for you to get an idea of what the head, stick, and shaft will feel like together. You can then always order online if you find a cheaper price to go with!
Certifications and Sizes
The size of the head is vital to your game, as we have discussed before, but it also is going to determine whether the stick as a whole is legal for you to use or not. If you don’t have a head that meets regulations, then you will not be able to play. First and foremost, you have to identify what you are playing in. If you don’t know that, then there isn’t much helping you. From there, you need to make sure your head (and the rest of your equipment) matches up to the standards set for that association. If you are playing in high school, most likely you need to have a head that is approved by the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations). While it is not always the case, most high schools abide by this and will allow you to play provided your equipment meets their standards. Then, there are NCAA approved heads. This type is for college play. The two do not overlap, but there are products on the market that crossover and allow you to play both safely. These are usually known as ‘universal’ heads. Most of them will have the letters ‘X’ or ‘U’ in their names somewhere to help alleviate any possible mix ups that you could have. However, a lot of the issues have been put to bed nowadays, since the NFHS has decided to just go with the NCAA rules to make everything uniform. Still yet, you need to make sure that your specific league, whether it be recreational or a school or club, is going to accept it. There could be some rules that you have to adhere to, so it’s essential to take a look and ask questions before you buy the wrong thing! Given that the rules have changed fairly recently, you might be here looking to make yours legal now.
Last before we get to our reviews is the section about price. This is just something that is always on the mind, so it’s best to get this out of the way. On our list of heads, none of them are going to be in the triple digits. However, they are not the cheapest things ever. This should be expected by you, since you are going the route of forging your own stick with its various parts and pieces. If you are wanting to save some money, then buying a complete stick is the way to go. Just know it won’t fit your specific needs quite like one that is tailored to you. You get what you pay for with your goalie heads, so if you do skimp you will come up short when the moment is upon you. Most importantly, though, don’t forget to pick something that fit your needs, regardless of the price. It’s worth a few extra dollars for you to have what you want in this endeavor!
Let’s Review The Top Seven Lacrosse Goalie Heads of 2019!
STX Eclipse 2 Goalie Head
Kicking off the list is a favorite of many of the nation’s finest players. An upgrade over the last great goalie head, the original Eclipse, this offering continues to live up to the hype thanks to being much more stiff in the frame than its predecessor. Goalies waited 20 years for the step up, but it’s been worth it thanks to that and the ability to string up a better pocket. This was accomplished by them adding holes in the sidewall of the head to allow you to customize your stick just that much little bit better. One of the major reasons it is so highly coveted is because it remains to be light, like the original was, but is also stiffer and flexible at the same time to give you the chance to be very versatile in net, no matter where that shot is coming in at you from. If you are not a sucker for a really flexible head, then this would not be the one for you, but it’s a can’ miss if you love that. It’s all got 12 diamond mess for a better grip, so that’s a plus! The biggest issue with is it is pretty pricey, especially since it’s not strung before it gets to you.
- Stiff yet light
- Pocketing made easier
- Much better grip than before
- Not for those that like a stiffer head
Warrior Nemesis Goalie Head
Another one of the most highly rated goalie heads out there comes from forerunner Warrior, who have brought a whale of a product to the table with the Nemesis. This goalie head’s biggest calling card, perhaps, is it’s sidewall, which has been engineered to help you when you are facing the hardest of shots. The rugged design makes sure you get more durability from the head, increasing your enjoyment tenfold as a result. Along with that, the face of it is designed to flare out so that shots will hit the center of the pocket each and every time, allowing you to develop consistency to your game. One of the biggest things we’ll think you’ll like is that is that the scoop is very stiff and up to the task for stopping those tough shots. If you’re a little bit weaker in the wrists, this might be the selection for you. This one isn’t as flexible as the previous one, so it could be right in the your wheelhouse and be just what you have been waiting for. One of the worries pertaining to this head is the durability, despite the reinforcement of the sidewall. So be on the lookout for that, since it might not be the item you are looking for if that is your #1 need.
- Hits the pocket every time
- Holds up to very fast shots
- Grippy and consistent
- Durability is a little questionable
STX Shield 100 Goalie Head
If stiffness is what you are looking for, then look no further. The Eclipse 2 was made with the idea of flexibility firmly in mind. On the other hand, the Shield was made for ruggedness and with this stiffness is mind. As a result, a ton of college players go with this choice since you can be sure that there won’t be any of those flukish deflected efforts going in off of your stick. Those are just awful and nobody has time for that sort of thing to be taking place! One of the negatives to the firm, stiff nature of it is the added weight that it puts on you. Some players just don’t like this feel, and as a result, they would rather go with its ‘sister’ design instead. Another prevalent feature of this head is that the throat, the place where you hold it, is comfortable and allows a lot of mobility of the wrist, which will help you reach all of those shots, even at the worst and toughest of angles. A great choice for either a beginner or seasoned vet thanks to its strong construction.
- Versatile usage
- Very stiff head
- Comfort and mobile
- Heavy for some’s liking
Brine Eraser Goalie Head
If you are brand new to the game but don’t to be stuck with a complete stick that doesn’t fit you well or help you learn much, then this is the perfect answer for you. The Eraser from Brine, a leader in outdoor sports equipment, is a good beginner goalie head because it is able to accommodate the users extremely well. It’s sidewall is open, allowing for the weight to be minimized. This makes it easy for smaller players to use and light to move around, which can be the toughest challenge that lies ahead for newer players to the game. The sidewall also has a lot of holes that allow for you to string it however you’d like. It does not come strung, so you will have to have that done or do it yourself. The price is also a little bit frustrating, particularly due to it being an older model.
- Sidewall is light
- Easy maneuverability
- Lots of stringing options
- Price is a slight bother
Brine Eraser 2 Goalie Head
This is the newest iteration of the Eraser, and it brings some new and improved features to the table. Chief among them is the Core-Tech sidewall, which has been re engineered to be a little bit stiffer than what was seen with the original Eraser. All the while, it is also lighter, 17% lighter, in fact to help push you towards better play. The offset design, much like the previous version, also allows you to be able to have control and accuracy over those long outlet passes, helping your team move up the field in a hurry. The throat is contoured in such a way that you can grip is easily, helping you to make saves on hard shots and then to make your passes more efficiently. The fact that they have updated an already good model speaks volumes and shows why this is a good choice for you if you are starting out or looking to upgrade to a new goalie head for the very first time.
- About the same price as original model
- Lighter and stiffer
- Grips well
- Might be deemed a little pricey by some
Conclusion And Final Lacrosse Goalie Heads Recommendations
With dozens and dozens of heads available on the market for you, it’s easy to see why many find it tough to close in and make a choice. There is just so much to be confused about, especially if you are new to the game. Maybe you have just began your goalie journey, and this is the first time you have looked for a goalie head. The task might just seem overbearing, but hopefully after today you will have a much firmer grasp on what you need and why you need it. There is definitely a great answer for you out there. It’s not up to you to make the decision. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and stop those shots, superstar!