Load’s of gear have been flooding the market lately. Some people are buying just because they see someone special on YouTube using it as a “weapon of choice” and it begs the questions; as far as durability and money whats the best bang, and are you using something because its “popular” and may not necessarily be looking at your own needs? Yeah its fun to make custom sticks, I am guilty of it, but I never put the “Social Media and Ad Marketing” above my head when I choose a stick to play with no matter “how popular” or “how hyped up it is.” Since the game is trending into this, its important to get back to your roots. There are so many sticks out on the market that are being overshadowed but they are SO good in there own ways. There is nothing wrong with using the newest stuff, or most popular, as long as it works for you and your budget! As far as heads and shafts I will pick a few that can get the JOB DONE without breaking the bank as well as staying close to the new technology and latest stuff. But first you need to think, are you a player that needs all that technology or are you just playing lacrosse to have fun? Buy because of You, and not the hype you see on social media.
I think its necessary to also give my 5 Commandments when buying or looking at a new Stick/Head…..
1 Never buy something because your friend uses it, thats his preference, be unique and know what is good for you!
2) Know your skill level, there is no need to be playing on the field with a 200$ Shaft if your not using it to its full potential, or worried about it getting dinged up….
3) Remember that your head/shaft comes with a 6 Month Warranty, so use it! If it breaks or you get a crack, send it back and get another! Never be afraid!
4) Try new things, if your current set up isn’t working for you, play around with different combo’s, at least that is what I had to do in order to find what I liked….
5) Have a backup plan! If you are using a stick that is 100% Dialed in to your game, and you love it that much, BUY A 2ND. Always good to be prepared and not have to switch to a backup that you never really play with!
So, here’s a list of heads and shafts, some higher end, some lower end, but they sure get the JOB DONE!
Epoch’s Dragonfly Shaft: Comes in at $145.00, available only in Black, 2 Flex Levels (5/8 5=Stiffer 8=Flexier) Flex shafts have caught attention! I love mine to death, has hints of neon green, subtle graphics, nice grit sandy grip to it, and you can crank out some high high heat with it! Trust me, Zach Dorn was not even close to a pro and he now holds the fastest shot at 116MPH using this…. Years of technology go into these shafts and trust me when I say, if Epoch had more college sponsors you would see 100’s of people using them!!! It changed my game, let it change yours! Remember its a flex shaft made out of layers and layers of Carbon Fiber, no alloy! But still insane!
Maverik’s OPTIK Head: Priced at around $85 comes in all popular color choices, if your looking for a head designed for a natural attack-men that strings up a truly nice mid-low pocket that can take punishment and dish it out, buy it! Its a top pick on MLL Pros, features Maverik’s Level 2 Bottom Rail, almost telling you where the ball and stringing should be. It’s also incredibly light for a semi-stiff head, this is no brine clutch so it would be hard to face off, but you can rip serious cheddar if strung right! This is a no joke head, I own one and swear by it. If you look closely it mimics characteristics of other popular heads into the design, i.e. (CEO,NOZ,VAPOR) It’s inner sidewalls are carved out like Brine’s Technology and is half glossy half matte on the plastic. The Optik I have is on my favorite shaft, the Maverik A1 and the combo is very balanced in my hands!
STX’s Stallion Sc-Ti w/ OCS Shaft: This shaft was meant to take a beating, and then some. Years back STX came out with a shaft called the FORCE SCANDIUM, you might remember it, didn’t do so well, but the technology was so on point! This shaft is priced at $180 for Attack, and $230 for Defense. STX designed the Sc Ti back in 2009, and it immediately became a favorite for the amazing strength to weigh ratio, so they upped to the surgeon and stallion kinds, and NOW they are offering the Stallion which had more of a beefier sidewall profile than the surgeon kind, and Added More Material to the corners of the shaft…..Translation WAY MORE DURABILITY! I doubt this will ding and dent up and yes it might be on the higher end side, but it is worth a look if you are putting some serious checks down and want the best for your dollar at the Elite Level!
Warrior’s EVO PRO X6 Head: $100 so it is a bit on the high side, but if you had ever played with the older version, or any College Only Head, you will agree its BEAST! This time around it has a new face-look, and among any offensive player including LSM its there Precision Tool. Ground Ball Hustler too! The Evo line is tried and trusted way beyond the pro rankings, I think everyone has either seen or played with one, and maybe uses it now. I know its for college players only, hence the X6, but if you play indoor or box, this is your head. Its almost like taking the Warrior Revo 3x, and re-forming that plastic into a pure offensive weapon. These heads work extremely well with mesh, OR with TRADITIONAL LEATHERS! I have seen many strung with leather, and they do look and perform great. It may look stubby but if you can get used to using this narrow, sort of pudgy head, you will gain more accuracy than expected!
STX Stallion 9000 Shaft: Comes in at just $59.00, WHAT?? Did I say $59.99?? YES! This comes in the lower end of the Stallion Family of shafts, it might not be scandium or a sc. ti blend, but made out of brutal strength 7000 series strong alloy, I have to say this can handle its own. It is designed with thick walls to dish out some agony or take it, comes in black and silver. The Defense version is available for just 80$ and for a pole, that is just amazing. STX really focused on past research, and they are always doing there best to design the best for everyone’s level of play, and this takes the cake in my opinion in many respects…. On the field it actually does perform like a Stallion, hence the name. Pick up one of these and put your best dodging up for sale!!
Maverik’s Wonder Boy Shaft: Priced at $85.00 comes in so many colors! New Graphics now add a serious look to this shaft, also comes with the adjustable on the fly butt end. You as well as I know that this shaft started the company and with its shape that allows only 4 points, instead of the 8 like an octagon shaped shaft, it resists more dent and impact. I have seen more of these on the field, older ones, newer ones and people have said for the money and the fact that they barely ever break its so worth it. You will find even elite players using this as well, they dont call it a Wonder Boy for nothing! A Must Have! $125 for Defense Length.
Nike’s Vandal Shaft: $69 Attack and 100$ Defense, This is truly your buck banger shaft! Not only is the price low, but its actually quite durable and I have seen some of these take some good punishment on the field and come out fine. Some players attest that they have been able to get 3 seasons out of it. I have tried it though my times, and has a great grip, the graphics are subtle, and it comes in about 10 colors, some LE colors too if thats your thing! I know a player who uses a cut down goalie version from when it came out, and the thing hardly dents. Made of 7075 Alloy which is natural for a medium price point shaft is just one of those shafts you could probably buy at dicks with a complete head on for 90$. I think its worth it to look into, made by STX as all of Nike Lacrosse is, comes with a 6 Month Warranty.
Brine’s KING MAGNUM Shaft: $150 Attack, $200 for Defense, and might I add, this replaced TITANIUM, which was known to be heavy but so durable and could dish out the punishment on Defense….You might know by some previous bruises on your arms! For the price you really can not go wrong, when they say KING, its a King on the field, try breaking one of these good luck! They were designed to be the best shaft in there line for the elite level, and being on the market for almost 2 years it has proven. Comes with a nice sandy grip, minimal graphics, and in my opinion is just so durable….I know a lot of poles out there using this and they swear by it for there punishing checks, and elite needs. This shaft is no joke either, if your looking to add strength to your game, get it.
Warrior NOZ: $84.99, and might I add, this head is a Face Off KING, which originally dropped in 2009 as an attack head, turned into FOGO by storm! For the price you really can not go wrong, lots of players pick up 2 at a time, sometimes 3-4 and keeping them on shelves at stores is hard as the hype or marketing does not sell these heads, the proof on the field does. It is very light to begin with, almost illegally light, also serves as a great attack head, has a perfect amount of flex for the all around player, or the right amount of flex for the face offs. I dont think there is a dedicated face off head made, but if there was it would be this. It comes in color, 5-6 to be exact, the only downside is the limitation of holes, like in older heads it only has 10 (if I remember, might have to look at mine to be 100%, however I have seen many good pockets out of this, and if your a draw man, it shouldn’t matter about the perfect channel, it makes up in many many ways. I had one on the Gait Ice Shaft, another high end low priced shaft, and it was a super light combo. If your looking for a different head to face off with try this, if you like it buy 2, string them up exactly the same and there is no “backup” to have to get used to in case one fails….
With all of this being said, there really is no way for me to tell you which one to get over the other, but if you keep the discipline in mind with my commandments above, you should do all-right. The best piece of advice going into a store trying to buy something different or new, is talking to the sales person. Bring your old stick, tell them what you like about it, explain what you use it for, what your looking for to make your game better, and at that moment they should have a few options in your hands to look at. When you go in a store blinded its hard to pick looking at 40 heads and shafts on the wall, with each having a specific purpose. The more you bring to the table, the easier the sale is. Sometimes you dont have to go in ready to buy! If your just curious tag along your old stick, and ask if there is anything new or old that I might have overlooked that could improve MY GAME……Remember its Your Game your buying for, NOT SOMEONE ELSES!!
GOOD LUCK in your research and dont be afraid to ask questions, call the stores, talk to people, it all helps! Hopefully you found this article useful! Good Hunting!!!