Lacrosse Head Buying Guide

Lacrosse heads are a crucial component to any lacrosse player’s gear setup. A good head serves many purposes on the field: it allows you to scoop up ground balls, throw checks, shoot and pass at will. Read on to learn more about how to choose the right head for your position, age and skill level.

Types of heads

Heads today are constructed and designed for three distinct levels of play. Any prospective player should make sure that the head they are purchasing follows the rules that their league recommends.

NCAA heads

Under college rule, NCAA-regulated heads are designed to be more narrow in pocket structure. Besides that, they are fairly similar to other types of heads in size.

NFHS heads

NFHS heads are specifically designed and regulated for high school and youth play. They’re wider than NCAA heads, which makes them easier to catch and throw with. This helps players who are still learning the fundamentals of the game.

Universal heads

Looking for a head that you can use in any type of game? Universal heads are your best bet. They’re legal to use at any level of play, from the NCAA down.

The anatomy of a lacrosse head

Any lacrosse head, regardless of its intended level of play, is essentially made up of three things: the scoop, the pinch and the sidewall.


The scoop is pretty self explanatory. It’s the top part of your head that allows you to pick up ground balls. For developing players, scoops are generally flatter, which makes it easier to pick up ground balls. Heads with distinguished scoops are better suited for more advanced players.


“Pinch” is used to describe how wide or narrow the face of a head is. Wider pinches are designed for beginners; the wider the pinch, the easier it is to catch and throw a ball. Narrower pinches are more common amongst collegiate-level athletes, because they allow for better ball control and accuracy when shooting.


The plastic on the side of your pocket and head is referred to as the sidewall. The amount of plastic on your sidewall is a key determinant in how heavy and stiff your stick is. Less plastic generally leads to a head with more open spaces on the sidewall. Looking to optimize your shooting and passing ability? A lighter head is your best option. Stiffer and heavier lacrosse heads with more plastic sidewall are best for players with more of a defensive focus.

Other tips

Preference and skill-level, as always, are key factors in choosing a lacrosse head. Many advanced players go against standard recommendations when it comes to a head's stiffness and weight. Beginners should stick to the basics and opt for a wider, more simply constructed head.

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