Getting in Gear: Lacrosse Equipment

The physical nature of lacrosse requires players to wear a wide assortment of protective gear. To do its job, the equipment must be in good condition, meet appropriate safety standards, and fit the youngsters properly. The following sections examine the different types of equipment used in boys' and girls' lacrosse.

What all players use

Players typically use the following equipment when they take the field:

  • Stick: Sticks come in a variety of lengths and styles. Check with your league director to determine whether any specific styles are required.
  • Mouth guard: This guard protects valuable teeth (and helps save parents from taking their children on unwanted trips to the dentist for repairs).
  • Shoes: Check with the league director regarding the types of cleats that are allowed, and let parents know so they can purchase the correct shoes for their child.
  • Gloves: Gloves help players hold on to the stick and also protect their fingers and hands from the ball or other sticks. Some girls' leagues don't require players to wear gloves.

What boys wear

Here is a rundown of the equipment that boys wear for lacrosse:

  • Lacrosse helmet with face guard: The helmet and guard protect a player's head and eyes. All helmets and face masks should be approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
  • Shoulder pads: As the name implies, these pads protect the shoulders.
  • Elbow pads: These pads protect the elbows when players fall or get knocked down.
  • Rib pads: Rib pads usually are optional at the younger levels of play but are recommended to help protect kids' ribs from being whacked.
  • Cup and holder: These pieces are appropriate for older players and cost about $10.

What girls wear

Here is a look at the equipment that girls wear for lacrosse:

  • Lacrosse goggles: Goggles protect the eyes. They feature an eye shield and a band that wraps around the back of the player's head to hold them in place.
  • Sports bra/support bra: These items are appropriate for older players.

What boys' and girls' goalies wear

Because goalies have to face a ball that's being shot at them, they wear some different protective equipment, in addition to some of the pieces detailed above, to help them play their positions safely:

  • Chest protector: This garment protects the player's upper body.
  • Shin guards: These items are worn to protect the shins.
  • Knee pads: Knee pads come in handy, because goalies often must drop to the ground to block shots.
  • Goalie stick: These sticks are larger than the other players' sticks, which helps the goalie block the opposition's shots.
  • Helmet: In both boys' and girls' lacrosse, goalies wear helmets with a throat protector.

What parents usually provide

Because every lacrosse program is different, check with your league director in advance to find out what equipment it provides and what the parents need to purchase. Parents typically provide the following items:

  • Water bottle: Each player should bring a clearly labeled water bottle to practices and games.
  • Mouth guard: Coaches can request that parents purchase the same color to help promote team unity.

Make sure that parents understand that they're responsible for purchasing certain items before your first practice. You don't want kids showing up without mouth guards — and being forced to watch from the sidelines — because their parents thought you'd be handing them out.

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