There is a wide array of lacrosse shafts to choose from, with prices ranging anywhere from $20 to $240+ for a shaft. A player’s shaft won’t make or break his career.
The most important difference between lacrosse shafts is the material which they are made of. This determines the shaft’s weight and durability against denting, bending, and snapping. A shaft with minor dents is usable, but major dents can dramatically bend or warp the stick, making it unusable. It is not a good idea to play with a bent or broken shaft, as it will alter your passes and shots.
Aluminum, a more economical material for a lacrosse shaft, tends to weigh more and is more easily dented and broken as compared to other alloy shafts. While most players prefer lighter shafts, some prefer heavier shafts as they cause more severe injuries to their opponents.
At first, it may seem reasonable that the attack men and midfielders, the players with mainly offensive goals, would use lighter sticks and vice versa for the defenders. In reality, this is not the case, as defensemen use long poles and the additional weight of a heavier stick would hinder their ability to throw quick and accurate stick checks at their opponents.
While the large majority of lacrosse players prefer lighter lacrosse shafts that allow faster stick mobility, some have played with hand-crafted a stick made of dense, heavy wood to use against his most serious opponents.
The player created and used this stick to inflict intense pain on the competitor’s arms. Most leagues do not check shaft materials, so there is a small possibility that players in your league may use unique materials for their sticks.
Certain lacrosse shafts will boast the best “strength-to-weight” ratio on the market, but in reality, the main difference maker for shafts is the material. For example, all aluminum lacrosse shafts have a remarkably similar “strength-to-weight” ratio regardless of the brand and/or model.
Due to the demands of the sport, it is inevitable that a player’s shaft will be dented and possibly broken regardless of the shaft type used. While titanium lacrosse shafts (and other more expensive shafts) may indeed have slightly better strength to weight ratios, they are not immune to being significantly dented or broken either.
Certain players have played with numerous titanium shafts that have dented or bent into angles, to the point where they can no longer be used.
Attack men and midfielders use a regular sized shaft (usually measuring 30 inches); goalies use a goalie shaft (usually measuring 40 inches); and defensemen use a defensive shaft, known as a “long-stick”, or “long-pole” (measuring up to 60 inches). The regular-sized shaft allows midfielders and attack men to better protect the stick while cradling and dodging, while the long-stick is an advantage for defenders as it allows them to throw stick checks and play defense from a longer distance (the long-stick defender doesn’t have to be right next to their opponent to pester the opponent with their stick).