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Universal Lacrosse Blog

  • Sizing New Gloves

    Are you wearing the right size glove?

    When it comes to trying on lacrosse gloves, lots of players think they  need a larger glove than they actually do. Gloves come in many different sizes in inches: 6, 8, 10, 12, 13 and 14.  Each manufacturer also cuts their gloves either wider (Warrior) or more narrow (Brine) compared to each other. That's why it's always a good thing to try on gloves before buying them.

    stinger_3

    When trying gloves on, they will almost always be stiff but after playing with them for a few days, they break in very easily. Try holding a stick when putting new gloves on to see how it feels. If the gloves are too big, the finger tip of the glove will curl over the shaft and touch your palm-that's not going to give you a good grip on the stick when cradling.

    kingrb1_

    Another trick when trying on gloves is to turn your palm up once the glove is on and have someone pinch the middle finger tip. If you finger is too far away from the end, these gloves are too big and you need to go down a size. If your middle finger is jammed into the end of the glove, you need to go up a size. When a player tries on a 13 inch glove and says it's too small and I hand them a 14 inch, the first thing I remind them is that not only are the finger longer, but the palm is wider which means there is more material that can bunch up and cause you not to have a good grip. Usually players go back down to a 13 inch and once they break in, are perfect.

    These are just a few tips to keep in mind when trying on gloves and figuring out what size you are. If you're going to spend a good amount of money for something, you should always make sure they fit properly and last awhile!

  • Need Help With Mesh?

    What Mesh Is Right For You?

     

    In today’s game there are a bunch of different kinds of mesh that we, the players, get to decide to use. Long gone are the days of old when we only had one option and that was it. There are a few products that stand out among the rest and hopefully this little guide will help you make a decision.

    East Coast Dyes Mesh

    I’m sure by now that you have heard about East Coast Dye's (ECD) Wax Mesh. They take a piece of regular dura mesh and coat it with their own unique wax formula. By doing this, it adds more grip to the ball as well as making the mesh completely water proof. This mesh  has a very short break in time (a few days max) and also comes in a large amount of color options.

    ecm-singel-color_4_1_1_1_1_4 ecm-limited-edition-striker-mesh_3

    Jimalax Money Mesh

    The materials and construction process used in making Money mesh allows it to have a “rougher” texture causing more friction between the mesh and the ball equaling more hold. Money mesh is also water resistant so it will hold up  well in poor conditions like rain and snow. The color schemes available are also crazy!

    solidamoneyb_4 moneyb1_5

     

    StringKing

    There are two types currently available from StringKing: Type 1s is a softer mesh and Type 1x is more of a harder mesh. Both pieces break in very fast and are always consistent with keeping the pocket shape. They offer better control/feel and are great for any type of pocket-high, mid or low. Both types of StringKing mesh are promised not to bag out in wet weather so you don’t have to worry.

    1-type-1x-mesh_3 1-type-1s-mesh_4

    There are obviously other kinds of mesh available, but these three brands are what we here at the U find to be some of our favorites. To us, a fast break-in with consistent throwing is key as well as not giving out when the weather takes a turn for the worst. Ultimately it’s up to you to make your decision but with this little guide we hope that decision became a little easier.

  • Backyard Goal or Rebounder?

    Should I purchase a backyard goal or rebounder?

    This may seem like an easy question to answer, but I get asked this constantly by customers. I usually ask them if their player wants to work on accuracy of shots or passing/catching?

    With backyard goals, there are a few things to keep in mind: do you have enough room in the yard for the stray balls that miss the goal? Are your neighbors going to get mad if they find lacrosse balls in their backyard? Are you going to lose lacrosse balls in the woods forever? The best part of a backyard goal is not only working on your trick shots, but working on your accuracy. You can work on your dominate and non-dominate sides shooting so when it's game time, you aren't hesitant to get that stick in your non-dominate hand and still pick off corners.

    goalblocker_3

    If you are a newer player and want to work on your stick skills, then a rebounder would be great for you. A rebounder helps with both those longer passes and quick stick passes. If you want to become more confident in your catching or non-dominate side in general, a rebounder would help significantly. Not everyone has access to a brick wall (with no windows of course) or someone else to pass with and a rebounder acts as those. If you are concerned with bad weather taking a toll on the rebounder, it is easy to fold it up and tuck it away into a shed or side of a garage. If you want a harder challenge, look into purchasing an STX Pass Master (see image below) which has small shapes to hit for better accuracy with your passes.

    stx-lacrosse-pass-master_3

     

    With the help of training tools such as the backyard goal and rebounder, every player has the chance to work on their individual skills and improve at their own speed. There is nothing better than working hard in the off season and coming back the next year feeling more confident in your abilities and ready to hit the field and prove yourself to the coach!

  • The Split Dodge

    How do you Split?

    It’s one of the first moves we learn and also one of the deadliest if done correctly. The spilt dodge. It’s all about tricking your defender into going one direction while you go in the other.

    Everyone has their own little twist to the split dodge but the fundamentals are all still the same. A hard plant with one foot, and then BOOM your off in the other direction. The split is a great move for any offensive player, whether you’re a middie dodging from up top or an attackmen going at X.

    Not too long ago, Sean Morris posted a video on Instagram with TheLocker.com (@thelocker_com) quickly explaining his 3 step split dodge. He mentions that he focuses on keeping his stick and feet connected. This means that whatever foot is planted on the ground his stick’s head is right above that same foot. If you watch the video you can see that he doesn’t switch hands right away. By doing this you can confuse your defender even more and make it hard for them to figure out which direction you are going.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 3.53.47 PM

    Recently, we also posted a video on the Universal Lacrosse Instagram account (@UNIVERSALLAX) showing a Drexel University player absolutely toasting his defender in an NCAA tournament game from last season. If you watch the two videos you can easily see that their splits are both the same yet completely different. Both use the multiple steps to throw of their defenders but kind of do it in different ways. Sean Morris is keeping his stick upright and locked in tight while the Drexel player adds something like a toe drag move as he changes directions, which is sick. Both are awesome and both are very effective.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 3.55.28 PM

    We want to see how you break ankles on the field! Follow us on Instagram @UNIVERSALLAX and tag us in your own split dodge video. Tag us in the caption and use #itsallulaxsplits so we can see your post and maybe even repost your video!

  • BCA East Coast Dyes Mesh

    Think Pink

    Every October the lacrosse community honors those affected by breast cancer in a great way. Many manufactures release special versions of products and donate a portion of the proceeds to various breast cancer research foundations to help continue the fight.

    This year the guys over at East Coast Dyes Mesh have come up with an awesome new color way of their popular 15mm Striker Mesh, known as the 2014 ECD BCA Mesh.

    unnamed

    This very special piece of mesh features a three color fade going from pink to white to grey with the black striker stripes stretching the length of the mesh. Like always the striker comes with the awesome waterproofing wax coating that’s standard for every piece of ECD mesh.

    What I think the best part about this new mesh is that East Coast Dyes is going to be taking 50% of the profits and donate it to the Susan G Komen Foundation. The Susan G Komen Foundation is the world’s largest and most widely known breast cancer organization. Since it’s inception in 1982 this organization has spent over 1 billion dollars in research, education, and advocacy of breast cancer in the US and more than 50 other countries.

    Not only would you get a great product from ECD, but also you’d be aiding in the important fight against something that has affected so many people.

  • Correct Helmet Positioning

    Are you wearing our helmet correctly?

    It is the age old question of "Is my son wearing his helmet correctly? It doesn't look like all the other kids on the field." Well, that's probably because the helmet was not sized appropriately and is definitely not safe! There are a few simple key points to keep in mind when sizing your players helmet on his head so it doesn't look like it's doing a 'wheelie' when he's running down the field.

    First, make sure that he can get it on without struggle. Some towns give out older helmets for newbies (but they are certified) and the person giving out the helmet doesn't know the proper fitting. No helmet should hurt a player when coming and off. Yes, it will take some practice getting used to it but it should not be painful.  Helmets come in different sizes, based on the circumference of the players head from XXS to Large for youth helmets. (Example: Cascade CPV).

    cascade_cpv_lacrosse_helmet_3

    Second, once the helmet is on, the player should be looking through the correct bars on the face mask. This is crucial! Every player should be looking through the top two 'squares' in the face mask to ensure that the chin piece is low enough to protect the throat area. Some people may thing that the middle 'squares' are the correct ones, but it exposes way too much of the throat.

    INCORRECT                                                        CORRECT

    IMG_1180     IMG_0173

    The third step is to adjust the chin strap. This can take either 3 minutes or 45 minutes depending on how many patients everyone has. It is easiest to unsnap all 4 snaps and have the player hold the chin piece on their chin where it is comfortable. While they hold it still with 2 hands, this is where the patients comes in, the other person (player, parent, coach) slides the snaps down so that they are adjusted. A general rule that I have always followed is to do the two two snaps first and then the bottom.

    Although this sounds extremely easy to accomplish, there are so many beginners who head out on the field for their first game with their helmet doing a 'wheelie' while sprinting down field and it is not safe. As a company, Universal Lacrosse always adjusts the snaps on new players before they leave the store. Our staff is very knowledgeable about helmets and can always answer tons of questions about sizing, when to move into a larger helmet and when an old helmet may not be safe anymore.

  • Differences between the STX Crux 100, 300 and 500

    Do you know the differences between these sticks?

    STX has come out this year with new names for their sticks-mainly using different numbers to tell them apart. The higher the number, the more advanced the stick is with different stringing, weight, shaft and runway pockets.

    CRUX 100

    This is a beginner level girls stick that is very lightweight. It comes in some fun, crazy colors such as: electric, grape, punch, white and lizard.  The Crux 100 is strung with a precision pocket, similar to a men's pita pocket where there are two leathers but no rubber runway down the middle. The scoop on the top is wider than other Crux heads which makes it easier for beginners to scoop up those annoying ground balls.

    crux1001_

    CRUX 300

    The Crux 300 is the most commonly used stick in the Crux family. It is for both intermediate and advanced players because it has a Runway Pocket (which flex out and hug the ball for better control and feel) along with a more curved scoop up top. This stick is primarily used by attack players because the ball sits up higher in the head called the "sweet spot". When the ball sits up higher, it comes out quicker for those quick stick shots or passes which attack players love right in front of the crease.

    w_heads_crux300_front_black_3

    CRUX 500

    Quickly becoming the most popular new stick of the year, the Crux 500 is blowing players away with the new Launch Pocket Technology.  This new runner system helps to increase ball control and the chevrons flex out to hug the ball for ultimate feel. The runner is wider at the top of the head because when the ball sits in the "sweet spot" there is much more rubber on rubber grip. This pocket shape is specifically engineered to maintain its shape and keep the stick legal over an extended period of use. The scoop is not as curved as with the Crux 300 which does allow for easer ground ball pick-up.

    stx_womens_heads_crux500_3q_graphitetaxi_5

    It can be very confusing and overwhelming when looking at the new numbering system STX has decided to use to differentiate their sticks but once you know the main differences between them all, you are pretty much a pro!

  • Goalie Shaft Shapes

    Did you know that goalie shafts come in different shapes?

    It may not seem all that important to a field player, but once a goalie knows about the different shapes, it can change their game forever.

    There are a few different manufacturers that make goalie shafts: STX, Brine, Warrior, East Coast Dyes Epoch and Gait.  Just like attack and defense shafts, goalie shafts mainly come the standard octagon shape-Warrior Krypto Pro Diamond,  Brine F15, ECD Carbon, Epoch Dragonfly, STX Shield 7075 and STX Shield SC.

    epoch15_df_gen5_c40_2015_main_  shaft-concave-octagon-1_15_1_4

    The goalie shafts that have the irregular shapes are the Gait Ice and STX Outlet. The Gait Ice has a concave shape which allows the goal to keep a better grip on the stick while in position. It is also extremely lightweight! The STX Outlet is different from everyone else; the back of the shaft is smooth and meant to sit in the crux of your hand between your thumb and pointer finger (think teardrop shape).  There are two grooves on the sides of the shaft that you can feel with your pointer finger and thumb-which is weird at first-but it's made that way so that the face of the head is always facing out. Most goalies tap the side bars on a consistent basis, to make sure their angles are correct and hugging the post. While doing this however, the shaft can twist in your hands and the front of the head-the widest part-is no longer facing out. These little side grooves help you feel that the stick is in the correct position without looking down.

    teardrop

     

    There is never a right or wrong shaft for goalies, it is always personal preference and once a goalie knows what works for him/her, that's what they will generally stick with for a few years.

  • Different Types of Arm Protection

    Are you wearing the right one?

    There are mainly 3 different types of arm protection in men's lacrosse: arm guard, arm pad and elbow sleeve. I always think players should wear what they feel the most comfortable and confident in, but some players wear what is specifically designed by the manufacturers for their position.

    Arm Guards

    Arm guards are designed for the attack man. They are longer in length to help protect above the elbow and below too. Arm Guards have a hard cap over the elbow to help protect the player-who is usually driving towards the goal-when they stick out their elbow from those super hard checks from their defense man. Don't be fooled! Arm guards are not like what they used to be back in the old days! They are much more flexible than they look and generally have grip on the inside to help the stay in place while shooting.

    stxcell2agpic

    Arm Pads

    Arm pads are generally worn by middies. They still cover the elbow well, but don't have the hard elbow cap. They are very flexible and just a bit shorter in length compared to the arm guard. If you are looking for something that doesn't come up super high and hit your bicep pad, these are for you!

    warriornation11ap

     

    Elbow Sleeves

    If you are a very brave attack man, you can wear these; but generally, these are for defense. Since they get to do all the hitting, they seldom wear big arm pads but the rules say they have to wear something-so these are it! With a very sleek design, these will stay snug on your arm and have a small pad around your elbow.

    brine13_ldaplop_main_1

     

    These are just some general guidelines on different arm protection for different positions. As long as you wear something that is comfortable and helps protect against some nasty checks. Bruises always make for good stories, but broken bones are never fun.

  • Different Levels Of Women's Heads

    Do you know the differences?

    When looking at a wall of women's lacrosse sticks, it can be very difficult to see the differences between each one and just say "they all look exactly alike!" I can assure you that during preseason, I get that from almost every beginner player and/or parent on a daily basis. Once I start to break things down for them, they start to understand why different levels of players (beginner, intermediate and expert) play with different shaped heads.

    Beginner

    Typically, beginners want to use a light weight stick and one that is very flat on the top scoop. I think we can all agree that learning to pick up ground balls can be frustrating in general, but as a beginner, you want to have a flat, pancake spatula looking scoop, which will make it much easier to get under the ball. All sticks, no matter what level, start off not broken in and can all give off the appearance of looking very flat. However once you pick up the stick and look at the scoop, you can usually tell if it is a beginner stick or not.

    db-flutter-complete-stick-1

    Intermediate

    To me, intermediate players have played lacrosse for a year or two but only during the spring season. They have either grown and their stick is too short for them or they want a head that has a bit more shape to it so it stays in better while cradling. These players I usually ask what position they are mainly playing-attack, midfield or defense. I usually try to direct the midfielders and defense players towards sticks that still have a flatter scoop because they are still constantly picking up ground balls. Attack players can get away with a more narrow throat in their stick because it helps direct the ball to come out of the stick straight; allowing more accurate shots.

    brine-cadencelacrosse-head-1

    Advanced

    These players have a stick in their hands year round and usually know exactly which stick they want because they have borrowed their friends sticks to play with. Sometimes advanced players will actually keep their current stick (because it's lucky or extra special) and simply get it restrung with a different runway/pocket.

    stxcrux

     

    Even though to the untrained eye women's lacrosse sticks can look very similar and just look different because they are different colors, they do vary quite a bit. Even though it's always important to have a great looking stick, making sure you have one that meets your skill set is even more important.

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