The Complete Evolution of the Lacrosse Stick


You know that highly technological metal lacrosse stick that moves seamlessly through your gloves, perfectly balanced, strong and sturdy, comprised of the best material known to man? Well surprisingly enough, laxers haven’t always been so lucky to use such artfully crafted pieces of lacrosse equipment. There was a time as early as 1000 A.D. where laxers had to build their own lacrosse sticks, usually of wood, and pray that they wouldn’t break. Or even worse, hope that the ball wouldn’t hit the lip when passing or shooting. Cringe.

What’s worse is they didn’t have a place like Lacrosse Scoop to read reviews on the newest lacrosse equipment. Ah technology. Now that’s a story for another time. Onto the goodness!

Image from Wikipedia commons

Note: I should preface that there has been a very comprehensive book written on this subject by Michael Radecki. Also known as the “Old School Lax Freak,” this guy is an absolute maven when it comes to both lacrosse and lacrosse stick history.

The Pre Antique Era (1100 A.D.)

This is old-school lax gear, and I mean old-school, dating way back hundreds upon hundreds of years ago. We’re talking zero mass production, zero engineering. These were usually made of some basic wood, leather, and animal byproducts. In fact, they didn’t even have the U-shape of the head you play with. They looked more like a giant spoon, with netting. Hey, no matter how you put it, Paul Rabil would still smoke any one of us, even if he was rocking an old giant spoon. The lacrosse stick stayed pretty basic, that is until….

The Antique Era (Pre-1970)

Way back in the 1890s, Frank Lalley had retired from the sport of lacrosse and decided to open up a lacrosse stick factory on Cornwall Island in Canada (Eh?). He went to town, and developed some of the first widely adopted models of lacrosse sticks. These worked fine for years, but as the game evolved, the equipment needed to evolve with it….

The Vintage Era (1970-1980)

In comes two of the hottest lacrosse companies: Brine and STX. This is where they got their start. The significance of this time in lacrosse history comes from the engineering of the two-piece lacrosse stick. This was insanely important because the separation of the shaft from the head allowed each to be designed specially. The shaft made from wood or metal, and the head constructed of plastic. This separation allowed for crazy amounts of design and testing for sticks. Some of these designs were huge leaps for the lacrosse stick, while others were huge flops. You also had some other early movers in this era, like SportCraft and Amisco who unfortunately didn’t make it at lax brands. And thus, bringing us to….

The Modern Era (1990s)

The vintage era was where Brine and STX got their start–but the Modern Era is where they hit their stride. Competition between these two brands got steep, and there were even legal court cases on patent rights. This competition fueled some excellent creativity though. Sticks really started to take the form that you use today. With the heads you started seeing “pinch” instead of a straight V molds. And in the shafts you’d find stronger and lighter metals. Heads like the Viper, Excalibur, The Edge and the Superlight are some popular names from the 1990s

Current Day

Technically we’re still in the Modern Era, but we’ve been seeing some awesome technological advances over the past few years that deserve attention. This is especially so from newer brands like Epoch, who have crafted some excellent spoons. But you tell us: What have been your favorite advances in lacrosse stick technology lately? Leave your comments below!

Bio: Sean is the founder and director at Lacrosse Scoop, an authority website dedicated to reviewing lacrosse gear and showing players the cheapest place to buy.

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