Where can I buy cheap lacrosse balls? What brands are good? These are some questions that are probably going through your head when you are looking for affordable lacrosse gear. When you are shopping for anything, it is important to consider two major factors: price and quality. When you rush out and buy the first thing you come across, you are bound to be let down. Taking time and looking around for the best deal will be worth it.
What Is Lacrosse?
Some people may not even know what Lacrosse is. It is a team sport, played with twenty people; ten on either side. The players use long sticks with mesh on one end, called crosses, to catch a small rubber ball, and eventually launch it into the opponent’s goal.
The sport has been around for about a thousand years and was originally played by Native Americans. These original games would consist of hundreds if not thousands of players. Though, the game has changed quite a bit in the past few centuries, it is still very popular in the Americas, and has gained popularity in other areas of the world.
What Makes a Lacrosse Ball Different?
Lacrosse is a specialized sport, and despite its popularity, there are relatively few big producers or distributors of quality lacrosse equipment. As far as balls go, there are some important differences. First of all game versus practice balls are very different. Those designed for game play have strict specifications as far as weight, size, rebound and color. Soft balls are made for beginners and intended to help build handling skills while not damaging anything and not hurting anybody. These will be softer, and have less rigid design requirements. Again, game balls only come in three colors: white, yellow and orange, whereas those for practice can come in a wide range of colors including black, pink, blue, and purple.
What are the Best Lacrosse Balls to Buy?
There are three major makers of the balls: Brine, Warrior and STX. There are also some lesser-known brands like Champion and SKLZ. Picking the best brand and finding the best price can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Brine is a very popular producer of all kinds of equipment including, nets, shafts/sticks, and helmets. This company has a good reputation and has been around for nearly a hundred years. They are the official distributor of NCAA approved balls and have excellent quality gear. They have innovative sticky grip that improves handling, especially for inexperienced players. Their products will go for a premium due to the company’s reputation, however if you are a serious enthusiast and can afford their gear, it will be a good investment.
Another big manufacturer is Warrior Sports. This U.S. based company is neck and neck with Brine as far as quality and price. Though this company hasn’t been around for as long, they have built a strong reputation in the last twenty years or so. In the past decade they have moved into both ice hockey and football manufacturing, but they are first and foremost a lacrosse gear producer. They sponsor several pro teams and were a major founding influence on Major League Lacrosse.
The other main brand is STX. This company makes golf putters, field hockey apparel and most importantly men and women’s lacrosse equipment. They have been around for just over forty years and are going strong. While they have less variety, their product is still very high quality and slightly less expensive than the other two major brands. The company’s big claim to fame is not their balls, but their sticks. Founder B.C. Tucker Sr. was instrumental in creating the first synthetic head, a huge step in bringing the sport to a wider array of players. However, this is not to say that their balls are not a good, sound product.
The less recognized producers like SKLZ and Champion are not bad products. SKLZ focuses on the training side and doesn’t really sell game balls. They do have a quality, though limited range of trainers, including The Reaction, which is great for building hand eye coordination and speed. Champion on the other hand has a good variety of NCAA standard products. They make the bare minimum gear with no frills; thereby they are able to cut cost. There is a potential loss in quality, but to a hobby player or even a semi serious non-pro their equipment is a good option for saving some money.
Where to Shop?
This is the biggest question when thinking about getting new gear. Where do I go? It comes down to personal preference. Like most things you can find specialty stores, general stores, buy online, or buy used stuff. Deciding depends on your price range and your own specific needs.
Like many other products, you can find stores that sell only Lacrosse gear. These stores will give you the best customer service, and often very good insight into the product that will be right for your skill level and price range. Most of these shops will carry a good variety of brands as well as different qualities of product. You can also get hands on, and try, a lot of the things that are for sale. With this level of customer service, however, you are going to be paying a premium.
General sporting goods stores will generally have better prices, and you can still get good and useful help from staff. The biggest thing is that you’ll often notice that instead of real experience, the employees may only be telling you what they’ve heard or what they read in the product manual. You will save a little money, but sacrifice real knowledge.
Looking on the Internet will turn up the best prices by far. Certainly you completely lose that service aspect and are left to your best judgment to find the product that will be right for you. There is also a huge range of things for sale online. You can buy balls in bulk, specialty gear and a plethora of training equipment. You can also find stuff for men, women and children. This can be both exciting and overwhelming. When all you want is a single ball the variety of stores, brands, and prices can be too much.
When you are looking for new lacrosse balls, it is very important to know what you want. There is a wide range in price and a distinct range in quality. If you don’t know what product you are looking for it is best to get an experienced opinion, however if you are a seasoned player who knows what products are best for your playing ability and style, look online.