A fairly common dilemma for young players and parents is whether or not to purchase a Complete Stick or a individual Head and Handle when making a first purchase. In the last few years the dynamics of this decision have changed due to the fact that stock complete or “full” sticks have become more specialized and upgraded directly out of the box. In the past the rule of thumb was for a beginner/first year player to purchase a complete stick and become acclimated with ball handling, passing and shooting and then once they had become comfortable with playing a particular position or developed a personal playing style it would be time to shop for Heads and Shafts separately. Old modes of thinking tend to die off pretty quickly in Lacrosse and while it used to be that Female players gravitated towards buying a complete stick much more than their male counterparts the modern game finds this to have changed significantly. This is not necessarily the case these days as many advanced players both Male and Female have made the switch to a Complete Stick from the get go. Among the reasons for this:
Technology – Constant advancements in materials and design have inevitably introduced higher end complete sticks. In the past companies focused on low cost introductory model complete sticks where as these days they cover the entire spectrum of price points. One need not look any further than the Women’s Brine Dynasty Warp Pro. The introduction of a pocket that requires zero stringing has really caught on with variables like loose sidewall a thing of the past.
Consistency –There’s a fairly significant difference between a factory strung head, a head strung by your local guy, and a head rigged by your cousin who is learning to string. Complete Sticks usually offer the same feel, the same release, the same consistency day in and day out. Something you won’t get if you just found out your favorite stringer moved to Albuquerque last weekend. If you have two sticks with the same head and two different shafts naturally, however slight your release, handling or some other aspect of the sticks performance will differ.
Value - Generally, comparing apples to apples Complete Sticks are more economical then purchasing the same components separately. However, that being said there are many spectacular deals on heads both strung and unstrung as well as shafts and one can piece together a great deal for themselves. But again, if you are looking at the same components generally there is a lower price as a complete unit.
With all the Complete Stick Love above lets take a look at the Pluses to purchasing separate components your first go round:
Specialized Customization – Components allow individual players to dissect their strengths and weaknesses and are able to make adjustments at an equipment level. If your shot “takes off” for example, you can always have a Pro readjust your string setup, but what if you don’t know a place to go? Sometimes having your best friend readjust your setup leads you into a spiral of experimentation and inconsistency. Something young players should avoid.
Variety – Lacrosse is about action, color and innovation. Being able to match colors of heads and shafts to your team, or putting together a good-looking combo is always cool, but also lets say you are in love with a particular Head but your fav handle doesn’t perform well in wet weather and today it’s pouring. The ability to swap out in different conditions adds another element to your game.
Fun Factor – Speaking to the above points some players thrive on anarchy. The variety of heads, stringing styles, mesh , handle textures and metals can be an exciting trip into the wild. Some fancy themselves as mad scientists constantly thriving to create the perfect monster (Speaking of, have you tried our new Crankenstein Mesh?) These folks look at a Factory Strung Complete Stick as the most boring thing on the planet, but by no means should those Complete Sticks be looked down on these days. However it is really interesting to see Stringing Specific Companies like Stringking offering up Complete Lacrosse Sticks themselves like the Complete 2 Attack Stick
Our overall suggestion is this. Generally just like complete sticks, some Heads are better for Beginner Players than others. As you can see by the variety of prices Complete Sticks in both Men's and Women's Categories are no longer just for the “Beginner” Player. Can you borrow a friends stick to try? What do you like and not like about it? What is your goal? High School, Club? One thing about Lax is that it does supply a wealth of info all over the internet like the video featuring Paul Rabil or the Complete Stick overview (that aims to back us up on this Complete Stick thing below:
Do you want to bother messing with string? If not maybe a warp is a great option. Are you buying for a team and want variety or are you buying for a youth organization or children new to the game and want a consistent level playing field for all the participants? Again, complete stick, great option. If you’re really doubting which direction to go with the Complete Stick is the safest bet and we have tons of them from all the brands like Warrior, Brine, STX, Maverik,and many more. While the pure volume of Heads and Shaft components can be daunting and over 95% of Lacrosse Heads will fit on any shaft it is always good to double check and of course we here at everysportforless.com are glad to help.
We have done our best to describe the differences, but if there are ever any questions please do not hesitant to contact us and we will be glad to do a walk through with you. Remember experimentation is a part of Lacrosse there really is no perfect answer but having the facts is as always the key to making the best decision.