It’s not about the gear.
In order to be a great lacrosse player, is it necessary to have the flashiest and most expensive new equipment on the market? Please tell me your answer is…NO! It seems like too many players are getting sucked into this line of thinking though. Every single day I see lacrosse ads online and in my inbox selling new equipment (heads, shafts, gloves, etc) that is outrageously priced. The message comes across as, “you need this new product or your skills and game will suffer!” Oh, the panic! I’m not saying the new stuff is not great, I’m only saying that it is not crucially important to being a good lacrosse player. (For the record, we’re not anti-gear! We just don’t think you need it to be a good player, but you can still look good while playing!)
It reminds me of the old adage, “a good carpenter never blames his tools.” Thinking that by buying the newest head and equipment on the market a player will improve even a little bit is ludicrous! Of course, every player needs equipment that is functional and safe, but to think that any piece of equipment can drastically change how the player will play is just not right. Inevitably, as the game and equipment evolve, the products become better, lighter and easier to use. BUT, think of some of the greatest players who ever played, and think of the equipment they were using during their prime. Their gear would be laughed at today. I witnessed a classic example of this a few years back when I was attending the Vail Shootout. The particular game I was watching pitted a team of current (at the time) college all-stars against a gritty group of older lacrosse veterans. The team comprised of college players looked awesome! Flashy sticks, shiny helmets, and the newest gear on the market. Meanwhile, the team of “old guys” looked like none of them had bought a new piece of equipment in at least ten years. As the game played out it was sure entertaining to watch, especially as the old guys with the old gear pulled away and ended up winning easily. Clearly, it wasn’t about the gear that day! The reason the old guys won the game was because they played more fundamentally sound lacrosse and made smarter plays than the college guys.
Don’t forget what makes players great: hard work, solid fundamentals, and focused training. It’s not about the gear!