Faceoffs are a huge part of lacrosse, and finding the right equipment to get the job done can be a challenge. I approached Connor Wilson with the idea of reviewing college legal heads, specifically for faceoffs, and he was on board, knowing how important this aspect of the game can be. I’m hoping you find this resource to be useful!
Below is a list of the heads that I personally reviewed, in addition to some other heads that have been used by FOGOs at the next level. Special thanks to a number of different face off guys at Johns Hopkins, Duke, Dickinson, the Denver Outlaws, Florida Launch, and Lehigh. Their direct quotes on heads can be seen in italic. I’d like to thank all of the top level players I talked to! I would also recommend you check out the FOGO head thread, in the LAS Forum.
The Warrior Blade Pro X6
Despite tons of anticipation amongst lacrosse players for the Blade Pro to be released, it has received mixed reviews since coming out. The Blade Pro is really not flexible at all at the start, and the plastic must be continually worked until it is finally broken in and game ready. This is a source of frustration for many players who like their heads flexible from minute one:
The Blade Pro X6 was way too stiff in the middle, and did not break in very easily.
These heads also run into some issues when it comes to durability. The Blade Pro is great for a couple months, but often becomes deformed beyond use after heavy amounts of play. However, there are many positives that go along with using the blade pro. Because of the stiffness of the head, it provides the strength you need when grinding out a faceoff. Also, the shape of the head provides the ability to perform the plunger with ease, especially when it has broken in:
I use the Blade Pro in the MLL. The shape of the head is great, once you break in the plastic a little bit. They’re great for a couple months, but they get too deformed and then I have to get a new one.
For those who take the time to break in this head, it can be rewarding, but durability can be an issue.
Brine Clutch X
Similar to the Blade Pro X6, the Brine Clutch X starts off pretty stiff. However, this head takes considerably less time to break in, and is a very flexible head once you get it going:
The Clutch X has great flexibility, it just doesn’t last a very long time before breaking.
This seemed to be a common theme among faceoff guys whom I asked about the Clutch X:
It has a stiff throat, which I think is essential to a faceoff head, and has a good pinch once you work it in relatively well. The only problem that I had with the head was that it warped fairly quickly compared to other heads, and broke easily in the winter.
The Clutch X is very popular among collegiate faceoff guys, and it is easy to see why. The head has the right amount of stiffness on ground balls and longer faceoffs, and is also flexible enough that you can preform the plunger fairly easily. This is another head that probably wouldn’t sit well with athletes who like their heads flexible from the start, but is a very solid head overall for those who are willing to work with it.
Nike CEO U
The Nike CEO U is a very flexible head that is quickly catching on in the dedicated faceoff community. The head has minimal offset, making it ideal for taking draws. However, and perhaps due to the lack of offset, the scoop is very pointed and flat. Despite the flat scoop, it is an easy adjustment that doesn’t really take away from the value of the head:
The CEO had a stiff throat with nice grab and control of the ball. It also broke in very quickly, which is nice in the winter.
The CEO is also a very durable head, with little to no warping occurring after heavy usage. CEO’s are a great value, coming in at 85 dollars. Considering the life-span and durability of this head, it is definitely worth your money to pick one of these up if you are looking for a flexible head. However, for those who like a stiff head for facing off, I would not recommend this head at all. Definitely look for the use of this head to spread more and more at the faceoff X in the coming season.
This fall, Gait released a brand new head to the lacrosse world. It is the new weapon of choice for sponsored players like John Grant Junior, and is also a surprisingly good faceoff head. Right off the bat, the head is super flexible. The head is offset and has a terrific scoop, making groundballs a breeze. I initially had reservations about this head because like everyone who had faced off with a Torque, I had nightmares about sidewalls cracking and breaking on Gait heads.
However, this head has held up really well. It hasn’t experienced any warping, and there have been no issues with the sidewall at this point, though I’m interested to see what will happen through this entire winter in the colder weather. Since this is such a new head, nobody has used it in college yet, but I’m interested to see if any faceoff guys pick up the Recon this spring. I would recommend this to faceoff guys who are all about speed, because pinch n popping with this head is natural given the flexibility of the head. The Recon XLU is a very good head, but until it has undergone extreme use, it is difficult to tell how the sidewalls will ultimately hold up.
While the 9K was a popular head among players in the NLL and other indoor leagues, the 6K has a small following among faceoff guys in the college ranks. The company may not be making lacrosse gear anymore, but that doesn’t mean players won’t still use the 6K. This head has been used by players such as Notre Dame’s PJ Finley and Cabrini’s Mike Gurenlian. The 6K has a very strong throat, and is really stiff right off the bat. Like the Clutch, the flex of the head is very good after a rigorous break-in process. However, breaking in a 6K is much more difficult than a clutch, because the head is even stiffer than a Clutch.
The way I broke in my 6K was by leaving it out on my porch for a couple hours in August. It made an immediate difference, and the head retained it’s flexibility after a few faceoffs. 6K’s are also very durable, and don’t warp as much as heads like the Blade Pro or Clutch. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to break in this head, it can be rewarding, but for those who like to be able to face off with a head immediately, this would be a frustrating choice.
Tribe 7 has a reputation as being an innovative brand, and this head is certainly much different than any of the other heads on this list. Some players might be turned away from this head because of its appearance, but then those players will never experience a head that is very effective for face-offs! This head has great initial flexibility and minimal offset, which is ideal for facing off. The Sceptre has a good grab on the ball, similar to the CEO.
Tribe 7 also makes some of the most durable heads on the market, and this head is no exception. You can beat up this head as much as you want, but it holds up very well. However, this head is very difficult to string, with triangular sidewall holes, and also has a virtually flat scoop, something common among heads with minimal offset. This head is very strong, but the two faults are big ones. If you can get used to the scoop, I would recommend it for those who put their heads through a lot of stress during the season (Power Clampers).
Here are some other heads used by players at the next level:
Personally I always preferred more flexible heads, although Professors would always break on me which was annoying. I probably went through 15 a year.
I love the Professor because it has a very narrow channel all the way up, and the head has the minimal length at the top of the head. It also warps very nicely over time to help grab the ball during plungers and never loses its stiffness in the throat. The only fault with this head is that it breaks in the exact same spot every time, near the throat. I go through 5 or 6 a year.
I have used a Nike Legacy, which I think has good flexibility and durability, but its hard to string.
Warrior Emperor X6
I used the Warrior Emperor X6 in college. Great head overall. It maintained its shape and bent in the right places. The throat of the head could have been a little bigger to get a better pinch on the ball but overall, it worked well.
At the end of the day, picking a faceoff head is all about preference. Hopefully this article helps you make an educated decision on what head is best for you, your style of play, and your needs. We spoke with some of the best in the biz to get you an unbiased and fully formed set of opinions… now the choice is yours!