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How to Pick a Box Lacrosse Goalie Head

When it comes to the goalie world, one of the more frequent questions I have been asked is,

What head should I use when playing Box Lacrosse Goalie?

Let’s start by making it clear that I am not a professional (lacrosse player) but I think I can give some guidance into what to look for when picking a head.

I travel and play as much box lacrosse as possible and consider myself to be a true student of the game, trying to observe and learn something new every time I hit the floor.

Photo Credit: Derek Cain
Photo Credit: Derek Cain

Realistically every (field style) goalie head can be used for playing box, but you need to take into account the head is now on the floor of the playing surface inverted and between the legs of the keeper. The down position is a complete contrast to playing field lacrosse where the stick is upright and off to the side of goaltender’s head.

Since they aren’t easy to find in the States and not many of our leagues allow them, I’ll leave the traditional over-sized goalie heads out of this discussion.

3 Key Components

There are three key components I look for when selecting a box lacrosse goalie head.

  1. Stiffness – If your head is too flimsy it could break from a shot or from leaning on the head.
  2. Scoop Shape – I have found flatter scooped heads are the way to go. The more surface area touching the floor the better. This will prevent a shot from spinning your head like a top and letting the ball trickle by.
  3. Surface area – Find a head that you are comfortable with but also take up as much space as possible between your legs, think about it… bigger is better!

The three more popular heads I see being used by box goalies, in no specific order, are the; Under Armour Headline, Gait Web, and Maverik Base.

box lacrosse goalie head
Gait Web / Maverik Base

These three heads have a great stiffness to surface area ratio and all have a flat scoop. The Headline and Base, I believe, were made for a field goalie in mind, but work just as well indoors.

The Gait Web on the other hand is an older head that was specifically made for playing box. Its unorthodox square shape and extreme stiffness is a big reason why it is a weapon of choice for so many keepers.

Minnesota Swarm NLL 2013
Gait Web in action!

Before Under Armour took over the NLL as the main sponsor, the majority of the pros were using the Gait Web. Now the Headline has taken over as the best head option for keepers in the NLL.

Think Outside The Box

Let it be known, you are NOT limited to just these 3 heads to play box. If you don’t feel like spending the money or just want to try being a goalie for a game. Here is a list of a few other heads that I have seen on the floor or options that could be used for box play.

At the end of the day it comes down to preference. Do not be afraid to get out there and try it out. Just remember to keep your eye on the ball and get big.

We will dive into woodies and bigger Canadian approved heads like the Warrior Wall in the coming weeks. Let me know what other tips and tricks you’d like to read about by sounding off in the comments below!