Lacrosse isn’t for the faint of heart. If you want to be the best on the field, you need to sharpen your skills throughout the year so you’ll be prepared on game day. Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in America, so practice is essential if you want to remain competitive. As with any team sport, it’s impossible to practice lacrosse by yourself unless you have the right training tools. This guide to lacrosse goals, rebounders, barricades, and blockers will help you choose lacrosse nets and other necessities that will last you a lifetime of lasers, whips, and cranks.
Typical lacrosse goals are heavy and difficult to transport without three men and a moving truck. Steel frames are cumbersome; fiberglass frames don’t hold up as well. Look for some combination of the two. The frame on our Rukket Rip It! Lacrosse goal is primarily fiberglass, but the rotating steel corners add strength where it’s most needed.
An outdoor lacrosse goal is 6 feet wide by 6 feet high by 7 feet deep. A full-size regulation field lacrosse net is not likely to fold down to an easily portable size, so backyard warriors may be interested in smaller net. A smaller lacrosse net isn’t necessarily a disadvantage – after all, if you can consistently whip it into a small space, you’re going to have no problem at all when you’re shooting at a larger target. Indoor lacrosse nets or box lacrosse goals are 4 feet wide by 4 feet high. If you’re planning on taking your net everywhere you go, the smaller size may make more sense. If you aren’t going to be traveling with your net, a regulation field lacrosse goal will replicate exactly what you’ll be aiming for during the game.
Ease of Use
Breakdown is another factor to consider. You may find the lightest lacrosse net out there, but if you can’t get it into your vehicle, it’s not going to help when you want to play a pickup game at the park. The ideal lacrosse goal will be easy to set up and take down. Take a look at the reviews before you purchase a net. One of the most commonly complaints about lacrosse nets are that they’re difficult to construct or break down. If you want portability, this is going to be a huge selling point. Find a net that goes up and down easily, so you can spend more time doing what you really want to be doing: playing lacrosse!
Lacrosse goal netting ranges from 2.5 millimeters to 6 millimeters thick. The thicker the netting, the longer it will last you. Want to rip the net on your first time out there? Choose a thin, 2.5 millimeter net. For a long-lasting net that you won’t be able to rip quite so easily, a thicker 5 millimeter net should do the job. Breaking a 2.5 mm lacrosse net may impress your friends, but when you want to invest in a lacrosse goal that will last you years rather than minutes, look for something a bit thicker.
The material of the netting is also important. Most lacrosse nets have either polyester, nylon, polyethylene, or polypropylene nets.
Polyester – This material is inexpensive and commonly used for beginner lacrosse nets. Its resistance to UV rays and mildew makes it good for the outdoors, but it isn’t as durable as other fabrics.
Nylon – Nylon is slightly more expensive than polyester. It’s more weather resistant and longer-lasting than polyester. This is a seriously tough fabric!
Polyethylene – Polyethylene retains 90% of its strength during its lifetime, partly because it doesn’t absorb water like nylon and polyester do. It’s a favorite for outdoor nets due to its UV- and weather-resistant properties. However, it is more prone to breakage than a nylon net.
Polypropylene – Like polyethylene, polypropylene is water resistant and great for outdoor lacrosse goals. It’s mildew resistant and has a high tensile strength – you’re not going to rip a polypropylene net!
When choosing netting materials, you need to look at multiple factors. A thinner nylon net may be less durable than a thick polyester net. Does the net have interlocked stitching? Is it knotted or knotless? These factors all play a role in how durable your lacrosse goal netting will be.
A rebounder helps you develop accuracy and muscle memory so you can hit your target hard, every single time. Most rebounders are multi-sport training tools. At its core, a rebounder’s job is to return the ball to the player, whether you’re kicking a soccer ball, batting a baseball, or whipping a lacrosse ball.
If you want a portable rebounder so you can take your practice on the road, look for something lightweight that folds down easily. A lacrosse rebounder is typically used outside, so the frame should be weather treated and rust resistant. Check the specs to find out how heavy the rebounder is and how difficult it is to put together and take apart. Will it fit in your car? Do you need tools to set it up and take it down? These factors will all affect the rebounder’s portability.
The bigger the surface area, the more likely you are to hit the net. As long as it fits your space and portability needs, the bigger the better!
A lacrosse rebounder should be able to take thousands of hard shots, over and over and over again. When you want to learn to shoot faster, a rebounder is key to maximizing your practice sessions. Since those hard strikes can give your rebounder a serious beating, buy a lacrosse rebounder that has the thickest netting made from the strongest materials. And you don’t just want strong netting. If your rebounder tips over at the slightest gust of wind, it’s going to be useless. Rukket’s multi-sport rebounder is assembled with heavy-duty carriage bolts, so it stays upright no matter what you throw at it.
Most rebounders can be adjusted to return balls from several different angles. You should be able to change the angle of the rebounder in seconds, not minutes. The best rebounders offer a wide surface area with multiple adjustable attack angles. Choose a rebounder that’s easy to quickly adjust; you don’t want to waste your time fiddling with the rebounder when you could be practicing shots. Some rebounders come with additional bungee cords so you can adjust the bounce-back strength. Multiple customization angles and an ability to change the bounce back will give your rebounder the most versatility.
Rebounders are commonly used outdoors, but if you drag your rebounder inside, you’re going to have some serious scuffs on the floor. Rukket’s rebounder comes with silicone pads on the bottom, making it the only lacrosse rebounder you can use inside, too!
When a shot goes wide, you want to make sure you’re protected. Lacrosse drills are a staple for practice, but new techniques can have unexpected results. Just as with rebounders, a bigger barricade is better. If possible, try to buy several smaller barricades rather than one large one. Then you’ll only have to replace a small section if the netting breaks. You want as much protection as you can get if that ball goes wide. Don’t skimp on the barricade – you’ll never know when you need it.
A barricade needs to be durable. Hopefully you won’t be hitting the barricade very often, but when it does take a hit it needs to stand up to it! Knotless netting is more durable than the knotted variety. It can take more of a beating, but it is more difficult to repair if it does break. The base should be heavy, firm, and sturdy. You’re probably not going to be moving or transporting your barricades, so portability and ease of setup and takedown are less essential here. Lacrosse barriers should be made of rustproof, weatherproof materials that can withstand all four seasons, over and over again. Backstop netting is versatile and can be used for any sport, so a high-quality barricade is a worthwhile investment for coaches, fields, and gymnasiums.
Speed and stick-handling is nothing without accuracy. The best way to build accuracy on your own is with a lacrosse blocker. Lacrosse blockers act as shot trainers so you can hit those critical areas. Most are easily attached to regulation or box goals; if you’re purchasing a lacrosse blocker separately, make sure it fits the goal you own. The primary differences between lacrosse target rejectors are in the size, placement, and number of holes.
“Aim small, miss small.” If you practice until you can hit that tiny hole spot-on every time, you’ll have plenty of room for error when the holes are larger. Advanced players will relish the challenge of a smaller target. Just learning the basics of lacrosse? Larger holes should be fine.
The goalie’s weakest spots are hips and pits – that is, the hips and the armpits. Shot trainers should have holes in these key areas. Since that’s where you’ll be aiming in a game, that’s where you should aim in practice. You’ll also find some lacrosse blockers with a hole in the center and at the corners. These spots can act as both a prime target to increase your accuracy and a means to have some fun with the corners. Learn to hit the center every time, and then move on to the trickier shots.
Number of Holes
We’ve seen anywhere from single-hole lacrosse goal targets to nine-hole lacrosse blockers, and each works well for its purpose. If you’re just learning the game, a single hole can increase your accuracy as you’ve only got one target. Advanced players will want shot blockers with several holes so they can perfect multiple shots. The combination of these three factors (the size, placement, and number of holes) will determine the best type of shot blocker for you. Just make sure your blocker isn’t more hole than blocking material; what’s the point of that?
Buying Lacrosse Training Tools
If you’re unsure about the quality or durability of a lacrosse shot blocker, rebounder, goal, or barricade, see if the vendor has a guarantee. There are hundreds of companies selling sports equipment; look for one that stands behind their products. When you’re investing your time, money, and energy honing your lacrosse skills, you deserve to know that the training tools you purchase will be able to handle whatever you throw at them.