Not all lacrosse heads are created equal.
For the inexperienced eye, they may all look very similar. But, the devils is in the details.
This guide reviews the best lacrosse heads for defense that you can find in today's market 2020.
After days of research, I was finally able to come up with a list of 5 top heads that were designed specifically for defensive players in lacrosse.
For those who don't have enough time, you can simply see this table below where I summarize my recommendations. This table contains only the top 3 heads.
Differences Between Lacrosse Heads For Different Positions
Playing the game of Lacrosse requires lot of skill in carrying, passing, and shooting the ball into the goal. Based on the position you'll be playing in, there can be different requirements or preferences that you need to have in your chosen lacrosse head.
Before talking about defensive lacrosse heads, we'll be talking about the main differences between lacrosse heads for each position: defense, goalie, middies and attack.
The goal is to help you form a general idea about these main differences which will help you a lot in choosing the right lacrosse head for you.
Construction and Material of The Heads
Lacrosse head for attack and middies will have octagon, concave or soft octagon shape. Standard length is 30”. Construction materials are aluminum alloy or titanium.
Aluminum is lightweight and strong with lots of resilience. Titanium is tough and durable. It is best suited for men’s contact type of Lacrosse. Defense heads have similar shapes.
Standard length is 60”. Goalie head standard length is 40” in length. Construction materials are the same. The shaft should be straight, light in weight and have good grip with no slip.
Conformance to standards
Conformance of construction standards to NHFSD and NCAA guidelines is very important to make the head legally acceptable.
You can see the marking on the product label or manual.
It also ensures best quality construction and material standards that let you improve your gaming techniques from the state of training to being a professional player.
Throat and Lacrosse Heads Types
Narrow throat with flexible head is good for attacking, passing and moving ahead, since it gives you more room to maneuver the ball between middies and defenders.
It also gives you the dynamic power to aim and shoot while on the run.
Wider throat and stiffer head is best for middies. You can defend the wing area and also push ground ball away towards the opponent goal zone.
Stiff head is best for defense playing since it allows you to stop the attacks and deflect the ball. The base material on the head should have added reinforcements of titanium or aluminum to increase its stability and strength.
Goalie lacrosse head will have the toughest construction and the widest and deeper pocket. It will allow you to control the ball and prevent shooting into goal.
You can hold onto the ball for a long time and pass it back to your team’s middies and attackers.
Strung Vs Unstrung Lacrosse heads
Strung models are a better choice for beginners since you'll get a ready-to-be-used head.
However, if you're a professional, or have at least some experience in lacrosse, it's recommended to buy the head unstrung and then buy the type of strings that best suits your needs and preferences.
In this guide, most of the heads I review below are unstrung.
However, if you still a beginner and want to buy a ready to play lacrosse stick, check out this guide.
How To Choose The Best Defensive Lacrosse Head?
The game of Lacrosse has two types of defenses, namely the man to man and zone defense. Both forms call for specific techniques. The aim is to slow down the opponent attackers’ speed and take away their ball possession.
Packing of penetration points, neutralization of opponent’s attacking techniques, and trapping the top opponent shooters is the main aim of defense.
Reflexive action and lighting reaction to opponent movement holds the key to successful defense.
Defensive lacrosse heads play an important role in picking and scooping balls from opposition passing, extending ball possessions, getting perfect control over passing, and agility in deflecting the opponent shots aimed at the goal.
So, there are many characteristics that can make a lacrosse head perfect for defensive players and they are as follow:
Lacrosse head with strong high pocket can be useful for providing the ground ball picking ability anywhere on the field within the defense zone.
Once you get possession of the ball, it is easy to control it for a long time and keep its possession. You can also aim to pass the ball at the right moment onto the middies for clearing the offensive risks.
Lacrosse heads with wider profile can be useful in the fast trapping of the opponent’s ball passing.
If it were to have narrow profile, the throat design should have multiple chambers for high pocket placement. It can keep the ball away from the opponent’s possession for a long time.
The Lacrosse head should be sufficiently strong and stiff to prevent the head on collision with the attacking opponent Lacrosse heads.
Stiffness can also be helpful in enduring the shocks and extending ball retention without losing control.
The strut from the scoop to the throat should narrow down. So, scooping and ball control will be faster, simpler, and easier.
You can keep moving within your defense zone and passing the ball between your team members. It will also help you lofted shots of ground ball, deflecting it away from the goal.
Number of string holes on the Lacrosse head sides can help in enhancing the ball control and retention period.
Shape of the string hole should accommodate ball positioning at its center without letting it slip away.
The Lacrosse head should be shaped to endure highest volume of stress during the game from ball impact and head collision with the opponent Lacrosse heads.
The metal should have sufficient tensile strength and resilience.
Medium weight heads can have ideal stress resistance and anti-warping properties. Heavy weight heads can be difficult to handle, while the lightweight can be prone to warping and bending.
The screws connecting the Lacrosse head to the shaft should be made from stainless steel with perfect fitment. Pre-drilled heads come with accurate diameter, length and right number of turnings on the screws.
They should provide sufficient boding between the head and shaft for preventing shocks and vibrations. Make sure they have strong washers to prevent loosening while playing.
Strung models of lacrosse heads are traditional in construction. They may have nylon, leather, or Plus side of strung model is it prevents rebounds to a considerable extent.
But it can develop stress and tear off during the game. In the unstrung model, it is easy to carry, pass and deflect the ball away from the goal, enhancing the defensive techniques against strong attacks.
Best Defensive Lacrosse Heads In The Market: Detailed Reviews
1. Maverik Tank: Best Defensive Lacrosse Head In 2020
Bottom rail design is the most critical factor that makes Maverik Tank highly defensive in functionality.
It has sufficient mouth width to pick up a fast moving ground ball and retain it for a long time without letting it go. The pinch is narrow enough to hold the ball with a firm grip as you push it up towards the neck.
Checking the forward movement of your opponents require high intensity lacrosse head tacking. However, the impact of stick collision can be highly damaging for the lacrosse head construction.
Metallic body with strong construction can endure the impact and absorb the shocks and vibrations without passing them onto the stick. It keeps your hands safe and allows you to play your natural game.
Shape of the strut from the scoop to the neck helps in getting maximum rail support. Side string holes are wide enough to keep the ball within their safe pockets.
The opponent attackers will not be able to grab the ball away from your possession so easily. You can retain the ball control even when you move rapidly within defense zone.
Side wall construction of Maverik is shaped by True Form technology. It is implemented at the time of forging the head for extra stiffness. High material density with lightweight construction also enhances tensile strength and resilience against stress and impact. It will ensure no rebound of the ball and extended retention period.
Bottom line, this is by far the best head for defense that you can find in the market today. Even though it's a little bit pricey compared to other heads, but the value you get is totally worth it. Totally recommend it.
- Advanced bottom rail support for faster scooping
- Contoured side rails for longer ball retention
- Sturdy construction for impact resistance from collision
- Only a single screw for fitment with the shaft
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2. Brine Triumph X: 2nd Best Choice For Defenders
If defensive game is getting tougher against experienced teams, it is time for you to choose the Brine Triumph.
It gives you the perfect chance for grabbing the ball away from opponents with little effort. The wider face can quickly shift the ball up to the upper narrow head and retain it for a longer time.
The reinforced core construction can endure the rugged surface impacts, shocks from opponent heads and vibrations from the contact with fast moving ball.
It is easier and faster to take possession of awkwardly moving ball which may even move up high in the air. Protective design helps you grab the ball from heights and retain it without losing control.
If you are in the midfield, the Brine Triumph becomes a handy tool for diverting the ball from your opponents and passing onto your defensive or midfield players.
The unique defensive shape for ball grabbing prevents the opponents from having longer ball retention with the perfect scooping technique.
Advanced manufacturing and head stiffening technology shapes the bottom rail, side walls, and the entire structure. Injection molding gives maximum tensile strength and stability with zero warping against stress and pressure impact on the body.
- Easily adjustable ball retention with string holes
- Narrow neck and broader face for easy scooping
- Built for maximum shock and vibration absorption
- Nothing that we can think of
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3. STX Lacrosse stallion 700 Unstrung Head
Scoop design of STX Stallion 700 can handle extended ball possession and precision control to strengthen your defensive moves.
It also allows you to deflect the ball away from risk zone without having to play the loft shot.
The side walls design provides maximum stability and resilience to the pocket, ball stop, and the throat.
The track running along the side walls can help keep the ball perfectly under control even while moving rapidly all over the defense zone.
Sturdy and resilient construction gives you the perfect options for playing the perfect defensive shots.
You can easily loft the ball away from an approaching attacker when you feel you may be over powered. It can endure high stress from the stick and head impact with the opponent players while they attack and you defend.
The material is molded and layered to withstand heat, humidity, UV, and ground impact pressure. Rugged construction ensures maximum durability without any warping, breaking or brittleness.
Shape of the STX Stallion 700 is more like a modified version of tennis racket in your hands. The scoop is stamped with perfect groves for getting easy access on the ground ball, regardless of the direction of its movement and speed.
C-Channel technology is responsible for reducing the volume of dynamic stress, load and pressure impact. It ensures durability of the STX Stallion and allows you to play power defense games.
- Maxim stiffness due to innovative construction
- Ease of defence through excellent ground ball control and scooping
- C-Chain technology for maximum load and pressure resistance
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4. STX Hammer: Best Entry-level Head For Defense
The unstrung design and sturdy construction of STX Hammer makes it the top choice for defensive lacrosse heads. Its head design is rather peculiar and different from the conventional defensive heads.
Bottom rail construction helps you pick up the ground ball and place it onto any of the four chambers on its throat for high pocket. As you can see, the chamber design and dimension varies from top to bottom.
You can use the top two for extended ball possession and control. The third and fourth near the scoop are designed to loft the ball and make a safe pass onto your teammates. The side holes along its length allow you to install strings when required.
Junction between sidewall and scoop has a unique shape for picking up the ground ball while you are on the move.
You can also use it for controlling the ball on the ground and push it away from the reach of attacking opponents. The design is ideal for zone defense as well as man-to-man defense techniques.
STX Hammer introduces C-Channel technology for designing the bottom rail shape and overall construction of the head.
It can distribute the impact stress (when the head comes into contact with opponents’ lacrosse heads and the fast moving ball, or the playground surface) equally along its length and width.
Hence, the probability of warping and breaking will be reduced considerably. This technology also boosts performance and durability factors.
- Designed for strength and extra stiffness
- Engineered to handle high pocketing and extended ball retention
- C-Channel technology for warp and break free construction
- Mastering defensive control could be tough for beginners
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5. STX X 10 Men’s Lacrosse Head
Extra string holes on the side walls can be used for adding high and low pockets to the STX X 10. Strong bottom rail support can help pick up the fast moving ground ball with ease.
Extended ball retention is assured as long as you keep it within the pocket. The opponents won’t be able to grab it from your STX X 10 head due to the high level of control you get.
STX X 10 uses highly strong and stiff material for its construction. Multiple layering of the material during molding and forging makes the structure extra stiff.
It can withstand the online stick collision and high ball impact without bending and breaking.
The unique shape of the STX X 10 gives you extra space for scooping up the ball that is moving away from you. You can literally grab the ball and let the firm grip handle the control and retention strength.
Defensive techniques are changing dynamically with the introduction of zone defense. Here, you have to be highly athletic as you have to move rapidly within the defense zone marked for you.
You may also have to tackle more than one opponent player who is attacking. The CANT Head technology helps you safeguard the ground ball with precision control.
- Scientifically designed face, neck and bottom rail for maximum ball control
- High pocketing for extended ball retention
- Sturdy construction for long durability
- Extra stiffness may make it less flexible at times
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Conclusion: Are You Still Confused?
Those were the top five lacrosse heads for defense that everybody's praising these days. Look no further. What you see in front of you in this page are the best of the best.
Now, all that you need is to pick your favorite from these five heads.
To make things easier for you, I'd recommend that you go with Maverick Tank if you have enough budget and can afford it. However, if you can't afford it, then there's nothing that can provide decent value for a low budget as the STX Hammer.
Let me know if you still have any questions about any of things mentioned in this guide.