When you think about lacrosse sticks, there are usually two parts that people pay most attention to, the head and the shaft. After all, whether you are buying a complete stick or them separately, they are directly related to your performance. But there is a bottom end attached to each of every stick that many players overlook.
This bottom end of a lacrosse stick is called “end cap” or “butt end”. The term refers to a rubber or hard plastic cork that is attached to the shaft. Every lacrosse stick needs one to avoid exposing sharp metal that could impose safety hazards.
Although it’s a small part of the overall stick, the end cap has an important purpose and many important implications players need to be aware of. If not done properly it could cause you a penalty, even disqualification from the game. Thus, continue reading to ensure you understand the best practice in relation to the end cap.
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What is an end cap?
As the formal name of the end point of your shaft, the end cap serves a very useful and important purpose. Before we go into many purposes of the end cap, let’s first unpack what it does. According to correct hand placement, your dominant hand is placed near the head of the shaft while your non-dominant hand is placed at the bottom of the shaft right above the end cap. Thus, the end cap then becomes a natural stopping point for players so that they could get a stronger and nicer hand grip while cradling and shooting.
Also don’t be surprised if people call end cap other names. Besides referees, most players and coaches commonly refer to the end cap as the butt end, a more informal yet easy-to-understand terminology.
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Why is an end cap necessary?
The use of an end cap is neither arbitrary nor secondary. After reading this section, you will understand why you need an end cap and how it could ensure the safety and quality of your game.
First and foremost, without an end cap, the bottom of the metal shaft is exposed. This could cause severe physical injuries when making contact with other players. When fighting for ground balls it’s not rare to players’ sticks hitting other players. So the exposed metal could seriously put players at great risk.
Therefore, the end cap is made to ensure safety for both yourself and others. And safety must always come first. Therefore, be sure to put the end cap on before practice or games.
It’s illegal to play without a butt end. If we open the NFHS and NCAA guidelines, there are specific rules around butt ends that players need to follow.
See below for the rules detail:
NFHS Rule 1.7.3
All hollow crosse handles must have their open end covered with an end cap manufactured for a lacrosse stick
All hollow crosse handles must have their open end adequately covered with a plastic or rubber manufactured end cap. Tape alone is not sufficient. The use of metal caps (e.g., bottle caps) is prohibited.
There are a few key points above that warrant your attention. First, you have to use an end cap that is manufactured specifically for lacrosse. Second, collegiate lacrosse requires the end cap to be made of plastic or rubber and prohibits the use of tape or metal. This is because tapes are easy to wear off and the metal end of a shaft could pierce through the bottle cap.
Let’s do an experiment. First, take off your end cap and try shooting. Then, put your end cap back on and try shooting again. You should feel a noticeable difference, which is your non-dominant hand feels very different. This is the 2nd reason why the end cap is so important. It keeps your non-dominant hand stays on the lacrosse stick.
Notice when using the shaft without the end cap, your bottom hand has a tendency to slip off of the shaft. As your bottom hand acts as a balance with your dominant hand, this lack of control will negatively impact the quality of your shots and passes.
In contrast, you feel an immediate improvement in hand control once you put the end cap back on. It automatically puts your hand in the right place as well as allows you to control the stick in an effective way.
Where to buy an end cap?
If you are looking to buy end caps, brands like STX, Brine, Warrior and Under Armor have different varieties on the market today. Go onto Amazon, you can see most of them have similar shapes and basically look the same.
In case you want to showcase personal flair and unique taste, check out these end caps below:
Intimidation can be sought in every aspect of the game. A skull shaped end cap is a perfect design to add characters. As a reputable brand in lacrosse, Warrior makes the most reliable and durable products. So you can feel confident using this end cap. One complaint from some customers is the skulls eyes can fall out after a few games.
Gair end cap has a unique design. Instead of sitting over the shaft, it locks in from the inside. Once you put the cork in, it has a ring-like circle bottoming the end. This is a genius design as it gives you additional torque when shooting.
Taping the end cap
To help players firmly secure the end cap from falling off, advanced players often tape the end cap. Since the player’s bottom hand rests right above it, the end cap endures a lot of pressure. Thus, to avoid any hiccups during the game, players tape around the end cap.
Moreover, taping the bottom half of the shaft creates more friction that lends players more hand control and leverage. And regardless of how you like to tape your end cap, remember to leave the end cap completely visible at the bottom.
Read also: How to tape your shaft
The fact that the end cap plays an important in lacrosse shows you shouldn’t overlook the small things in lacrosse. They could directly impact your success and development, so be sure to put a cap on before every game.
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