Are Wood Lacrosse Shafts Legal? Unraveling the Rules and Regulations

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Lacrosse is a sport with a long history and various equipment options. One question that might arise for players, coaches, and enthusiasts alike is: “Are Wood Lacrosse Shafts Legal?“. This article will explore the rules and regulations surrounding wood shafts in lacrosse and provide clarity on their legal status.

In men’s lacrosse, especially in the NCAA, wood lacrosse shafts are legal. The NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rules clearly state that a crosse can be made of wood, laminated wood, or synthetic material. However, it’s crucial to know that the rules for women’s lacrosse differ slightly, as outlined in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules and Interpretations.

Considering the specifications and standards of the league or association you play under is essential, as the legality of wood lacrosse shafts may vary.

For example, wooden lacrosse sticks are permitted in programs that adhere to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) regulations, provided they meet the requirements for dimensions and overall fixed length.

Are Wood Lacrosse Shafts Legal?

Current Regulations

Wood lacrosse shafts are legal in the world of lacrosse, but their usage and acceptability depend on the specific governing bodies and their associated rules. For instance, in NCAA men’s lacrosse, wood shafts are absolutely allowed as per their regulations. However, there are some differences concerning NCAA women’s lacrosse regulations that should be noted.

Are Wood Lacrosse Shafts Legal?

According to the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules and Interpretations, Rule 2, Section 7, Article 1, it is stated that the crosse should be made of traditional materials, like wood, as well as synthetic materials. This tacitly implies that wooden shafts are also legal in the women’s game. Nonetheless, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with other specifications and requirements from the particular governing body overseeing your games.

Governing Bodies and Rules

Two primary organizations manage lacrosse regulations for various levels: NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). These entities establish rules and guidelines for men’s and women’s lacrosse, encompassing equipment, field dimensions, and overall gameplay.

For NFHS high school lacrosse, the minimum width of a player’s head at the throat should be 3 inches, with a minimum of 6 inches at the widest point of the head near the scoop, and 3.5 to 4 inches at the midpoint (measured 5 inches from the inside of the throat). The aforementioned regulations do not explicitly prohibit the use of wooden shafts, but it is essential to verify these rules before making a decision as they may undergo changes or updates over time.

Considering NCAA lacrosse, wood shafts are legal for both men and women’s games, as evidenced by their regulations. The NCAA men’s lacrosse rules specify that the crosse may be made of wood, laminated wood, or synthetic material, making wood shafts permissible for play. Similarly, as previously mentioned, the NCAA women’s lacrosse regulations endorse the usage of wooden shafts as well.

In conclusion, it is essential to thoroughly understand the specific guidelines and requirements set forth by the governing body administering your lacrosse games. While wood lacrosse shafts are broadly legal, always refer to the most recent rules established by NFHS, NCAA, or any other relevant organizations to ensure compliance and smooth gameplay.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Performance Factors


  • Stiffness: Wood lacrosse shafts are stiffer than metal shafts, offering a solid feel during play.
  • Comfort: Wooden shafts provide a more comfortable grip as they can be warmer in cold weather conditions.
  • Balance: Due to their weight, wooden shafts tend to feel more balanced in players’ hands.


  • Weight: Wooden shafts are often heavier than their metal or composite alternatives. This can affect player speed and quickness during the game.
  • Limited Flexibility: Wooden shafts do not offer the same flexibility as some metal or composite shafts, which may be preferred by some players for better shot power.

Durability and Maintenance


  • Durability: Wood lacrosse shafts are known for their long-lasting nature and ability to take a beating without breaking.
  • Low Cost: Wood shafts can often be more affordable than their metal or composite counterparts, making them a cost-effective choice for players on a budget.
Manufacturing Process


  • Maintenance: Wooden shafts require more care than metal or composite ones. They need to be properly sealed to prevent cracking and degradation over time.
  • Inconsistency: As wood is a natural material, there may be variations in the quality and performance of individual shafts.

By weighing the advantages and disadvantages associated with wooden shafts, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not they are the right choice for your lacrosse experience.

Wood vs Synthetic Shafts

Material Comparison

When comparing wood and synthetic lacrosse shafts, there are some key differences to consider. Wood shafts are generally heavier than synthetic shafts, which may impact your performance on the field. Additionally, wood shafts are known for their durability, but they may splinter over time. Conversely, synthetic shafts are typically made from materials such as aluminum, carbon fiber, or composite, which can offer a lighter and more consistent feel.

While both wood and synthetic shafts are legal in men’s NCAA lacrosse, it’s important to note that women’s lacrosse rules differ. According to the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules and Interpretations Rule 2, Section 7, Article 1, women’s lacrosse sticks must be made of traditional materials like wood or synthetic materials that mimic the properties of wood.

Player Preference

When it comes to player preference, factors such as playing style, position, and personal comfort come into play. Some players may prefer the sturdiness and traditional feel of a wooden shaft, while others might opt for the lighter weight and versatility of a synthetic shaft.

Here’s a brief comparison of wood and synthetic lacrosse shafts:

FeatureWood ShaftsSynthetic Shafts
WeightGenerally heavier (around 10 oz)Lighter-weight options available
DurabilityStrong and durable, but may splinter over timeHighly durable and resistant to breakage
FeelTraditional, sturdy feelMore consistent feel across different materials
Price RangeInexpensive ($15-50)Varies widely depending on the material and brand

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine which type of shaft best suits your needs and preferences. It can be helpful to try both wooden and synthetic lacrosse shafts during practices or friendly matches to determine which material feels most comfortable and enhances your performance on the field.

Historical Context

Evolution of Lacrosse Shafts

From the birth of the sport, lacrosse shafts exhibit a rich history and transformation. In the early years, Native Americans used hand-carved wooden sticks, which were long and sometimes elaborately designed. As lacrosse evolved and gained popularity, so did the materials and techniques used in stick production. In 1970, STX introduced the first plastic head, revolutionizing the sport and impacting wooden lacrosse stick production.

Since then, high-tech materials, like aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber, have become more common, allowing for improved performance and reduced weight. Despite these changes, wooden lacrosse shafts remain a timeless symbol in the sport’s history.

Materials used in lacrosse shafts:

  • Wood
  • Aluminum
  • Titanium
  • Carbon Fiber

Traditional Practices

Wooden lacrosse sticks hold a special place in the sport’s heritage and continue to be crafted with traditional methods by skilled artisans. For example, on the Onondaga Nation reservation, wooden lacrosse sticks have been hand-made for over 57 years. The meticulous process can take weeks to complete, involving steaming, bending, carving, and polishing the wood.

These sticks are not just for show, as wood lacrosse shafts are legal in NCAA men’s lacrosse games. However, it is worth noting that NCAA women’s lacrosse has different rules concerning the use of wooden lacrosse shafts.

As you explore the world of lacrosse, it’s essential to recognize the sport’s roots and the historical significance of wooden lacrosse shafts in shaping today’s game. Acknowledge the balance between tradition and innovation, which ultimately benefits the sport and its players.

Purchasing Considerations

When considering the purchase of a wood lacrosse shaft, it is important to keep in mind factors like availability and cost implications.


Wood lacrosse shafts are not as widely available as their metal or composite counterparts. However, you may still find them at specialized sports stores or online retailers. Make sure to check if they are legal for use in your specific lacrosse league. For example, wood lacrosse shafts are legal in NCAA men’s lacrosse but have different regulations for NCAA women’s lacrosse; the crosse shall be made of traditional materials, such as wood, and synthetic materials.

Cost Implications

Wood lacrosse shafts have a broad price range. Depending on the quality, craftsmanship, and materials used, you may find them as low as $15 or as high as $50. Although typically less expensive than metal or composite shafts, consider the potential trade-offs in weight and durability. Wood shafts can be heavier, with most weighing around 10 ounces. While it may not take a long time to adjust to the additional weight, consider your personal preferences and performance requirements when selecting a wood shaft.

Finally, it is important to consider factors like weather resistance, finish, and branding when purchasing a wood lacrosse shaft. Many shafts undergo a finishing process involving multiple coats of a natural color penetrating oil finish, providing weather protection and non-sticky handling.


Bamboo Lacrosse Shaft

Bamboo lacrosse shafts are an alternative to traditional metal or synthetic lacrosse shafts, offering a unique combination of durability, lightness, and flexibility. These shafts are crafted from bamboo, a sustainable and robust material known for its high strength-to-weight ratio. Bamboo’s natural flexibility can also provide a different feel during play, including better checks and rebounds when hit.

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Bamboo lacrosse shafts come in various styles and sizes to suit different playing preferences. For example, some shafts have an oval octagonal shape for a comfortable grip, as seen on BambooMN. These shafts are designed to be compatible with standard lacrosse heads and can be used by players looking for an eco-friendly option without compromising performance.

The process of making a bamboo lacrosse shaft involves selecting a piece of dried bamboo and fitting it with a lacrosse head, securing it with a screw, and adding a butt end for grip, as detailed in a DIY guide on Instructables. This can be a fun project for those interested in customizing their equipment.

In summary, bamboo lacrosse shafts are a sustainable choice for players who want a light, strong shaft that offers a unique feel during play.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are wood lacrosse shafts legal in lacrosse games?

Yes, wood lacrosse shafts are legal in NCAA men’s lacrosse. However, it is important to note that the rules for women’s lacrosse differ slightly. According to Rule 2, Section 7, Article 1 of the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules and Interpretations, the crosse must be made of traditional materials, such as wood, and synthetic materials are also allowed.

What are the specifications required for wood lacrosse shafts?

In high school lacrosse games, players’ lacrosse heads must be a minimum of 3 inches wide at the throat. The widest point of the lacrosse head near the scoop must be a minimum 6 inches wide and 3.5-4 inches at the midpoint. The midpoint is defined as 5 inches from the inside of the throat. From the top of the scoop to the head’s throat, the dimensions must meet these specifications as set by NFHS Lacrosse Stick Rules.

How are wood lacrosse shafts made?

Typically, wood lacrosse shafts are handcrafted and undergo three separate sanding operations. The sticks are then finished with multiple coats of a natural color penetrating oil finish that seals and displaces any moisture in the wood. This finish protects the wood from weather and is not sticky. The shafts are also branded with the company name and logo.

What are the pros and cons of using a wood lacrosse shaft?

Wood lacrosse shafts have a few advantages and disadvantages:


  • Durability: Wood shafts are more durable than their metal or composite counterparts.
  • Traditional feel: Some players appreciate the traditional feel of a wood shaft, which may remind them of the sport’s origins.


  • Weight: Wood shafts are typically heavier than metal or composite shafts, which might take some time to get used to.
  • Price: Wood shafts can be more expensive, depending on the type of wood used and the craftsmanship involved in making the shaft.

Consider your preferences and playing style when choosing a lacrosse shaft, whether it be wood, metal, or composite.


Based on the information gathered, it is clear that wood lacrosse shafts are legal in the sport. They have certain qualities that appeal to players who seek durability, comfort, and balance in their shafts. When considering a wood lacrosse shaft, it is important for you to pay attention to factors such as the material, length, weight, and flexibility of the shaft.

There are a few points to consider regarding wood lacrosse shafts:

  1. Weight: Wood shafts are generally heavier compared to their metal or composite counterparts. Some players may find this additional weight beneficial for their playing style, while others may prefer a lighter shaft.
  2. Price: Wood lacrosse shafts are relatively inexpensive, with prices ranging from $15-50. This makes them a cost-effective option for players exploring different types of shafts.
  3. Materials: Oak, hickory, and ash are popular wood choices for lacrosse shafts. Each material has its unique characteristics that can influence performance and feel.
  4. Legal in NCAA: According to NCAA rules, wood lacrosse shafts are legal for use in games. This means collegiate players can consider using them during their seasons without any concerns.

In summary, wood lacrosse shafts are a viable option for players at various levels, offering a unique feel and performance compared to other alternatives. When selecting a shaft, consider the abovementioned factors and choose one that aligns best with your personal preferences and playing style.

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