For those on a time crunch, I’ll make this quick and simple:
For the men’s game, attackmen and midfielders’ shafts are typically 30 inches. This bumps up to 60 inches for defensemen and goalie shafts are usually either 36 or 40 inches.
On the women’s side, the typical shaft length is 32 inches regardless of position.
But keep in mind, that these are just the typical lacrosse shaft lengths. They can vary based on age, rules, and personal preference.
This guide will dive a bit deeper into the range of legal lacrosse shafts lengths and go over how to cut down a lacrosse shaft.
Standard Lacrosse Shaft Lengths
If you didn’t get the hint above, shafts vary by position and based on your position (offense or defense) on the field. So, let’s run them down by role and responsibility.
Attack/Middie Shaft Length
As mentioned at the top for the men’s game, attack and middie shafts are almost always 30 inches (not including the head).
But, beyond the average, an attacking shaft length can range anywhere from 28 to 30 inches which should land your total stick (head and shaft) between 40 and 42 inches.
Attack shafts land on the bottom end of the length range given the need for offensive-minded players to keep as compact a profile as possible. This provides less surface area for defensive players to assault and should, in theory, make it easier for attackmen to keep possession.
For those youth players out there, shafts have a length range of 25 to 60 inches or 37 to 72 inches for the total stick. Specifically for attacking players, shafts tend to be at the bottom of that range at 25 inches or 37 inches in length for the total stick.
Youth laxers use shorter, lighter sticks as they better fit the players’ natural size and strength at a given age. Shorter shafts help youth players develop a feel for the sport to build upon into the adult levels of competition.
Defense & LSM Shaft Length
For the skimmers and forgetful ones out there, defensemen, from long poles protecting the crease to the LSM running down faceoffs, average a shaft length of 60 inches (without the head).
But who wants to be average? Defense shafts can fall anywhere within the range of 40 to 60 inches for a total stick length between 52 and 72 inches.
Conversely to the attack, defensemen want to land on the longer end of the allowable length spectrum to provide themselves with as wide a range of coverage as possible when it comes to checks and pokes. The longer the stick, the less space a defenseman provides to attacking players, and the easier it is for them to control the distance from the body to body.
Longer sticks also give defensemen an advantage when it comes to cutting down passing lanes and angles. An extra inch or two may be what knocks down a skip pass across the box or deters a dissecting feed to the crease.
For defensemen in the youth ranks, you can typically use a shaft anywhere from 28 to 60 inches. The specific length a player settles on ultimately comes down to feel and their height with the general rule being that a stick should not be taller than the player using it.
Sticking with those young poles, the market is not really built to provide these in between sizes when it comes to shafts. As an alternative to settling for something as is off the rack, consider buying an adult-sized pole and cutting it down to an appropriate/comfortable size (more on that below).
Goalie Shaft Length
Last but definitely not least, we have our goalies. As stated in the intro, new goalie shafts are typically either 36 or 40 inches but that range can stretch from 28 to 60 inches or 40 to 72 inches for the complete stick (shaft and head).
Most goalies like to keep their shaft in the 34 to 40-inch range but it ultimately comes down to the feel and stature of the keeper. A goalie should aim to build a complete stick that provides themselves with the widest range of motion possible and full coverage between the posts in concert with their speed and reaction time.
On the youth side, goalies have a minimum full stick length of 37 inches to hit, so they are likely to have a minimum shaft length around 25 inches. Having full coverage over the net is less of a priority at the youth level; a player should prioritize their size and ability to get them comfortable with the physical movements required to goaltend.
What About Lacrosse Shaft Width?
To keep it short and simple, the width of a lacrosse shaft should not exceed 3.5 inches in circumference, including any added girth from tape or a similar grip element.
>> Read More: Best Lacrosse Shafts
Lacrosse Shaft Length Chart
28" – 30"
28" – 60"
30" – 60"
28" – 40"
30" – 40"
How to Cut a Lacrosse Shaft Length
An immediate disclaimer from the outset: not all poles are built to be cut.
Before you consider a trim job, know what material you are dealing with as certain types of shafts cannot be accurately or safely cut. Notably, you should not cut down carbon fiber shafts. The material makes the process difficult unless you are working with an extremely fine, high-quality saw. Even so, you are likely to end up with a jagged edge on the finish and compromise the integrity of the shaft as a whole.
Now, if you’re dealing with a metal or primarily metal shaft, you are more than likely A-okay to dust off the old hacksaw for a bit of trimming…
Or maybe don’t move that quickly to shortening because, like most saw jobs, you only get one realistic shot at making your desired cut accurate and clean.
Here are some hints and steps to take before you start.
1) Decide on the Length
You’re saying duh right now at your computer because you’ve scrolled to this specific section of the article so it’s pretty obvious you’ve already decided to trim your shaft. But making the overall choice to shorten a shaft and deciding on what that specific length/position should be are two different beasts.
Consider the feel of the shaft and shorten up your grip to where you feel most comfortable. If you are lucky enough to have teammates with a stick that matches your desired build, maybe take a couple of runs with theirs as a sort of test drive.
Only move on once you are confident in your desired length and feel because once you break out the saw, any changes you make cannot be taken back.
2) Choose a Side
Apologies if this was a no-brainer already but you will need to choose which end to cut down. The obvious choice is cutting the end opposite the pre-drilled holes to avoid any additional labor when it comes to having to add head holes yourself. Additionally, this gives you a solidly blunted end for your head to still connect to in comparison to a hand-sawn end.
But you may not have a choice if you are salvaging a broken pole. In that case where you cannot save the pre-drilled end, consider turning your butt-end into the top of the shaft with your own added head holes. This avoids any problems with attaching the head to the end you cut yourself.
3) Measure. Measure. Measure.
Measure twice, cut once. It is an adage anyone who has ever used even a pair of safety scissors has heard. This is especially true for shortening up a shaft.
Measure once and then twice and then thrice if you have to, but just make sure whatever length you choose is accurately mapped out. Additionally, make sure this measurement conforms to the rules governing stick length depending upon your age and skill level.
Consider wrapping tape around the stick at the desired length of the cut. This will give you a straight edge guide to your cut and ensure accuracy the full way through.
4) Vice Grip
Not everyone has access to a vice grip but if you do, USE IT!
A vice grip will ensure your safety in the practice and accuracy in the cut. But, if you can use a vice, be sure not to overtighten the teeth to the shaft as it may dent and compromise the stick.
If you do not have access to a vice, I would say use your foot or the weight of a friend as a facsimile to the function of a vice to secure the shaft. However, that may put us in a legally precarious position so I will say do not do that.
Just use a vice.
5) Now We’re Cutting
The best saw to use here is one with small, fine teeth to ensure as tight an edge as possible in the final cut. A hacksaw is your best bet here as the structure and material of your average shaft requires some finesse when it comes to the initial cuts.
Take long, smooth strokes with the saw to the measured end to ease the teeth through the initial layer of metal. At about halfway, double-check your adherence to a straight-ish cut (hopefully to your taped guide) and speed up, through to the opposite end.
6) Sand It Down
You’ve made your cut, but even the most accurate hand cannot leave a perfectly straight edge, so be sure to sand down the cut end of your shaft to get it as smooth and level as possible. This is especially important if you have to use the cut end as the junction with a head.
Preferably, the cut end will be covered up under a butt end cap but it is still important to smooth it over for your safety and that of the other players.
Photo credit: Flickr