Monday, September 19, 2016

Lacrosse Equipment 101





There is always room for more hustle in female lacrosse. Having the right equipment can make that extra effort more profitable. Here is a short course in Lacrosse Equipment 101:

Stick
Which is the best lacrosse stick?  In truth, there is not just one good choice. Choice also depends on:
  • Experience in playing.
  • The level of skill.
  • Age and height.
Handles
When choosing a handle, the most important thing to consider is how well that handle feels to the player. Here are some questions to ask:
  • Does this handle feel comfortable in the player's hands?
  • Does the player feel she has good control while catching and cradling?
A wide variety of materials are used in constructing handles and each material has advantages:
  • Scandium/Titanium: Very light weight and very strong material but this can make the stick feel top heavy.
  • Composite: Not as strong but are more flexible and have a softer feel. This material can be better if the player often faces extremes of temperature. 
  • Alloy: Strong but less temperate in more extreme weather conditions.
Other considerations in choosing a stick are:
  • Diameter: Choose between the 7/8" traditional for women, a mid-size (between 7/8" and 1") or men's 1".
  • Shape: Many choices including octagon, concave octagon, rounded octagon, teardrop, and tapered.
  • Finish: alloy, mild-sandblast, soft feel and smooth rubberized.
Heads
The kind of Lacrosse Stick Heads players choose is often based on position:
  • Offensive players need a narrow throat to help minimize ball control.
  • Defensive players usually prefer a stiffer, flatter head to hold up against checks and on groundballs.
  • Goalies need a sturdy head.
Goggles
Because women's lacrosse rules are designed for increased safety, female players are not required to have a lot of protective gear.  However, eye protection is crucial.  In choosing goggles, look for:
  • Tight  but comfortable fit around the face.
  • Clear vision all around so that player can make clear passes, maneuver around opponents, and see groundballs easily.
  • Strong and protective for eyes.
Upgraded titanium cage goggles are lighter weight but still very strong and are able to prevent injury.

Gloves
Young female lacrosse players do not have to wear gloves but may want to have a pair. Gloves are typically worn when a player:
  • Wants to keep her hands warm in winter playing conditions.
  • Prefers to protect her hands from injury.
  • Likes the increased grip that gloves provide.
Especially when a player is just starting out, having the right lacrosse stick, goggles, gloves and can make the difference in whether they feel confident in play. That is why Longstreth specializes in helping young female lacrosse players choose the best equipment, uniforms and footwear for their individual playing needs.

The Best Demarini Fastpitch Softball Bats for 2017





When a player gives their best effort in playing fastpitch softball, they deserve having excellent equipment to help them get an edge on the competition. A well-chosen well-chosen softball bat can give a player the confidence she needs to perform at her peak.  DeMarini makes carefully balanced composite softball bats that are a fine choice for many players. Here is what you need to know about the best DeMarini fastpitch softball bats for 2017:

The CF9 Series is DeMarini's Best
With a DeMarini fastpitch softball bat, female softball players can reach their full hitting potential and power hitters can achieve peak performance. Undoubtedly, the CF9 series are DeMarini's best bats. All of the CF9 models have a Paraflex Composite barrel which offers:
  • 22% more strength for more precise weight distribution.
  • Massive flex and mad pop.
Furthermore, the CF9 series have a D-Fusion 2.0 handle which directs the energy from the ball and swing back to the barrel while reducing vibrations.

Why choose a composite bat? Even though composite softball bats can be more expensive than aluminum, they are one of the most popular bat choices for young female softball players because:
  • They deliver superior performance.
  • Composite bats are more durable than either wood or aluminum.
  • Players have greater contact and increased production at bat.
  • Ball speed increases on contact.
  • Ball gives off a satisfying "crack" rather than the aluminum "ping."
Best Models for 2017
  • DeMarini CF9 (-10) has a balanced swing weight. The Low Pro End Cap optimizes the swing weight and feel throughout the barrel of the bat.
  • DeMarini CF9 Insane (-10) has an end loaded swing weight. It also has a Low Pro End Cap for optimizing through the barrel the swing weight and feel.
  • DeMarini CF9 (-11) has a balanced swing weight and a Dish End Cap.
  • DeMarini CF9 Slapper (-10) has balanced swing weight and Low Pro End Cap which distributes feel and swing weight optimally.
  • DeMarini CF9 Hope (-10) is a limited edition breast cancer awareness model which has a Dish End Cap.

Best DeMarini Models for Younger Players
  • DeMarini Vendetta (-10) and DeMarini Vendetta (-12) have softer, hotter, and more responsive hitting. Bid D End Cap helps keep the swing weight low while D-Lite Handle makes a smoother feel on swings and eliminates vibration.
  • DeMarini Bustos (-13) has DX1 alloy with high KSI strength to help enhance performance.  A reinforced fiber composite handle reduces vibration, eliminates hand sting, and increases confidence in center hitting.
How to Choose a Fastpitch Softball Bat?
Choosing the best fastpitch softball bat for a particular player means considering her height, weight and swing.The best choice? The heaviest bat that feels good in her hands and that she can swing fast.  Longstreth softball gear store not only offers a full selection of the best Demarini bats for young softball players but also the help of experienced sports equipment specialists who can help her choose the best bat to fit her playing needs.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Women's Lacrosse: A Basic Introduction to the Game



Women's lacrosse is an exciting game both to watch and to play. Because ball possession is integral to winning, both individual skill and team effort are important. Here is a basic introduction to the game:

Rules and Fouls
Like most ball games, the team with the most goals wins. Here are the basic rules:
  • Games start with a draw between two opposing team players at the center of the field.
  •  Play consists of teams passing or cradling the ball while running toward the goal.
  • Teams gain possession by intercepting, retrieving ground balls, capturing (checking) balls from an opponent's stick, or blocking a shot or pass.
  •  Athletes can only use stick-to-stick contact. Stick to body and body to body contact is illegal.
  •  Players must stand immediately when the official's whistle is blown.
  •  If the ball goes out of bounds, the team that touched the ball last loses possession. Off of a shot, the possession goes to the closest player to where the ball goes out.    
  •  Fouls are called for illegal stick use, illegal equipment, illegal field position, or taking a dangerous shot.
Field
Originally, women's lacrosse field size was unlimited. However, in 2006, women's lacrosse adopted regulation fields which are somewhat similar to  to a regulation soccer field.  There is a restraining line (30 yards infield from each goal line) which limits each team to 7 field players to engage in settled play. Defense is allowed 7 field players and a goalie between the restraining line and their defensive endline.

Positions
A women's lacrosse team has 11 field players and one goalie. A team must have five players behind the restraining line when the ball is in their offensive end (this includes the goalie), and must have four players behind the restraining line when the ball is in their defensive end. On the draw, only three players are able to be on the circle, between the two restraining lines. This includes 1 person from each team taking the draw and two people from each team on the outside of the circle. Field players are usually divided into:
  •  4 players on attack
  • 4 players on defense
  • 3 players in midfield
Equipment

In addition to needing the right pair of lacrosse cleats for fast action on the field, players need sticks, goggles, mouthguards, and balls.

Sticks
The most important aspect in choosing a lacrosse stick is finding one that meets the player's skill level, experience, comfort level and age.
  • Size: most sticks are roughly 42 3/4". The STX Lilly is shorter and meant for very young, short players.
  • Diameter: options are women's traditional 7/8", mid-size (inbetween 7/8" and 1") and full size  1".
  • Shape: octagon, concave octagon, rounded octagon and teardrop.
  • Materials: Alloys are stronger but less temperate in extreme weather. Composites are less strong but have a softer feel and are more flexible. While Sc-Ti is extremely strong and lightweight, these handles can make the stick feel top heavy.
  •  Finish: soft, smooth rubberized or alloy.
Heads
The type of lacrosse stick head chosen sometimes depends on the position played. Defenders often prefer a stick head that is flatter and stiffer to deliver powerful checks, while midfielders often prefer a head that offers more flexibility for quick releases.

Goggles
Goggles protect the player's eyes, so fit and vision are the most important factor in choosing them. Upgraded titanium cage can make the goggles more lightweight but just as protective and strong.

Gloves
Generally, gloves are optional for women's lacrosse players, but they might be worn for warmth in cold weather, or for increased grip and or protection for the hands.

Balls
Official lacrosse game balls must follow specific NCAA regulations for color, weight, and bounce, so it is important to choose certified balls. Soft bean bag practice balls are useful for indoor practice.

Equipping Women's Lacrosse Players
Young women lacrosse players require equipment specially developed for their skillset situations. Longstreth Sporting Goods specializes in equipment that is designed specifically for the needs of women lacrosse players of all levels.