It is very important to buy a stick that fits your skill level. New players should consider a head with a wider throat area which makes it easier to learn the art of catching the lacrosse ball. Most performance heads will be narrower at the base of the head and form a channel to guide the ball for accuracy but this makes catching the ball more difficult.
Stick Length - Men's attack sticks run between 40-42 inches in length whereas men's defense sticks usually are between 52-72 inches in length. Women's sticks are sold in one standard length for both attack and defense positions but can be cut shorter if necessary.
Stick Weight - Lighter heads and shafts add maneuverability and allow you to generate more speed on your shot. This is especially important for players in attack positions. Heavier, thicker shafts increase the strength of your stick which is often preferred by defensive players.
Mesh - The softer the mesh in the lacrosse head, the more forgiving it is, thus making it easier to catch the ball. Stiff mesh or dura-mesh provides more power on your shots and passes. Women's pockets must be maintained so that the ball still shows above the top rail of the head for the stick to be legal.
Lower side rails allow for a deeper pocket, which helps you maintain control of the ball while being checked.
Glossary of Lacrosse Terms:
Cant (n) - similar to offset, the angle at which the head is tilted or positioned; forward cant allows the ball to sit higher in the pocket so players can release the ball quicker.
Offset (n) - angle at which the front of the head is curved if viewing it from the side; a full-offset head maximizes control and feel whereas non-offset (no curve) or mid-offset heads are recommended for beginners for learning how to throw properly.
Pocket (n) - the stringing or mesh in the head of the stick that catches, holds and directs the ball when passing or shooting.
Scoop (n) - the top part of the lacrosse head used to "scoop" up the ball.
Sidewall (n) - either side of a lacrosse stick head.
Whip (n) - the amount of downward direction in the balls path coming out of the stick on an overhead shot as a result of contact with the shooting strings.