One area of men's lacrosse equipment that has seen a plethora of releases in recent years is heads designed for the face off players.
Although the position of face off has always been specialized, the past decade has been it become hyper specialized. Midfielders that take face off put in tens of thousands of reps in order to win that battle at the center X, meaning that heads take a massive beating and become almost unusable in a very short period of time.
The first face off specific head that came to market was the Warrior Blade FO, which frankly went down like a fart in a space suit. It released in 2007 and was asymmetrical which was meant to provide an advantage for the face off position.
"The exclusive Asymmetrical Sidewall allows you to get a head start on clamps- giving you an added edge. The shorter sidewall flexes to pop the ball on plunger moves and increases your grip on rake moves. Warrior's patented Flared Sidewall keeps the ball in the pocket for maximum control."
At the time the Warrior Blade FO was heavily endorsed by some of the top face off players in the MLL although not every head that comes to market and is endorsed by big names is actually a good head.
Now there has been a bunch of heads that were not originally designed for use as a face off head that soon became firm favorites. The original Warrior Blade was designed for attackers but was much loved. Many players used the STX Professor with huge success but would go through a huge number of heads in a a season. Nike CEO was widely used by FOGO's despite being an attack head, the more beat up they became the better it was at the X.
There are more face off specific heads on the market currently than at any other time. Although there is very little you can do about the warping issues you get on a face off head there are some heads that hold up better than others and there are heads available now that perform very well as an on field head and not just a head to win the ball and then head to the bench.
Different players like different features but our top 3 pick of FO heads are as follows:
1) The Stringking 2F
StringKing uses a hybrid plastic for the head weighing in at 124 grams which will give the player the perfect balance of flex and stiffness. This balance allows the player to pinch the ball with ease and pick the ground ball up as the head pops right back into place. StringKing has re-angled the scoop of the head, which increases success when scooping up the ball. The short throat gives you more leverage, a high flair controls the ball, and the stiff design helps win those 50/50 battles. The 2F is also available in a stiffer plastic although most players lean towards the original version here in Europe.
2) The STX Duel 3
There's actually been 4 models of Duel, everyone forget about the Duel Reflex which acted as a tester for the plastic used in the Duel 3. This new version has to be the best yet. The Duel 3 sits between the 2F and the 2F Stiff in terms of stiffness and works well for face go and face off stay on (FOSO). The Duel 3 also features the speed scoop similar to the Stallion and Hammer 900 heads, making the Duel 3 one of the best face off heads for ground balls but the stiffness may not be for all.
Although the Weapon X has been one of our top sellers here at Northern Soul, it comes in at number 3 on our list. Like the Stringking 2F there are two models of Weapon X the Standard and the Natural. The Standard is a stiffer head than the 2F Stiff which may not be for everyone but if you are taking lots of reps then the head will hold up better to the abuse than other heads, the other advantage of the standard is that it will play more like an outfield head which is great if you are a FOSO player. The Natural Weapon X uses a softer plastic which lends itself better to purely facing off, the plastic will still hold its shape. The softer plastic allows the head to wrap around the ball with ease.