While not mandatory except for goalies, lacrosse gloves are an important part of lacrosse equipment. The purpose of lacrosse gloves is to protect the fingers, knuckles, wrists and forearms from injury due to defensive hits. The back of lacrosse gloves consists of thick padding covered in leather or canvas. The palm portion of the lacrosse gloves is made of synthetic material or mesh netting. The goalie’s gloves have extra padding for the thumb as added protection against shots.
While collegiate rules require that the palm area of lacrosse gloves are covered, international rules together with the National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse allow the palm area to be cut out so players can have a better grip and control of the stick. Although not required except for goalies, women’s lacrosse players often use smaller gloves to give them a better grip and some protection.
Lacrosse demands a lot of hand movement especially for motions like cradling. It is important, therefore, that new gloves are broken in before they are used so they have the flexibility to respond to movements of the hand. Unless new gloves are first broken in, they will be stiff and inflexible, resulting in being more of a hindrance than a help in playing the game well. It is easy to break in new lacrosse gloves in a process that takes about an hour.
First, place the lacrosse gloves in a washing machine filled with warm water, then run the machine in its “gentle’ cycle.
Next, remove the gloves from the washing machine and wear them. For those with sensitive skin, put on a pair of surgical gloves before wearing the lacrosse gloves.
While wearing the lacrosse gloves, clench and unclench your fist and wiggle your fingers until the gloves dry.
If the gloves are still not pliant enough, repeat the process.
Players get attached to their lacrosse gloves and hesitate to replace them. However, after much use lacrosse gloves wear out and can no longer protect the hands the way they are supposed to. When the lacrosse gloves reach this stage, it’s time to replace them with new ones. Not doing so may result in injury that can have serious negative effects on a player’s game.
Choosing the right lacrosse gloves, breaking them in, maintaining them properly and replacing them when the time comes are all part of responsible use of lacrosse equipment.