What were Lacrosse Balls Originally Made Of ? Top 5 To Buy

November 27, 2023

Intro

Lacrosse is no stranger in the United States and Canada. That said, many don’t pay attention to the ball, thinking that all are manufactured from the same materials. In fact, these balls have experienced many adjustments since their birth. So, what were lacrosse balls originally made of? Scroll down to learn about their materials and choose the best one for your game!

Key Takeaways

  1. Lacrosse balls have evolved drastically since the 1800s when they were originally made from buckskin, wood or rocks.
  2. Modern lacrosse balls are crafted from vulcanized rubber materials that contain plasticizers and oils to give them size and weight requirements for regulation play.
  3. The material used in these modern ball must meet certification standards enforced by governing bodies such as US Lacrosse, ensuring safety regulations are met at all competitive levels of the sport.
  4. Independent brands create different sizes of lacrosse balls specifically catered to practice drills or players’ preferences depending on their skill level during gameplay scenarios such as box or traditional leagues styles respectively

What Were Lacrosse Balls Originally Made Of?

Lacrosse balls were initially made from wood, shaped like an egg. Subsequently, people transitioned to using fur-stuffed buckskins, resulting in a rounder shape. Nowadays, rubber lacrosse balls are predominantly used.

What Were Lacrosse Balls Originally Made Of?
Lacrosse balls were first made of wood – Source: Pxhere.

Before 1860

As stated in the journal Lacrosse: The Combat of Spirit, the original materials of lacrosse balls varied greatly, ranging from wood to other solid materials like bladder netted with sinew, bone, stone, or cordage (McCluney, 1974, p.41). The shape of these balls resembled an egg. 

Later, these balls were made of buckskins stuffed with fur and became rounder. As you can see, most natural materials were used to maintain the game’s connection with nature. Even traditional lacrosse sticks were made of wood.

From 1860 to the Present

Since 1860, when Dr. William George Beers established the set of rules for the game, lacrosse balls had witnessed a significant change in material, which had to be made with rubber.

Indeed, the majority of manufacturers nowadays employ vulcanized latex rubber to produce lacrosse balls, making them bouncier. Other elastomeric materials like polyurethane, silicone, or some types of vinyl are also utilized to manufacture these balls.

Types of Lacrosse Balls and Their Materials

Rubber Lacrosse Balls

Surprisingly, most lacrosse balls are produced in factories based in China or Taiwan, employing similar formulas and manufacturing lines. The primary material is vulcanized latex rubber, a mixture of natural rubber, fillers, oils, and additives. 

While this formula results in robust, solid, and bouncy balls, there’s a caveat: over time, the fillers and oils may leach out, leaving the surface greasy and slippery. Additionally, prolonged exposure to external elements can lead to the degradation and hardening of the rubber.

Crosslinked Polyurethane Lacrosse Balls

To fill the void of rubber balls, crosslinked polyurethane lacrosse balls were introduced with the absence of fillers and oils in their formula. Substances banned by Prop 65 are also excluded to ensure quality and safety.

This adjustment has eliminated the likelihood of oils escaping from the rubber, hence its moniker – greaseless balls. Some American-made crosslinked polyurethane balls are Pearl X and NX by Guardian Sports.

Texturekthod Lacrosse Ball (The PEARL LT)

Another innovation from Guardian Sports is textured lacrosse balls in an attempt to increase consistency and control over the ball. This type, also called the PEARL LT, is made of rubber, so the ball will eventually grease. That said, the textured surface will remain, offering a better feel for players.

Smart Lacrosse Ball

2022 witnessed a breakthrough in producing lacrosse balls, which applied advanced technologies. These balls are made of rubber with a textured surface to improve grip and handling. 

However, the best part is that they come with built-in sensors that record key metrics while playing. These metrics will assist players in spotting their areas of improvement and making progress accordingly.

Why Is Rubber The Main Material For Recent Lacrosse Balls?

It is no coincidence that rubber has become the major material of most lacrosse balls today.

  • Rubber stands out as a durable material; its bouncy yet resilient nature can resist high-impact hits without losing shape, cracking, or breaking. 
  • Rubber balls can bounce in more consistent patterns. As the balls bounce back from the walls or grounds, players can easily predict the path of the ball thanks to its consistent bounce.
  • The use of rubber ensures all balls come out as the same weight and size thanks to its consistent and solid structure. Such uniformity maintains fairness throughout all games, even for junior lacrosse.

What Are The NCAA Standards For Making A Lacrosse Ball? 

The NCAA has standardized the game by its guidelines released in 2000, defining the specifications of lacrosse balls as follows:

Circumference: 7.75 to 8 inches

Weight: 5 to 5.25 ounces

Colors:

  • For women: Orange and yellow
  • For men: Orange, yellow, white, pink, and lime green
  • For girls youth & NFHS: Lime green, yellow and orange
  • For boys youth: Orange, yellow, white, pink, and lime green
  • For boys NFHS: Orange, yellow, white, and lime green

Top 5 Lacrosse Balls With The Best Materials To Buy 

1. Velocity Lacrosse Balls

Velocity Lacrosse Balls are versatile

 

Velocity has put a lot of effort into producing competition-grade lacrosse balls that meet the NFHS and NCAA standards, both in colors and sizes. Therefore, you can use them for mere entertainment or practice for professional tournaments.

Made of 100% premium rubber, these Velocity balls promise to remain intact even under intense force or pressure. Indeed, many users have shared with us that they have practiced with these balls for 3 years, but they are still in good condition for several years to come.

As these balls support accurate shooting, even a 4-year-old can play with them easily. But what we like most about these items is they can double as massage balls! After massaging our shoulder, hip, and lower back with these balls, we could notice a significant tightness and pain release in our myofascial tissues.

Pros

  • NFHS and NCAA-approved, suitable for students and professional players
  • Increase the accuracy of your hits
  • Durable with 100% premium rubber
  • Can be helpful in massage therapy
  • Come in bulk quantities (up to 120 balls)

Con

  • The price for each ball is quite high

 

2. Champion Sports Lacrosse Balls

Having tried many products, we can say that Champion lacrosse balls define durability the best. As a long-standing brand, Champion always employs high-quality rubber, ensuring their balls can stand the test of time. 

We have played with these balls for 5 years, and now they still bounce consistently, allowing us to make precise hits. Even when we repurposed the old balls as dog toys, the sharp teeth of our 40-pound bulldog only gave them some minor scratches.

Of course, these lacrosse balls all meet the NOCSAE standards, coming in the standard size and colors. The only complaint we want to make is the lingering rubber smell at first. While it will air out over time, the odor is quite horrible.

Pros

  • Super durable, can be used for more than 5 years
  • NFHS and NCAA-approved, suitable for all types of players
  • Can be used as massage balls or dog toys

Con

  • Unpleasant chemical smell at first

 

3. STX Lacrosse Balls

STX lacrosse balls provide great bounce

Getting home a pack of STX lacrosse balls, you are in for the bounciest balls ever! Many players shared that they could make perfect bounce shots with these balls on any surface, not overly bouncy, just enough! 

Thanks to their consistent and predictable bounce, beginners can better handle them with ease. In fact, STX balls are well favored in many colleges, high schools, and tournaments since they follow NOCSAE standards. 

However, it’s a pity that the manufacturer still misses out on some standard colors, like pink. More color variants help beginners differentiate the required balls for each player better. Also, they only come in 6-ball or 12-ball packs.

Pros

  • Have a greatly bouncy feeling
  • Can be used for students, amateurs, or professionals
  • Quite durable

Cons

  • Few color options
  • Few package options

 

4. Signature Lacrosse Balls

Signature lacrosse balls are cost-effective

 

If you’ve just started out or are on a budget, Signature lacrosse balls are the way to go! The manufacturer allows you to purchase in bulk with 100 balls, and each only costs you around $2. This is the most reasonable price on our list, which saves you a lot in the long run.

The exclusive Tough Grip technology of Signature has done a great job of enhancing the grip, granting you a better feel and greater control when shooting. Despite coming with an affordable price range, these balls are said to last 2x longer than other products. That’s why Signature balls are trusted in many global tournaments.

The only downside of these items is that there are only 2 colors: yellow and white.

Pros

  • The most cost-effective choice
  • Provide better grip and control
  • Great durability
  • High-performance, used in many tournaments

Con

  • Only 2 available colors

 

5. CRANKSHOOTER Lacrosse Balls

CrankShooter lacrosse balls offer an enhanced grip

Like other products on this list, CrankShooter lacrosse balls also satisfy all the guidelines of the NCAA and NFHS, making them ideal for all types of players. 

What sets them apart is the use of real vulcanized rubber rather than synthetic ones, effectively improving the grip for better hits. This formula also helps CrankShooter balls last longer.

All these balls have undergone rigorous certification testing before launching, ensuring to give you a high-performance and safe playing experience. 

The price is also affordable, so you can buy a large quantity at once for practice. Still, they are only available in sets of 12 units.

Pros

  • Better grip and longer lifespan, thanks to real rubber
  • Can be played at tournaments
  • Quite a low price

Con

  • Only 1 choice of quantity

 

FAQs

1. What were lacrosse balls made of originally?

Lacrosse balls were originally made from carved stone weights weighing approximately 140g.

2. When did they switch to the rubber material we see today?

Rubber lacrosse balls replaced the heavier, stone models in the early 1900s due to their superior durability and lighter weight—weighing only slightly more than regular baseballs at around 146-155g.

3. Why aremodern lacrosse balls different sizes?

Modern outdoor game lacrosse balls are larger than indoor and box lacrosse variants so they can travel greater distances when thrown by players on a full size field compared with smaller spaces used for other forms of play.

4. Are all types of official tournament regulation lacrosses constructed using the same materials?

No, each form is typically constructed with a particular cover material such as leather or synthetic composite; however, all must use a solid rubber core that meets specific weight requirements to be eligible for regulation competition games in most international tournaments.

Conclusion

The evolution of lacrosse balls has been quite remarkable and important to the game itself on many levels. What began as a crude egg-shaped form, crafted from materials such as buckskin and fur, eventually became the rounder solid rubber ball we know today.

The manufacturing process is beyond complex with both technological advances and stringent requirements. At its core, the modern day lacrosse ball must meet certain certification standards for safety purposes and consistencies sake like weighing in between 5-5.25 ounces (145-150 grams).

Without a doubt, these little spheres have become an iconic staple that symbolized skill and strength in the sport of Lacrosse since history could remember.