To tape...or not to tape - that is the question.
A big challenge in stick maintenance is deciding how much tape to use, so you find the perfect grip for your best shot. There are tons of different taping styles that are known to accommodate a range of lacrosse playing styles.
One of the biggest questions a player faces is whether they should tape or not tape a stick. Some players just prefer to go without. Clearly, this is a relevant choice in the 'tape or no tape' debate. Should you chose to go with tape, there are countless personal touches to explore - some people like coarse tape, others like to bunch the tape in specific places. All personal adjustments aside, there are three common styles of taping to consider - traditional, half tape, and piece taping.
The traditional style of taping is commonly seen on the lower end of the stick where the tape starts at the bottom, is wrapped around the butt end to keep it secure, and continues upward on the shaft until about three-quarters to halfway up. This is the most common style of taping because of how easy and effortless it is.
The benefits: This style works for shooting and also for groundballs. When shooting, your bottom hand can grip the shaft and provides a sturdier handle to allow more power to be exerted from the wrist. Same thing for picking up groundballs when being checked. On a ground ball, a defender’s first instinct is to hit your stick, so the traditional style allows your bottom hand to have a more secure grip and run through the check while maintaining control. There are some professional players that still use this taping style on their sticks.
Here's a video from that shows two different applications of traditional taping:
(video courtesy of StringKing via YouTube)
The half tape style of taping is a common style used for advanced level high school and college players. A piece of tape is cut in half and then that is wrapped halfway around the stick. It is known as an advanced form of taping and is predominately used for attack men or offensive midfielders.
The benefits: This taping style provides for better grip and control when for shooting. When a player shoots their stick will sometimes rotate and that rotation can result in a loss of power. This taping style allows the player to grip and control the stick more and gain power instead of losing it.
The piece style of taping is just regular taping focused on small, specific placement. It is primarily used by beginners who want to work on hand placement and where their hands need to be when throwing and catching. This taping style of simply wrapping tape around one small little area on the stick, allows the player to see where their hands need to go.
The benefits: This basic style of taping does have a benefit during game play as it offers confidence and control to a player who is carrying the ball up field and allowing them to control the stick while not losing momentum while running. I personally have used this in my college career and it helps to just feel exactly where your hands need to be for full acceleration past a defender.
The best idea for taping is to experiment with different styles, practice with different placements and decide what works best for you. The goal here is to use tape to create a familiar grip that helps reduce variability and improve your performance on the field. That is the beauty of lacrosse - even something as simple as taping can be unique from player to player.