When it comes to getting your lacrosse goalie stick setup feeling good, the head is by far the most important element.
I started using the STX Eclipse when I started my goalie career and its the goalie head that I continue to use and recommend to this day.
When reviewing a lacrosse goalie head there is a lot we can consider but the for the purposes of this STX Eclipse review we’ll focus on shape, flexibility, durability, and price.
The STX Eclipse is able to balance the 1st 3 three elements perfectly while coming in as a lower priced head, making it my top recommendation for goalies, especially for those goalies at the youth, high school and NCAA level.
In July of 2017, STX released an updated version of this iconic head. I typed up my thoughts on that new goalie head in my STX Eclipse 2 review.
STX Eclipse Goalie Head Review
The STX Eclipse was a revolutionary product for lacrosse goalies. Released by STX in 1998 this was the 1st goalie head to feature an open sidewall.
Before STX released the Eclipse this is what all the top goalies used:
The STX Eclipse changed the game for goalies and is easily the best selling lacrosse goalie head of all time for good reason.
STX Eclipse Review: Shape and Weight
In the 1st part of this STX Eclipse review we’ll take a look at the head’s shape and weight.
The oval-like shape of the STX Eclipse head gives it the largest surface area of any NCAA and high school legal stick. For lax goalies obviously the larger surface area is going to translate into more saves.
The STX Eclipse contrasts with other STX goalie heads like the Shield, which has a more defined V-shape with less coverage at the bottom of the head, in addition to feeling heavier. This greater coverage can be the difference between another save and a goal.
When put side by side you can see the difference in shape between the STX Eclipse and the STX Shield:
Even with its large surface area, the STX Eclipse is one of the lightest heads available, weighing in at 11.3 ounces without the mesh.
Just by looking at the above picture you can tell that the STX Shield is a heavier head with a weight of 12.6 ounces when unstrung.
By comparison here are the weights for all popular lacrosse goalie heads (I also listed prices at the time of this post):
These weight differences might not sound significant but the feel and weight balance is tremendously different between the sticks especially when it comes to making the stick rotations to save low shots.
The STX Eclipse can bring a new dimension to a goalie’s game when combined with a light shorter shaft like the Warrior Burn Pro especially if you’re a goalie who likes to exit the crease and carry the ball up field.
Given the lightweight of the STX Eclipse head I could always feel when the ball had settled in the pocket without having to keep an eye on it. With heavier lacrosse goalie heads like the Warrior Nemesis 2 (12.4 ounces) or STX Shield (12.6 ounces), this was not the case.
The one downside of the Eclipse’s large head size is that it can cause issues with wind resistance when throwing. Because of this, I now use 12 diamond mesh as opposed to 20 diamond mesh which makes the release faster.
The shape of the STX Eclipse along with the sidewall and top holes allow for great stringing options. And with the right string job you can have an amazing pocket in the STX Eclipse that reduces rebounds and provides crisp outlet passes.
Another difference between the STX Eclipse and STX Shield is the latter is actually designed for goalies to put their top hand on the plastic of the head. While some goalies like this, I don’t like this at all. I prefer the STX Eclipse where my top hand is on the shaft touching the bottom plastic part of the stick.
STX Eclipse Review: Flexibility
Read any STX Eclipse review and you’ll notice they talk about the fact that the head is extremely flexible. More so than any other goalie head I’ve played with.
This is especially true for the top of the head, which is only ¼ inch (0.635 cm) thick.
The thin top plastic on the STX Eclipse makes scooping ground balls incredibly easy. I have found that I can scoop from such sharp angles that I have no problem jumping in on a ground ball battle, as I am able to quickly scoop and start a fast break up the field before attackman can catch up.
The flexible nature of the goalie head, which also comes from an open sidewall, makes the stick perfect for digging into the turf on bounce shots. The head is able to flex on the ground, flattening on the sides and reducing rebounds.
Also the flexibility allows the head to wrap around the ball, clamping is also much easier.
The downside to the flexibility of the STX Eclipse goalie head is that when an extremely fast shot hits the plastic in the upper right or upper left corner of the head, the head will actually bend and allow the ball to continue its flight into the goal.
This can be frustrating for goalies as you feel like you got your stick on the shot and yet the ball went into the goal.
However I will say I’ve only seen this happen on fast shots. For those in the youth and even high school level rarely will shooter rip it fast enough to make the STX Eclipse bend so much that you miss out on a save.
The MLL is a different story, and even sometimes in the NCAA, where shots can easily reach over 100 MPH. That high shot speed is the reason why you only see a few MLL goalies preferring the STX Eclipse.
The MLL goalies are willing to sacrifice more weight for the stiffness that the other goalie heads, like the Warrior Nemesis 2, provide.
To help youth goalie makes saves in the pocket we can do lacrosse goalie drills like the short stick drill where a goalie makes saves with an attackman’s stick or even a long pole. These drills can help hone a goalie’s accuracy with his stick as he attacks the ball and catches it right in the pocket.
The other downside to the high level of flex is some durability issues in extreme weather which I’ll discuss in the next section.
STX Eclipse Review: Durability
Although a flexible stick can be create cause for worry in terms its durability, the Eclipse holds up shot after shot.
As mentioned earlier, the thin, flexible plastic is one of the greatest advantages of the Eclipse. But what makes the Eclipse so unique is that it can return back to its original shape after an extreme bend.
Over the course of four seasons (two as the starting goalie), I have made dozens of bounce shot saves, putting just about my full weight on the Eclipse. This head stands up to the pressure successfully and flexes around the ball, better controlling dangerous rebounds.
I will say that during my playing career I broke one STX Eclipse (sidewall broke) but I loved the head so much I bought another. So I don’t want you to think this head has invincible durability.
I’m from the Bay Area in California where the weather doesn’t get too hot or too cold. However I’ve read stories of lacrosse goalies who use the STX Eclipse regularly in the heat 95F (35C) or the cold 23F (-5C) and have had the stick break on them more than once.
The plastic can get even more flexible when it’s outside all day in high temperatures, and is somewhat brittle around freezing thus reducing the durability. However most goalies who’ve used the STX Eclipse simply replace it with another STX Eclipse due to it’s superior saving ability.
STX Eclipse Review: Price
The STX Eclipse was 1st released a long time ago (late 90s) and as a result its now one of the cheaper lacrosse goalies heads on the market as you’re not paying for the glitz and glamour of the latest and greatest thing.
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STX Eclipse Review Videos
Here is Chris Morea, Product Manager from STX explaining the STX Eclipse goalie head:
Here is Greg from East Coast Dyes explaining a string job he gave to the STX Eclipse:
When parents of youth goalies ask me which goalie head their child should use I always recommend the STX Eclipse.
Over my playing career, I have seen a multitude of different sticks and been very picky in regard to what equipment I choose to use on the field.
The STX Shield was heavy and too rigid to take outside of the crease; it felt like a brick. I enjoyed the Warrior Nemesis, but it was small and too stiff.
The Eclipse goalie head has it all: the open sidewall and thin, durable plastic allow for a great balance of flexibility and strength. It boils down to preference, but all-around this head is what most goalies aim to be: quick and flexible.
Large surface area
Handles like a short stick
Flexibility can result in missed saves from fast shots off the top of the head
Thin plastic becomes less durable in extreme weather
Until next time! Coach Damon
Anything I missed in this STX Eclipse review? Let me know in the comments.
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About Coach Damon
About Coach Damon
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.