It doesn’t matter whether lacrosse balls are being used on turf or the hard surface of a gym during offseason practice, they eventually lose their “grip” and must be resurfaced. When they begin to feel slippery and slick, it’s time for resurfacing to return them to their previous condition.
Lacrosse balls have a naturally sticky feel to them that allows them to set in the pocket and be cradled without sliding right back out. Over time, the ball’s surface loses its “stickiness. Rather than throw the balls away, resurfacing enables them to remain in play for a while longer while still meeting NCAA specifications.
Slick lacrosse balls slip out of the pocket, make them harder to play with, and much more difficult to control shots. Resurfacing makes them last longer, extends their life, and can provide substantial savings by minimizing the need to purchase new balls. There are machines that can be purchased to perform the task.
Some coaches prefer to resurface the balls by hand using 220-grit sandpaper or with a drill attachment and container that uses an abrasive pad. In the past, some coaches had their athletes play wall ball against brick or concrete walls to rough up the surface – and some still do. It’s time-consuming and has mixed results.
Some creative coaches in the past have even resorted to lining a container of sufficient size with sandpaper, placing the ball inside and having players shake the balls into submission. The method has obvious flaws, but in the early days when lacrosse teams had very limited funding it was a way to save money.
As athletes practice and play, lacrosse balls pick up dirt and grime, causing them to lose the sticky quality necessary for the best ball handling. Resurfacing lacrosse balls reconditions them, enabling the balls to be put back into play, saves them from being thrown away, and can save teams money.