The slang term “tilt” in Lacrosse is used among all veterans of the sport. Tilt simply describes how the helmet face mask sits on the player’s face. Tilt can be low, medium, high, or no tilt at all if you do not have a helmet face mask. Tilt is relative to the player’s eye level. For example, if the tilt is high, the player tilts the helmet forward to see through the top two bars of the face mask. On the other hand, with low tilt, the player can see through the second and third bars.
If you are a newcomer in lacrosse, having a low helmet tilt is probably the best idea. Having no helmet tilt at all is generally perceived as something undesirable because it indicates that you do not know how to wear the helmet properly to other lacrosse players. Medium tilt is used by most players and high tilt is only for people who want bragging rights because the helmet is so far forward that they can’t see anything.
By reading this article, you will learn more about helmet tilt, why it is so important for your safety, why people love talking about it, and how it can affect your performance. There will also be a step-by-step guide for you to follow if you want to adjust your helmet tilt once you have finished reading.
What Does Tilt Mean?
I have already mentioned in the introduction that “tilt” is a slang term used by most lacrosse players to describe how far the helmet is tilted forward or backward. Tilt can affect the way you look, the way others perceive you, your safety, and your performance, so it is not something that you should ignore. The lacrosse helmet is one of the most eye-catching pieces of your lacrosse equipment and it is certainly the most important one for your safety.
With that being said, you should adjust your helmet tilt following your experience and preferences. The most important thing to remember, beside your safety, is that you feel comfortable. Your helmet tilt should not hinder your performance or annoy you.
Thankfully, lacrosse helmets are very adjustable, so you can easily get a perfect fit. Helmet tilt is adjusted by tightening or loosening the chinstrap and helmet cushioning. It might take you a few minutes the first few times when adjusting, but you will get used to it. Adjusting your helmet tilt is also related to your head structure and the helmet that you have, so it is time to familiarize yourself with the helmet.
While helmet tilt does have a slight impact on your performance and safety, it is not as important as you might think, though. Most lacrosse players love to joke about it. They say that only pros use high tilt and that a low tilt is only for newcomers. Let’s now take a look at the different levels of tilt as well as what other players will think of you when they see you.
Different Levels of Tilt
1. No Tilt
The no tilt option should not be an option at all in nearly every instance. Your helmet is supposed to block out the sun, so having no tilt means that your helmet will not do its job. It will also have an impact on your safety. The third helmet bar will be right in your field of vision, so you will have to lock at or below it to see anything.
But what do other players think of you when they see how you are wearing your helmet? They will most certainly think that you are playing lacrosse for the first time in your life and that you have no clue how to put your helmet on. It is incorrect to wear your helmet like this.
2. Low Tilt
People who have low helmet tilt are similar to those that have no helmet tilt at all, but at least they tried. It is a bit better when it comes to the field of vision when compared to having no tilt, but the helmet visor will be sitting too far away from your eyes to do anything. The sunlight will be hitting your eyes directly with low tilt.
Other players will think that you suffer from the “second bar syndrome”. In other words, you will be looking out of the second bar instead of the first, which all lacrosse veterans will make fun of. People who wear their helmets like this are still novices.
3. Medium Tilt
Medium tilt is how you should be wearing your helmet in essentially all situations. Most lacrosse players find medium helmet tilt to be the most comfortable one. You will feel safe when wearing your helmet like this. The visor will block out the sun and you will feel comfortable, so nothing will go in between you and the match. If you have medium tilt, you will be looking through the first and second bars of your helmet face mask.
Since almost all other players will have medium helmet tilt as well, nobody will make fun of you or probably even notice it. It is associated with people who have been playing lacrosse for some time, so you will look professional if you look the part.
4. High Tilt
If you have high helmet tilt, your field of vision will be somewhat hindered. Your helmet visor will not only block out the sun but a good part of everything else as well. You will be mostly looking through the first bar.
When other players see someone with high helmet tilt, they will think that the player is either a pro or just wants to brag. It’s almost like saying “I can beat you with my eyes closed.” Some people think that high tilt looks cool, others say that it is stupid. It is one of the most polarizing topics in lacrosse, so be careful if you want to go down that road.
Why Do Lacrosse Players Love to Talk About Tilt?
Everyone loves to look cool and fashionable. This is true in all sports, lacrosse included. People not only want to look good but also play well. This is why some players will choose to wear high helmet tilt despite the obvious drawbacks. If you wear your helmet with no or low tilt, others will think of you as a beginner. If you feel insecure about that, wearing your helmet with medium tilt will be your best bet.
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How Does Helmet Tilt Affect Safety?
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With appearance out of the way, it is time to talk about safety. I told you about how high tilt can compromise your vision. You can bump into someone because of that, so be careful if that’s your choice. Players with high tilt have to play with their chins raised just to see the field. The players expose themselves to blindside checks and shots that can be very painful and dangerous.
However, if you have no helmet tilt, you are risking something else. Your helmet can get knocked off in some situations. Also, if you don’t have enough tilt, your chin is exposed to blows. Your helmet is supposed to protect your entire head, not only the top and back. Your face mask has to sit on your chin if you don’t want to get injured.
What’s the Best Tilt Level?
The best level for both safety and comfort is medium. This is why most pros wear their helmet like that. Your visor will block the sun, your field of vision won’t suffer, your helmet won’t fly off, and your chin will be protected. The perfect tilt will vary from person to person, so wear it the way you feel the most comfortable.
How to Adjust Helmet Tilt?
The first thing you have to do is to put your helmet on in a way that you will see through the top helmet bar. You have to feel comfortable. The helmet should not feel too tight or too loose. You can tighten or loosen the clip that sits on the back of your helmet for minor adjustments. Some helmets do not have this clip but don’t worry because there is something else that you can do.
All helmets have padding and lacrosse helmets are no exception. They are there to protect you and make you feel comfortable. Padding can usually be added or removed thanks to Velcro. You want a fit tight enough that your helmet won’t rattle when you shake your head.
The next thing you have to do is to install the chinstrap. You have to button up the chin strap to your helmet and then adjust your helmet tilt. After that, hold the chinstrap to your chin in a way that feels comfortable to you. Then you have to adjust the top straps. Make sure that your helmet does not tilt sideways. Once you are done with the top straps, do the same for the bottom straps, and you are done.
Your helmet tilt says a lot about you. Lacrosse players love to make fun of others because of their helmet tilt, but if you are a good player, your helmet tilt won’t matter that much. Wear it in a way that you feel comfortable and safe. Most people will find medium tilt to be the best choice overall, so try to wear your helmet like that.