Choosing the Right Head Shape for Your Style
When it comes to finding the perfect custom lacrosse goalie head, one of the most important considerations is choosing the right head shape for your individual playing style and needs. There are several different head shape options out there – wide oval, mid-range oval, narrow oval, square, and more – and picking the one that complements your approach in the cage can make all the difference in maximizing your performance.
For example, wider oval-shaped heads tend to be better for goalies who play further outside the crease and like to move the ball in transition. The added width gives you extra ball protection on clears and can make throwing long passes easier with that broader sweet spot. On the other hand, more narrow oval or even square-shaped heads are great for goalies who stay tighter to the crease and like quick stick moves – the more defined shape gives you added accuracy on short, quick passes, rejections, and stick checks when the attackers are in tight.
Some players also opt for heads with a good amount of flare or a dramatic pinch to the scoop, depending on playing style. Flatter scoops allow for better ball retention on saves and clear attempts, while pinched scoops give you some extra whip action when you need to pass or clear under pressure. Testing out a few different head shapes with your specific movements and mechanics in mind is the best way to find that ideal customized match. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you land on the one that feels like an extension of your own instincts in the goal. With the right head shape for your game, you’ll have confidence that your stick will complement each save and clear perfectly.
Picking Out Mesh, Stringing and Sidewall Patterns
When building your custom goalie head, one of the most exciting parts is picking out your preferred mesh, stringing, and sidewall patterns. With so many types of goalie mesh, shooting strings, cross-lacing techniques and sidewall string options now available, you have an incredible range of ways to perfectly customize your pocket hold and ball control.
On mesh type, you’ll want to look at variables like diamond shape, hole size, hardness/softness, and weather resistance. Hard meshes like Throne Mesh or StringKing Hard Mesh will maintain their structured pocket shape for more consistent holds and accurate clears, while softer meshes like ECD Hero Mesh or Maverik’s Money Mesh conform more to absorb harder outside shots. Smaller diamonds and tighter weaves result in increased ball control, while larger diamonds add more overall flexibility and forgiveness when cradling.
For sidewalls, players today can choose from traditional leather strips, synthetic leather-like materials, or advanced textured nylons to impact that overall feel. Modern textures like ECD’s Geomesh add unique grip, while materials like Rabil Sidewall from Maverik control stretch and snap. And Sidewall patterns – whether traditional straight, pinched or shifted U-channel, multi-row, or scattered – impact your pocket channel and hold points in unique ways.
On shooting strings, you can test out different lace placements, multi-row setups, nylon types for customizable snap, and triangle top string options for added ball control during saves. Many goalies also like adding a mid-pocket V shooter setup for extra hold strength under pressure. Don’t be afraid to fully experiment with mesh, sidewall, and string combinations until you land on your perfect recipe for stopping shots and controlling clear attempts.
Getting Proper Pocket Depth and Hold
One of the most important aspects of achieving your ideal custom lacrosse goalie head is dialing in the proper pocket depth and hold. The depth of your mesh pocket and its ability to cradle and control the ball under pressure can make all the difference on clears, outlet passes, and rejecting point blank shots.
When stringing your own head, start by considering the regulations for legal pocket depths in your league and optimize for the deepest pocket allowable. In general, deeper is better for goalies to help grab and hold saves. To increase depth, focus on tight sidewall pull throughs, a U-channel or scattered sidewall pattern, additional whip from a pinched scoop, and strategic shooter lace placements pulling the diamonds down. Using a soft broken-in mesh also allows the diamonds to bag out more over time.
For customized hold, you can add more shooting strings or a unique multi-row setup. Shooting lace angles and placements have a big impact – such as adding an extra mid-pocket V for hold strength under pressure. Integrating hold shooters into the sidewalls can also lock in your pocket shape. Don’t forget to test out triangle top string options as well for increased overall ball control on saves.
Throughout the stringing process, continually check your pocket depth and ball hold by cradling with force and making save motions. Ensuring that deep pocket bags out on cradles but doesn’t collapse or flatten is key – allowing you to move the ball fluidly while maintaining control for clears under pressure. Dialing in the right amount of hold for your game is all about experimenting until your custom pocket becomes an extension of your own catching and passing instincts.
Consider Materials Like Foam or Leather
When customizing your lacrosse goalie head, an area that can really impact the overall feel and performance is selecting specialized materials like foam or leather to integrate into the design.
Many goalies today choose to add foam padding into the sidewalls of their heads for increased protection on hard outside shots. Foam dampens ball impact and helps protect your hands and wrists. Popular options like Lax Pawz allow you to string the foam directly into the sidewalls in different configurations to maximize shock absorption right where you need it most. This can be especially useful for close-range saves from heavy outside shooters.
Leather also remains a popular material for elements like wraparounds to give you customizable grip points and a classic feel. Leather wraparounds worn in over time provide nice tackiness while also protecting your bottom hand fingers on saves and clears. Some players also like integrating leather shooting strings for unique feel and hold. Try mixing leather pieces with nylon mesh and strings to get the perfect blend of traditional grip and modern ball control.
Many goalies also like to experiment with adding custom foam or leather to the scoop and throat of their heads. This can dampen ball impact on high saves and give your stick some personality. Considering special materials like these alongside your stringing and mesh options allows you to fully customize the look, feel, and performance of your head from top to bottom.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and add pieces of foam, leather, unique textures, or color elements anywhere on your head that could up your game. With the right blend of customizable materials integrated into the design, you can create a truly one-of-a-kind goalie head built for your game.
Adding Personal Flair with Stickers or Markings
One of the best parts of stringing up a custom lacrosse goalie head is adding your own personal flair to make it truly unique. Using stickers, cool designs, personalized markings or tags is a great way to showcase your style and give your setup some visual pop.
Many players like to use custom decals and stickers on their heads to highlight colors and logos they like. Custom name and number stickers are great for adding your personal ID. Lacrosse brands like StylinStrings, LaxStache, and SwagLax offer awesome decals to deck out your head with color and swag. Apply them anywhere from the scoop, sidewall, facemask areas or the throat to make your head pop.
Hand-painting or dyeing unique designs is another way to add artistic visuals. With some paint pens, tape, and creative flair, you can draw cool geometrical patterns, custom camo or stars, your name in graffiti style – anything you can imagine. This is your chance to add some goalie artwork magic. Outline designs in tape first to get clean lines and sharp edges.
Etching personal tags or messages into the plastic with craft tools can also give your head some personality. Even just your name, number or a word that inspires you carved creatively into the throat or side areas makes your setup truly custom. Adding physical texture like cross-hatching or unique shapes gives cool dimension too.
However you decide to deck out your goalie head, embracing the opportunity to add personal flair gives your gear personality on the field. With the right custom markings or designs that showcase your unique style, you can create a work of lacrosse art and intimidate shooters before they even step into the crease.
Optimizing Throat Shape and Width
Finding the ideal throat shape and width is an important but often overlooked part of customizing your lacrosse goalie head for maximum performance. Optimizing the throat area allows you to maximize ball control and feel on clears, outlets, and rejections from in tight.
Many players prefer narrower throat widths, which provide more accuracy for quick stick passes, feeds on clears, and snapping the ball out of the stick rapidly on tight rejections. More narrow throats give you added precision, ball security, and quick release speed out of the goalie head. Wider throat areas can make it harder to control ball placement on tight outlets.
The shape of the throat is also key – some opt for more rounded curves, while competitive goalies tend to like more angular, pinched throats. Sharper angles give you better mechanical snap and accelerated release speed, while rounded curves provide a smoother feel. Throat shape impacts how the ball sits in the pocket as well. Test out different head throats to find your ideal blend of control, feel, and passing/clearing quickness.
Don’t forget to also pay attention to the height of the throat and make sure it provides correct ergonomic hand placement. You want your hand seated deeply into the pocket for maximum control without the throat cramping your style. Finding your perfect custom throat shape and dimensions ensures a glove-like fit for protecting ball possession, optimizing your passing accuracy, and giving you an overall competitive edge in the goal.
Taking the time to dial in these subtle throat details may seem minor – but getting that shape and width exactly right for your game can be a difference-maker when tenths of seconds and millimeters count in the heat of battle with the game on the line.
Experimenting with Face Shape Flex Points
One of the coolest customization elements of a hand-strung goalie head is experimenting with strategic flex points integrated into the face shape. Adding customized flex zones gives you more lively ball response and adds some personality to your pocket.
By placing your shooting strings and sidewall lace-ups in unique patterns, you can create defined hinges that allow the head to flex independently in different zones for added ball control. Some stringers like to add an isolated flex point low in the throat area for increased activity on low saves and quick sticks. Others will create a mid-pocket hinge for lively grabs on outside rip shots.
You can also build multiple strategic flex points across the entire head – amping up overall ball feel and hold at different pocket locations depending on string placement. Using a soft mesh paired with harder nylon sidewall strings increases definition between flex zones. Keep testing out shooter setups until you feel lively response and articulation on catches at your desired flex points.
Advanced players also like creating “kick points” by intentionally designing zones where the pocket has more dramatic flex, often integrating specialized shooting lace attachments near the scoop. This extra flex whip gives added velocity on clears and helps grab high saves above the shoulders. Be cautious not to overdo kick points though, as too much can make ball control unpredictable.
At the end of the day, you want flex points that complement your natural playing style – not hinder it. The right amount of strategic hinges across your head provides exciting board-like ball response without sacrificing accuracy. Bring your custom pocket to life and put some bounce in your game with articulated flex zones made just for you.
Maximizing Ball Control and Hold Strength
One of the most vital aspects of customizing your lacrosse goalie head is maximizing overall ball control and hold strength so you can move the ball confidently upfield under pressure or hang on for dear life when the heat is on in tight.
The key to exceptional control and hold lies in dialing in the pocket and shooter setup just right. Using a soft mesh paired with a slightly harder nylon shooter lace provides excellent shape retention and defined hold points across the pocket. Strategic shooting string placements – such as adding multiple runners up the sidewalls or integrating hold diamonds into the channel – also locks in secure grip across the pocket.
Many goalies like using a double runner mid-pocket “V” shooter setup for added ball control through the deepest part of the mesh. You can also experiment with triple threats, two-piece locks, I-beams, and other advanced lace styles to engineer customized control points across your pocket’s shape. Don’t forget to also try out triangle top stringing for increased overall command from up top.
In addition, factors like the sidewall pattern, mesh softness, pocket depth, and shooter setup all impact hold power. Test out different combinations until you achieve strong cradling control with just the right amount of customizable whip to move the ball confidently. Take the time to methodically engineer your dream pocket hold so you can handle and distribute the rock even when dodging attackers in the crease.
With a customized pocket you can trust, you’ll have the ball handling confidence and hold strength to make plays when it matters most. Dial in control and command across the entire head so you can clear, pass and reject pressure shots with certainty.
Getting Proper String Tension Throughout
Achieving proper overall string tension is essential for crafting a custom goalie head that maximizes ball control and handling. Taking the time to dial in balanced tension across the top strings, sidewalls, and shooters ensures your pocket moves fluidly while retaining command.
Start by establishing an even foundational top string tension, tying knots firmly but not too tightly. Snug but movable knots give you fluid shape when cradling while still keeping the ball stable up top. Integrate some liveliness into the sidewalls as well, using a natural leather or synthetic material with some give paired with tighter nylon shooters.
Focus on keeping the sidewall pulls uniform, with the same measured tautness on each hole. This ensures the head flexes evenly across the entire shape. Shallow, looser sidewall tension allows for more overall whip, while tighter pulls provide defined structure – find your ideal balance.
On shooting strings, moderate tension is key. Overly loose shooters lose command, but extreme tightness mutes feel and liveliness. Use a thin single nylon to ease in dialing tension exactly right. When installed, the sweet spot is having minor string movement but not bagginess on cradles and catches.
Don’t forget to check for symmetry across each pocket diamond row, ensuring equal tension on both sides. Consistent string pulls throughout provides predictable pocket performance as you move the ball. With time and repetition, you’ll develop an intuition for achieving that ideal balance of tension for responsiveness and control.
Testing Different Shooting Setups
One of the best parts of stringing up a custom lacrosse goalie head is testing out different shooting string setups to find your ideal ball control and release. With so many varieties of shooting lace styles, placements, materials and configurations now available, the options are endless for crafting a truly personalized pocket.
Start by looking at main shooter types like single straight, double straight, Vs, U-shoots, two-piece locks, I-beams, triangle tops, and more. Each style provides a different feel, hold, and release point. Test out placements in the upper, middle, and lower thirds of the head to determine optimal control zones.
You can also explore different lace materials, like waxed hockey laces for extra grip or softer shoelace cotton for increased feel. Multi-row shooter setups with several lace rows down the head channel amplify hold strength. Don’t forget to also try out Sidewall Integrated Locking Systems (SILS) by incorporating shooters right into the sidewall stringing.
In addition, look at shooter angles – such as the degree of V-shapes or crossing placements for fine-tuning tension and release. Steeper lace angles generally provide more hold, while more shallow setups increase whip and velocity. Pay attention to balance across the head as well – symmetrical pocket tension ensures even control side-to-side.
Testing an array of shooter configurations lets you experience first-hand how small adjustments make a big difference in ball command. Don’t be afraid to continually tweak your custom shooter system until everything feels perfectly dialed for your style of play in the crease.