Proper Lacrosse Net Stringing Techniques For Optimal Ball Control and Performance
Lacrosse net stringing is a nuanced art that requires precision, consistency and attention to detail. Even small variations in stringing patterns, knot tensions or shooting string placements can significantly impact a net’s performance. As a lacrosse player, proper net stringing tailored to your position and playing style is crucial for achieving excellent ball control, crisp passes, accurate shots and bullet dodges off the crease.
When stringing a lacrosse net, one of the most important techniques is to anchor the top string in a way that evenly distributes tension across the entire upper half of the net. The top string acts as the foundation, keeping the pocket’s shape consistent after hard checks, errant slashes and scooping ground balls. A flimsy, loose or lopsided top string results in a deformed pocket that hinders catching, cradling and throwing motions. Popular top string anchoring methods include interlocking 1-3-1-3 knots on nylon laces threaded through the entire length of the plastic headrail, double or triple box-lock knots spaced evenly across, or a reinforced straight shooter anchored behind the scoop for midfielders.
Another vital stringing technique is properly installing the shooting strings and nylon laces in the lower pocket area. Shooting strings generate the “channel” for optimal ball control during passing, shooting and dodging. The diamonds or runners should be evenly spaced and securely interlocked with the side wall to create balanced tension across the pocket. The channel width and shooting string placement can be customized based on your stick skills – wider for beginning players first learning catching and throwing mechanics, more pinched and raised for advanced players executing quick stick passes and curving shots on the run.
Precision stringing requires having the right stringing tools on hand. A seasoned lax bro always keeps sturdy pliers, specialty knot tying needles, cutting shears and a vise on their workbench when stringing up fresh heads for teammates. Don’t forget to wax your mesh and sidewall nylon for weatherproofing too! Proper stringing is a time-honored lacrosse tradition handed down from veteran players to rookies. With mastery of key stringing techniques and a meticulous, methodical approach, you’ll be joining the ranks of the stringing elites in no time.
Critical Lacrosse Net Sidewall Stringing Techniques
The sidewall strings on a lacrosse net are just as vital as the shooting and top strings when it comes to optimal ball control and handling. Properly installing nylon laces along the length of the sidewalls can make the difference between efficiently cradling and passing versus losing possession from a wobbly pocket. There are a variety of sidewall stringing methods lacrosse players use to customize pocket tension, width and ball retention capabilities.
One of the most common techniques is a basic sidewall string interlaced in a forward-backward alternating pattern and anchored with double knots behind each plastic headrail hole. This creates uniform tension from top to bottom. Many players opt for a “stacked” sidewall, installing two laces through each hole instead of one for added pocket stability. Triple stacked ropes are popular in box lacrosse for premium ball control. An advanced sidewall stringing method is incorporating a “lockdown” by knotting laces diagonally across holes instead of straight vertical; this lets you “lock” strings in place for a deeply pocketed channel.
For midfielders who need extra whip on quick stick passes and tight cradle moves, incorporating nylon shooting laces as additional sidewalls can help. These 1/16″ ropes act like interior pocket framework, allowing you to tweak shooting channel width and achieve more defined pocket ridges when broken in. When stringing sidewalls, be sure to use a sturdy double knots like the boxer’s knot and avoid single knots that can loosen over time. Keep the tension balanced by pulling laces uniformly taut across sidewall holes and anchoring knots directly behind to prevent pocket shifting.
The performance benefits of optimized sidewall stringing are immense. Pro pockets with crisply defined ridges cradled close to the stick’s throat are easier to retain during pokes, checks and ground ball scrums. A uniformly tensioned channel helps ensure consistent passing and shooting placement so you can thread needles through heavy traffic or pick corners with sniper accuracy. While homemade sidewall string jobs might get you by, for the truly elite pocket channel take your stick to a seasoned veteran stringer. With the right techniques and materials, they can transform even a beginner’s stick into a custom pocket that suits your playing style and becomes an extension of your hands on the field.
Choosing Optimal Shooting Strings for Precision Lacrosse Passing and Shooting
One of the most customizable components of lacrosse net stringing is installing the shooting strings that form the ball channel. The shooting strings generate whip, speed and precision for passing, shooting and dodging. With the wide variety of shooting string types on the market, choosing the right materials and placement can elevate your on-field performance.
Nylon shooting strings are a popular default option found in most factory strung nets. The 1/16″ diameter nylon laces provide decent durability at an affordable price point. However, some players find nylon shooting strings lack the responsiveness and defined channel of premium materials. An emerging favorite alternative is shooting strings made from fluorocarbon, like Sufix 832. Fluorocarbon’s low friction properties give it noticeably more whip and snap compared to nylon. It also minimizes unwanted string friction noise inside the head during passes and shots.
Another key factor is shooting string placement. The industry standard is a three shooter setup, but elite players often add a fourth or even fifth diamond down low for increased ball control and hold. Shooting strings can be looped for a trampoline-like flex or interlaced for more defined ridges. Widening the top channel spreads improves catching while tightening the lower diamonds adds quick stick speed. Consider offsetting diamonds slightly so upper strings don’t dampen the pocket’s natural breaking point flex. The optimal shooting string setup ultimately depends on your position, experience level and pocket style preferences.
When installing shooting strings, consistent diamond spacing is critical for ensuring the ball releases predictably on passes and shots. Keep measurements precise with a simple stringing tool ruler or use the existing plastic scoop and sidewall holes as guides. Avoid diamonds that bunch too close together or vary in width randomly. Before stringing up a custom pocket, study how the pros do it and take notes. With the right shooting strings dialed in, you’ll notice the difference on every touch of the ball.
Weatherproofing Lacrosse Goal Nets for Maximum Durability
Outdoor lacrosse goal nets take a serious beating from the elements during spring and summer seasons. Exposure to sun, rain, humidity and dirt can cause nylon shooting strings and sidewall laces to degrade prematurely, forcing players to restring pockets more frequently. That’s why properly weatherproofing nets is crucial for maximizing a pocket’s lifespan and performance.
The first line of defense is selecting UV-treated shooting strings and sidewalls made specifically for the rigors of outdoor play. Brands like East Coast Dyes and Throne of String offer heavy duty ropes treated to resist UV damage and humidity fraying. Another option is soaking new strings in lemon juice or Boeshield T-9 lubricant, which helps repel dirt while making the nylon more pliable and water resistant.
It’s also smart to choose more durable, low-friction polymers like polyethylene or fluorocarbon for shooting strings instead of standard nylon. Their slick surface prevents dust, dirt and debris buildup inside the pocket, maintaining that buttery release even in wet conditions. To further discourage moisture absorption, occasionally applying waterproofing sprays or oil-based lubricants to the strings can create a protective barrier.
Just like re-coating a wooden deck each season, the same diligence should apply when maintaining your lacrosse goal net. Inspect the pocket routinely for signs of premature wear, fraying or loose knots and re-string promptly to ensure peak performance. Store sticks properly when not in use and avoid laying the nets directly onto damp, muddy turf. A few strategic weatherproofing steps will protect your net’s playability so you can ball out rain or shine.
Top Stringing Methods for Consistent Lacrosse Net Performance
In lacrosse net stringing, the integrity of the top string is what holds everything together. Without a properly anchored top string, even the most meticulously woven pocket will lose its shape after repeated use. That’s why every experienced stringer focuses careful attention on constructing a reinforced, tensioned top string that maintains pocket consistency.
The workhorse top stringing method used by most high school and college players is the 1-3-1-3 interlocking nylon knot sequence. This evenly distributes tension across the entire plastic headrail for uniform pocket shape retention. The knots lock in place along the top, preventing lopsided loosening over time. For more pronounced diamonds, triple 1-3-1 knots or incorporating double box knots along the top string provides added structural support.
Another pro technique is installing a straight shooter top string anchor behind the scoop then threading 1-3-1 knots along the headrail to the throat. The straight shooter helps fortify the scoop area while allowing the interlocking knots to do their job down the sidewalls. Some face-off specialists use a double or triple straight shooter setup for max strength in the event of a pinched head during draws.
When evaluating top string methods, balance and consistency are key. The pattern should not allow loose spots to develop or the entire net shape suffers. Inspect your top string routinely for signs of unraveling or asymmetry. Carry a backup knot tool like the Stringking Lock Stix to tighten knots on the fly when needed. A rock solid top string foundation translates directly into superior pocket performance and ball control.
Avoiding Problematic Lacrosse Net Stringing Knots
While lacrosse net stringing relies heavily on knots to anchor shooting strings, sidewalls and top strings, not all knots are created equal. Certain knots have a tendency to untie prematurely or cause uneven tension distribution in the pocket. Savvy stringers avoid these problematic knots at all costs.
One knot to use cautiously is the single overhand knot. Its quick simplicity is beginner friendly but offers minimal locking ability to prevent loosening. Single overhands should only be used to attach sidewall nylon tails or as a temporary starter knot when anchoring around the scoop. For primary shooting string and sidewall knots, always use more secure double knot options.
Another knot that can spell disaster is the granny knot. This incorrectly mirrored version of the square knot leads to inconvenient unraveling and lost shape. Take care to keep lace orientation correct when tying square knots or utilize alternative secure knots like the surgeon’s knot. Uneven pocket tension is also a risk with the directionalslipknot and figure eight knot due to lopsided cinching and poor locking capability.
When evaluating new stringing knots, scrutinize their tension distribution, ability to cinch tightly and locking power for longevity. Seek out tutorials from seasoned lacrosse stringers on ideal knot techniques for shooting strings, sidewalls and top lace anchoring. With mastery of high-quality, balanced knotting methods, you’ll avoid many common stringing mishaps.
Choosing Optimal Sidewall Strings for Lacrosse Net Performance
In lacrosse net stringing, the nylon sidewall laces are what generate defined ridges in the pocket for superior ball control. With the wide variety of sidewall string materials available, selecting the proper gauge, texture and construction is key for optimize pocket performance.
The stringing standard for years has been 1.5mm nylon cord laces. These provide a nice blend of affordability, pliability and durability. However, some players find the smooth nylon lacks the grip and rigidity needed for more pronounced ridges. This has led many elite stringers to incorporate thinner 1.3mm nylon blends that better hold their shape around the diamonds.
For extra defined ridges and weather-resistance, wax-coated sidewall laces are growing in popularity. The wax coating offers increased grip while also reducing nylon-on-nylon string friction inside the head. Leather laces are another traditional option chosen for their ability to form sturdy, pronounced ridges after break-in. Ultimately, the right sidewall string depends on the channel shape and performance you want to achieve.
Regardless of material, the sidewall laces must distribute tension uniformly across the headrail. Focus on keeping knot tensions balanced from top to bottom, carefully tightening any loose spots. Take time training the ridges by working the pocket after stringing. With high quality sidewalls personalized to your playing style, you’ll notice the difference in your cradling and passing consistency.
Must-Have Lacrosse Net Stringing Tools For Precision and Tension
Just like any skilled craft, having the right tools for the job makes all the difference when stringing a lacrosse net. The specialized gear used by veteran pocket stringers enables precision knot tying, even tension distribution and pro-quality channel construction.
Topping every stringer’s toolkit is a sturdy, clamp-enabled vice for holding heads in place while working. This leaves both hands free to tighten knots, adjust diamonds and maintain proper angles. Needle nose pliers allow reaching into tight spots to cinch knots and provide added torque when pulling shooter laces taut. A spring-loaded stringing clamp is perfect for temporarily binding knots before closing and locking.
Sharp stringing scissors customized with concave tips make quick, flush cuts without fraying nylon ends. A measurement ruler ensures diamond spacing and top string knot intervals are perfectly consistent. Pro-level stringers also keep specialty knot tying needles on hand for creating intricate woven shooter set ups and a pocket pounder mallet for settling the diamonds after stringing.
Don’t forget supplies like backup shooter laces, sidewall strings, wax and waterproofing agents too. Having an organized toolbox equipped with high-quality stringing instruments allows executing every knot, lace and anchor with surgical precision. The difference in pocket performance will be clear once you start stringing like the pros.
Fixing Asymmetrical Pockets in Lacrosse Nets
Even with meticulous stringing, it’s common for lacrosse nets to develop lopsided pockets over time. Intense play causes shooting strings and sidewalls to shift, creating an asymmetrical channel that hampers passing and shooting accuracy. Thankfully, there are techniques to diagnose and correct pocket imbalance issues.
Start by visually inspecting the pocket from multiple angles to identify where asymmetry is occurring. Compare each diamond’s size and shape across the top and side shooting strings. An easy way to confirm imbalance is testing how the ball sits at rest in the pocket. If it favors one side heavily, the pocket likely needs truing.
For minor corrections, carefully tighten or loosen shooting and sidewall knots on the deformed side to coax the pocket back into shape. You can also gently massage and stretch mesh diamonds using a pocket pounder tool. In some cases, you may need to completely re-string certain diamonds or sidewalls to restore symmetry. Take notes on which lace tensions needed adjusting to avoid future imbalance.
Pocket shape preservation starts with the top string. Inspect it routinely for loose or uneven knots and tighten as needed. Also make sure you are anchoring the top string correctly, with evenly spaced knots that distribute tension uniformly across the scoop. With close attention and prompt adjustments, you can add years of play to a hand-strung pocket.
Must-Have Lacrosse Net Stringing Tools and Supplies
Having the right stringing tools and supplies on hand makes a world of difference when crafting a lacrosse head pocket. Like any skilled trade, stringing requires specialized equipment to achieve professional results. Here are some must-have items for every lax bro’s stringing kit.
A sturdy clamping vise provides an anchored foundation to securely hold heads while stringing. This leaves both hands free to tie knots, adjust tension and shape the diamonds. Needle nose pliers allow tightening knots in hard to reach spots and provide extra torque control. Stringing scissors with curved blades make smooth, flush lace cuts to prevent fraying.
A lacrosse specific stringing ruler helps calibrate diamond spacing and top string anchor intervals for precision and consistency. Backup sidewall laces, shooting strings and end caps guarantee you can finish a pocket even if strings break. Having a variety of lace materials and diameters on hand allows customizing string jobs.
Other specialized tools like a pocket pounder mallet, mesh stretching needle and stringing clamp facilitate shaping and settling a fresh pocket precisely. Don’t forget supplies like wax, waterproofing spray and bolt cutters too. With a fully stocked stringing kit, you’ll have the gear needed to string nets to your exact specifications.
Correcting Uneven Pockets in Lacrosse Goal Nets
With frequent use, lacrosse pockets can sometimes lose their shape and develop an uneven ball channel. Lopsided pockets make cradling, scooping and passing less controlled. Thankfully, correcting pocket asymmetry issues is straightforward with some basic stringing techniques.
Start by visually inspecting the pocket from multiple angles to identify where it is off-center or sagging. Look for shooting strings and sidewall knots that may have loosened on one side. Test how evenly weighted the pocket is by seeing where a ball naturally settles at rest inside the head.
To make adjustments, tighten knots and diamonds incrementally on the deflated side using needle nose pliers. Be careful not to over-tighten. Also gently work or pound the mesh back into shape where needed. In some cases, you may need to replace certain shooting strings or re-lace some sidewalls to fully correct imbalance.
Routinely check the top string tension and distribution since this is key for overall pocket shape retention. Tighten any loose spots and make sure knots are spaced evenly across the length of the plastic headrail. With patience and an eye for detail, you can tweak your pocket back to symmetric perfection in no time.
Custom Lacrosse Net Stringing by Position
To maximize on-field performance, elite lacrosse players tailor their net stringing based on the unique demands of their position. Attackmen, midfielders, defensemen and face-off specialists each benefit from pocket customization to complement their style of play.
Attackmen typically prefer a medium to deep pocket with a wider upper diamond for cradling and catching in traffic near the crease. A central channel placement gives excellent hold while allowing quick sticks and accurate shots on the run. Midfielders tend to use a mid-depth pocket with a pinched ball channel and pronounced midsection whip to facilitate lightning-fast passes and release.
For defensemen who focus on checking and intercepting passes, a flatter pocket with minimal whip provides excellent ball retention for securing possessions. Face-off specialists need an especially robust string job that can withstand intense clamping during draws. More defined diamonds, a stiff mid-pocket and reinforced sidewalls are common.
In addition to pocket depth and shooting string placement, sidewall materials, top string anchors and knot styles can be customized by position. Consulting veteran teammates is wise to learn what stringing tweaks are best suited for your role. With the right pocket dialed in, your stick will feel like an extension of your hands out on the field.
Pros and Cons of DIY vs Pro Lacrosse Net Stringing
When it comes time to restring your lacrosse head, you have two main options – take on the project yourself or hire a professional stringer. Both DIY and pro stringing have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages to weigh.
Stringing your own stick can be rewarding and save money. With practice, you can customize the pocket exactly to your preferences. However, expect a learning curve getting the diamonds and sidewalls consistently tight. Achieving optimal shape and performance may require several attempts and wasted mesh. DIY knots often loosen faster than a pro’s too.
Enlisting an experienced lacrosse stringer ensures your net is crafted to elite standards. Their mastery of technique and specialized tools delivers unparalleled consistency and attention to detail difficult for novices to match. Yet pro stringing services can get expensive, especially for frequent restringing. You may also need to compromise if your desired specs are beyond their comfort zone.
Many players strike a balance – learn basic knots to perform minor net repairs and adjustments yourself, but bring heads to a professional stringer for comprehensive restringing. This way you get customization control while still benefiting from their expertise for critical aspects like shooting diamond installation, top string anchoring and ensuring even tension distribution throughout the head.
Maintaining Lacrosse Nets for Maximum Longevity
The lifespan of a lacrosse net depends heavily on how well it is maintained in between uses. Taking steps to inspect, clean and protect the strings and mesh after each game or practice extends pocket playability significantly.
Always check for problems developing with the shooting strings, sidewall laces and top string after use. Tighten loose knots or replace frayed strings as needed. Gently pound out any major pocket deformities. Removing built-up dirt, debris and mud keeps abrasion and wear to a minimum.
Apply a protectant like Boeshield T-9 or wax to the shooting strings and sidewalls. This repels moisture and keeps the nylon supple. Store sticks properly when not in use to prevent damage. Hang nets freely or use a stiffener to retain shape – never wedge tightly into bags.
Take time periodically to work pockets by massaging the diamonds with a pounder or rubber ball. This preserves the channel shape and shooting string ridges. Bring nets to a seasoned stringer at the first signs of deterioration for restringing – don’t wait until completely blown out. With diligent care, a properly constructed pocket should deliver seasons of consistent performance.