Choose the Right Mesh for Your Lacrosse Position
As a lacrosse player, selecting the ideal mesh for your stick is crucial for maximizing your performance on the field. The type of mesh you choose can significantly impact key factors like ball control, shot speed, hold, and scooping ability. As a midfielder, you’ll want a mesh that offers a blend of excellent ball retention for cradling and passing, with enough flexibility to generate sufficient whip on shots.
A traditional lacrosse mesh woven from durable nylon strands is a popular choice for midfielders. The diamonds in a traditional pocket allow you to maintain strength and control during dodges, while also allowing you to lean into shots for extra velocity. Midfielders tend to prefer a mid-range pocket depth, not too shallow or too deep. This lets you cleanly scoop ground balls, while still cradling with command.
When stringing your stick, focus on creating a smooth, consistent pocket with a nice natural channel. This will let the ball sit deep for carrying, but still release cleanly. Using a double runner up top can enhance hold. If you’re not getting enough whip on passes and shots, try adding another shooting string. Keep an eye on the pocket after stringing to ensure it maintains its shape and doesn’t bag out with use.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with mesh types like hard mesh, soft mesh, and monofilament nylon to find your ideal configuration. The right mesh pocket can make a dramatic difference in how your stick handles. As your skills progress, you may find yourself gravitating towards a shallower or deeper pocket for more finessed play. Finding your perfect stringing setup takes time, but it’s worth the effort!
Learn the Basic Lacrosse Stringing Patterns
Once you’ve selected the right mesh and sidewall materials for your lacrosse stick, it’s time to learn the fundamental stringing patterns that form the foundation of a properly strung pocket. While advanced players use all kinds of creative tricks, beginners should focus on mastering the basics first. Here are some key patterns and techniques to understand:
The most common starting point is a triple runner – three straight interlocking strings that run horizontally through the top of the mesh to define pocket shape. Keep these evenly spaced and tidy. Next, add double runners criss-crossing vertically through the diamonds. These help strengthen the pocket walls.
You’ll need to thread the bottom string or “shooter” in an inverted-U shape to provide a ramp for clean ball release. Place a straight “lock” string near the scoop to keep the channel taut. Simple one-wrap knots secure each string junction uniformly.
Up top, a double runner creates narrow parallel tracks for the ball to follow. Wide channels make cradling sloppy. Another straight string 1/3 down from the top constricts the opening for improved hold during fakes and jukes.
For beginners, symmetry is key – keep sidewall counts even and tie off ends consistently. As you advance, you can experiment with offset patterns and creative knots for unique looks.
Don’t forget to test throw with your pattern and make tweaks. If the ball sits too deep, tighten the channel. If you want more defined diamonds, add vertical runners. If hold feels loose, cinch the top tighter. Be patient and keep adjusting until the pocket functions just right.
Remember, perfect stringing requires diligent practice over time. But nailing these fundamental techniques will give you an ideal framework to build on as your game develops. Start simple, get a feel for how different strings affect pocket performance, and you’ll be stringing like a pro in no time!
Tie Strong Top Strings for Improved Ball Control
Once you’ve got your basic stringing pattern locked in, it’s time to focus on optimizing the top strings for enhanced ball control and cradling. The top strings essentially form the “roof” of your pocket, keeping the ball securely seated when carrying, dodging, and quick-sticking. Midfielders or attackmen who handle the ball a lot should pay close attention here.
Start by tying an overhand knot and inserting a double runner to create two parallel tracks, about one diamond width apart. Keep these taut – they define the pocket channel. Consider adding another straight string about 1/3 down from the scoop to further constrict the opening for even better hold on fakes.
Use hardy shooting string like thick monofilament nylon, and secure every junction with a tight triple knot. The top string takes a beating, so durability is key. Consider whip finishing your knots with strong nylon thread to prevent any slippage over time.
The tension on the top strings matters too. If tied too loose, the ball can easily slip out on checks and picks. Over-tighten, and you lose all whip on passes and shots. Finding the right balance takes trial and error.
Don’t forget to check pocket depth after tying off up top. The ball should sit deep in the pocket, but not sink. Add more U-shapes down low if needed. Also ensure the channel runs straight down the center. Crooked tracks impede smooth cradling.
Getting your top strings and pocket channel dialed in takes finesse, but it’s worth the effort. With a flawless ball track and tailored tension, you’ll notice dramatically cleaner cradling and ball control all over the field – especially in high-pressure situations!
Use Interlocks for Consistent Pockets
Interlocks are a vital stringing technique for establishing a uniform, consistent pocket in your lacrosse stick. By interlocking the vertical and horizontal runners together in a regulated pattern, you can ensure excellent pocket symmetry from top to bottom. Midfielders and attackmen who value precision passing and shooting consistency should master interlocks.
The key is firstthreading three evenly-spaced triple runners across the top diamonds to define the upper channel width. Space these out one diamond apart for ideal ball tracking.
Next, insert double runners down the walls at each diamond interval. Focus on keeping the counts equal on both sides. Lock these vertical strings into the horizontal runners using basic under-over-under interlocking.
Maintaining tidy rows of uniform interlocks not only structurally reinforces the pocket walls, but also improves overall pocket consistency. The ball will sit deeper and cradle smoother within a finely tuned grid of interlocks.
Be sure to pull the knots tight and keep the runners flat against the mesh – bunched strings make sloppy pockets. Check for unwanted twisting or crossing of strings in the same row.
Getting intricate with more creative interlock patterns is an option too, but nailing the basics first is key. Keeping the rows neat and tidy goes a long way towards crafting a consistent channel and pocket for optimized play.
With time and practice, you’ll be able to interlock pocket diamonds in your sleep. Pay close attention to interlock precision, and you’ll notice substantial improvements in pocket performance, ball control, and ultimately, your on-field game.
Adjust Pocket Depth Based on Skill Level
One of the most impactful adjustments lacrosse players can make to their stringing is dialing in the ideal pocket depth. The depth that the ball sits in the pocket affects crucial factors like ball retention, scooping, passing, catching, and shooting. As a general rule, shallower pockets benefit beginners, while deeper pockets suit more advanced players with sound fundamentals.
For newer players, focus on a pocket with mid-level depth – around halfway down the head. This allows you to get under ground balls more easily for clean scoops. A shallow pocket also forces you to cradle tightly to prevent drops, developing essential stick skills. You’ll gain more control over passing and shooting as well.
As you progress, consider gradually dropping the pocket depth lower. Advanced players love the superior ball control and hold of a deeper pocket. To sink it further, add more U-shapes on the bottom runner and tighten the channel. Just be sure you have the handling chops first, or a deep pocket can hinder developing fundamentals.
Regardless of skill level, test the pocket frequently. All pockets bag out over time, so maintaining the desired depth takes vigilance. Don’t forget to adjust top strings and sidewalls accordingly as depth changes.
Finding your ideal pocket depth is a process of trial and error. While a deep pocket offers advanced players more finessed control, don’t dive in too quickly. Mastering fundamentals on a shallower pocket first allows you to fully utilize a deeper pocket later on. Adjust depth carefully as your skills grow for maximum performance.
String Sidewalls Tight for Better Hold
The sidewall strings on a lacrosse head play a pivotal role in overall pocket structure and performance. Tying the sidewalls tight improves hold during play, enhances ball retention, and adds pocket stability. Midfielders and attackmen who string their own sticks should focus on getting the sidewalls dialed in.
Start by anchoring the sidewalls near the scoop with a double knot. Use hardy shooting string or tennis racket string for durability. Wrap downwards towards the throat of the head, keeping even tension on both walls.
Try to maintain symmetry across both sides. Uneven sidewall counts or tension can skew pocket shape. Keep strings flat and tidy too – bunched knots worsen hold.
Cinch each diamond tightly and finish off with another double knot at the bottom. Pack more diamonds above the bottom runner for extra hold in that crucial area. Consider doing a triple knot for the bottom end.
With practice, you’ll get a feel for your ideal sidewall tension. In general, err on the tighter side, then loosen up if hold feels too rigid. Proper sidewall stringing locks the pocket walls in place for excellent ball retention all over the field.
While sidewalls are often an afterthought compared to top strings or shooting strings, they deserve just as much attention. Keeping the sidewalls tailored and taut improves structure, hold, consistency, and ultimately, your game.
Experiment with Different Shooting Strings
The shooting strings on a lacrosse stick play a pivotal role in shot power and ball release. Attackmen or midfielders looking to add velocity on shots should spend time dialing in their shooting strings. With the right setup, you can generate maximum whip without sacrificing accuracy.
Most players thread just one straight shooter across the bottom U-shape. Adding a V-shape, inverted U, or double U provides another contact point for added catapult effect. Some like a trailing shooter 1/3 up from the scoop for extra leverage.
Consider using durable shooting string like hockey laces or parachute cord. Monofilament nylon is ideal for minimizing friction. Waxed mesh can also boost shot speed. Just beware of decreased ball control.
Tighten shooting strings for more rebound force – but don’t overdo it. Too much tension strains the sidewalls and can impede passing. If you notice the ball launching erratically, loosen them up.
Try shifting the shooter higher or lower on the head to alter the launch angle. A lower release point adds whip but can sail high. Move it up for a more overhand delivery.
Don’t forget to adjust the shooters after stringing to account for pocket settling. Shooting strings need frequent tweaking to maintain optimal tension and placement.
With the right shooting string setup dialed in, you can maximize both power and accuracy on clears, heaters, bouncers and snapshots. Take the time to experiment until you find your ideal configuration for lighting it up!
Use a Traditional Kit for Full Customization
One of the best investments you can make as a lacrosse player is getting a traditional stringing kit. These all-inclusive kits provide every string and component you need to fully customize your pocket from scratch. Advanced players who like to perfect their own string jobs benefit the most from traditional kits.
A quality kit contains rolls of various string types like wax mesh, nylon, and monofilament for dialing in top strings, sidewalls, and shooters. You’ll also get bundles of leather, vinyl, or rubber lacings to create unique shooting string patterns.
Pre-cut Sidewall kits are handy for quickly restringing a whole head. Some kits include wooden dowels, stringing pliers, and measuring tapes too.
With a full array of strings and supplies, you can experiment endlessly until finding your ideal pocket and shooting string setup. And you’ll save money compared to buying components separately.
Just be sure to select a reputable brand known for durability. Strings and leathers need to withstand heavy abuse on the field. Store your kit properly as well away from direct sun and moisture.
Owning your own traditional kit pays dividends over time as you develop next-level stringing skills. The ability to fully customize your pocket construction gives you an edge both in performance and economics. Invest wisely, and you’ll be stringing like a pro in no time!
Choose Colors to Match Your Gear
Along with optimizing performance, stringing your lacrosse stick is a great opportunity to add style and flair through creative color schemes. Matching the colors of your strings and mesh to your pads, gloves, cleats, and helmet is an easy way to look put together on the field. Midfielders and attackmen who pride themselves on their swag benefit most here.
When selecting mesh, look for colors that pop against your dominant gear shades. A blue and yellow midfielder, for example, could opt for maroon mesh as an accent. White works universally as well.
Dyeing or waxing plain mesh yourself opens even more mix-and-match potential. Dip dye the bottom for an ombre effect. Use leather or nylon strings in coordinating hues too.
Don’t forget to blend colors across both heads for symmetry. No need to overdo it though – picking one or two complementary colors is best.
If you frequently switch up glove or pad combos, go with a classic black or neutral mesh. Or stock up on meshes in different team colors for total coordination.
Matching your pocket swag to the rest of your on-field look is an easy but impactful way to polish your style. And standing out with consistent colors and patterns intimidates opponents. Take pride in all the gear details for a complete pulled-together game day aesthetic!
Protect Your Sticks from the Elements
Ensuring your strung lacrosse heads hold up over time requires protecting them from exposure to the elements. Moisture, extreme heat, and UV rays can all cause premature mesh and string breakdown. Taking preventative measures will prolong pocket life and performance.
Never leave heads outside or in cars for extended periods. The hot sun causes plastics to warp and strings to dry out. Similarly, moisture seeps into mesh pockets left damp, becoming breeding grounds for mildew.
When not in use, store sticks in a climate-controlled area out of direct light. Hang heads upright on racks to allow air circulation and prevent mesh sagging.
Consider waterproofing spray coatings on mesh to repel rain and dew during games. Wax string also resists moisture better than nylon.
If strings do become soaked, gently wipe down and allow to fully air dry before storing. Don’t apply direct heat, which can shrink or melt components.
Check for UV damage and replace faded plastics or brittle strings. Discoloration and cracking compromise integrity.
While lacrosse gear is designed to withstand play in all conditions, be proactive against environmental exposure when possible. Taking steps to keep your string jobs dry, cool, and protected preserves quality for the long haul.
Replace Mesh Regularly for Optimal Performance
No matter how well you string your lacrosse stick initially, pocket performance will deteriorate over time with heavy use. Frayed strings, loose tension, and bagged out mesh are common issues. That’s why routinely replacing your mesh is essential for maintaining prime playability. Attackmen or midfielders who log heavy minutes benefit most from fresh mesh.
A good rule of thumb is swapping traditional nylon mesh every season, or twice a year if you play extensively. High-use areas like shooting strings or sidewalls may need replacing even more frequently.
Inspect mesh routinely for broken diamonds, knot slippage, and loss of tension. Flattened diamonds impede proper pocket structure.
Always keep backup sticks pre-strung with fresh mesh on hand for seamless transitions. You don’t want to be restringing a pocket the night before a big game.
Consider more durable mesh options like semi-soft or composite materials if you favor longevity over feel. But expect to trade off some break-in time and finesse.
Don’t forget to tweak sidewalls, shooters, and top strings again after installing new mesh. The updated texture and flexibility necessitate adjustments.
Making mesh replacements part of your regular lacrosse maintenance is crucial for consistency. Take a proactive approach, keep backups on hand, and enjoy the performance benefits of fresh string jobs.
Carry Backup Sticks in Case of Emergencies
As any seasoned lacrosse player knows, you should always have a backup stick ready to swap in during games in case of head breaks or stringing issues. Not having a usable backup can mean sitting out downs while you restring on the sidelines – an unacceptable interruption. Carrying an identical backup with reliable stringing averts emergencies.
Ideally, backup heads should be strung identically to your primary, using the same mesh, strings, and pocket style. This ensures seamless transitions between sticks during play. Mimicking your preferred release point, channel, and shooter setup prevents adjustment periods.
Store backups safely on sidelines in netted stick bags to prevent warping. Consider writing stick numbers on the shafts for quick identification.
Always warm up with backups first to verify reliability. Nothing worse than grabbing a backup that hasn’t been checked and tested. Do a thorough stringing inspection as well before games.
Maintain multiples of your gamer to ensure fresh backups are always on hand. Shelf life depends on use. Carry at least two if you’re logging heavy minutes.
Don’t forget backup sticks in your lacrosse bag either for off-site use. Pickup games, training sessions, or practices held anywhere warrant proper backups.
With preparation and diligent maintenance of reliable duplicated gamers, you’ll be ready to swap smoothly mid-game no matter what misfortune occurs out on the field.
Learn to Do It Yourself and Save Money
Getting custom lacrosse sticks professionally restrung can be expensive over time. The costs add up paying for labor and materials on multiple heads. That’s why every serious player should learn basic stringing skills for self-sufficiency. Doing it yourself saves money and allows for endless customization.
Start by studying vital stringing fundamentals like interlocks, triple runners, top strings, and shooting strings. Watch YouTube tutorials. Ask teammates for advice. Experiment on old heads first.
Invest in a quality stringing kit with pliers, needles, and diverse strings to open up options. Stock up on replacement mesh and leathers too. Proper tools and materials are key.
Be prepared to put in trial and error time perfecting techniques. But skills will improve dramatically with each string job. Focus on tidiness and symmetry.
Once you’ve nailed fundamentals, explore adding personal flair with unique leathers, intricate sidewall patterns, and dyed mesh. Let your inner stringer run wild.
Even with basic skills, you can restring sticks for a fraction of pro shop costs. And the ability to constantly tweak pockets exactly how you want is invaluable.
Patience and practice paying off over time. Learn the essential skills, equip yourself with the right tools, and you’ll be stringing and saving money like a pro.
Ask Teammates for Stringing Tips and Tricks
As a lacrosse player looking to improve your stringing skills, one of the best resources is gaining insights from teammates. Veteran players with years of stringing experience are full of helpful tips and tricks to try. Don’t be afraid to pick their brains and learn from others more seasoned.
Pay attention to how the top players on your team string their sticks. Ask what mesh, shooting strings, and leathers they use and why. See if you can replicate techniques that deliver results.
When experimenting with a new stringing method, get feedback from teammates on the effects. They may notice nuances you don’t. Take notes on their string jobs and adjustments as well.
Share supplies like wax, leathers and strings with others to get exposure to new materials. Trade heads periodically to experience different pocket feels.
Veteran players have likely already made all the common mistakes and learned from them. Ask for their guidance to avoid pitfalls and shorten your learning curve.
Be positive and gracious when receiving feedback on your own string jobs, even if critical. Every opinion makes you better.
Don’t just copy someone’s pattern outright though. Adapt techniques in ways that complement your own style and skills.
Remember, becoming a great stringer requires building on the experience of others. Talk stringing with teammates often, and your skills will grow exponentially.
Have Fun Improving Your Skills with Each New String Job
As with any pursuit, keeping a positive mindset and having fun are key to progression and mastery. This definitely applies when learning the art of lacrosse stringing. Each new string job is an opportunity to experiment, play around, and see progress. Staying loose and enjoying the incremental improvements along the way will make you a better stringer.
Don’t put pressure on yourself by trying to string the “perfect” pocket right away. Look at each stick as a fun chance to try new things. See what works and what doesn’t.
Use your creativity and get adventurous with string and mesh combinations. Pursue any wild ideas you have just for kicks. You can always cut it out later.
Jam out to music that pumps you up while stringing to make the process more enjoyable. Bring the positive vibes.
When you notice incremental improvements like tighter channels or better defined diamonds, celebrate the little wins. Don’t dwell on imperfections.
Record or photograph your patterns to compare over time. Seeing tangible progression will motivate.
Stringing sticks for teammates is also very rewarding. Giving the gift of a fresh pocket is fun and fulfilling.
Most importantly, remember it’s just lacrosse. The joy of playing creates the lifelong memories, not any awards or accolades. Keep that beginner’s bliss alive!