Importance of Proper Stringing for Performance
As any experienced women’s lacrosse player knows, having a properly strung stick is absolutely crucial for optimal performance on the field. However, stringing a lacrosse stick can seem incredibly daunting, especially for beginners. With so many complex techniques and intricate pocket styles, how can you ensure your stick will have the right amount of hold, release, and overall playability? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire stringing process, from selecting the right head to personalizing the perfect pocket shape. Follow these essential stringing tips and you’ll be ready to elevate your game this season.
First things first – you need to stock your stringing kit with the highest quality materials and tools. This includes strong nylon lacrosse string in a variety of colors and gauges, durable sidewall string, top-notch mesh, sturdy stringing pliers, a dependable screw driver, and any other specialty stringing tools you may need for complex pocket styles. Buying in bulk from retailers like Lacrosse Unlimited will help you save money while ensuring you have enough supplies for multiple stringing and re-stringing projects.
Once your stringing kit is prepped, it’s time to select the right lacrosse head for your playing style. Opt for a wider head shape for more hold and control, ideal for defensive players who handle a lot of physical checks. Those who face off may also prefer a wider head shape for added ball retention at the draw. Meanwhile, more narrow or pointed head shapes offer quicker ball release, an advantage for offensive players looking to improve their shot speed and passing accuracy. You’ll also want to consider factors like head stiffness based on your position and skill level.
When it comes to stringing materials, nylon lacrosse mesh has become the gold standard over traditional leather and gut stringing. Mesh provides superior ball control, consistent pocket shape, and weather resistance. However, it still has some downsides – namely lack of feel, poorer ball retention in wet conditions, and less customization ability. Many players still prefer the organic softness and unique craftsmanship of traditional stringing with leather runners. The choice comes down to personal preference and playing style.
Stringing a traditional pocket requires meticulous attention to detail. You’ll anchor the top string exactly 12 diamonds from the scoop to establish pocket depth. Then, carefully interlace the leather runners down through the sidewall holes, gradually widening the pocket width towards the bottom of the head. Pay close attention to the angles of the runners to influence pocket shape – more acute angles widen the pocket while wider angles tighten the channel. Be sure to invert every other runner so they don’t lay directly on top of each other. Finally, lock everything in place by stitching nylon cross laces horizontally along the runners.
Stringing an offset pocket takes this traditional technique and elevates it with an asymmetric shape. By angling the runners diagonally rather than straight down through the sidewalls, you shift the deepest part of the pocket towards one side. This offset placement allows elite players to cradle and shift the ball more quickly within the pocket. Stringers will have to experiement with different runner angles and levelling techniques to find the sweet spot of a smooth yet snug offset shape.
No matter which stringing method you use, achieving the ideal pocket requires carefully balancing depth and tension. Too shallow and the ball will easily bounce out, too deep and it gets stuck in the throat. Tension relates to how the mesh or leather shapes to the ball. Too much tension pinches the ball, causing inaccurate passes, while too little tension leads to sloppy catching and throwing mechanics. Testing your stringing involves repetitive throwing and catching to break-in the pocket and determine needed adjustments.
Many rookie stringing mistakes stem from rushing the process or failing to keep proper string placement. Make sure sidewall knots are tightly secured to avoid premature fraying and loosening. Don’t cinch top strings too tight or they’ll warp the top of the head. Watch that runners lay flat along the width of the head for maximum surface contact. Always maintain control of runner and cross lace tension to prevent distortion. Stringing perfectly takes patience, precision, and persistence.
Once your stick is strung, perform several field tests. Throw, catch, cradle, scoop ground balls, and practice quick stick passes at game speed. Pay attention to how the ball sits in the pocket, as well as the feel of release and control. If the ball sits too low or rattles, the pocket needs tightening. If the ball sits high and requires excess force to dislodge, loosen tension. Keep adjusting until you achieve quick, effortless release coupled with superior ball control.
Even with proper stringing technique, all lacrosse sticks require re-stringing over time. Exposure to dirt and moisture gradually erodes string fibers, causing loosening or fraying. As mesh and leathers weather, the pocket shape stretches out, reducing precision. Some players re-string every few months during peak season for maximum performance. Listen for sounds of rattling mesh or pay attention if your release feels too slow – both signs it could be time to re-string.
You may also consider adjusting your stringing based on changes in playing style or position. For example, transitioning from attack to midfield may call for an altered pocket shape to accommodate more dodging and outside shooting. Defenders who pick up faceoff duties mid-season might want a pocket with more ball retention capabilities. Don’t be afraid to re-string with different runner angles, pocket placement or sidewall patterns to match evolving on-field needs.
Beyond function, stringing allows players to add personal flair to their sticks. Express yourself by stringing with vibrant colored mesh and sidewall strings in your favorite shades. Incorporate dyed leather runners or metallic strings for added swag. Craft unique geometrical sidewall knots to stand out. With the right stringing materials and techniques, your pocket style possibilities are endless.
As you can see, proper stringing requires an intersection of science and art. Master technical elements like runner angles, mesh tension, and sidewall patterning while also letting your own creative vision shine through. With practice and persistence, you’ll be stringing like the pros in no time. So grab your pliers and start crafting your best pocket yet – it will elevate every aspect of your game this season.
Stringing Kit Essentials: Key Tools to Have
So you’re ready to string your own lacrosse stick for the first time. Awesome! Stringing your own stick allows for maximum customization and cost savings over buying pre-strung options. But before you get started threading mesh and whipping sidewall knots, you need to make sure your stringing kit is stocked with the right gadgets and gizmos. Having quality tools that fit comfortably in your hand will make all the difference as you embark on this technical craft. Here are the essential items your stringing kit should contain.
First and foremost, invest in a sturdy pair of stringing pliers. Stringing pliers have a flat nose on one side and a pointed nose on the other, allowing you to grip and tension strings from multiple angles. Look for pliers constructed from heat-treated steel for enhanced durability over extended use. Ergonomic handles provide a comfortable grip and reduce hand strain during marathon stringing sessions. If budget allows, splurge on a plier design with interchangeable head attachments for added versatility.
While standard pliers get the job done, specialized three- and four-way head pliers offer next-level stringing functionality. These elaborate plier heads have multiple string grooves and ridges built in, acting like extra sets of hands. The extended grooves provide ideal leverage and tensioning angles while you work the mesh and sidewalls. Plus, the hands-free support these pliers provide keeps strings taut and tidy as you weave traditional runner pockets.
You’ll also need a sturdy pair of cutters suitable for dense lacrosse string material. Look for cutters with compound leverage design that multiplies the force of your hand pressure for crisp, effortless cutting. Needle nose cutters allow precise trimming in tight spaces, an essential for perfectly framing intricate sidewall knots. Rotary cutters quickly slice through bundles of string with their circular blade. Just be careful not over-tighten and crush the strings – flush, smooth cuts maintain integrity.
In addition to pliers and cutters, don’t forget the importance of a trusty screwdriver for tightening and removing screw inserts during stringing. Opt for a heavy-duty Phillips head screwdriver that provides enough resistance to really torque down on those screws without stripping them. Dual-headed screwdrivers offer additional versatility for sidewall screws of varying sizes and placements. You may also find a pocket knife comes in handy for miscellaneous cutting or scraping tasks while stringing.
To facilitate actually threading the mesh and sidewalls, you’ll need needles specially designed for pulling lacrosse strings. These rigid yet maneuverable metal or plastic needles have a U-shaped eyelet on one end perfect for gripping and guiding string through the tightest spaces. Curved needle tips let you navigate around tight corners and angles within complex string beds. Always grip needle handles firmly and pull steadily to avoid puncturing and damaging the mesh.
Speaking of mesh, stock up on high-quality brands known for durability, consistent diamonds, and weather-resistance. Popular options like ECD Hero Mesh maintain pocket shape through seasons of hardcore play. Order mesh in a range of diamond sizes like 10D, 12D, or 15D to accommodate different pocket preferences. Have various colors on hand too for customizable string beds. Buying mesh and sidewall string wholesale will save major money and trips to the lacrosse store.
While not required, items like clamps, vises, and jigs can vastly simplify the stringing process. Jig heads modeled after different lacrosse head shapes hold the frame steady so your hands are free to string. Stationary clamps or removable vise attachments grip the head on a workbench for the same hands-free effect. Some even allow you to tension and adjust string beds on the fly. Though not necessary for beginners, these tools are great investments as you advance your stringing skills.
There you have it – the essential tools for next-level lacrosse stick stringing. Stock your kit with high-performing gear and you’ll be stringing pockets worthy of the pros. Just take your time, follow proper stringing technique, and don’t be afraid to experiement. Before you know it, you’ll have a custom strung stick that perfect fits your playing style.
Selecting Your Women’s Lacrosse Head for Stringing
You’ve got your stringing kit prepped and you’re ready to get crafting. But before you start threading that first sidewall, you’ll need to select the right lacrosse head for your playing style. With so many head shapes, sizes, and tech features on the market, it can be tricky to decide. Here’s what you need to know when choosing a women’s lacrosse head for your stringing project.
First, consider if you want a wider or more narrow head shape. Broader, rounder shapes have a larger surface area and offset design, making them ideal for defenders and checking midfielders needing maximum ball control. Boxier shapes also benefit faceoff specialists by providing more ball retention during draws. Meanwhile, narrower head shapes have a more aerodynamic, technical design perfect for offensive players. The minimized surface area offers less friction, enabling quicker release and faster shot speeds.
You’ll also want to take into account head stiffness and flex characteristics. Ultra-stiff heads maintain their structure even during physical play, preferred by takeaway defenders making frequent checks. More flexible heads absorb impact while providing excellent ball feel, allowing for effortless cradling and passing. Newer tech mesh heads offer lightweight responsiveness, while composite and alloy heads provide rigid durability. Know your needs.
When it comes to size, women’s lacrosse heads typically range from eight to 12 inches wide. Youth players and smaller athletes often prefer more compact 8- to 10-inch sizes for easier ball control. Midfielders and versatile players tend to like median 10- to 11-inch heads offering a balance of finesse and power. Larger, max width heads around 12 inches suit defensive specialists who want to protect more goal area when blocking shots.
You’ll also encounter heads described as high pocket or low pocket. This refers to the maximum allowed height from the scoop to the ball stopping point. Low pocket heads have shorter legal pocket areas for increased ball retention, while high pocket heads allow you to string deeper pockets if desired. Consider your preferences.
Beyond width, size and flex, additional factors like head shape symmetry, sidewall hole configurations, and attachment mechanisms also impact overall playability. Test out heads from leading manufacturers like STX, Maverik, and East Coast Dyes to get a feel for these nuances. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the options – focus on your position and playing style to zone in on ideal features.
For example, an attack player may want a 10-inch high-pocket, technical head shape for quick feeding and split dodges around the crease. A lockdown defender would likely opt for a wider, asymmetrical shape with mid-level flex for checks and stops. Take notes when you see opponents with heads that catch your eye so you can research similar models later on.
While ultra-new heads may look swanky, you can save money by stringing last year’s forgotten model cleared from shelves. As long as the plastic or composite material shows no cracks or structural damage, stringing up a couple seasons-old head will provide the same performance. Check clearance racks for hidden gems.
At the end of the day, the “best” lacrosse head comes down to personal fit. Try out as many different head styles as you can before purchasing to determine what feels most comfortable. When you find the head that complements your abilities, you’ll gain an edge no matter what position you play. After all, confidence and consistency comes from having gear you can trust – and that starts with a head engineered for your game.
So don’t rush the research process, weigh your options carefully, and select a head you connect with. Then grab your prepped stringing kit and get ready to personalize your new weapon on the field. With the right techniques and materials, you’ll be launching rockets and dishing dimes in no time!
Stringing Material Options: Pros and Cons
When it comes to stringing your lacrosse stick, you’ll need to select the right materials to match your playing style and performance needs. While nylon mesh has become the dominant stringing material over the past decade, traditional leather and synthetic blends still have their merits. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of the most common stringing materials to consider.
Polyester or nylon lacrosse mesh provides excellent shape retention, consistency, and weather-resistance. The uniform diamond design makes mesh pockets easy to string and adjust tension as needed. Mesh pockets maintain their structure over time better than leather, reducing the need for frequent restringing. The fibrous woven construction also provides superior ball control and quick release. However, mesh lacks the soft, natural feel of leather and takes some “break-in” time to perfect the pocket.
On the other hand, kangaroo, calfskin, and cowhide leather offer unmatched feel when strung properly. Leather conforms perfectly to ball shape and provides buttery release once worked in. Runners can be meticulously stitched, woven, and laced for truly customized pocket styles. Traditionalists argue nothing compares to the artistry of hand crafted leather stringing. Yet leather requires rigorous maintenance and frequent restringing as it stretches and endures weathering over time.
For players wanting the best of both worlds, synthetic leathers like WaxMesh blend natural feel with the consistency of woven polymers. Materials like microfiber nylon also mimic leather softness while retaining weather-resistance. Hybrid mesh with coated sidewalls provides structure where needed while offering buttery shooting strings. Testing out sticks with composite string beds allows you to experience these next-gen advances.
The material you choose for shooters and cross-laces also impacts overall playability. Waxed hockey laces offer tacky grip and textured feel for stringing shooters. Multicolor shooters add swag to your stringing style. Thinner shoelaces enable quick, finessed release while thicker options provide more power. For cross-laces, nylon parachute chord or tennis racquet string offer the right blend of flex and durability to straighten pocket channels.
You can also upgrade from standard nylon sidewall string to dual-color strands for extra flair. Brands like Throne of String even offer glow-in-the-dark sidewall stringing if you want to stand out under the lights. Sidewall material affects how strings dig into the frame so test different gauges to prevent premature fraying.
While mesh may be the go-to for most players today, don’t be afraid to experiement with traditional leather and up-and-coming synthetics. Mixing different materials within your string bed can lead to breakthrough pocket styles and heightened feel. Pay attention to how the pros are stringing their sticks and don’t be afraid to tinker with unique material combinations until you achieve your ideal setup.
At the end of the day, lacrosse is about feel – feel for the ball, feel for your stick, feel for the game. Finding stringing materials that heighten your on-field awareness and instincts will enhance performance more than generic mesh and nylons alone. Know your preferences and play to your strengths. The right materials crafted into your perfect pocket will have you playing at the next level in no time.
How to String a Traditional Women’s Pocket
Stringing a traditional leather pocket requires great precision, patience, and craftsmanship. But mastering the fundamental techniques will give you the foundation for creating all kinds of custom women’s pockets. Follow these step-by-step instructions to learn how to string a traditional pocket.
Start by determining your desired pocket depth. Anchor the first runner 12 diamonds down from the scoop to establish this maximum depth. Secure the runner through the sidewall holes with a simple single knot on each side. Pull the knots tight against the inside walls using your stringing pliers.
Continue lacing subsequent runners down the head, gradually widening the diamond spacing as you move towards the throat. Place the second runner 8 diamonds from the scoop, the third 6 diamonds down, and so on. Knot each runner tightly on the sidewalls as you work your way down the head.
Pay close attention to the vertical angle of each runner. Keeping the runners straight will create a straight traditional pocket. Angling runners diagonally down and away from each other will result in a deeper offset pocket. Find the ideal angles to shape the pocket for your playing style.
Make sure to invert every other runner so runners don’t stack directly on top of each other. This overlapping technique locks the runners in place and maintains pocket integrity. Alternate the sidewall you start knotting on each time to achieve this effect.
Once the runners are interlaced, reinforce the shape by stitching nylon cross laces horizontally along the length of the head. Start just below the first runner and continue down, spacing laces 2-3 diamonds apart. Keep even tension on the laces so they pull the runners flat against the sidewalls.
The cross laces should get gradually thinner as you move down the head. This improves channel consistency and ball control. Consider alternating colors for an added flare. Secure the ends with tight double knots along the outside walls.
Finish it off by stringing nylon shooters through the sidewall holes starting directly above the last runner. Use a high-quality hockey lace material here for ideal grip and release. Stagger the shooter placements on each side to maintain pocket angle and shape.
Throughout the process, continually reference lacrosse ball size to ensure proper depth and tension. The ball should sit above the bottom ridge with a portion exposed along the upper sidewalls. When you cradle, it should sit snugly but release smoothly.
Don’t be afraid to tweak tension or re-lace cross pieces during the break-in process. Traditional leathers require hands-on craftsmanship as you manually shape the ideal pocket.
There you have it – with the right materials, patience, and techniques, you can string a high-performing traditional women’s pocket worthy of the pros. So grab your pliers and get crafting. That custom pocket will give you the confidence and control needed to own the field this season!
Stringing a Women’s Offset Pocket: Step-by-Step
Once you’ve mastered traditional pocket stringing, it’s time to take it to the next level with an offset pocket design. Offsetting the deepest part of the pocket towards one side of the head allows for quicker ball handling and shot preparation. Here’s a step-by-step guide to stringing this advanced woven pocket style.
As with traditional pockets, start by anchoring the first runner 12 diamonds down from the scoop. However, when knotting the runner to the sidewalls, angle it diagonally towards the outside of the head rather than straight down. Use pliers to tightly tension knots against the inside walls.
Continue lacing downward, intentionally widening the diamond spacing on one side while keeping diamonds tighter on the opposite sidewall. Maintain tension and offset this angle on each subsequent runner. The different sidewall tensions will actively shift the pocket towards your desired offset placement.
Pay close attention to ensuring runners lay flat and do not twist or overlap. The precision angling is key to shaping the offset channel. Alternate starting knot locations to keep runners stacked cleanly. Consider alternating materials or colors on each runner for added swag.
As you lace horizontal cross strings, intentionally vary tension on each side to reinforce the biased pocket angle. Keep strings on the offset side taut while allowing more give through the opposite sidewall. The cross laces act like a woven fence keeping the pocket contained.
When stringing the top nylon shooters, use a symmetrical starting point but tension the outside strings tighter. Again, this difference in tension helps cup the pocket to one side. Stagger each side symmetrically but pull knots tight.
During stringing, continually reference an actual ball in the pocket. Ensure it sits snugly within the offset channel without bulging out the top. When throwing, you want a smooth, effortless release with no added resistance from the pocket.
Be prepared to experiement with different diamond counts, runner angles, and sidewall tensions when first learning offset stringing. The key is finding the sweet spot where precision pocket control meets free-flowing ball movement. Patience and persistence pay off.
There you have it! With practice, you can master the meticulous art of offset stringing. Let your inner stringer shine through with creative colors and personalized shapes. Before you know it, you’ll be breaking ankles and sniping corners thanks to your new offset advantage!
Achieving the Perfect Pocket Tension and Depth
Whether stringing a traditional or offset pocket, finding the ideal tension and depth is essential for optimizing performance. The right pocket tightness and ball placement enhances control, feel, and release. But what exactly constitutes perfection when it comes to pocket properties?
In terms of tension, the pocket should cradle the ball snugly without squeezing or pinching it. You want a smooth, cohesive fit with no bulges or gaps along the sidewalls. The ball should be secured firmly enough not to dislodge during physical play, but loose enough to effortlessly channel and pass.
Test pocket tension by cradling at varying speeds and directions. If you feel the ball wobble, vibrate, or release errantly, tighten tension by adjusting cross-lace angles. If cradling feels obstructed or catching requires added force, loosen the pocket for better ball flow.
When throwing, the ideal tension enables the ball to transfer momentum directly into the pocket for maximum speed without slowing release. To increase tension, stitch tighter cross-laces higher up on the head. Loosen the channel by restringing the lowest 1-2 cross-laces in a more open formation.
In terms of depth, optimal placement positions the ball just above the pocket’s lowest point with a portion exposed along the sidewall. This allows you to firmly control and move the ball while keeping it from getting lodged in the throat.
To set ideal depth, anchor the first runner 10-15 diamonds down from the scoop based on your height and arm length. Taller players with longer reaches may prefer deeper pockets for added control. More compact players can string higher pockets for quicker releases.
During play, make sure the ball never sinks so deep it buries below your bottom hand grip. This impedes handling and passing. If it’s too deep, restring by raising runner placements incrementally until finding your perfect fit.
Getting the right tension and depth combination requires lots of hands-on testing. Don’t rush the break-in process – keep adjusting and perfecting your pocket formation through extensive use. With time, all the components will come together harmoniously for that custom, unrivaled feel.
Ultimately, ideal pocket properties directly correlate with individual playing style and ability. Master stringers can customize pockets perfectly calibrated for your strengths. So keep stringing and tinkering until the ball moves seamlessly as an extension of your lacrosse stick. That buttery pocket feel will have your game rising to the next level in no time!
Common Stringing Mistakes to Avoid
Properly stringing a lacrosse stick is essential for maximizing ball control, passing, catching, and shooting. For women’s lacrosse players, having a stick strung to your preferences and playing style can give you an edge on the field. However, stringing a stick incorrectly can hinder your performance. Here are some of the most common stringing mistakes to avoid with your women’s lacrosse stick.
Using the Wrong Mesh/Pocket
The mesh or pocket is one of the most important components of stringing a lacrosse stick. For women’s sticks, a shallower pocket with a soft mesh is ideal for excellent ball control. Using a mesh or pocket that is too deep can make it harder to cleanly catch and pass the ball. On the other hand, a pocket that is too pinched can hinder ball control. Take the time to research and test out mesh and pocket options to find the optimal depth and feel for your preferences.
Neglecting the Middle Channel
Creating a proper channel in the middle of the pocket is crucial for optimum ball control and release. The channel should run from the top of the head to the very bottom of the pocket. Failing to define this channel by neglecting to lace the mesh tight enough in the sweet spot can lead to inaccurate passing and stunted shots. Take care to crisscross the side wall strings and pull the mesh tight in the channel area.
Stringing Too Tight Across the Top
While you want to create a defined pocket, stringing the mesh too tight across the entire top of the stick can lead to issues catching and scooping up ground balls. The top of the pocket should have some natural give for cradling and adjusting while running down the field or rolling out of defense. Find a balance between a structured channel and looser stringing across the remaining horizontal spaces.
Not Weaving Bottom String Through the Mesh
Simply running the bottom string through the sidewall holes often leads to premature fraying and pocket collapse. For maximum sturdiness, be sure to weave the bottom string over-under through each row of diamonds in the mesh. This helps lock each row of the pocket into place for better ball retention and pocket longevity.
Uneven Pocket Shape
Pay close attention to symmetry when stringing the left and right sides of the mesh pocket. An uneven pocket can cause the ball to release off-center. Measure distances between sidewall knots to ensure even tension on each side. Also be sure you are puling the mesh evenly through the sidewall holes on both sides to create a mirror image and balanced pocket.
Ignoring Your Skill Level and Position
Women’s lacrosse sticks allow for a good amount of customization based on player skill, position, and personal preference. As a beginner, focusing on ball control with a shallower, soft pocket is wise. Midfielders often prefer a medium depth pocket for all-around performance while attackers tend to like a deeper pocket for superior ball retention in traffic. Consider how you use your stick and where you play when making stringing choices.
Not Maximizing the Middle Diamonds
The diamonds closest to the middle of the head have the most give and flexibility. Really pull these center diamonds tight when stringing your pocket to optimize control, hold, and release. The middle diamonds are crucial for fine-tuning the overall pocket feel and performance.
Cutting the Shooting Strings Too Short
Shooting strings act like a catapult to add velocity and finesse to your shot. Cutting these nylon strings too short can prevent them from doing their job properly. Leave enough length and tension for the shooting cords to cup behind the ball and sling it forward upon release. This adds vital power and accuracy.
Patience and attention to detail go a long way when stringing a women’s lacrosse head. Avoid these common pitfalls for optimal ball control, precise passing, added ball velocity, and pinpoint shooting accuracy. With the right mesh, pocket, and stringing adjustments catered to your skill and position, you can gain an advantage on the lacrosse field this season.
Testing Your Strung Stick for Optimal Throwing
You spent time researching the best mesh, mapping out stringing patterns, and meticulously weaving the sidewalls and shooters. Now that your women’s lacrosse stick is strung, it’s time to test it out. Throwing with your stick is the best way to ensure your stringing job offers optimal ball control, feel, and throwing performance tailored to you.
Check Pocket Depth
When you place a ball into the pocket, it should sit comfortably with around half of the ball above the rim. A pocket that sits too deep or shallow will hinder passing and shooting. If the depth doesn’t seem right, you may need to tweak the sidewall stringing to tighten or loosen the pocket.
Test Ball Retention
Hold your stick parallel to the ground and gently shake it from side to side. The ball should stay securely in the pocket, even when shook aggressively. If the ball rattles around too much or falls out, your pocket may need tighter stringing across the top diamonds.
Execute Fundamental Throws
Take your strung stick out for throwing tests. Start with basic throws like quick sticks, catch-and-releases, and cradling. The ball should easily sit in the pocket on cradles and maintain control on passes. Move on to longer distance throwing and hard shots on goal. Look for smooth, even releases and make stringing adjustments if the pocket seems to be affecting your mechanics.
Consider Feel on Ground Balls
Pick up some ground balls using your newly strung stick. Scooping should feel natural, with the ball guiding cleanly into the pocket. If the ball gets stuck in the top mesh, tighten the first diamond row. For poor ground ball pickups, try loosening the nylon to allow for more flex.
Examine Ball Position at Rest
Pay attention to where the ball sits when you come to rest holding your stick. It should settle comfortably into the lower-middle pocket area. If it rolls too deep or high out of the pocket, the channel may need some re-stringing to better hold the ball.
Check Sidewall Symmetry
When you look down at your strung pocket from the scoop, the sidewalls should mirror each other. If one side has more defined diamonds than the other, your stringing job may not be evenly balanced. This can affect throwing precision over time.
Set up some passing and shooting accuracy tests for yourself. If you notice the ball consistently tailing or hooking in one direction, your pocket may be uneven. Re-string if you can’t hit targets consistently due to poor ball releases.
Get Input From Teammates
Have a teammate watch you throw with your newly strung stick and get their feedback. They may spot issues like inconsistencies, accuracy problems, or bad ball rotation that you can’t see yourself. Don’t hesitate to tweak stringing based on outside input.
Play Wall Ball
Spending 15-30 minutes playing wall ball with your stick is a great way to break it in and get a feel for the throws. Pay attention to how the ball releases, moves in the pocket, and absorbs impact. Make small adjustments until the pocket feels like an extension of your own hand.
It’s crucial to test out your stringing job thoroughly before taking your stick onto the field in competition. While it may feel great stringing the perfect pocket, nothing beats actually throwing, catching, cradling, and shooting with your new pattern. Use testing insights to make any final tweaks for peak performance.
When to Consider Re-Stringing Your Stick
You spent time stringing your women’s lacrosse stick to match your playing style and skills. But over time and with heavy use, even the best string jobs can wear down. Knowing when to re-string your stick is crucial for maintaining top performance.
Fraying Mesh or Sidewalls
Inspect the mesh and nylon rope sidewalls routinely for signs of fraying or broken fibers. Fraying indicates the materials are wearing and loosening. This can quickly compromise your pocket shape, ball control, and shooting accuracy. Re-stringing is in order before fraying gets out of hand.
Pocket Bagging Out
Gradually your tightly strung pocket may loosen up and “bag out”, with the mesh becoming stretched out and loose. A bagged out pocket makes it hard to cradle and retain possession. Re-stringing will pull the diamonds taut again for better hold and control.
Increased Whip/Loss of Accuracy
Over time, shooting strings and sidewalls can lose tension. This leads to increased pocket whip on passes and shots, causing inaccuracy. If your ball is consistently tailing left or right, it’s probably time to restore optimal pocket and whip control through re-stringing.
Poor Ball Retention
When your pocket gets too shallow from bagging out, it becomes harder to hold the ball securely. Frequent drops or loose balls indicate it’s time to re-string your pocket for proper depth and ball retention ability.
Slow/Clumsy Ground Ball Pickups
As mesh stretches out, scooping up ground balls may feel slow and clumsy. Loose top stringing also contributes to subpar ground ball control. Re-stringing will tighten up the channel and diamond tops to get you back to quick, smooth ground ball pickups.
New Position/Skill Level
If you take on a new position or your skills progress, your pocket may no longer match your needs. For example, you may want a deeper pocket as an attacker vs. a mid, or tighter stringing as your level improves. Don’t be afraid to re-string to suit your evolving game.
Trying New Mesh/Shooters
Experimenting with new mesh, nylons, and shooters is common as you dial in your preferences. Installing new materials is a great reason to re-string your stick to experience the performance differences.
Some players like to re-string before each new season to start fresh. Why not give your stick a tune up pre-season? New mesh also gives you a tactile edge when breaking in a stick.
Fixing the Shape
If your pocket shifts in shape over time and develops “diamonds” or “fishhooks”, a re-string will even out the channel and sidewall alignment for optimum symmetry and ball control.
While a quality string job can last a while, don’t hesitate to re-string when you notice performance dropping off. Maintaining proper pocket shape, depth, and sidewall tension keeps your stick tuned up for excellent handling and accuracy. Give your stick a fresh start regularly to stay sharp.
Adjusting Stringing for Different Player Positions
Women’s lacrosse stick stringing can be customized to suit each player’s position and style. While stringing comes down to personal preference, there are some position-specific adjustments that can give you an edge.
Attackers often prefer a deeper pocket to hug the ball even in traffic around the crease. A more relaxed top string and deeper pocket help shield and protect the ball. Shooting strings should have plenty of slack for added whip on quick releases. A deeper pocket also aids in sinking low shots just under the goalie’s stick.
As all-arounders, midfields need a balance of ball retention and crisp passing. A medium depth pocket with a defined channel and mid-range shooting string tension offers versatility. Strongholds on the sidewalls help retain possession while scooping ground balls at high speed.
For defenders, quick sticks and passes are a priority for starting transitions up-field. A shallow pocket optimizes ball control for one-touch passing. Sidewalls can be strung loosely to widen the pocket area for easier catching on the run. Shooting strings may be pulled tighter as defenders shoot less often.
Goalie sticks are strung for maximizing ground ball control. Shooting strings are optional since most goalies lack offensive skills. Focus stringing efforts on an exaggerated mid-high pocket for cradling and outlet passing after saves. The mesh and nylon should be tight and flat for boxing out shots.
Winning faceoffs requires scooping ground balls quickly. A medium pocket with extra hold in the throat of the stick performs best. Shooting strings can be tied ultra tight to take away all whip during faceoff pushes and pops. An added cobra weave shooting string also aids control.
The draw often decides possession off the opening whistle. For draw specialists, stringing focuses heavily on ground ball performance. A wider head with a flat, stiff mesh helps collect ground balls when clamping down on the draw. Minimal whip also allows for directional drawing and popping out to space.
Those newer to the game do best with a shallow, simple pocket for developing fundamentals. A soft mesh with minimal shooting strings allows for easy catching, cradling, and passing. Leave the fancy stringing jobs until basic stick skills improve.
At higher levels, technical stringing techniques come into play. Advanced sidewall stringing like double triangles, stacked shooting strings, and custom interlocks provide next-level ball control and finesse shooting. Every advantage counts when the competition is stiff.
While personal preference rules, optimizing your stringing for your position gives you an edge. Tweak the depth, definition, shooting strings, and sidewall hold until the pocket feels like an extension of your hand. The right adjustments can take your on-field stick skills to the next level.
Personalizing Pocket Shape and Handle Flex
One of the great aspects of stringing your own stick is making the pocket and handle flex perfectly match your playing style. While it takes experimentation to find your ideal setup, personalizing these elements can give you superior control.
The options are nearly endless when shaping your pocket. A rounded pocket with an exaggerated mid-low channel is great for cradling and accuracy. Some players prefer a flat-bottomed pocket shape for added ball hold and quick releases. You can also shape a triangular pocket for smooth passing or a diamond configuration with defined sidewall diamonds.
Shooting strings let you fine tune pocket release and whip. A triple shooter setup gives you maximum control over hold and aim. For more whip, use cobra style shooting strings or nylons with ample slack. Or eliminate whip altogether by tying tight double straight shooters high and low in the throat.
Sidewall Holes and Diamonds
Varying how you string the sidewall holes controls pocket shape. String diamond lace interlocks between holes for defined diamonds great for midfielders. Or string 1-1 through holes for minimal diamonds and a rounded shape, ideal for attackers. Get creative with double diamonds, 1-2 hole patterns, and knots for advanced shaping.
Alter sidewall string tension for customized hold. Tie knots closer together at the base and throat for reinforced retention when cradling. Loosen knots through the midsection for adjustability while running. Add strongholds like double triangles for maximum ball control when slashing through traffic.
Mesh comes in a variety of diamond sizes, materials, and stretchiness. Hard meshes hold shape better while soft meshes provide flexibility. Choose your mesh properties to complement your desired pocket style.
Some players want a rigid handle for maximum passing power. Others like a loose flexible handle to finesse shots and absorb checks. Adjust handle tightness by the knots attaching it to the head. Another option is adding a girly lace to increase flex.
Pinching the Throat
For quicker throws, pinch the plastic throat with sidewall string to narrow the channel opening. This positions the ball immediately in the pocket for catch-and-release passes. Leave the throat unpinched for a wider pocket mouth if you like room to cradle and adjust on the fly.
While most patterns focus on fundamentals, optimizing the nuances takes your stick to the next level. The top players fine tune pocket shape, shooting flex, handle bend, and sidewall hold until the stick feels less like an extension and more like a part of their arm.
Matching Stringing to Your Playing Style
Women’s lacrosse players each have a unique style based on their skills, strengths, and position preferences. Optimizing your stringing to complement your personal playing style can give you an edge. Here are some stringing considerations for common playing styles.
For those who prefer quick passes to shooting, focus your stringing on fast transitions and catches. A medium pocket with a soft mesh provides flexibility for catching passes on the run. Limit shooting strings for unimpeded passing lanes. Tie sidewalls higher to widen the sweet spot for crisp catches.
If your forte is sniping goals, go for maximum whip and ball hold. Stack multiple shooting strings for pocket tension you can control. A deeper pocket and relaxed top string cradles the ball on drives to the cage. Interlocks at the scoop help secure possession during the shooting motion.
Use stringing that supports your slash-and-shoot style. A baggy mesh pocket with strongholds along the sidewalls helps keep control when slashing through traffic. Set up a channel and shooting strings to add whip on quick stick shots after dodges.
Ground Ball Grinder
String your stick for ground ball proficiency. Tighten top strings and sidewalls for ball retention and control during ground ball battles. Opt for a stiff mesh rather than soft for better ground ball scooping. Add channels both high and low to guide balls into your stick.
As a shutdown defender, quick passing and catches are vital. A shallow pocket with minimal whip makes one-touch outlets easy. Loosen the midsection sidewalls for flexibility while keeping the base tight for protection during ground ball scrums.
Speedy transitions call for optimized passing at full tilt. A soft pocket with natural runner’s shape improves catching on the move. Limit knots for unimpeded throwing lanes down-field. Medium sidewall tension provides hold without sacrificing ball control at top speed.
While personal style develops over time, get a head start by matching your stringing to your strengths right from the start. Whether you are a feeder, sniper, dodger, grinder, defender, or sprinter; optimized pocket shape, sidewalls, shooters, and mesh give you an advantage tailored to how you play.
Caring for Your Strung Stick Properly
A properly strung lacrosse stick is crucial for any women’s lacrosse player. Your stick is your most important piece of equipment – it’s an extension of your arm on the field. Taking good care of your strung stick and keeping it in optimal condition for play will help maximize your performance during games and practices.
One of the best ways to care for your strung lacrosse stick is by investing in a high-quality stringing kit. Stringing kits contain all the essential tools and supplies you need to string, tweak, and maintain your stick’s pocket and sidewall strings. Having your own kit allows you to make adjustments and repairs yourself instead of taking your stick to a lacrosse store each time.
When shopping for a women’s lacrosse stringing kit, look for one that contains lacrosse-specific string, sidewall string, mesh, a stringing needle, pliers, scissors, and measurement tools. Lacrosse Unlimited offers comprehensive kits with all these items. Kits with more tools and supplies give you more options for customizing your pocket and achieving optimal ball control, hold, and release.
Once you have a stringing kit, use it to regularly check over your stick and make any needed adjustments. Over time and through heavy use, mesh pockets can bag out while sidewall strings can stretch and loosen. Use stringing pliers to tighten sidewalls and a needled stringing thread to sew a deeper channel or pocket in the mesh if needed. Keeping the pocket taut and sidewalls tight will improve performance.
Be sure to remove dirt and debris from your stick after each use. Dirt particles caught in the mesh can abrade and weaken strings over time. Gently shake out any loose dirt then use a soft brush to dislodge any remaining particles trapped in the weave of the mesh or sidewall strings.
When cleaning your stick, never submerge the entire head in water or use harsh cleaners. This can damage the strings and overall construction. Instead, use a damp rag to spot clean. If needed, use a small amount of mild detergent on the rag. Take special care to thoroughly clean out any remaining detergent residue, which can weaken mesh and strings.
Check your strings frequently for signs of wear and fraying. This is especially important for mesh pocket areas that see a lot of action like ball contact points, the scoop, and the channel. At the first sign of fraying, use your stringing kit to mend strings or replace mesh sections before they fully deteriorate. It’s much easier to make minor repairs than restring an entire head.
Avoid storing your strung stick in extreme temperatures or direct sunlight when not in use. High heat and UV exposure can dry out mesh and cause strings and mesh to become brittle. Storing sticks in bags or team equipment lockers helps protect them.
When traveling with your stick for away games, take extra precautions. Pack your stick inside a protective case or bag with extra padding to avoid damage. Don’t check your stick or pack it loose inside regular luggage. The rough handling of checked baggage can lead sticks to arrive broken or restrung.
Take time to wax your stick’s handle and shaft periodically. This helps seal the wood, preventing swelling and cracking from moisture exposure. Rub a lacrosse-specific stick wax or even furniture wax along the length of the shaft and handle. Buff gently with a soft cloth until the wood has a polished look.
Replacing your stick every season or two is recommended. Subtle weakening in the head and pocket can occur over time even with the best care. Older sticks are also more likely to break. Work a new stick into your rotation to stay safe on the field.
With the right stringing kit and proper care, your strung lacrosse stick can deliver optimal performance season after season. Taking time to string, clean, and maintain your stick will maximize its playability and longevity. Invest in a quality women’s lacrosse stringing kit and make it a habit to regularly inspect mesh pockets, restring as needed, and properly store your stick.
Where to Get Your Stick Professionally Re-Strung
So you’ve been playing women’s lacrosse for a while now. You’ve got the basic skills down – cradling, scooping, passing, catching, shooting. Your stick handling is looking pretty good in practice and you’re starting to feel confident in games. But something still feels a little off with your stick. The pocket doesn’t feel quite right or the ball rattles around too much when you run. This likely means it’s time to get your stick re-strung by a professional.
Proper stringing is essential for every lacrosse player. It impacts how the ball releases, the pocket depth, ball control, and even the legality of your stick. Women’s sticks in particular require specialized stringing to meet regulation requirements. Doing it yourself can be extremely difficult, even for experienced players. Getting your stick re-strung by a professional is the best way to optimize your performance.
But where exactly should you go to get your stick strung? There are a few great options out there.
Local Lacrosse Retail Stores
One of the best places to get your stick re-strung is a local lacrosse-focused retail store. These stores specialize in lacrosse equipment and often employ stringers who can customize your pocket exactly how you want it. The benefit of using a local retailer is you can check out the stringing work first-hand and meet the stringer in person. This allows you to explain the feel you’re looking for and get their expert recommendations on pocket placement, shooters, and other custom adjustments.
It’s a good idea to call the store ahead of time to ask about their stringing services. Not all retailers offer on-site stringing. You’ll want to find one that does. Expect to pay $25-$60 for a basic re-string job from a quality local shop.
Online Lacrosse Retailers
Online retailers like Lacrosse Unlimited, Amazon, and Sideline Swap also offer stick re-stringing services. Simply ship your stick to them with notes on how you want it strung. Their team of experienced stringers will take care of the rest and ship it back in 1-2 weeks. This is a convenient option if you don’t have a quality lacrosse store nearby.
Pricing for online re-stringing is similar to local shops, in the $25-$60 range. Just be aware that you won’t be able to see or feel the stringing work until you get your stick back. Be very detailed in your stringing instructions to get the specs you want.
Teammates or Friends
If you know a teammate, friend, or family member with strong stringing skills, that’s another possibility for getting your stick re-strung. The benefit here is you can oversee the stringing process and provide real-time feedback. And it’s likely free or very cheap. The downside is you’re relying on their stringing abilities being up to par. If they don’t have a lot of experience stringing women’s sticks, the end result may not be what you hoped for.
If you go this route, be sure to clearly explain the issues you’re having with your current stringing and your ideal pocket shape/feel. Watching stringing tutorial videos together can help give them some direction too. This option is riskier but can work well if you know someone with real stringing chops looking to practice their skills.
For the ambitious DIY-er, you can always re-string your stick yourself with a stringing kit. Brands like StringKing, Throne of String, and Universal Lacrosse offer comprehensive kits with pre-cut sidewall strings, shooting strings, mesh, and detailed stringing instructions. If you’re feeling confident in your stringing abilities, this lets you fully customize your pocket exactly how you want it.
Be warned – stringing a women’s stick properly is very challenging. Anyone can string a basic pocket, but stringing one that maximizes ball control, release, and meets regulation takes serious skill. Expect to spend 5+ hours your first time, so only go the DIY route if you’re committed to mastering the art of stringing.
Whether you get your stick re-strung locally, online, by a friend, or on your own, a quality string job makes all the difference. Take the time to get it done right before your next season. Your stick skills and confidence will thank you!