Proper Pocket Pounding Form and Technique
Having the right form and technique when using a lacrosse pocket pounder is crucial for optimizing your pocket and achieving your desired pocket shape. Here are some key tips for proper pocket pounding form:
First, hold the pocket pounder correctly. Grip the handle firmly in one hand, keeping your wrist straight. Avoid bending your wrist too much, as this can lead to injury over time. Position your top hand just below the metal hammerhead for stability and control.
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. This athletic stance will give you stability to put force into your swings. Angling your body perpendicular to the pocket head can also allow you to get more power into your hits.
Use controlled, compact swings with the pocket pounder. Draw the hammerhead straight back 6-12 inches, keeping your elbow tucked. Generate force by engaging your core and shoulders. Follow through directly into the pocket mesh for focused impact. Avoid overly long, looping swings which can throw off your accuracy.
Aim for consistent, repeated strikes in the exact spots you want to manipulate. Pound problem areas like the midsection of the pocket or edges more frequently. Pound 10-15 times per section to start seeing pocket changes. Rotate the head periodically to reach all angles.
Work patiently and methodically. Applying controlled, measured blows allows you to gradually shape the pocket over time. Don’t try to rush the process or overdo it in one session. Take breaks to check progress and give your arms a rest.
Between pounding sessions, perform maintenance like re-threading shooting strings or re-tightening sidewall knots. This preserves your progress. Also check for any mesh damage and discontinue use if the head shows signs of weakening.
With the right techniques, you can successfully transform your lacrosse head’s pocket using a pocket pounder. Pay close attention to form, precision, and patience as you work the mesh. Gradually, you will shape the pocket to suit your exact preferences.
Why Use a Lacrosse Pocket Pounder?
There are many great reasons to use a lacrosse pocket pounder. This simple but powerful tool allows players to customize and optimize their pockets to perfection.
One of the biggest benefits of using a pocket pounder is the ability to break in a new head faster. Brand new lacrosse heads often come with very stiff, unforgiving mesh right out of the package. By pounding strategic areas, you can soften and loosen the mesh much quicker than simply playing with it. This cuts down substantially on the frustrating break-in period for new heads.
In addition to accelerating break-in, pocket pounders give players total control over pocket shape. You can create any channeling, depth, or bagginess desired by targeting certain mesh diamonds. For example, repeatedly striking the lower sidewalls will deepen the pocket significantly. Pounding the midpoint of the head will create a more defined channel. You can also fix problem areas like uneven bagginess by working problem spots until balanced.
Having a customized, optimized pocket can then lead to major performance benefits. Tighter channeling improves ball control, retention, and accuracy. A deeper pocket with nice bagginess makes cradling smoother. You may find your passing, catching, shooting and stick skills as a whole go to the next level after pounding your pocket into an ideal configuration.
Pocket pounders allow for quick pocket tuning as well. If the weather, usage, or storage position has altered your pocket unnecessarily, you can quickly remedy it with some targeted pounding. No need to redo entire strings – just pound trouble spots for 5 minutes to restore the shape. This on-the-fly pocket fixing can be a big help before crucial games.
Unlike stringing, pocket pounding is an incremental process. By applying focused force over time, you can carefully shape the mesh without overdoing it. There is much less risk of blowing out the pocket compared to aggressive string adjustments. Pound patiently in short sessions until the pocket is perfect.
While pocket pounders require a bit of practice and finesse, they deliver proven results. The ability to fully customize pocket shape and optimize performance is well worth the effort. Once you get the technique dialed in, you may find it an indispensable tool in your lacrosse bag.
Different Types of Lacrosse Pocket Pounders
When shopping for a lacrosse pocket pounder, players will find there are a few main types to choose from. Each variety has its own unique shape, weight, and handling that suits certain needs.
The classic style pocket pounder has a long, cylindrical metal head attached perpendicularly to a plastic handle. The head is often engraved with crosshatching or grooves to help grip the mesh. This traditional hammer shape provides nice control and concentrated impact. It’s a balanced, all-purpose design great for most players.
For added weight and driving power, some pocket pounders feature a flat, slab-shaped hammer head. Made from solid metal alloys, these pack more punch for really digging into stiff meshes. The flat surface also spreads force more evenly across the pocket. The heavier head does require more swinging strength and control.
Other specialty pocket pounders incorporate two perpendicular hammer heads in a T-shape. This dual-sided configuration allows pounding from multiple angles without rotating the stick. The twin heads also cover more surface area for faster break-in. However, the unusual shape takes some practice to master.
There are options with longer, thinner cylindrical heads as well. The extended reach on these can improve leverage and swinging momentum without adding excess weight. The narrow head shape also focuses force on very precise areas. However, the thinner contact area requires greater precision.
For goalies, right-angle pocket pounder heads are popular. The 90-degree angle allows pounding pockets while the head is mounted in the strut. This provides stability and makes pounding inside the throat much easier. Offset hammer heads work similarly.
Choosing pocket pounder type often comes down to personal preference, pocket shape goals, and pounding style. Testing out different varieties can help determine which is most comfortable and effective for your needs. Consider weight, hammer head coverage, and handle length that suit your strength and precision.
No matter which physical design you choose, always look for quality construction. Solid, forged metal heads resist damage, while cushioned rubber grips reduce hand fatigue. With the right pocket pounder type and build, you can sculpt perfectly optimized pockets for many seasons to come.
Key Features to Look for in a Lacrosse Pocket Pounder
With the wide variety of pocket pounders available, it helps to know what features to look for when selecting one. The right combination of design, materials, and construction quality makes all the difference in pounding performance and longevity.
The hammer head itself is a primary consideration. Forged, solid metal heads made from alloys like steel or titanium allow for durability and concentrated impact. Single-cast heads resist chips and cracks better than welded assemblies. Grooves or textured faces help grip mesh while pounding. Hammer heads should be securely attached to avoid loosening over time.
Pocket pounder handles also affect functionality. Longer handles in the 10 to 12 inch range improve leverage for driving power, while compact handles around 8 inches offer more control. Thicker handles spaced widely from the head provide stability and resist breaking. Rubber, foam, or textured grips make prolonged pounding more comfortable.
Balanced weight distribution is another key factor. Heads that are too heavy or light relative to the handle will feel awkward and be difficult to control. The best designs have balanced, neutral weighting that’s not too light yet still easily maneuverable during use. Anything over 2 pounds total weight requires significant strength to wield repeatedly.
It’s also wise to look for lacrosse pocket pounders made in America, by reputable sporting goods manufacturers. Well-known lacrosse brands often hold their products to higher standards of quality control and construction. Buying American ensures you’re getting a thoughtfully engineered, durable tool.
Storage convenience features like pre-drilled hanging holes or protective sheaths help keep your pocket pounder in good condition when not in use. Compact form factors make tossing one in your gear bag simpler as well. Replaceable parts are a plus for long-term repair and maintenance.
Of course, pricing matters too. More sophisticated engineering and high-end metal alloys will come at a higher cost. However, cheaper generic pounders often cut corners on materials and quality. Investing in a well-made, trusted pocket pounder saves money and headaches in the long run.
By keeping these characteristics in mind while shopping, you can select an ideal lacrosse pocket pounder for your needs and budget. Precision pounding and lasting performance ultimately comes down to quality of design and construction.
Proper Pocket Pounding Form and Technique
Getting the most out of your lacrosse pocket pounder requires using proper form and technique. The right pounding approach makes the process smoother, safer, and optimizes your pocket shaping results.
Firstly, grip the pocket pounder correctly for control and stability. Hold the handle near the bottom, keeping your dominant hand low. Choke up your guide hand just under the hammer head. Keep wrists straight to avoid strain. Stand with knees bent in an athletic stance, angled perpendicular to the head.
Use compact, measured backswings when pounding. Draw the hammerhead straight back 6-12 inches without overextending. Keep your elbows tucked close to your core for power. Allow your shoulders to turn naturally, engaging your core. Follow through swinging directly into the mesh pocket for focused impact.
Aim for consistent, repeated strikes in key areas to shape the pocket effectively. Work methodically around the head, applying focused blows to midsections, sidewalls, scoops, and shooting strings as needed. Pound problem spots like baggy midsections more frequently.
Rotate the head periodically to reach the pocket from all angles. Grip the head firmly between pounding sessions to avoid shifts. Take breaks to re-tighten strings and check your progress. This ensures longevity and avoids overstressing any one section.
Patience and an incremental approach is crucial. Do not try to rush reshaping the pocket in one session. Apply measured blows over multiple short sessions until the mesh gradually softens and conforms as desired. Allow the head to rest and recover between poundings.
Proper form also prevents injury. Keep wrists straight and avoid pounding with your arms only. Let your shoulders, core, and legs generate force. Use ice and breaks to manage fatigue. Discontinue use if hands, elbows or shoulders become strained. Maintain control and accuracy over raw power.
With practice, pocket pounding technique will improve. Pay close attention to grip, foot stance, swing mechanics, strike accuracy, and pacing. Proper form instills good muscle memory and precision. In time, you’ll be able to customize pockets with an optimized, efficient pounding workflow.
Helpful Lacrosse Pocket Pounding Drills
In addition to pounding games and practices, implementing targeted pocket pounding drills can help accelerate learning proper technique. Drills build key skills through repetition in a focused, constructive environment.
One useful drill is staggered target pounding. Mark different mesh diamonds or sections with tape. Then practice alternating hammer strikes between the targets in sequence. This engrains targeting accuracy and coordination into your muscle memory.
Footwork drills are helpful as well. Practice sliding your front foot forward and backward as you swing, keeping knees bent. This reinforces an athletic stance and weight transfer for generating power. Agility ladder drills also build useful foot quickness.
For hand-eye coordination, try shadow swinging without a ball. Focus on smooth, controlled backswings and follow-throughs. You can also practice miming hammer strikes in the air while walking around. This hones mechanics minus the tiring repetition.
Ball toss drills improve reaction speed. Have a partner gently toss balls into the pocket from varying angles. Quickly pound where the ball lands, practicing striking from odd positions. This builds reflexes and adaptability.
Set up routines alternating set durations of pounding and rest. This establishes a sense of timing and workflow. Use a timer to maintain a consistent pace between sets. Focused, measured sets prevent overexertion.
Maintaining good technique during fatigue is also crucial. Do extended pounding sessions allowing some form breakdown. Then review video to see where mechanics slipped, and drill corrections.
No matter the drill, always prioritize control, accuracy, and consistency over power. Start drills slowly focusing on precision. Increase speed and intensity over time as skills improve. Record your sessions to monitor progress and technique.
Well-designed drills train muscle memory and skills that translate directly to pocket pounding games. Frequent, focused practice prepares you to shape pockets properly when it really counts. Drilling pocket pounding technique pays off in the long run.
Breaking In a New Lacrosse Head with a Pocket Pounder
One of the most useful applications of a lacrosse pocket pounder is accelerating the break-in process for new heads. Methodical pounding helps soften stiff new mesh pockets quickly and safely.
Start by mounting the new head securely on a handle or jig. Tighten the sidewalls uniformly to avoid initial warping. Lightly wet the mesh first to help prevent damage from dry pounding. The moisture allows the threads to move and settle easier.
Focus initial pounding along the midline of the head, hitting about 10 times per diamond. Gradually work side to side down each row of diamonds. Apply consistent moderate force, being careful not to overdo it early. Cover the entire pocket area before moving on.
Next, methodically pound the perimeter, especially along the scoop and sidewalls. These areas often stay rigid longest. Strike down each sidewall pillar multiple times to soften them up. Pounding the rigid scoop helps round out and shape the ball ramp as well.
Now move on to any problem spots that still feel stiff and unyielding. Look for diamonds that aren’t settling and deforming as quickly as others. Precision pound focused blows until those areas catch up with the general break-in.
Once the head starts to soften, you can start gently massaging the mesh by hand as you pound. This helps further relax the threads and settle the diamonds into place. Be sure to pound out any hand-formed cupping afterward.
Alternate periods of pounding with rest. Let the mesh relax and reset between sessions. Make minor adjustments to diamonds, sidewalls and stringing as needed over multiple short sessions. Have patience; new heads require hours of combined pounding and use to fully break in.
With diligent, controlled pounding, you can shave weeks off the usual new head break-in timeframe. Just don’t overdo it too quickly. Incremental sessions with rest will get your new pocket game-ready faster.
Getting a Deeper Pocket with Consistent Pounding
One of the most common goals when pounding a lacrosse head is increasing pocket depth. Repeated, focused pounding helps shape a deeper “V” channel down to the scoop.
Start by pounding along the lower sidewall pillars repeatedly. Focus blows within about 2 inches up from the plastic. This softens the mesh attachments to deepen pocket bagginess.
Next, methodically pound down each center row in the lower pocket area. Strike each diamond several times, progressing outwards from the midpoint. This helps shape the central channel downward into a “V”.
For extra depth, periodically pinch the diamonds along thedesired channel line together by hand. Then pound the compressed row to help set the shape. Release and lightly pound out any drastic pockets.
You can also try pounding pocket diamonds from the reverse side of the head. Turning the head over allows hitting fresh mesh at a steeper angle to better form the deep channel.
Setting deeper pockets requires patience and gradual incremental pounding over multiple sessions. Let the head rest afterwards; the extra depth may relax and needs re-pounding.
Aim for consistency across pocket diamonds as well. Deeper pockets often bag out unevenly at first. Target any diamonds not dropping uniformly for extra depth.
Avoid excessively heavy pounding too quickly, as this can damage the sidewalls. Use moderate but consistent force, and let the mesh relax between sessions. Add time rather than power to go deeper.
With practice reading mesh stiffness and response, you’ll learn how much pounding produces the ideal pocket depth. While deepening pockets takes work, the improved ball control is worth the effort.
For best results, maintain the same head orientation while pounding. Rotating the head prevents a consistent channel slope. Check pocket depth and shape frequently as you pound downwards.
Creating Customized Pocket Channeling
One of the main benefits of a lacrosse pocket pounder is the ability to shape customized channeling and bag shape. Repeated pounding molds the pocket mesh to your exact playing preferences.
Focus on the midpoint to define the central channel first. Heavier pounding down the center diamonds forms a more rigid “V” shape for consistency. Lighter side pounding increases ball-hugging bagginess.
You can widen or tighten the channel with cross-diamond pounding as well. Striking diamonds horizontally collapses width for a narrower channel. Vertical pounding spreads mesh outward for a wider bag.
Pinching mesh by hand before pounding also helps define channel angles. Compress the diamonds into the desired shape, then pound to temper. Just avoid over-forming unnatural bags this way.
For players who carry lower, pounding the lower third heavily deepens that section. Easing off towards the scoop creates a sloped pocket floor. Lower sidewall pounding adds lower bagginess too.
Mid and upper pocket shaping requires focused pounding along those diamond rows. Create graduated bagginess by reducing pounding progressing up the head.
Mesh stiffness varies across different head models. Pay close attention to how each responds, backing off if denting too deeply. Let the head relax between sessions to reset.
Patience and incremental adjustments are key for custom channeling. Don’t expect dramatic changes immediately; allow pounding sessions to accumulate results over time.
While learning to read and shape mesh precisely takes practice, the payoff is a perfectly broken-in custom pocket. With pocket pounders, you control the bag shape rather than hoping stringing alone gets you there.
Making Quick Pocket Adjustments Before Games
One handy use for a lacrosse pocket pounder is making quick adjustments to your pocket shape right before important games. Targeted pounding can fix small issues fast.
Common problems like extra bagginess, stiff diamonds, or shooting string gaps can arise unexpectedly. Rather than restringing, pounding offers a much quicker solution.
For added pocket bagginess, firmly pound the lowest diamonds near the scoop and sidewalls. This softens those meshes to increase free movement and sag.
Extra stiffness is similarly easy to remedy. Identify any rigid spots by feel and directly pound those diamonds repeatedly to loosen them up.
If shooting string gaps allow wild whistle passes, close them up with focused hammer blows along the outside diamonds. This tightens the channel for better control.
Sidewall knots loosening over time is another issue easily fixed by pre-game pounding. Just snug everything back up and hit knots firmly to reset the tension.
It’s smart to carry a pocket pounder in your bag for games and practice. Doing a quick 5-minute pounding session before taking the field can optimize the pocket on short notice.
However, avoid major pocket shape changes immediately before competing. Drastic adjustments require time broken in properly. Make only minor tweaks pre-game.
With practice, you’ll learn your head’s pounding “hot spots” for rapid fixes. Then you can make those subtle yet vital pre-game pocket tweaks using your handy pounding tool.
Fixing Pocket Bagginess Problems
Excessive pocket bagginess is a common problem that can hamper ball control and retention. Strategic pounding techniques can remedy and prevent uneven bagging.
Start by identifying excessively bagged diamonds and pounding just those areas directly. Compact blows soften and tighten sagging meshes for a more uniform channel.
Widen your pounding area as needed outward from problem diamonds if bagginess is spreading. This contains the loosening and stiffens adjacent meshes.
Pay close attention to lower sidewall areas, as sagging often originates here first. Keep walls uniformly snug with routine perimeter pounding maintenance.
You can also purposely dent sagging diamonds using the pocket pounder shaft or handle end. Compressing the flexible diamonds helps realign and tighten them.
Rotating the head during pounding reaches problem diamonds from multiple angles for better shaping. Turning it over also allows gravity to assist reshaping.
Examine shooting strings and sidewall knots too for loosening that enables bagging out. Tighten and secure as needed between pounding sessions.
For brand new heads, frequently check for uneven bagginess during break-in pounding. Proactively catching and correcting it early prevents worsening.
Patience and controlled force are vital, as overly aggressive pounding can damage the head. Use an incremental approach, letting the mesh relax between sessions.
With attentive inspection and preventative pounding, you can keep pocket bagginess in check. Keeping sidewalls snug and diamonds uniformly stiff maintains nice channel form.
Achieving Accurate Passing with a Pounded Pocket
One of the biggest performance benefits of a properly pounded pocket is improved passing accuracy and ball control. The right pocket optimizations make a noticeable difference.
Focus on forming a clearly defined central channel first. Heavier focused pounding down the center diamonds creates rigidity to maintain the ball’s directional momentum through the pocket on passes.
Widen the channel slightly towards the scoop by pounding the lower side diamonds. This aids smoother ball entry and exits. Upper channel tightness improves release aim.
Dialing in the ideal pocket depth for your passing style improves control too. Deeper pockets cradle more smoothly, while shallow ones offer crisper passes.
You can also widen or tighten the overall channel by directed horizontal pounding across diamonds. Find the baggy sweet spot matching your passing mechanics.
Pounding down any unwelcome ridges along diamond rows makes the channel surface more uniform. This reduces unintended ball wobbling.
Symmetrical, uniform pocket bagginess is key as well. Precision pound to eradicate any uneven sagging or stiffness.
Be sure to factor in how the pounded pocket changes once broken-in fully over time. The initial post-pounding shape may relax a bit subsequently.
With a properly pounded pocket, you eliminate ball control guessing games. The customized pocket takes the shape exactly matching your optimal passing needs.
Improving Ball Retention with Pocket Pounding
Optimizing ball retention in your pocket is another benefit that strategic pounding can provide. The right adjustments secure possession reliability.
Pounding the sidewall areas aggressively tightens the mesh attachments for a snugger fit across the ball. This prevents horizontal slippage during cradling and hats.
Forming a deeply cupped lower pocket helps secure low holds too. Pound downward along the lower channel aggressively to mold that “V” shape.
You can also decrease top-to-bottom ball movement by selectively softening certain diamonds. Targeted blows remove stiffness for gentler cushioning.
Widening the center channel bag slightly aids ball retention but avoid excess billowing. Find the optimal width matching your cradling style.
Precisely pounding out any protruding diamond edges or knots improves retention also. A smooth, uniform interior channel surface ensures consistent control.
For players who tend to turn the stick aggressively, extra side-to-side compression can help. Collapsing the channel width prevents the ball popping out.
Be cautious not to over-widen the top of the channel, as centered ball retention will suffer. Focus bagginess lower in the pocket.
The ideal shape ultimately comes down to balancing control against complete immobilization. Dial in pounding adjustments gradually until possession confidence improves.
With the right pounding techniques tailored to your game, you can take your ball retention to the next level. A securely pocketed ball that stays put is a huge competitive advantage.
Maintaining Your Pocket Pounder for Longevity
Caring properly for your lacrosse pocket pounder extends its working life and performance. With some simple maintenance habits, it will optimize pockets for years.
Store the pounder carefully when not in use. Hang it or keep in a protective padded case to prevent damage. Wrapping the head with cloth helps avoid scratches or dents as well.
Inspect it before and after each use for signs of wear. Look closely for any cracks, chips, or mushrooming of the metal head. Discontinue use if defects appear.
Clean your pocket pounder occasionally by wiping down with a damp cloth. Remove any dried dirt, debris, or mesh dust that accumulates through pounding sessions.
Check that the head remains securely fastened to the handle. Tighten or epoxy again if loosening appears. Wobbly heads are dangerous and reduce control.
Frequently examine the grip and handle for cracks developing over time. A fraying or slippery grip impairs safe handling and should be replaced.
Keep the hammer head surface conditioned for optimal mesh gripping. Lightly rub scoring grooves with fine-grit sandpaper to freshen the texture when needed.
Avoid excessive moisture and humidity exposure that can lead to metal corrosion. Ensure your pounder is fully dry after any wet use or cleaning.
Repair any minor damage right away if possible. Fill small metal cracks and re-epoxy loose handles to prevent worsening issues.
With attentive care and maintenance habits, a quality lacrosse pocket pounder should optimally shape pockets season after season. Keeping it in great condition ensures long-term pounding performance.