May 30, 1997: I've noticed a couple of kids on my team have had traditional style heads strung with the two inside leathers very close together. The outside leathers are in their normal places leaving large diamonds between the inside leathers and the outside leathers. They claim that many of the Virginia players have done this and that it improves ball control and shot accuracy, what more could you ask for, right? Do you know anything about this stringing method and what advantages and disadvantages it may have (for example, will the middle of the stick tend to wear out quicker)?

We have seen these pockets for a long time. They do direct the shot better if they are slightly tighter than the rest of the pocket. This is what creates that "channel" which the ball rides out of the stick. However, when a hard pass catches one of those strings on the way in the ball will react differently than it does when it lands in the softer area, even possibly bouncing out. A good player provides enough give when catching the ball, so it shouldn't be a problem. Quick-stick moves may be harder to judge for all levels of play. The inside leathers can be strung closer creating two channels or further away from each other creating one. The pocket area in between will wear more rapidly, but that just helps the ball settle in the shooting channels where you want it anyway.