THE WORLD'S FASTEST POCKET|
STRING IT AND TRY IT FOR YOURSELF!
WARNING: Ovens, lighters, matches, knives, and other tools called for in this tips section can be dangerous when not properly used. If you intend on trying any of these tips at home, you must tell your parents exactly what your plans are before proceding. Improper use of some of the tools suggested can result in cutting, burning or staining yourself or your family's property. So ask FIRST, and be careful!
A few years back, a dialog about shot speed and the ultimate speed pocket began on the E-Lacrosse Stick Tech Online Radio Show between the hosts, Van O’Bannon, Pat Miller, John Weaver and Chris Heim. For the first time the lacrosse land speed record was discussed out of the context of the game itself. We agreed that we would always sacrifice some shot speed in the design of lacrosse pockets to accommodate the depth and a soft feel required for cradling, dodging and touch passes. So we put all that aside and decided to endeavor, casually and independently, to create the fastest stick possible, even if it was entirely unsuitable for field play. The creation of this “Speed Stick” would be fodder for our conversations, mostly over drinks at lacrosse functions, for the next few years. The discussions were at time thoughtful and serious, but could swing to the absurd quickly. We came up with some crazy ideas like aluminum beads, an elasticized mesh, and a greased all-leather pocket. We haven’t had a discussion in at least a year, but E-Lacrosse, as a publication, remained curious about the concept of a pocket designed purely for shot speed because it would entertain, while it had no real commercial value. No R&D dollars were allotted, but…
If an infinite number of monkeys strung an infinite number of lacrosse sticks, one would eventually come up with “the fastest pocket on the planet”. We just happened to know an infinite number of monkeys doing just that and… well, we have the fastest pocket. And we’re going to show you how to make it and use it so you can see for yourself. Don’t get so excited. It’s not a game stick unless you are a VERY skilled ball handler. We have sacrificed many attributes of a good lacrosse pocket to achieve our single goal – speed. On that score we increased a 69 mph shot to 77, a 78 mph shot to 87 and a 44 mph child’s shot to 51. It works. We’ll test it with some of the world’s fastest shooters in the weeks to come and let you know how it goes, but by then, you will know anyway, because it’s the easiest-to-string pocket we’ve ever taught. Here we go.
An unpinched head
3 nylons at least 24" long
1 very hard mini mesh
One shooting string
Two small zip ties if you have them
An extra piece of string
We'll string the top of the stick first. Take a good look at the pictures (click them for enlargements) and read the first half of the instructions before you start to ensure that you understand how the mesh is supposed to be attached. This is a brand new concept.
Take one of your nylons and string it through the top two middle holes on the scoop so that both ends are on the back side of the head.
Find the middle of the mesh by folding it in half. We mark it by putting an extra piece of string through a middle hole temporarily.
Using the first full and sustainable row of holes, run the two string ends through the holes next to the middle hole with the mesh pointing away from the head. Tighten them and fold the mesh over the head and out of your way.
String one side first then do the second. Attach the mesh to the scoop with any stitching style you want but make it tight. At each end of the mini mesh taper the edge by making a turn down the side of the mini mesh with your last two stitches, as shown. It will bunch otherwise and you will notice that right away.
String the second half to match the first, symmetrically, of course. You will have left over string on each end. It will be used to continue down the head.
Keeping the weave very tight make a turn around the corner and down the head in whatever way makes sense, but remember this part of the mesh is supposed to protrude forward so if multiple holes are provided, use the ones closest to the front of the head. This head laid some flat holes exactly where we would most want them so we used them. Photos at the end of the article show other heads with different configurations. After a few stitches downward, stop and tie off. Keep it tight.
The whole thing will look like it will bunch at this point but just string the edge of the mini mesh to the sidewall tightly and it will work out in the end.
Take another nylon and tie off to start again stringing down the head the same way, keeping tight until you run out of holes. Use as many holes and weaves as you can to keep very tight and avoid bunching.
When you get to the last side hole, turn and weave the base symmetrically and significantly looser as shown. You may have a lot more mini mesh left over than we did as we cut this one slightly short.
How, exactly, you do this will depend on how many holes are provided but just be sure to progress toward the middle symmetrically and gradually until the nylons from each side of the head meet.
Tie the nylons off.
Weave in one shooting string very tightly and at the top of the stick just under the plastic.
The shooting string may be moved up or down a row later for adjustment.
Pull the shooter tight and tie it off.
The shooting string and the bottom tie off are the only adjustment made to this pocket other than slight pounding of the very hard mini mesh. It will hold form.
If the stick cradles very well when doing strictly fundamental moves but fails completely on stick spins and underhand moves, then it's probably perfect.
Use the adjustments to tweak the pocket while performing this test. Hold the stick in a rest position before a forward pass or shot. With a good follow through shoot the ball hard. Don't "warm up" with some crazy wind up. Just step into the shot, extend and shoot forward. If the ball goes high, punch the pocket a few times to see if that does it and tighten the shooter if needed.
If the shot goes low, loosen the shooter a bit or if that does not work, move the shooter down a row and that probably will. Shots should be top shelf, meaning in the top 6 inches of the goal. Shoot hard but with fluidity, no jerking motion. We know most of you do not have a radar gun or maybe even an accessible goal, but we noticed the speed increase just tossing on a wall too. It's pretty substantial.
The pocket we've strung here is just a hard mini mesh and we even softened the low cradling spot by degrading the bottom of the mesh for better handling. We used a fine sandpaper wrapped around a lacrosse ball for VERY specific spot degradation. This made the stick much more usable but likely slowed the shot by a mile per hour or two when compared to the one below.
This stick is the actual "Fastest stick in the world" We used the hardest mini mesh made and didn't soften it at all.
It is a very stiff pocket and can only be cradled with perfect fundamentals. It's a great pocket to learn on or warm up with for that reason. All of these pockets scoop the ball MUCH better than you would think. On grass or turf it may even be better, softening the contact between the ball and head. On dirt, asphalt or a box floor they are less effective than plastic, but they work.
This one is "clean". A racing machine! Any good shooter can improve shot speed by at least 6 miles per hour with it.
So, How does it work? Are cars faster on the turns or on the straightaways? Most passes and shots in lacrosse start and release on a soft curved surface, slowing down the ball and killing momentum at the very moment you need it most. The distance to the goal on a shot may be 10 to 20 feet and you have 8 inches or the length of your pocket to create enough momentum and speed to carry the ball the rest of the way and still have enough punch to get by the keeper who will encounter the ball at the slowest point in its trajectory. We straightened out the ball's path by elongating and stiffening the pocket and elevating the release point. Doing so negated the need for multiple shooting strings in the typical "step" system, each step slowing the ball as it passes over. The only friction or resistance the ball will encounter en route to free flight is the single shooter which you will feel
We've strung many heads this way now and proven the method to maybe 30 lax players.
The best part is that you can have this exact pocket because it is so easy to string and can be used on any head. We'd love your feedback on the success or failure of the method with heads we have not tried.
OK, This is the first head designed, or re-manufactured actually, by us, for the ELX concept pocket. It's not perfect because we lost some forward extension by tucking the mesh instead of wrapping it over the scoop end. But it makes scooping a breeze on any surface and locks the mesh in without even stringing it.
We're not gonna show you how to make these, because you WILL destroy expensive heads and besides, it's so easy.
We recommend being satisfied with the better performing ELX-1 pocket just strung on a head you don't have to cut. So just live vicariously through us until some manufacturer reads this and flat out steals it.
Or, if you must try it, use a thin Dremel saw blade (with or without the Dremel saw) to cut between the existing holes in the scoop of a head you can risk losing. And BE CAREFUL!
Use a few plastic ties to keep the thin plastic scoop attached or it WILL break when using it.
Each pocket design found in the
Stick Tech Workshop will be assigned a String-O-Meter rating.
This is just a relative measure of how difficult it is to string the sticks.
||EASY - This refers mainly to mesh pockets and those for the novice
and first time stringer.|
||MEDIUM - This refers to sticks such as the six and eight
diamond stringing. The designs aren't too tough,
but require some concentration and time.|
||DIFFICULT - This refers to sticks like THE "Dog Track". These sticks are usually variations from the basic traditional pocket.|
||ADVANCED - This refers to sticks that take more time and careful attention to string properly. Overall stringing capability and ability to tie more complicated knots are usually needed to string a pocket reading 4 on the String-O-Meter.