Since the publishing of the Reader's Tips in April, hundreds more readers have sent us stick tech stringing, dyeing and general lacrosse tips. We're picking ten of them to share with everyone and giving the authors free E-Lacrosse TECH TEAM TANKS! We always award some honorable mentions, as well!
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!
THE TOP TEN
I have found a simple yet really cool technique for dying the mesh on any head. All you need is spray paint (2 of your team's colors) and mesh. If you haven't strung the mesh yet it is easier. First spray paint one side of the mesh one of the colors and let it dry. Then turn the mesh over and spray paint it the other color. This gives a really cool effect especially when you cradle. It looks really good in goalie sticks too. Remember only one color per side is legal.
Chuck Upton, Illinois
One little trick that I like to do is to not fold the top row over before I attach it to the top. Then when I have gotten the sidewall strings firm and tight, I undo the leather top, fold the mesh and put it back on. This helps to keep the area where my shooting strings are tight and firm but still soft enough where the ball wont bounce out if I catch it high on the head. It's just a nice option to adjust this after the rest is done. Try it.
Joey Patterson, Tennessee
Use of a sharpie permanent marker to draw designs onto stick can be interesting if proper clor is used on stick. Light to medium dark colored dyes won't cover up the marker and create an interesting effect and allow exact drawing and details to be done.
When stringing either soft or hard mesh, make sure you use interlocking sidewalls. What I mean by that is run a piece of sidewall down the sides of the mesh, then wrap another piece around it, going through the holes. This is important in soft mesh because it will keep the mesh from moving around. This way, it won't "bag" as much. Interlocking sidewalls are important on hard mesh because it keeps the mesh from bunching up.
When using the glue gun method of dying heads be very careful if you are
dying in a metal container. If you are careless and allow the head to
touch the metal, the glue can melt. Metal conducts heat, and
can ruin the design you were trying to create.
Whenever I string a symmetrical design (such as the Pita) I always make sure that the strings for both the right and the left are exactly the same length. This way you can be sure that your pocket it exactly symmetrical, because you should have the same amount of string left over in the end.
Whenever I string a mesh stick, I use a doubled sidewall string for
the top. Many sticks' holes are not large enough, but if you hold the end of
the sidewall under a lighter for a moment, it becomes stiffer when it cools. You can then push it through the hole. If it still doesn't fit, small needle nose pliers are incredibly helpful.
After you string a stick, but before you break it in, soak it in warm water for a few minutes. This will set the knots in your stringing so that they slip much less. While your stick dries, try putting a croquet, yes a croquet ball in the pocket. It is larger and heavier than a lacrosse ball, and makes a beautiful pocket. Many people also have one somewhere, so save a few bucks instead of buying a pocket stretcher.
Matt Webster, Ohio
I have found a way to turn soft mesh into semi-hard mesh. The way you do this is easy. You just have to put alot of vaseline on the mesh in your head and let it dry overnight for a few nights. If you want to turn it soft again, soak it in vinegar for a few hours.
Ryan Bolsei, Syracuse
If a knot keeps slipping through the hole on your stick make another knot but tie it on top of the first knot, making a bigger knot that won't slip through the hole.
When adjusting hockey lace shooting strings, have the bottom one totally loose, the second one a little tighter, and the top one the tighest.
Always put a nylon shooting string at the very top of your stick. It makes for a quicker release.
When pinching a head that you want to keep legal, cut a wooden ruler or
rod to 6 and ½ inches and place this in the widest part of your head between the sidewalls. Then put a belt around the middle of the head, or where you most want it pinched, and pull as tight as you want. The wooden rod will keep the
stick from becoming illegal but will still give you a more narrow stick for
ball control. Leave the belt on your stick for about a day and leave it in
I discovered a very simple dyeing technique the other day. I was dyeing a
head yellow, and it looked very pale while it was submerged. In an attempt to make the color darker, I sprinkled red dye into the water over the head.
When I took the head out I noticed that the front was red, and faded into yellow at the back. This technique looks good when used with another technique (i.e. glue gun). EJM
When stringing a traditional stick, loosen the inner leathers and
keep the outer ones as tight as you normally would. String the stick as
you would any other traditional stick. When you are done, the ball will be
channeled between the two inner leathers and will shoot harder and more
When pinching a stick, I suggest that instead of baking or microwaving the head, leave it in a large pot of boiling water for a minute or two after tying a string around the sidewall as you normally would. Then remove and run under cold water until cool. Leave the string on for a while. This elimintes the risk of burning the plastic by getting it too close to the flame of the stove or leaving it too long in a microwave. There is also no risk of destroying expensive appliances this way.
A Microwave Casualty
If you use mesh, "dropping" the pocket is very helpful for cradling. To do this take the string that keeps the mesh on the head, near the stop, and loosen it. Then tie it back much looser so that the mesh pocket is deeper by about two or one and a half inches. To do this right you might also have to loosen the sidewall string a little bit. If this is all done right, the pocket will be VERY deep and the part that of the mesh that is connected to the string near the stop will form a sort of shelf that will keep the ball in a prime spot for cradling. Don't go too far. Stay legal.
I've been playing about a year now and I'm a perfectionist, so I spend hours on my pocket when it's not to my liking. I've found my favorite shooting string method to be 4 hockey laces, with a nylon underneath the top one. The nylon keeps the top stiff and prevents the ball from hitting the lip, while the hockey lace over it makes for a smooth release. I've used this combination on traditional and hard mesh. I also have an inverted v on the mesh and it works great.
Thanks to all for participating. Keep sending your tips and we'll pick another ten in a few months! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!