We picked 10 reader tips for publication this month! And we're giving the authors E-Lacrosse Rage II, Stringing or Dying DVDs!
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!
Hard Mesh Expertise Submitted by Deleva from West Haven, CT
This is only my second year but everyone on the team turns to me when they have stick problems and it's because of Stick Tech. I have a couple tips for players who religiously use hard mesh. First off, keep a tool (maybe a small pair of pliers) handy to tighten up your sidewalls every now and then. A lot of players overlook the tightness of their sidewalls. If they are too loose the ball WILL whip out of your stick every time no matter what you do. Sidewalls loosen in the rain too, and when tightened up can give that perfect pocket depth with out having to adjust your throat string. Interlocking sidewalls are the way to go. They stay tight and are easy to adjust. Do not use the same string for your throat that you use for your sidewalls. This is a common mistake and can have a big affect of the way your stick throws. Last but not least, here's a break in tip. Every time a player on my team needs me to string their stick, I give it back to them broken in, without ever being used. When you first get the mesh, soak it in VERY hot water for about 2 minutes. Then take it out, stretch it, and string it to your stick WHILE IT'S STILL WET. It may start to dry but don't worry. You don't have to wet it again. You may also want to do the same to your sidewall strings. This stretches them and gets them more resistant to weather. After you have your mesh piece on your stick (NO SHOOTING STRINGS YET) go into your bathroom and rub a small palm full of hair conditioner on the front and back of your mesh. Once rubbed in, rinse off the OUTSIDE of the mesh with very hot water. DO NOT thoroughly clean all of the conditioner out of your mesh. Just rinse well. Then pound your pocket in with a ball wherever you want for about 15-20 minutes. It may seem like a while but it's worth it. Here's the final and most important part. Do the "ball under the butter knife" trick, then grab your hair dryer and while the mesh is still wet, set your dryer to high and very hot. With the dryer VERY close to the pocket, very slowly keep going over the whole pocket front and back until it is completely dry. This works because the heat loosens up the mesh piece itself and most conditioners are formulated to react to heat and soften hair. Once it is completely dry, take the ball out from under the butter knife and pound it all over the pocket a few times, because the heat may have stiffened the pocket up everywhere. Then just pound it in the front and back right where you had it under the knife. At this point your stick may be illegal, so adjust your back string to your desired tension and throw in some shooters. Voila! Before you even played with it, your mesh is completely broken in.
EDITORS NOTE: Great Advise! This kid is money.
The Pita Matrix Submitted by Todd from Syracuse, NY
I just finished stringing up my Matrix with a pita pocket. I also dyed the stick myself. I just wanted to say thanks for all of the helpful tips and pics that you guys have posted. They have helped me so much. Keep up the good work!!!
The James Gallery Submitted by James
Here are some pockets I have strung over the years. I owe a lot of my stringing talent to you guys. Enjoy.
Screwdriver on the fly Submitted by Andrew from Bethesda, MD
I got a couple of good tips for all lax players out there. First, don't put your head in the microwave if you're trying to pinch it. Put it in boiling water for 7-10 mins. Then put it in the fridge 'til CHILLED, not frozen. Then let it become room temperature. Also,if you don't have a screwdriver and you need to take a head off of a shaft on the field, use the rounded part of the metal clasp on most helmet straps. IT WORKS! E-LAX RULES!
Wide Word Submitted by Brett from Towson, Md
I came up with this pocket trying to string the Big Word Pocket. I didn't have enough nylon or other strings so I decided to do two rows of the pattern in the Big Word Pocket (its the rows of loops with the special knot), and make the loops in those rows bigger. Also, I did the two leathers a little different. I added I think the pattern from the Pita pocket in the middle for a little twist, because I just like that pattern better. I have it on my long pole and it's pretty sick.
Neapolitan Supreme Submitted by Alec of San Diego, CA
Here is the first head I dyed. It is a new vapor, which I pinched slightly prior to dying. I bought pink and black RIT dye, and used electrical tape. I taped the white sections and dyed it pink. Then I taped parts of the pink as well to keep it pink and dyed the rest black. The dye bled through the edges of the tape a little, but the end effect was pretty cool. Thanks for you website. I have strung sticks several times using it, and now I have dyed my first stick. I am satisfied.
EDITORS NOTE: We are too. Great Dye!
A Sweet Rig Submitted by
I was dying a head for a friend, and decided to get creative with my Proton. I cleaned it up, did a yellow to Kelly green base fade. Then I did hot glue like there was no tomorrow. It took about 20 minutes to cover it and 2 hours to get it all off. Dyed the string kit when I was doing the head, stretched them out to dry, and then put them in the clothes dryer to make sure the colors wouldn't bleed all over my hands. I opted for the 7 diamond closer traditional pocket. Hopefully it will last longer than wide tradish.
Broken Head Tip Submitted by Reed
I have been stringing a while and recently found yall's site and am now doing custom pockets but that's got nothing to do with my tip.
A broken head is definitely not trash in fact if I'm trying out a new pocket or a new dye it's most likely on a broken head. AND I can play with these broken heads as if they were new. All you need is a broken head, Extra Heavy Duty Epoxy, found at local hardware or arts and crafts store. And wood clamps help. Simply mix the epoxy according to the instructions on pack and apply to the break. Clamp and leave over night and your head is now ready to mess with.
Note: this stuff won't hold up a solid check so don't go playing hardcore with a repaired head. It's just for testing dyes and stringing.
X-Word Submitted by
Dan from Princeton NJ
Kudos on a great site. I came up with this pocket when I wanted to string McCool's Word pocket, but I didn't have any leathers. So instead I incorporated a mesh channel which I believe is unique. The Word style sidewalls provide real nice hold and I like the mesh channel because it shoots faster and easier to adjust. Simply follow McCool's instructions for the sides and cut an appropriate mesh piece. It takes some time but its pretty simple and well worth it.
Easy Stretch Submitted by
Matt from Bellevue, WA
First off I would love to congratulate you guys on a wonderful website. It's innovative and taught me basically all I needed to know to string a stick.
My tip has come from many a person's problem with pounding in a pocket. I've tried everything from shampooing and conditioning your mesh to pounding
It until the wee hours of the morning and there is one way that works the best - stretching the mesh. Now I understand that stretching the mesh is a very common procedure for anyone who knows how to string. But I have found the easiest way to accomplish the stretching is to roll up the mesh (top to bottom) then pull on the ends. This way you're stretching all the mesh out at once and it's easier to grip. Try it for 10-15 minutes while you're watching TV and you are done.
Thanks to all for participating. Keep sending your tips and we'll pick some more in a few months! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org! Please include your name and a permanent e-mail address. Winners, please contact us if we miss you. Some e-mails cannot be returned to the addresses given to us.