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Stick Tech Workshop - ReADeR TIPS!

Reader Questions Answered

January, 2000

I go to a small high school in Howard County, Maryland. The best competitors we face are the likes of Mt. Hebron and Fallston. Last year was my first year playing lax as a freshmen but I made varsity and ended the year starting. Over the summer I worked extremely hard and have developed into what I'm told is a very good player. I was selected to the summer all county first team and Top Gun all-star team. Now private schools are trying to entice me to their programs. I have considered transferring, but if I transfer and get lost in the mix I may never realize my dream of playing college ball. Do you think transferring will help me get noticed by college scouts, or if I'm good enough they will come anyway? I really would appreciate a response to my questions because this has an unbelievable affect on my life and how long my lacrosse career will last. -Jeff
Many of the great players in the top DC area schools come from Howard County, and most went through what you are going through right now. In Baltimore, kids in the youth leagues are recruited to some 12 year prep schools because they have lacrosse skills. What parent wouldn't jump on the opportunity to get their kid into a 12 thousand dollar a year school for less than two grand. Howard County, like Baltimore County have some great public schools, but Landon, Georgetown Prep, Gilman, and St. Paul's, to name only a few, are tickets to the Ivy League or to any school a hard working student-athlete wants to attend. Kids that work hard at public schools in these counties do quite well also, but unfortunately won't get noticed by the top college coaches as easily - if they play. This is in no way an endorsement for changing schools for lacrosse at all. It is the right thing to do for some kids, just as going to an arts concentrated high school if they were a talented cellist is acceptable. You'll improve your chances of making a good decision by going about it the right way. Involve your parents heavily and your coaches if you can. Your best interests will be served by getting as much information as possible and deciding on a school for the school, the environment and the lacrosse. You don't want to be a miserable All-American.

I read your review for the STX Proton and in it you mention stick bending. I was wondering what is the best way to bend a shaft? I am also wondering what head is good for a defensive player? I am thinking of getting a Proton but am wondering if another is better. - Dan
Stick bending is usually done by banging the shaft against something very hard like a goal cage, repeatedly, until it is bent. We mean very repeatedly. If you really want a bent shaft, consider just buying the new deBeer Arch. It's bent a la Paul Gait and is strong, while bending your own shaft by beating it up, will weaken it. Before you go buying or bending though, you can't put a bent shaft on a Proton and stay legal. The offset effect is basically the objective of both concepts and together they offset you right off the field. The Proton is an excellent head for any position, but not with an offset or bent shaft.

I am from Australia. I tried that glue gun dying. Is there an easy way to get the glue off! Also, what ration of dye to water you use and what color number black rit® dye do you use? - Robert, Brighton Lax Club
Freezing temperatures and/or very cold water will make the glue MUCH easier to remove. The directions for dying clothing should be used to determine the amount of water to use. They are on the box. We have used a few of the black dye colors but have not seen such a difference. When dying with any color just leave it in until it's as dark as you like it.

I am a sophomore on the Deerfield High School varsity lacrosse team in Illinois. I was wondering if you knew how many colleges have lacrosse teams. - JMG
There are over 600 college lacrosse teams. The NCAA sponsors 410 teams - 213 men's teams and 197 women's. Junior Colleges or teams in the NJCAA number 25. The USLIA which are the college clubs at great schools like Michigan, BYU, Colorado, UCLA and so on, which play lacrosse at a non sponsored level, has 110 members. The recent issue of Lacrosse Magazine is, in great part, dedicated to this league. The NCLL, which consists of clubs at colleges, which for the most part, have varsity teams, as well, has 85 teams. We do not have a number of the Women's college clubs but we know some exist.

Is the STX CO2 R-force composite with the STX Proton illegal to play lacrosse with? What about the R-force with the Edge Areo or the Octane? - Owen Jones
Yes, all of those heads are offset or canted and cannot be combined with the R-Force. Grab an Excalibur or a Turbo and your R-Force is back in action!

If I Paint, not dye my new Edge Aero, would it still be covered under the warrantee so that I could mail it to Brine for a new one if it breaks? Do You think that there is a good chance that the head would break once dyed if I am playing with it as a freshman in High School? - T. Phrost
Painting or dying any head on the market is a violation of the warrantee terms and does void your right to return the head if it breaks during the warrantee period. Never dye or alter a head you can't afford to lose. However, heads do break sometimes and we can't live in fear.

My Warrior Revolution head has cracked, so it's time for a new head. I have already decided on the Proton, however am undecided on which pocket to put in. I had a Rocket Pocket in the Revolution, but am considering a mesh in the new head. I liked the Rocket Pocket, but what do you think would be the best option? Any other suggestions for a head? - Tom
We're not going to talk you out of a Proton. Stick a hard mesh and a V pocket on that thing and you'll be styling.

I hate the pocket in my Diablo head. It's traditional, and really cramped and tight. I tried loosening the sidewalls, but they must have been put in with a machine, because they're WAY too tight and I can't get the knot out. I managed to get the shooting strings a little looser, but I don't really like the way the pocket was made. Then, I heard about offset and canted head designs. I really like the Proton, my friend has it and it's really light. I don't know if I should just put a new pocket in my Diablo, get a new Proton already strung, or get one unstrung and string it myself. I like the idea of stringing it myself, and would like to know whether you have any good ideas for the pocket. I like both soft mesh and traditional, but I want something that looks cool, holds the ball in well, is accurate, and allows for a deep pocket. What do you think? -Adrian, West Chester, PA
You can salvage the Diablo by cutting the sidewall out and replacing it altogether. Stringing is fun but we suggest buying a new stick with a pocket you like already in there, and experimenting with your new stringing hobby on the old Diablo. And dude. Every lacrosse pocket looks cool. Mesh and hard mesh are "in" this year. And the V pocket was the rage of '99, but throwing well with a comfortable pocket should be your goal.

Hey, I was wondering if you guys could ship me any of the heads or whatever you're done using for your reviews. Because I really want to keep dying heads but I don't have the funds to pay for a new head every time. So if you could help me out there I would appreciate it. Thanks a lot. - Gavin
We distribute most of the stuff we test and revue to players on the E-Lacrosse Tech Team or interns at E-Lacrosse. You need to start dying heads very light colors to start with and then gradually dye them darker to keep your habit down to a reasonable cost. Incidentally, admitting that you are addicted to lacrosse is the first step to beating it.

How durable is the Edge? At school I hear kids talking about how many sticks they have broken. I'm going to buy my first stick soon and I don't want it to break. - Leszek
The Edge was the head used by most of the great players in the "Dive Era" of lacrosse. It's very durable, but so are most sticks. Your best bet is to try your friends' sticks and pick the one you feel comfortable with, buy it, love it and live every day like it was it's last. When your first stick breaks, it's a heartache, and there's no avoiding the inevitable. Life is cruel.

If you have a store bought black head will you be able to die a lighter color over it? - Cameron White
Do you consider very dark purple or extremely dark maroon lighter colors? If not, the answer is no. Sorry.

I was just wondering how deep a pocket can be before it is considered illegal?
A men's stick is legal when holding the stick parallel to the ground with a ball in the pocket you can see no space between the ball and the bottom of the sidewall. A woman's stick must be tight enough that the ball can be seen above the top of the sidewall when held parallel to the ground (see the examples below).

I'm from the Boston area and every book shop I go into I always look to see if there are any kind of lacrosse magazines. No matter how big the store they still don't have it. I know I've heard of the magazines but just can't find them. Eeven when I check the internet nothing comes up. Can you help me out. - Andy
There are four print lacrosse publications. The first has been around for over 20 years and is the magazine of the game's administrative organization USLacrosse. To get the magazine and four issues of LaxMag for Kids you have to subscribe by calling 410-235-6882. The magazine is published 8 times a year and cannot be purchased in bookstores. The second is a bi-weekly newspaper called Inside Lacrosse. You can subscribe by going to the Inside Lacrosse website The third is the Face-off College Yearbook, a once a year publication with all of the schedules and rosters with write-ups. It can be purchased at the Faceoff website. The Draw is similar to Face-off yearbook, but for women's college lacrosse. It can be purchased at the IWLCA web site.

I ordered an Edge Plus, Shockwave, and an Octane. I custom dyed them (I didn't take pictures beforehand, so I can't enter your contest, even though they look pretty kick ass, even if I do say so myself) and a couple of stringing kits. When I went to put in the sidewall strings on the edge plus and shockwave, the holes were too small. Is this a common problem? How would you suggest this be solved? My only solution is to drill slightly bigger holes, but I'm concerned that I might mess up the strength of the stick as well as the possibility of messing up the dye job. Any suggestions? - Kevin O'Brien
Don't use a drill. Just cut the ends of the string and then melt them with a lighter. Always ask your parents before you use a lighter to burn anything. About ten seconds after the string end is hot moulton nylon, it will cool and soft. Twirl it to a point and let it harden. It will now get you started through the smaller holes.

I live in Australia. I have just finished my first season and because I'm not playing box I mess around with my stick a lot now. I have a Brine Warp and I have strung it with every style pocket that you have published in stick tech and they were all pretty easy. I especially like the dog track because it gives me more ball control when I'm cradling the ball at my feet. I like to take my pocket out all the time and string it again. I'm kind of getting bored doing the same pockets all the time so I was wondering if you could write one up on the Rockit Pocket? Thanks for all the other ones. - Daniel
We get so many e-mails asking this same question, but because yours included compliments for our site and have read all of our columns, we chose yours this month to showcase our standard answer. Rockit Pocket is a company that makes it's money stringing the pockets. Giving away their secrets would not be cool. Rockit Pocket is a regular sponsor of E-lacrosse and we reviewed the Rockit Pocket last year. Check it out. We will have plenty of new stringing instructions this year. Keep checking back in.

Is filling your stick with sand over the off-season good? I'm doing it now and it has built up my wrist a lot. But when I use a normal stick without the sand it feels top heavy unlike my completely heavy sand stick. Should I still keep my stick filled with sand or not? - David Hughes
Sounds like an interesting idea for strengthening, but it may very well alter your fundamentals and mess up your touch on passes and shots. Knowing your stick and feeling natural with it is essential to consistent play and changing the weight and balance so often cannot be good for your game. Lift weights AND play lacrosse. But at different times.

I play women's lacrosse, and I was wondering what stick is better for a defense wing like myself; wood or plastic? Also, I don't like the colors of the pockets on wooden sticks, can I die them? Also, what is rit® dye and what types of sticks do you use it on.
While wood is thought of as easier to catch with for beginning players, the scooping and other advantages of a plastic stick are overwhelming. Many girls have a big adjustment period when they get to college converting from wood to plastic. You might as well start using the plastic now. The harder skills are best learned at a younger age and the plastic is lighter. Now, if lighter is NOT what you're looking for, but want to make the move to plastic, consider the Brine WMX which is heavier than most plastic and will lay the heavy checks wood is famous for. We have never seen a rule that says women's pockets cannot be dyed. Many of the popular women's sticks out now have some colored string so it must be ok. rit® dye is a clothing dye and is available in little bottles and jello sized boxes in most grocery and drug stores. We have heard from readers that hardware stores do not carry it. You can't really dye a wooden stick but you could potentially stain one.

The head I have right now shoots very low and is very hard to get good passes with. If I put a upside down V in it will it help? It's traditional. I have tried everything there is besides the V. How do I know when I buy a new head if that will throw low?
Heads don't throw low. People do. Pockets do. Both can change. First make sure that you are throwing with a proper follow through and overhead with your eye on the target. If you're still shooting low you need to work that pocket or replace it. Your top shooting string is too tight or your pocket is too loose. Test it for legality using the test described above and if it is cool, loosen the shooting string or strings as needed. The sidewalls up near the shooting strings can be loosened as well. Just play with different things until the ball rolls out of the deep pocket up the gradual progression of the pocket and then smoothly off the shooting strings into the air without hitting the plastic rim of the stick. In a perfect world, they'd all throw that way. If you don't want to go through the trouble yourself, and want to replace the pocket, we suggest a hard mesh or semi-hard mesh. They are much easier to maintain and adjust and are as stiff as a traditional stringing. Once you have the pocket pretty much the way you like it, consider the V pocket. The V doesn't change that much so it is NOT your answer, in and of itself.

Can you dye the plastic lacrosse helmets? If so, how good would the color hold up? - Rich Porter
No you cannot dye the plastic helmets on the market today. The plastic used to make helmets does not absorb dye like that which is used to make sticks. You can buy helmets in almost any color now, so you're not totally out of luck. Silver and Gold are the new way cool colors for this spring!

Does having more whip allow you to take a larger wind up for a shot, etc. - Jonathan Smiley, Worthington Ohio
Yes it does. It also takes velocity off your shot and can create a less consistent release. So you want to find a balance that is right for you.

I have been having trouble with the dye getting under the tape when dying heads. I have tried heating the tape with the lighter and holding it over the stove but the dye still finds its way into a seam. I am very careful to cover all areas, pushing the tape into corners so there is total coverage but to no avail. Any hints?
Sucks. Doesn't it? Most of us have never seen a perfect amateur dye. They all have imperfections, when using the tape method. Wish we could help. It sounds like you are doing it right and are being very thorough. We saw some dyes from Lacrosse Unlimited at the Coaches Convention, which were perfect. They had an almost tie-dyed effect using ten colors and were easily the best we've seen. The price tag: $60.00! LU and other retailers do regular dyes typically for about ten bucks, so there is always an easy alternative to dying a stick yourself.

I have a few questions about stick dyeing. Where is a common place to buy the rit® dye. I tried Home Depot and they didn't have it. If I were to dye my stick, would I have to prepare it before I dyed it? If I dyed it two colors would I dye the lighter one first on the whole head and then tape it off and dye the darker.
Rit® dye is found at drug stores and some grocery stores. It is commonly used to dye or restore color to clothing in the washing machine. Your mothers and fathers probably know where it is available locally. When preparing a head for dying, you might take a rag with some Isopropyl Alcohol and rub the stick down. Cleaning it this way ensures that the dye will have a better chance of adhering to the plastic if a chemical know in the industry as mold release is still present on the head. This thin layer of grease basically may be left over on 1 out of 50 heads from the molding process. When they form the stick in metal molds, they spray the mold every so often with this lubricant so that when the heads are finished, they pop right out of the mold. It's like spraying a pan with PAM before cooking. Also we have learned that adding salt to the dye water will intensify the color of the dye you are using and help to prevent nasty dyes in places which have "hard water" or water with high mineral content. Folks with this type of water usually know it. Ask your parents? Most places don't. And yes, dye the lighter color first.

The opinions expressed and recommendations in Stick Science are those of the individual writers and readers and in no way represent endorsement or suggestions from E-Lacrosse. Many of the reader tips and stick science columns call for use of various items that could be dangerous if used improperly. Ovens, Microwave ovens, knives, scissors, lighters and other potentially dangerous tools used in stick baking, dying and stringing should always be used very carefully and with a parent's permission.

Thanks for all your questions? Keep them coming and we'll do a Q&A session every few months! Send them to john@tonabricks.com!

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