Reader Questions Answered

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I live near Chicago and I am relatively new to lacrosse. I have an E3 with 6 diamond mesh and the stick is strung with a low pocket. I am wondering how to move the pocket further up to more of a mid-pocket without changing my mesh out. If you could help me that would be great. - Bob


The temporary way is to loosen the sidewall in the area you want the deeper pocket and tighten it a bit elsewhere. The interlocking sidewalls installed in most pockets will allow you to do this without risk of it slipping back as you play. Once you've done that and like where the pocket is, begin pounding that spot with a ball - a lot. You can also use the butter knife trick or some other method to mold the pocket overnight. As it gets deeper from the pounding or other methods, tighten the sidewall accordingly. Don't get illegal and cost your team!

2. Every time I throw the ball now it hooks downwards. Is that because the shooting strings are too high, too tight or is the pocket too deep. - Evan


You are on the right track. Those are the three factors - shooting string position, shooting string tightness and pocket depth. Each pocket is a combination of those. So to troubleshoot your problem, begin with the pocket depth. Is it legal? If it is, move on. Your problem is higher up. Are your shooters graduated? The top one should be the tightest, next one less and so on. If not, that's the problem. If you have only two shooters, add a third. Remember that hook or whip comes from an abrupt interruption in the flow of the ball caused by the ball hitting a tight shooting string or the plastic lip of the stick on the way out. So creating a soft and smooth flow out of the stick is key. In a deep pocket three shooters should be used. The lower can be a V or U. It doesn't matter. Just creating that step to shooter # 2 is the purpose.

2. What would you recommend for shooting strings if I want only a little whip? - Shawn


The material used is only slightly responsible for the whip although sometimes it affects the feel. I'll explain. A very thick string or a doubled shooter could actually cause more whip than a thin single one, but the tightness of the string and its relationship to the pocket depth and other shooters has far more affect on whip. The thicker the string the more you will feel the ball hit each shooter as it passes. A series of thick shooters could lessen the whip in a pocket, while two soft shooters under a tight thick one is whip city. Most folks these days use a tennis shoe lace or a wider version of the same. It's a soft string that when strung tightly and doubled gives a nice feel without interrupting the natural whip you want from graduated shooting strings. Remember, whip is a necessary evil that takes some shot speed away so use it sparingly.

2. Hey, I'm playing goalie at my high school girls' lax team. I just got a new goalie stick and had to break it in cuz it was new. I know there's not a rule for a guy's goalie pocket depth. Is there any for girls? Thanks. - Noemi


There is no pocket depth maximum for girls either. The exact same principles apply when choosing a pocket depth for a male or female keeper. You want to have good control and never give up the ball when cradling so deep is good. But you also want to be able to pass the ball and shallow is much better for that. But shallow pockets give up rebounds on the crease instead of sucking the ball in for the save. Compromises have to be made. Most goalie pockets at least a ball and a half deep, using the legality test for a standard head. A pocket that will be deep enough and still pass well is created by using a series of graduated shooting strings, just like a regular stick, but sometimes more than 3 or 4 shooting strings are needed. U or V shooting strings are very popular with goalies, as well.

If I wanted a new wooden stick, like the Iroquois use, how would I get one? - Tom

You can still get wooden sticks the Mitchell Brothers at Mohawk International. Here is the link:

2. This is my 5th year playing lacrosse. I play box in B.C., Canada. I have only ever used soft mesh but am ordering a stick with hard mesh. I am curious, how do you move the pocket around? - Brandon

Therein lies the rub, as Shakespeare said, but my use is just as clever. The pocket moving around under just the weight of the ball is exactly what we are limiting by going to a hard mesh. We talk all the time about building a graduation of shooting strings for a smooth release of the ball and that whip comes from an abrupt stage in the release. Well a deep pocket made from soft mesh and the easy ball movement it allows for great control also translates to whip when shooting. It's always a trade off. Hard mesh pretty much guarantees a smooth release with less whip when strung correctly. The pocket will have less hold than a same sized soft mesh pocket but you will be getting better every time you use it. And isn't that the point, unless your already the very best :)

First off, I'd like to say that I really like your site. Every time I visit I see something new and try it out. I just wanted to know if custom pockets are allowed in high school and above level games. Or is there a rule that prohibits them. Thanks for the help! - Michael

The rules do not prohibit custom pockets as long as they aren't customizable between the time you score and the time the ref checks your stick. There are general rules for sticks and pockets like those against ensnaring the ball in an extra piece of mesh sewn in or something and those against a player painting a white dot on a black mesh so it looks like he always has the ball. But using string or mesh to create a pocket that passes a legal stick check is allowed and encouraged. Only forty years ago, every pocket was custom and traditionally the game is about players maintaining their unique and individual pockets, if not handcrafting their own stick altogether. Just think, by trying something completely new and exciting, you continue an age old tradition. The truth is, stringers understand the game better and have a better chance of being good players, so we highly recommend the hobby to go along with the sport.

2. I read the ELX-1 article a few years back and you said it was legal but not for field use, but I see kids with them in games in my area all the time now. Why is it "not for field use" if it's legal and people use them? - Brian

There is nothing illegal about it. It was designed purely for speed on a bet with another stringer to create the fastest pocket. When strung just as we describe in the original article, it is very very fast and only usable for cradling and dodging by the very best of ball handlers or any skilled female player. In the hybrid stage that you see around, with a softer mesh and strung more loosely than ours it is a compromise the stringer/players have made to get some control but keep the rapid fast release and all the other benefits like an actual quick stick capability. I haven't seen a REAL quick stick in even a college game in years - since Scotty Urick at Georgetown and then back to the late 80's before the offset head. But this pocket does it as sweetly as any flat stick ever did. I am surprised though to see it catch on at all, because it really takes perfect form to handle the ball in this very loose pocket. Many kids write us complaining about ball rattle and wanting to pinch their heads. This pocket has the exact opposite feel of a pinched head or channeled pocket. On the other hand, any kid who can play with it successfully is a darn good ball handler and is getting better exponentially, each day he uses it. His fundamentals will be on par with that of a good female player who plays with a flat pocket. Only the best male players can pick up a woman's stick and look good throwing around with it. A kid who mastered the ELX-1 pocket and used it in games is that kind of player. More power to them.

I put the fastest pocket in my stick with normal mesh and it was awesome! But the mesh that's wrapped around the top of the head always wears and rips after collecting many loose balls. Is there any way to stop this? - Todd


OK, so to follow up on the last question, we never thought any players would actually string up the ELX-1 for field use so we never considered you would come to the point where the wear and tear on the scoop area would become an issue. But, we did run into that problem ourselves and solved it, though, we do not recommend that you do what we did. If you do, your stick will be illegal, breaking the modification of the stick rule, by most interpretations. You'll have to look at the pictures to fully understand what we did, but we cut out the space between the stringing holes in the scoop and ran the entire mesh through the newly created slot. This leaves a inch scoop at the tip which is flimsy and would break immediately without the use of a series of zip ties. It would still likely break when checking an opponents stick but if a fictitious manufacturer built a stick for the ELX-1 pocket that was sturdy, it might look something like this. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING THIS TO A HEAD.

2. Is there any way to reuse dye? And on average how much dye should you use per head? - Steve


Absolutely. I do it all the time. Nothing in the dying process alters the dye water. It can be heated over and over until it evaporates. A very small amount is absorbed by the plastic when dying. Storage of a big pot of dye water can be problematic. The stuff is just 2 bucks a box so the risk of getting the dye on anything worth more than 2 bucks while keeping it somewhere likely outweighs having an open vat of dye water lying around the garage. You also don't want to ever leave it near animals or small children. And how much dye to use is simple. One box is usually enough with a couple gallons of water in a crab pot or in a turkey tray. More dye in the dye to water ratio will create a darker color, but so will re-heating the dye water a few times and re-dipping. I like the more earth-friendly way, using less. Speaking of that, it is much better to dispose of the dye water down a stainless drain than just dumping it outside somewhere. If you want to dye or tie-dye a shirt or something with the same color, a great way to dispose of the dye water is to pour it in the washing machine with the item, let it soak and then just run the wash. Ask your Mom or Dad before doing this, please!

I have a new stick that I want to dye purple, but my dad won't let me unstring it. Is there any problem dying the whole head with string? - Ely


You can dye a head with strings on. I have included some pictures submitted to us by Hunter to show you the basic results.

I just finished my first season of lacrosse and I absolutely love it. I have visited your site at least three times a week ever since I found it a few months ago. Thanks to your site I learned how to better my stick and even how to string my first custom rig (the wide ride). Anyway, while reading your site (I'm pretty sure I've read all or at least most of it) I noticed that most of the guys at e-Lacrosse seem to prefer non-offset heads. Well, I went looking all over the web for a place where I could buy and experiment with the difference between offset and non. However, I couldn't find any non-offset heads. It seems as though companies have stopped making them. Anyway, I was wondering if there was any way to cook/bake the head so that it could become non-offset. E-Lacrosse rocks! - Ryan


The only real heads sold today as a non-offset heads are the STX Arrow and Mohawk lightning and mission extreme. No other actual non-offset heads are being made now. The Brine Vapor is still on some shelves and is not so offset. There is a way to combine products to get the non-offset feel and benefit though. It's the STX K-18 combined with the 2 degree Crankshaft instead of the 10 degree version. This is a sweet combo and is as close to a stright head experience as you can get that includes a light, modern and popular head. If shopping for used stuff, look for the STX Viper, Excalibur or Turbo. They are the last generation of great straight heads.

June 12, 2007

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