Reader Questions Answered
December, 2000

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.


I was wondering if you know of any companies trying to develop new non-offset heads. - Mike
None are coming out with new non-offset heads, because kids aren't buying enough of them. BUT, there are plenty of great ones and they don't need to be changed. The STX Turbo, Sonic, Sniper, Brine MX and Shotgun, deBeer Aftershock and Warrior Odyssey can all be found at retailers like LaxWorld.





In one of your November Question and Answers, you said that offset heads were bad - or that they produced bad habits. Is this true for the girls also? Because the Brine Tsunami and Tyhoon have them. - Christen
Great Question! You are safe from the poor habits caused by offset heads because the rules in your game prohibit deep pockets. Problems common to very deep pockets are simply exacerbated by the offset trend. Male players like Scott Urick and Josh Sims never had a problem with offset heads because they play with "shooter's pockets" and not big sacks that won't give up the ball. What the offset does for a woman's stick, in my opinion, is give just a bit more feel of the ball leaving the stick and, therefore, a bit more accuracy.




Does a dyed head make it easier for a goalie to see the shot coming? I mean is it easier to see it coming when the color is set out from all the others around and set apart from the white or orange ball? - Alex
Yes, it's easier to see where an orange stick is than a white one against a white sky. But the reason that most college players use white stringing on a white stick is that the ball is also white, along with the sky on most occasions. White on white is the configuration for maximum deceptiveness. In Women's lacrosse, you will notice many yellow heads, because the ball is yellow. We're not saying great players never dye their heads. Many do. The advantage of white on white is there, but it's less that that achieved by an extra sprint each day in practice.


I'm a 13 year old girl from Massachusetts. I got a wooden lacrosse stick for Christmas. At camp this summer, I heard a coach talking about how one can take care of a wooden lacrosse stick so it lasts forever. I was wondering how you do that. I remember something about oiling it or something. How you take care of a wooden lacrosse stick? - Hong Ly
The most important thing to protect on a wooden stick is the wood. The surface is well protected by the manufacturers treatments and stains. But any wooden stick will act like any piece of wood when mistreated or left to improper elements. So, here's what you have to do to keep the wood from bowing. First, after you work in your pocket loosen the knots that tie the pocket to the wood itself and re-tie them. This ensures that strings are not so tight that the wood is stressed. Do this a few times a year to make a stick last forever. Secondly, be conscious of the temperatures where your stick is stored. Very cold and very humid places are bad choices. In order to treat the leathers in any lacrosse pocket, smooth in a small amount of Vaseline. This will preserve them. Some wooden sticks have catgut, which is very strong and needs no help. It can also always be replaced by nylon if it breaks. In fact most sticks these days come with nylon and there's little you can do to protect it, but it's easily replaceable and is pretty tough stuff anyway.


You had mentioned in your column that the new offset heads have "taken passing and shooting skills to a new low nationwide." I'm interested to find out how you know this? What type of study was done and on whom? I would also like to pose the theory that with the emergence of the Gaits, Powells, and others who have taken passing and shooting to a new level that this may have caused players to become more creative with their shots and thus also causing them to stray from fundamentals. Young players often want to be like their favorite players RIGHT NOW and don't give themselves time for basic improvement. In no way am I blaming the Powells or the Gaits, I think they have done wonders for the sport of lacrosse but sometimes younger players in their efforts to become better players forget that in order to walk they must crawl first.
First of all, you're right about kids jumping ahead and trying new things when they throw around or in summer league, but that's not so bad if they are also being taught the fundamentals in their structured lax time with coaches. There is no study. The effect that offset has had on fundamentals is commonly talked about among the college coaching ranks. They even talk about banning them sometimes. Bill Tierney at Princeton banned his players from using them two years ago because "They couldn't pass and shoot without winding up and cranking." The truth is that the Powells and Gaits are extremely sound fundamental players. The kids who watch them and study them will see that and probably stop doing some of the hanging stick, time and room, hot dog stuff. Gary, Paul, Casey and Ryan have very practiced skills and none of them has the kind of saggy pocket that would be affected by the offset heads they use. They all could pick up any stick and play well with it. But a kid who wants to do the same moves as any of them would get there a bit sooner using a flat stick early on.


I'm 15 years old and a freshman in high school. I haven't played lacrosse for a school or youth team before, but I'm going to play for my school this spring. I don't own cleats and am wondering if I need to buy some or can I just wear regular tennis shoes/sneakers? Do cleats really help? Would I be at a disadvantage if I didn't buy cleats? This is a great site and thanks for your help. - Mike Levin
Unless you live in the desert, you need cleats. Any football or soccer cleats will do. Short cleat screw-ins are the best, if your feet aren't growing quickly. Otherwise just get the most comfortable cheap ones you can find at the store. You'll outgrow them before you ever wear them out. There is no "in" lacrosse shoe, so save your money for a sweet stick or an E-Lacrosse upside-down logo MAAX Visor!


A cheap plug. A cool hat.



You should have a message board so people can post all of their questions, concerns, insight, and advice. If you use this idea try to ship some free stuff out my way.
No free stuff dude. We already have a forum where all kinds of things are discussed. Check it out!





When I first started playing lacrosse I just picked up an old stick one of my friends had lying around and used that. Now that I'm becoming more of a developed player I was looking for something new. No one on our team can really string a good stick and I was wondering the best way to get this done. I really like the stick and am not interested in getting a new one, I just want to get rid of that old traditional pocket with something new. Should I just send it in to a company, or is learning how to sting one not that hard?
Stringing isn't so hard, especially if your thinking of a mesh solution. If you like something very custom like a pocket in the StickTech section of E-Lacrosse, then you might want to just send it of to LaxWorld or Rocket Pocket or somebody.


Where could I find a list with photos of patented string jobs? I have a really nice one, but a friend told me he saw one like it elsewhere. I just want to make sure I can claim it as my own. - Simon Choe
Most lacrosse trademarks are online at This site. Just search for the word lacrosse and have fun! Remember that patents which are "pending" will not be listed yet.


I'm using a shaft right now that's titanium. A friend of mine cut it down from a d-stick. The only problem is its about a half of an inch to an inch short. This is a problem because if I do get caught in a game it will be bad for the team and for me. I really don't feel like spending another $100 or so on a new shaft. Do you all know of any ways I could add on to my shaft so I wouldn't have to get a new one? - Taylor Mason
Unfortunately, you have a rather expensive goof-around summer shaft now. Don't risk playing with it in season. Adding material to make it longer wouldn't be legal either. I've seen an end cap make up for a quarter inch before but not much more. An inch is obvious to a good official. Sorry dude.



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!