|BY Pat Miller|
This pocket could be spotted this year on the head of defenseman Brendan Shook of JHU. It was a pocket that I custom designed to fit his aggressive style of play and ball control preference. Its unique look made this pocket popular with the bulletin board crowd and copycat stringers. We even got calls, very coincidentally, about the Shook pocket on the Tech Team Radio show!
Why the shakedown? One reason is that a nickname of Brendan's was Shakes. The other is that the pocket looks like if you were to shake it hard enough the ball might rattle through. This won't happen if strung properly however.
Why does it work? The Shakedown is made up entirely of nylons that act as shooting strings. The two wide leathers channel the ball and hold it right in the middle between two crossing twisted nylons The cubes created offer a unique feel, especially once the pocket begins to break-in!
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Recommended for the highly advanced stringers. This can be one of the toughest sticks to string because it requires patience and careful, consistent string twisting!
- 2 Leathers
- 2 Sidewalls
- 2 Long nylons
- 2 shorter nylons
- 2 shooting strings (optional)
Prepare your materials
As always, you want to stretch the leathers before you place them into the stick.
String only two leathers down the middle of this stick in the two middle holes at the top and the two outer holes at the bottom.
String the sidewalls as shown. Keep them fairly snug and consistent on each side of the head. Do not use the last hole on each side because you will need these for nylons later!
Here's the tough part. You will need two long pieces of nylon to complete this part of the head. Tie the first nylon off at the shooting string hole at the top of the head. Then you need to zigzag this string all the way down the stick. You will need to do this with some slack in the nylon. Loop it through every other sidewall loop on each side. Make sure to leave slack at the bottom because you made need to pull some more into the stick as you go. Now you will have to take the other nylon and tie it off at the shooting string hole on the other side at the top of the head. Begin twisting this nylon around the other loosely zigzagged nylon, when doing this you will pull the nylons tight enough so they are straight and no longer zigzagged as you go.
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Take your time with this, you may have to try it a few times before it comes out even! You will need to continue this process all of the way down the stick. You should be making twists that run side to side as you go. This eliminates the diagonal look of the other loose nylon and should also even out the loops through the sidewall strings.
This may become a tricky process toward the bottom of the stick. You will want to try to keep the same number of twists, or close to it, until you get to the last two rows. In order to do this you may have to loosen the leathers and string as if there is a bit of a pocket already. For the last two rows keep the twists less in number and therefore smaller in length. This will allow the pocket to tighten up again towards the bottom of the head. When you are finished, tie the nylons in the two bottom open sidewall holes on either side.
Shooting strings are totally optional with this stick! But in order to have some additional adjustment capability, I would recommend two or three normal shooting strings strung half-way between rows of nylons.
Now that you have your rows of nylons and shooters installed, you will need to keep them in place. Use two nylons and tie them through the shooting string holes. You can loop the string though the two outer leather scoop holes then move towards the leathers. You will need one nylon per leather, in other words one per side. String the nylon right down the leather by making loops on both sides of the horizontal nylon twist. String these nice and tight as you go in order to lock the nylon twists into place. When you get to the bottom you can tie them off in two empty leather holes in the middle!
If the stick needs adjustment you will have to go back and tighten or loosen the nylons, this can be tough but don't get discouraged. When finished you will have a stick with superb ball feel and a consistent throw, not to mention it's the coolest looking stick on the field!
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