E-Lacrosse Q & A
Reader Questions Answered
MARCH, 2002
WARNING: Ovens, lighters, matches, knives, and other tools called for in the E-Lacrosse Stick Tech 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!
Yo, I was just wondering if you could explain what an Indian scoop is.
First, an Indian scoop, Indian pick-up or Maryland Crab is a generally coach-unapproved way to get the ball from the ground into your stick. The kid in the picture below is doing a two handed version. You've seen hot dogs on numerous fields do the one handed one, usually followed by a coach's scolding. We had someone ask once if the term Indian pick-up was some kind of politically incorrect term or even a racial slur since they knew that the move was frowned upon by their coach. The truth is that the old Toli sticks used by many of the lacrosse playing Native Americans, mostly in previous eras, cannot scoop the ball the way we are traditionally coached. Look at the picture of the scoop on the Toli sticks linked here and you'll see what we mean. Toli's a great game but nobody's yelling at you to "get two hands on that groundball!"

I was wondering how to replace the head of my stick. I unscrewed it but its still on tight. How do I replace the head? - Mike
I once had a stick that I used for almost two years and then wanted to change the shaft. To my surprise, there was no screw holding the head on. "How amazing", I thought "that all this time, through all those groundballs, passes, catches and shots, without a screw the head still stayed on the shaft without even a rattle". But then, my amazement transcended into frustration as I tried to purposefully remove the head from the seemingly welded on shaft. After trying some of the methods below, which usually work, I tried putting the area where the head meets the shaft under running hot, then cold water. Something contracted or something expanded and it was loose enough to force apart. Some of the more field accessible methods include the self explanatory buddy pull, the heel and toe grips, the two foot pinch and the thigh buster, all shown below. Always look at where the shaft will go, very quickly and with some force. should you be successful at separating the shaft from the head using any of these methods. The foot methods, if done without that aforethought can hit you in the forehead, chest and groin. We've seen it many times. Using the buddy method often results in both parties falling backwards when successful. Just be careful.

I was wondering how to make a pocket without a pocket pounder. The way I am doing it is I just keep throwing the ball into the pocket and playing catch with neighbors and using my pitch back. - Shaun
I can't remember, but I guess before the invention of the pocket pounder all pockets sucked. You, and most lacrosse players, by the way, are doing what we'll call "old school" pocket formation. Keep pounding. Turn the stick over and just bang the ball into the pocket from that side too. Some of the new more pinched heads are a pain in the %#& to pound, even from the back, without hitting your fingers on the plastic. I must add, though, that if you have the dough for a pitch back, a pocket pounder must be affordable. It is not, however, necessary. I like appropriate sized rounded metal fence post tops. If you have access to some, try it.

My stick throws pretty well but after it has rained, the next day it starts hitting the top and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. - Adam, Upper Arlington
You gotta pound it in after it dries or, better yet, a little bit while it dries. Or just get a pocket screw or use a ball with a butterknife or something to hold the pocket. See many previous tips and question sections on e-lacrosse for more details on that. You can also use the search eangine on the front page to find specific topics by word, like "pocket" or "shooting strings".

I just started to play lacrosse but I have this problem. My mouth guard doesn't taste so pleasant. Is there any way to flavor them? I tried brushing with toothpaste but that didn't work. I am scared to do anything else, so I'm asking the pros. - Paul
Paul, that's a great question. A mouth guard has to be treated like a retainer or dentures to avoid odor and, to be truthful, nasty bacteria. Most guys keep it in the bag with their gloves and pads between games. That is just nasty. There are products on the market specifically for the overnight soaking of dental hardware like retainers (teens) and dentures (hockey players) . These fluids clean, disinfect and leave a minty or cinnamon taste usually. I just soak it in Scope or Listerine (gargle a shot while you're at it, Dude) for few minutes after a game and then store it in a place suitable for an item headed eventually back into my mouth - far away from my rotting gear. You might want to start this new routine with a NEW mouth guard and toss the nasty one. Or at least soak for a few minutes in Hydrogen Peroxide or Isopropyl Alcohol before rinsing well and using the mouthwash or whatever.

I strung my first head about a month ago. It's a Brine Edge Aero with a traditional pocket. It throws well most of the time but my shots are a little inconsistent. I don't know if it's my shooting motion or the pocket. I'm confused about how to get the whip out. Some of the reader tips on this site say that the shooting strings should be graduated in tightness with the top one being the tightest (this is how my pocket is), but others say that having the top shooter too tight causes the whip. Would using nylons instead of hockey laces help? - Steve
First, both of the things you read in the tips ARE true. The Shooters need to be graduated from tight to looser down the stick and a huge cause of whip is a top shooter (or any shooter) that is too tight. The shooters are just part of the pocket and their tightness is all relative to the rest of the pocket. The sidewalls, leathers or base knot on a mesh stick, and the general looseness of the "basket" portion of the pocket are all factors in the eventual proper graduation and just-right tightness of the top shooter. The top shooter should be just tight enough so that the ball WILL NEVER come off the plastic, but not much tighter, and then graduate the next two or three shooters leaving them loose enough to adjust further. Always use a separate piece of string for EACH shooter. Adjusting every shooter because just one is messed up will get tiring. Just below the shooters should be the lowest point of your pocket if you like more whip and that point should be lower for less whip. In any case that low point should be just legal. This means that the ball sits at that low point so that, when holding the stick parallel to the ground, you see most of the ball below the plastic, but not all of it. That's it. You will have to make adjustments to the sidewalls, leathers and shooters to make the perfect balance. It takes some tweaking, but once you get it, you will have the perfect balance for cradling and passing or shooting. Nylon has more feel to it and lace has more actual impact. You choose.

I was wondering if my stick is still eligible for the contest even though I didn't take before pictures of it because it is a beautiful and very patriotic dye job and I can include a very detailed explanation of how I did it. Also is my stick still eligible if I get it strung by a shop and submit a picture of it dyed but unstrung and a picture of it after it is professionally stung? - Dan
Sure. Just be as thorough as you can with the description because there won't be pictures of the steps. For those who don't know about the 2002 E-Lacrosse Dying contest, E-Lacrosse will award a pair of E-Lacrosse Ignitor Gloves and a Gary Gait strung and signed STX Octane from the first ten out of the mold. We have only 3 left! On June 15, 2002 we will choose the very best dye job submitted and showcase the stick and its designer right here on E-Lacrosse! Entries should, if at all possible, include:
  • picture of the head in its pre-dyed but prepared state (with stickers, glue or whatever)
  • picture(s) of the completed head for judging
  • description of how you did it, your concept and what you call the dye
Send your entries to john@tonabricks.com

This contest is for individual stringers and not for Lacrosse stores and kids who just buy a head at a store already dyed. Start now. Be careful and mindful of the potential hazards. Send as many entries as you like.

A friend and I are having a debate over lacrosse physics. We are co-captains, so there is a little rivalry involved also. We thought our Physics teacher could help, but he really wasn't sure who was right. The debate is over what would give you the faster shot. A pocket higher in the head of the head, or down by the base. We talked about arc and torque forever. I tried to mention the point of release, and how there is a hold depending on what kind of shooting strings you have. My friend's argument is that the lower the ball is in the head of the stick (closer to the throat) then the faster your shot will be, because of the extra distance and roll it will have. I say a high pocket with more of a hook/whip, which holds the ball high until you snap your wrist, will have a faster shot. Could any of you guys down at e-lax talk about the lacrosse physics here? - Alec
Your friend's right, when actually playing lacrosse, but you may be right in plain terms of physics. It is simply a matter of resistance and shot availability in the end. If the ball is not impeded by a whip but rolls off the stick smoothly it will go faster with the same strength and technique behind it. Some of the guys with the fastest shots have zero whip, but they keep the pocket deep and low so they can cradle. Otherwise they might keep it mid-depth for even faster shots. There is some merit to the theory that more velocity will be gained from the wielding of a stick with the ball caught in the whip at the farthest point from the point of power which is your hands, optimally positioned low on the shaft, until release, like a hammer toss or golf swing. This "crank" shot could yield a faster shot, if the shooter had the strength to force through the whip or a slick twist of the stick or some machination at the end of the shooting motion to let it loose. But in a real game, unless you are wide open on an extra man offense or on a huge fast break, you'll never get that shot off. AND, the fundamentally sound shot you need to take to squeeze that rock between two defenders and a keeper while taking the feed and shooting on the run will hit you right in the knee with the seriously whipped out stick needed to fully engage the physics explained above.

Hey, I really like all of your Pockets, and I am trying to build one at the moment. I am having trouble finding the nylon that you use in most of your pockets. I live in Arizona, and if there is anywhere you know of that I could buy/order by the spool, I would like to know. - Damien
We sell it at our e-lacrosse store in nice big spools. Buy your lacrosse gear and stringing supplies from E-Lacrosse to keep all this great content free!

I just looked at Mike Springer's pocket in the Action Videos/2000 NCAA Quarterfinals section of e-lacrosse. The still photo of him shows his shooting strings sort of inside out. Meaning, the first line across the pocket is on the ball side of the pocket. If I didn't explain it good enough, check it out. Anyway, have you guys ever tried it? Is there any advantage? Obviously, Springer has a cannon, just thought I would ask. - Jim
We do it all the time. In fact, before folks started using big fat laces for shooters, we used to string the shooters inside-out or backwards or whatever for more "string impact without whip" we'll call it. The ball comes off the more knotty feeling side creating a very minor whip like effect and allowing the shooter to feel the ball coming off the strings more easily. Try it. It's maybe the easiest experimentation we can think of and just as easy to put back if you hate it.

Springer in 2000

Hi E-lacrosse, great website. I have a question regarding heads. I recently cracked my two Revolution heads. Both broke in the same place (right at the top of the sidewall), so I'm thinking it's time to switch heads. I've heard a lot of positive things about the Proton, and I used to swear by STX, and was thinking of giving it a try. But the new Bionic caught my eye. Have you had a chance to review it, and if so, what do you think. - Tait
We like the Bionic, Vector, Quark and especially the Proton. If you're gonna swear, STX is a good company to swear by. We think the best heads we've tested are the STX Proton and X2, deBeer Wizard and Brine Vapor. The Bionic is very similar to the Proton so we'll probably like it very much. If all things are equal, after checking them out at a store, buy the STX or deBeer because they sponsor E-Lacrosse! The Vector and Quark lean toward less offset, and thusly better performance, so we like them, but we have yet to give them the workout they deserve before recommending most highly. We really like the new STX box stick. We'll review it and the whole new STX line soon. The review of the deBeer Matrix is up next for Stick Tech. Look for it in April sometime.

My attack and middie kids go through heads and pockets at a ridiculous rate. They play them into dust. I'm looking for something as stable and long-wearing as hard mesh with the hold and release of traditional. Rocket Pocket sells several versions of a traditional pocket that is advertised to be as stable as mesh. Is this too good to be true? What about the Trakker pocket? Similar argument -- is it worth it? I don't have the background to constantly be adjusting / restringing pockets and can't afford to have them switch sticks each time a stick begins to have "bad mojo". I'd appreciate your thoughts. - MW
Yeah, mojo can cost a parent quite a bit. My mom would have employed the GOJO policy (GO get a JOb). The tracker is synthetic and will last longer than the leathers in most traditional sticks. Hard mesh softens up a bit and gains some control as it ages. Traditional pockets will always need to be adjusted and will always require string replacement. Try a Trakker pocket and get back to us with your review. We think you will find it lasts longer.

Do you guys still string the Complete Pocket? I was wondering because I wanted it and it was not available when I was looking through the stringing section on your Store page. - Ian
Ian, a few of the Van O'Banion pockets that we used to string are now available on his retail site www.stylinstrings.com. Check it out!

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!