We devoted a whole StickTech Workshop edition to shooting strings last year. While the basic concept behind the shooting string stays constant, the advent of new technolgies and materials allows us and often forces us to adjust and even improve shooter functionality. For example, over the last couple years the popularity of the Moster Mesh and similar wide mesh products has befuddled stringers and many self-stringing players as they attempt to achieve symetry and performance installing shooters with an uneven amount of holes spead so far apart. At the same time the "V pocket" shooting string configuration emerged as a favorite among the kids. Some of the V pockets we've seen in wide mesh sticks are unsightly and could not possibly be consistent. And the two technolgies serve cross purposes. While the wide mesh loosens the cradling experience, the V pocket stiffens and controls the ball.
But stringers will always try new things. What is most interesting, though, are the solutions people come up with to string an offset stick so it throws like a flat head or the machinations of string and lace some create to make a wide mesh throw like a hard mesh. How many tips have we published in STICK TECH that teach kids how to harden a soft mesh or soften a hard mesh? Over twenty. This month, we break out of the mold and introduce the truly radical.
Today our mad scientists are introducing some new concepts to the E-Lacrosse community that we think will drive some of the thinking by our readers for a while. We expect readers to improve on these ideas over the coming season and keep us posted on thier progress and discoveries. All of these projects can be done at home with products bought at local stores or things around the house.
What you need:
Heat Shrink Tubing (you can buy this at electrical supply or boating stores/online catalogs),
Regular shooting strings
or some kind of nylon cord, and
a blow dryer.
ABOVE: STX introduced an orange shooting string with a loose, clear rubberized shell in 2000. The STX shooter is soft and provides a cushioned release. The heat shrink tubing (also pictured) can be used loose for a deadening effect on impact or tight (heated on) for a hard and crisp release.
Step-by-Step Instructions: CLICK ON THE BORDERED PICTURES FOR CLOSE-UPS!
This one is still VERY experimental is looks pretty geek, but, SO FAR, we love the results. To start, stuff a piece of your cord or string through the tubing, as shown above. The tubing we bought came in the perfect length, but if you buy a roll of it or need to cut it, just size it up in the stick you are using. We even cut the ones we used for lower shooting strings shorter than the top ones. We also used a larger grade tubing and inner cord for higher shooters in some cases. We are experimenting with a few configurations. In any case the string should be long enough to stick out about six inches on each end. You'll only need three but much better safe than sorry. And this takes much less string so you have plenty of string to work with if you start with a standard shooting string.
Before you start blow drying, try the loose method. Just string the shooter in and throw with it. You will notice the feel is harder than the STX rubberized shooter and not as hard and unforgiving as the old nylon shooters. In fact, leaving the shell loose almost deadens the whip a bit while not really effecting shot speed, like hockey laces on steroids.
Using the hair dryer, heat the shell around the string until it shrinks and envelopes the string. It may seem lumpy until all of the tube is heated and shrinks. An average hair dryer will take a few minutes of direct close heat to shrink the tube. Move the heat along the desired surface, spinning the tube loosely to get an even shrink. Hold the shooter by the cord while blow drying. The tube gets HOT!
If you decided that you like the shell loose, only heat the ends of the tube, as shown below, so that it shrinks and adheres to the cord at the ends but stays fat and loose through the middle.
Install the shooter(s) and adjust to taste.
Use them in graduated sizes, in coordination with other shooters or in a channel system we'll show you below!
There are two sets of photos below illustrating the channel or rail system. One set shows the heat shrink tubing in use and the other a thin cord (but thicker than most lax strings) bought at a climbing store. After your standard shooters are installed, putting in the rail system is a breeze.
Tie off one end of the cord to a point on the outer edge of the pocket. Decide where you want the U shape to form up around the shooters. Be sure to think of symmetry at this point. Find the midway point between the tie off and the turn in the U. Feed the cord through that mid-point and then through the turns of the U. Finish the U and come back down the other side. All turns, weavings and knots must be absolutely symetrical. Also, be sure that there's not enough space for the ball to get caught under any of the longer stretches of cord forming the rail on the surface of the pocket.
If using the tubing, start with a smaller cord. Sidewall strings work well. Notice that we tied a knot a the top of each tube to keep it in place. You can heat the tubing onto the cord or not. We are trying it without and find that its a flawless channel with a little resistance. If we heated the rail, less resistance would be created. Release can be controlled by placement of the U. Notice that on the head with the cord rail we ran the rail over two shooting strings before going behind the pocket with the turn. On the tube version, we only crossed over only one shooter and the release features less resistance and more "touch" or "english" on softer tosses. Experiment and see what you like. These are so easy to pop in and out. Let us know what you think.
Primarily for use with mesh, the strap can quickly adjust pocket depth and tension, while the elastic strap adds some cushion to catches and punch to passes and shots. The Strap can be made with elastic or without and requires just a few items found at sewing stores. The first is an 8 /2" long piece of waistband trim. This comes by the foot and in many patterns, colors, elasticity and materials. Pick a strong one and if you use elastic, be sure that its hard to stretch and still very strong when fully stretched. You'll need a 2 1/2 inch velcro strip. Cut the sharp hook end to about 1 1/2 inches. Now you'll need a needle and thread or preferably a sewing machine. Right. Like you have a sewing machine. Someone you know does and this takes a minute to do, so beg them to help.
Sew the pieces of velcro onto the longer strip as shown in the top picture. If someone you know has a sewing machine, it works a WHOLE LOT BETTER. A dry-cleaner/tailor will often sew this for under 5 dollars. If you use elastic, you'll notice that when you sew the velcro to it the elasticity in those sections is lost. This is a good thing. Remember, we don't want too much stretch. Be sure to sew the velcro to opposite sides of the center strap.
You may want to snip a few of the inner holes on the mesh where you weave the strap through. This allows greater motion than just folding the strap in half length-wise where it weaves trough the mesh, which is also an option.
Once the strap is in place throw and adjust until it fits your tension. If you chose elastic, enjoy the ride! There should be a slight bounce or "sling-shot effect" in your throws. Because the elasticity is at the base of the pocket, forward motion is achieved after the sling shot effect but before impact on the shooting strings. If this is not the case or the sling shot effect is too pronounced, you'll experience inconsistency. If its just right, you'll get a little deeper pocket on power cradles and checks and a nice cushioned response when catching, along with the sling shot thing. Warning: whips can become more pronouced if you use a big one. Try tightening everything else up and starting off with less whip. You'll like the effect if you adjust to your taste patiently while throwing against a wall.
Check with local authorities (your coach, a ref) to see if there are any rules against these configurations locally. We can't find anything in the NCAA rulebook that addresses them. Take these concepts and try the ones you like. We are testing all of them currently and with some success. We'll compare results and publish your comments in a later edition of Stick Tech.