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Stick Tech Workshop - ReADeR TIPS!

E-Lacrosse Q & A
Reader Questions Answered
OCTOBER, 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!
At summer camp one of my counselors had a head which I was very interested in and I had never seen before. He said it was called the "x-box" or something like that. It is illegal and it might be for box only. I don't know. Anyway, if you know anything about or where I could get it I would like to know. If the name is wrong, the sidewalls have X's that go from the top all the way down to the neck, and it had a very pinched neck. - Austin
Austin, The X-Box was the original name of the STX Power Play. Gary Gait designed it and it's not for sale at all the stores because it's primarily a box stick and is not legal for use in high school or college lacrosse. We have many readers who are into box lacrosse so we sell it in the E-Lacrosse Store. It's a great box stick and is very stiff. Gary plays with it using a traditional pocket but we like it in hard mesh too.

    


My stick passes great. But, when I shoot, the ball hooks way to the left. At first I thought it was me but I had some friends try it out and it hooked left for them too. I can't seem to fix it. - Matt
Mike, Sometimes sticks are like cars, in that a good mechanic can tell what's most likely wrong from the description of the problem with the stick or the noise a car makes. It sounds like we are talking about symmetry, or the lack of symmetry somewhere in your pocket. First, look up symmetry if you need to but basically it means both sides are equal. If you look at the pocket from the front, is everything symmetrical? If a shooting string is tied off on one side higher that the other it can cause a problem. If all the shooting strings are tied in bulky and heavy knots on one side, re-string the middle one so the weighty part is on the opposite side. Sometimes the whip in a stick is not symmetrical because the sidewalls below the shooting strings and down the stick are not symmetrical or are not tensioned evenly. This would make the pocket just below the shooting strings deeper on one side that the other. If this is the case, loosen or tighten whatever strings you need to even things up. You have to play detective, find the uneven element and then fix it. The only way you can have someone disprove this diagnosis is to get a left handed player try it and if it hooks to the right, you have a different problem.


I strung this Warrior Revolution. It is the first head I have strung. I am wondering if the pocket is good. I have included pictures from front, back, and side views. Could you please give me any tips that could help me to better my pocket?





We think you did a great job! None of our first string jobs looked as good as that. You can improve the sidewall performance a bit by using an interlocking sidewall. Find out how right here. Keep stringing!





How can I improve on picking up the ball? The ball will be right in front of me and it will take me at least 3 or 4 tries before I get it into my pocket.
I can tell right now that you aren't getting low enough, especially with your back hand and you're probably not bending your knees enough. Its not easy learning how to do it full speed. Start at a slow run at first, but always be fundamentally correct. Then try it faster and up to full speed. Great players do it effortlessly through years of practice. A good ground ball will always make you the low guy if a hit occurs which is the position you want to be in to have the best chance of running through it.

About 20 years ago in Baltimore, the Gilman school had a strange contraption in one field that I later found out was a ground ball practice tool. It looked like one of those lacrosse goals that just goes into the ground and has no metal triangle in the back. It was a bit bigger than a lacrosse goal though and it had a two foot wide piece of plywood hanging from it by two adjustable chains at the top. The plywood was adjusted so that it was just tall enough for players to get under when they are low enough to take a perfect ground ball. Then a coach puts balls under the board as players run through getting ground balls. The board would swing but I imagine that it smarted a bit when you hit it with your back and learned ground balls pretty quickly. At that time, and still, Gilman is one of the best High School teams in the nation. I have no idea if they still use the ground ball contraption, but it illustrates how low you have to go to get the ball and that you have to practice it that low consistently to get it right when it counts.


I have recently found that wrapping some tape around the end of the shaft without a butt end works well and the bottom of the shaft isn't exposed at all. The thing I'm worrying about is the legality of it. Do you have any idea whether I'll get a penalty for an illegal stick or not? - Henry from Livingston, VA
Henry, We see many college players with the taped ends so it had to be legal. We don't have the 2003 rule book yet, but we checked the 2002 NCAA Men's rule book. Rule 1, Section 19, Crosse-Construction, Note 2 states that "All hollow crosse handles made of metal or synthetic material must have a plastic or wood plug on the end or must be adequately taped to prevent injury. A metal handle that does not have a cap-plug on the end will not be considered illegal; but, at the next whistle after being noticed, the crosse shall be removed from the game until it is corrected".



Okay, so they said you could use tape and we'll show you how. The second part of the rule, we are assuming, addresses a situation where a cap or plug were to fall off or out during play and it was noticed by a ref. They'd get it fixed on the next whistle, but it would not be a penalty. If they didn't want taped ends they wouldn't include it up front where they say that if you do use tape instead of a cap or plug it must be adequate to prevent injury. We think that a well taped end is much softer and safer than the plastic or rubber caps, but that it wears away much faster. You will need to re-tape it if it wears too low. Here's how to do it.



Take the cap off your stick and get some athletic tape.






Take little pieces of tape and cover the end very well.




Wrap tape around the end to your desired thickness.




Go over the edge by a half inch or so for some of the taping.




Then fold the extra tape inward and push it into the hole.




You're done. You can use white or black tape. Be sure to use enough tape to ensure the safety of someone you hit with the butt end.



Hi, I'm 13 and I'm just starting to play lacrosse. But I wear glasses. Should I switch to contacts, or use goggles? I'm not totally blind, but it would definitely help me catch a pass and throw straight if I had glasses or contacts. What should I do? By the way, you have the best website, it's my homepage. - Fred
Fred, Thanks! This is really a question to discuss with your parents and an eye doctor. There are many physicians who deal with young athletes and vision issues. My wife has contacts and I can't imagine wanting to deal with what she does when I was 13. But I never wore glasses either. Maybe that's a bigger pain. Like I said, see if you can talk to a doctor who does this stuff regularly.


We started this petition to get a lax video game. But we simply don't have enough people on the board to get it going. I was wondering if you could set up a link to it on the website and help us out. The link is http://www.petitiononline.com/alalaxvg/petition.html. - Luke
Luke, We hope you get many signatures but there will have to be an awfully lot of signatures to change the minds of the huge game companies. We were pretty surprised when the Blast lacrosse game was made. It wasn't a great game, but just the idea that a real company produced it was a big step forward. I am sure they would be following it up with a first rate game if it had done well enough. They probably know better than anyone if it's worth the investment to do an original 2003 X-Box or PS2 game. Maybe it's a close call and your petition will help. We wish you luck!


I was wondering if you know or have the step by step process for making wood lacrosse sticks? - Fraser
Fraser, We don't know everything but we'll tell you what we do know and show you some pictures too. When we were on the Onandaga, we met up with Alf jaques, a renowned Native American stickmaker. He talked to us about the whole process and showed us a few of the steps. The process takes at least a year from tree to completed stick. First the maker selects a smooth-barked hickory tree. The tree must be straight at the bottom 8 feet. That's all that will be used for sticks.


Sticks in various stages of the process

The tree must now be split with an axe, mallet and a wedge. A single tree will yield 6 to 16 pieces to work with. These are trimmed to the 8 foot workable size and the bottom 2 feet of the pieces will be carved down with a 2 handled draw knife. Then the wood must be dried for at least 2 months.


Alf with old friend Roy Simmons, Jr.

The stick head will be formed next by steaming the top few feet of the wood piece and bending it to shape in a iron lever device specifically designed for this.


This is a faboulous photo of steaming and bending in the snow.
The picture is from the book Alf takes around to show folks.


A piece of wire is tied around the bend so that it holds for at least 10 months when it is steamed again and adjusted back a bit. The but end is cut to a normal lacrosse stick size and the carving begins. Alf showed us this part. He uses an 1887 Coopers knife (originally used by barrel makers) and a "horse", which is a hand made wooden bench. The soft leather grips won't hurt the stick and the foot operated vice makes it easy to move the stick on the fly very quickly while carving. It's the perfect tool for this craft!


Alf and two of his favorite knives



Carving the head on the specially designed horse

Once the carving is completed, the 8 sided handle must be cut freehand on a bandsaw. The extra 1" length of wood on the head that the wire was attached to is cut off and the handle is cut to exact length. The stick is balanced with more bending and carving if neccessary and the netting holes are drilled before the entire stick is sanded down and lacquered. A rawhide sidewall is attached and the stick is strung to specification.


Many completed Alf Jacques sticks on display.
The big stick we're holding is a replica of a 1800's stick.




Dear E-Lacrosse, I saw an awesome helmet Tom Ryan was wearing and was wondering what kind it is and where I could get it if possible. Here is the picture. - Taylor



Taylor, The helmet TR is wearing there is a Cascade C-pro with a box lacrosse mask made by maxlax attached (thanks, Luke from Canada). It's not legal in High School or College and you have to bend the brim a bit and drill a couple new holes to make it work. Tom's got more up there than most of us so he needs a bigger helmet. He played with the E-Lacrosse team this summer and we had Cascade do a special helmet for him that was bigger than the L-XL size they sell at stores. Cascade is great at doing custom orders like that in just a few days. They are one of our new sponsors and we are hosting the CASCADE HELMET GALLERY which will be up on E-Lacrosse this fall! YOU CAN GET YOUR CASCADE IN THE GALLERY as it goes live by sending us pictures of your Cascade now!



I have just come back from the World Games in Oz playing for England, but one thing that we didn't really get to do was trade a lot of our gear with other teams, there just wasn't enough time at the end. Is there any forum where we can put what we have for trade? David
David,   The only thing we can think of is to put the ad in the E-Lacrosse Free Classifieds under equipment and see what happens. We'll put the ad in there and you may get some bizarre offers for trades. It would be great if other World Games participants responded and even posted items for trade. Let us know what happens. By the way, we were in Perth and at many other tournaments and we also love a good trade. What do you have to trade?


Hi, I just got back from an STX lacrosse camp and there was an STX rep who showed us The Hype. Let me tell you, I thought it was amazing. Because of the way that it is designed where you string the sidewalls from the top, ball rattle is completely eliminated. It is truly going to be a great stick and I can't wait until it comes out. - Brian
Brian, The Hype's out now and we have it. And we agree that it is very cool. We did an interview with the designer Chris Heim that you can read here on E-Lacrosse to get more information about it. AND we have a Hype Stringing Contest to see what kind of crazy and innovative pockets our readers can come up with for the new stringing configuration featured on the hype.

   


I saw a two kids at camp with "cut out" pockets. These were like mesh pockets but some of the mesh was missing where it wasn't needed. One was like a triangular piece of mesh with shooting strings. What is that and is it available? - Will
Will, Cut outs are purely custom jobs done by stringers. No product is available as of yet that features a cut out pocket. We've seen many over the years. The Monster Mesh is basically a cut out pocket where the inner diamonds have been cut out creating bigger diamonds but the ones you are talking about are cut out at the top corners. Here's a couple examples of cut outs. We made the second one using a shrink tube shooter and it works great. Only use hard mesh, never soft mesh, to do this and be sure to melt the tips of the cut mesh a bit with a lighter to keep them from fraying later.







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!






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