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Stick Tech Workshop - ReADeR TIPS!

Reader Questions Answered

We picked 10 reader tips for publication this month! And we're giving the authors e-Lacrosse Rage II DVDs! Winners contact us if we miss you. Some e-mails cannot be returned to the addresses given to us.

WARNING: Ovens, lighters, matches, knives, and other tools called for in this tips 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!

I was wondering if new designs of lacrosse sticks affect speed or accuracy of a shot? - Neil


While a head and pocket in combination certainly affect speed and accuracy, the pocket is the most important component involved. But your question is about heads. All designs attempt to improve upon control, accuracy and speed and the three aren't easy to improve together. Usually a head design that stresses one attribute too greatly will fall short on some other. A head that is designed specifically to be very accurate might sacrifice catching ability because it's very narrow. A head that has great control, like an offset head, sacrifices on shot speed and responsiveness in comparison to a flat head. None of the manufacturers currently make a head that is so different in the areas of accuracy and speed that we would recommend one over any other. The sticktech pages are full of great tips and advice on how pockets can make a difference and how to create them. You can also talk to your coach about workouts that will increase shot speed. Practicing on walls endlessly and maintaining consistent fundamentals are the best paths to true accuracy. Head designs mostly differ on things like stiffness/flexibility, durability, shape, width, depth, weight, scoop curvature, quality of materials and cost. These are things that you choose based on your game, preference and budget.

I saw the Back Yard Wars Goal in your store and wondered if it was worth it. - Shawn


We have two of these around the office! This is one of the coolest products in lacrosse for practicing skills and just goofing around. We play tailgate ball with one and some tennis balls at the NCAA Tournament parties annually. I leave one outside and the kids in the neighborhood practice sharpshooting on it all the time. The corners have little mesh pockets so they can keep score. The whole thing folds up miraculously into a bag no bigger than a stadium cushion. Brine makes them and they are less than 50 dollars. Get one and have a blast. Don't bother with the mini sticks unless you have really young kids that want to play. The goal is just as fun with regular sticks and balls or tennis balls.

I love your site and all the information that it provides. I was just wondering if it's necessary to start with a beginner stick. Does it matter which one I use, as long as it's soft mesh? I am a high school senior and just recently found lacrosse that's near me. Thanks for your help. - Lance


Most beginner heads are just older models or really wide heads for easy catching. I'd just pick a mid-price range model from any brand that isn't too narrow. A medium mesh is best because you are a beginner but have more strength than a kid and will throw too hard for a really soft mesh with any pocket depth. Have fun!

I really want a new and creative lacrosse head but I want it to be hot pink with white polka dots. Could you tell me were I could get this done? - Mya


Many local shops have custom dying services and some kids advertise in the E-Lacrosse classifieds but one place has always done the best dyes. Lacrosse Unlimited on Long Island will take a phone order for a custom dye on any stick and their dyes are flawless. They do cow pattern dyes that are perfect.

I have seen a few wooden shafts used by people on various varsity teams, and I was interested in how they are made. How do they compare with the traditional metal shafts. - Larry

You're making me feel old. When you see a few wooden shafts around, you naturally think they are the latest thing and more are coming. The truth is they are dinosaurs, almost extinct from use except in northern box arenas usually. A few kids in the high schools near you may be using them to be tough and "lay some wood" as it used to be called when you hit someone with the lumber, but the truth is they are not efficient any more. The stronger, lighter mid-priced metal shafts are better shafts and better buys. A few companies still make wood shafts and they use lighter woods than they used to. But these are the manufacturers of wooden Native American sticks and the shafts are rare finds in lax stores and never in catalogs. You can still get wood shafts from Patterson, Alf Jaques or the Mitchell Brothers. Here are the contacts if you want:
  1. Patterson http://www.pattersonlacrosse.com/

  2. MIL - Mitchell Bros http://www.mohawkintlacrosse.com/

  3. Alf Jaques - no site but phone is 315-492-9580

Are there better pockets for different shots like underhand, sidearm or overhand? - No Name
No. Well, there are, probably, but I don't care. A pocket that throws well for you underhand and/or sidearm and isn't perfect for your overhand pass and shot is not a good pocket for you. A young player's first pocket should feel comfortable throwing and shooting overhand and will release early on sidearm and especially underhand. As the player gets stronger and their shooting and passing becomes harder, they will require and evolve to a deeper pocket which will then accommodate the sidearm and even the underhand shots better. The best part is that a beginning player shouldn't be practicing sidearm and underhand yet anyway and by the time the pocket is right, they are probably ready too.

Do you think it is better to use leather at the top of a mesh stick or a piece of nylon? - Tom

Leather. It's stronger when abused by the turf and just lasts longer. Some heads have grooves for the top string so it doesn't matter but if the strings are exposed, my choice is leather.

I'm a sophomore attacker on the Ravenwood High girls' team in Brentwood, TN, and I've got a question about dying. I've got a forest green Apex by deBeer, and I was wondering if it's possible to dye it black. I know that with white sticks, you can dye them multiple times, as long as you go darker, but what about colored plastic? - Alex

The colors on deBeer heads are solid, which is a great thing unless you want to dye them. Green to black can be done, though. A very hot black dye, a little heavy on the powder in the mix, will work. Keep reheating dye water and dipping or submerging until black. It will happen.

I am a goalkeeper and just have a question. Is there a certain depth that your goalie stick pocket should have and is there an illegal depth? - Adam


There is no illegal depth. You are above the law. Rule 1, Section 20 in the official NCAA rule book says that there is no prohibition on your depth of pocket, but too deep to get off a good throw is too deep.

I've heard a lot about people cutting the palms off their gloves for better control. How do you do that? - Brad


You can use a scissor or a seam stripper (shown below). The problem is that if you are playing at any level of college, high school or younger, it's not legal to do. The pros do it and the club guys always have, but for your own safety, whether I agree with that or not, you can't. This is one of the reasons that looking at pro players' gloves to see what you should wear is kind of silly. The locker room floor after an NLL or MLL game is littered with triangular mesh and microsuede pieces of all sizes. Here are some pictures of my last few pair of gloves from my club days. I learned the hard way not to use the fingerholes! When you cut a glove, it will fray and unravel until it's nasty and unusable, but until that point these were some great gloves! Many of the new gloves are so comfortable that cutting is not really needed.

Does dying a used stick affect the dying process? - Gus


Not really. Clean up the stick with some hot water and dish soap so there's not actual dirt on it or ground into the surface. The worst thing that could happen is that your newly died head will look like it has a scratch just like the pre-dyed stick did. If the head was a colored head and you see white underneath where it was scraped a bunch, those scrapes will be died and look better, BUT any new scrapes may reveal more of the color you dyed, the original color of the stick or white again. The longer you dye and the hotter the water is will determine how deep the dye gets into the plastic. We always suggest re-heating the dye water a few times between dips for best results with a parent's permission of course. Don't ruin your kitchen counters or stovetop.

I love your website. It's helped me with stringing in the past, but I was wondering how to put more hold into your pocket. My pocket is a hard mesh with three shooters straight across. - Jeremy


First, you have the fastest pocket in the game and sacrifice control for it. As the mesh gets softer, control will improve and there are many tips in sticktech to help speed up that process, but it will lessen the life of the mesh from 3 to 2 years approximately. Big deal. Your head will break before then. I'm not a huge fan of V shooters, BUT with a hard mesh, I've put them in before to calm things down a bit and slow the ball slightly on passes. You will become a ball control master if you practice and play successfully with it just the way it is, but cut yourself a break and make the bottom shooter a V and see what you think.

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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