Introduction: Beginner's Guide: How to String a Lacrosse Stick in 30 Minutes or Less
These instructions are for men’s lacrosse heads that include the three field positions: Attack, Midfield, and Defense. (Sorry goalies I personally have never done one, yes I know there is a goalie stick in the picture). After reading these instructions you should be able to string your stick in 30 minutes or less. This is extremely helpful to know because game situations are unpredictable and strings WILL break eventually. It is good to know how to fix it on a moment's notice during a game or crucial practice. You will save time and money from having other people to string your head up for you. You will also learn to customize it, so it is exactly how you want it. You will have your own style of play as long as you put in the work at practice and give it a little bit of time!
Audience – Middle School to High School beginner lacrosse player
*Tips are completely optional and will add time to this process, but are well worth it for a maximum success rate.
Be aware of WARNINGS and recommendations
Step 1: Before We Get Started
- Unstrung lacrosse head (picture)
- Basic stringing kit (10-diamond mesh)
- Includes: Mesh, two sidewall nylon strings (long strings), one top nylon string (middle length), one bottom string (shortest), two-three shooter strings (look like shoelaces), one screw
- Lacrosse ball
- Needle nose pliers - Help really tighten those strings
- Lighter (WARNING: Adult supervision required ages under 13) - Burn those cut strings so the don't fray
- Scissors - Cut any excess string
- How to tie a knot – Take your string, make a loop, pull the string through that loop and pull it tight (picture)
Mesh – The piece of material that holds the lacrosse ball and makes the pocket. The mesh recommended is 10 diamond hard mesh.
Pocket – The basket shape that will control how the ball will sit in the head, these instructions are going to create a mid-pocket.
Sidewall – The long side of the head that will be strung with one of the two longer nylon strings that comes with the kit
Scoop – The top of the head
Shooters – Shoelace-like strings that will handle how the ball comes out of the head when throwing or shooting, hence the name shooters.
Whip - A commonly used term to describe how early the ball comes out of your head.
For example, a lot of whip means that the ball will come out early and will make your throwing motion to be much shorter than if you had less whip. Less whip allows you to follow through on your throwing motion and shots.
Step 2: Top String
1. Take your mesh and stretch it out. The rest of the instructions will be assuming that the open side of the head is facing away from you.
- Tip – For hard mesh (the one recommended for these instructions) you can run it under hot water while stretching it out, it makes it easier
2. Take the first 9-diamond top row and fold it over the next 9-diamond row so that they match up evenly.
3. Take the middle length string, or the top string, and make a double knot one end about a half of an inch from either end
4. Take the string and pull it through the top hole in the sidewall, take the string and go through the first diamond (end of string facing you) in the mesh and go back through that same first hole in the sidewall.
- Tip – This is to reinforce the string so it will not break on you. Pull it tight.
5. Now, that the mesh is tight against one side of the head, the first knot will come into form.
6. Take the string and pull it back through that first diamond with the end coming at you. Pull the string through that first top hole on the scoop.
7. Take it and pull it through the next diamond over and over/on top of the string making a “loop” and pull it tight.
8. Take the string and go from the back of the mesh and through the same hole from the front of the scoop, leave it loose.
9. Take the string and pull it through that loop that is hanging out and pull it tight.
10. You have completed your first knot on the top string. (picture)
11. Repeat this process, spacing the knots out evenly by skipping one diamond for each knot. For most heads there should generally be four total knots.
- Tip – You can do more if you want but it isn’t necessary, just use the bigger holes on the scoop
12. Once you get to the other side of the head you are going to repeat the first step, tying a double knot to keep it secure.
13. Tie the other side off with a single knot. Once finished, it should be even all the way across with a diamond right down the middle.
14. Cut off the excess string with your scissors so that you have about a half inch of slack. Use your lighter to melt the end together, to keep it from fraying.
Step 3: Sidewalls
1. Take your string and put it through the next hole down from the top string from the outside in. Make sure there is a knot on the opposite end.
2. Take your string and skip a sidewall hole, put it through the outside (leave some slack) and bring the string through the diamond next to it and pull the string under the slack and pull it tight. This is called an interlock. (picture)
- Tip – if your sidewall holes are spaced out then you don’t need to skip a hole.
- Extremely Important Tip – Make sure these knots are pulled really tight because this will help create a channel for the pocket. The tighter the knots the better the channel will be.
- You want a tight channel for better hold in your pocket and it will throw and shoot a lot smoother than one that is not as narrow.
3. Repeat this process until you get about halfway down the stick. This is where we will do a “double up” so that we can create the pocket.
4. Double up - Take your string and go under the next mesh diamond, out the top and then go back under the next mesh diamond and go back out of the top again. Bunch those two diamonds together to create the double up and interlock it to keep it tight.
5. Take your string a skip a hole and continue your same interlock pattern as before.
6. Once you get towards the bottom of the head you are going to go through the back of the mesh and pull the string from the inside-out through a sidewall hole and tie it off with a knot. (possible picture)
7. Do the same exact thing for the other side to finish off your two sidewalls.
8. Generally, you should have used 9 diamonds down the sidewall, you can use a 10th if you want more depth.
9. You should be able to see the mid pocket and have a narrow channel.
Step 4: Pocket
1. Now, that the sidewalls are done you should have some form of a pocket.
2. You want to wet the mesh with warm water and stretch that pocket out.
3. You can use your fist to do this or you can use that lacrosse ball to do. Just kind of throw it in and out of the head on both sides.
- You are beginning the process of breaking the mesh in.
- Tip – An even better way to do this is to take the lacrosse ball and hold it in place by sliding a butter knife across the face of the head. (picture)
- You can leave it there from anywhere from 10 minutes to leaving it overnight.
- This will really create that nice pocket that you want and don’t worry about the depth too much because most of the time it will return to a legal depth.
- If the pocket is too deep you can always adjust it with your bottom string.
Step 5: Bottom String
1. This is to finish off your pocket and it is the easiest and the fastest of this process.
2. The bottom of the head has holes specifically for this, so you want have a knot on one end and pull it through one of those holes.
3. The next row of diamonds down from where you finished off your sidewall should be a row of 10 diamonds.
- WARNING – You cannot use a 9 diamond row because it will not come out even.
4. Take your string and pull it through the first diamond in that row and weave it all the way across.
5. Take your string and pull it through the one of the other holes in the bottom of the head and tie it off with a knot.
- Cut off the excess string if any and use the lighter (WARNING: have adult supervision) to burn the ends together so it does not fray.
Step 6: Shooter Strings
1. This portion is optional as well, I have seen some players play without any shooters, mainly faceoff guys. This is a rare way to play and I wouldn’t recommend it, but it is all about preference. The majority of players use shooters because it allows you to customize the way you throw and shoot the ball.
2. You will use those shoelace looking strings to do this.
3. So, for beginners I recommend that you do not use nylon strings as your shooters because that adds whip to your head and this forces you to throw differently than you should.
4. It does not allow you to follow through and I think every lacrosse should learn the fundamentals before customizing it to you’re the way you like to play no matter what position.
5. With that said, let’s begin with one of two straight shooters. Take your shooter string and choose the first 9 diamond row down from the scoop of the head.
- Tip – It is best to start the shooters on the right side of the head (if the head is facing down, pocket up).
- This is so that the ends of the shooters don’t hit your face when you are cradling.
6. Take your shooter and put it between your mesh and sidewall. Make sure both sides of the shooter are even length.
7. Take the end of the shooter that is facing away from you and pull it up towards you. The other side will go down through the next diamond over.
8. Interweave the shooter across that same row until you get to the other side of head and tie it off with a knot.
9. For the second straight shooter, you are going to do the same thing but on the next 9 diamond row down. So, skip a row and start there.
10. Once that is done, you are going to create your final U-String shooter.
- This shooter will allow you to follow through and give the right amount of whip and control.
11. The curve of the U-String shooter will be based on the next 9 diamond row down taking up three diamonds (picture).
- WARNING - If you are playing in college, then you will not be allowed to use U-shooters as they are illegal
- Two straights could also work depending on how you want to play, so test it out and make your adjustments accordingly (add another straight or a nylon)
12. Now, to create the U-shape, you will see the middle three diamonds and that is where you will start to curve your shooter. (picture)
13. Follow, that row down and diagonally towards the bottom side of the head.
14. Take your string and do the same process that you did for the straight shooters only now you will be going diagonally.
15. Make sure that the shooter curves to create that U-shape on those three middle diamonds and then begin the diagonal path down to the other side of the head.
16. Tie it off with a knot to finish it off.
Congratulations! You have now successfully strung your first lacrosse head. You can loosen your shooter strings if you feel the ball is coming out too early (has too much whip) or tighten them if you do want the ball to come out quicker.
Get out there and practice with some wall ball to break the pocket in and get your stick skills up. The better you get and the more comfortable you get you can tweak this process so it fits your playing style.