Introduction: Stinging a Lacrosse Stick
There are many factors that impact your performance as a lacrosse player. With various materials and endless stringing methods, the lacrosse head is the most important variable when mastering the sport's fundamentals. I discovered that the perfect stick must maintain a whip and hold balance. The ball needs to stay in the pocket during aggressive contact and scrums, but if the ball has to much hold, there will be excess whip causing passes and shots to nose dive. The following stringing instructions reveal my method that sustains the best whip and hold pocket for lacrosse heads.
Step 1: Materials
I recommend the materials below as each piece plays a role. A Leatherman with scissors and needle-nose plyers along with matches or a lighter will make stringing the lacrosse stick easier.
I regularly use Warrior's Revo heads because I am a defensive player and prefer the wider scoop, but any lacrosse head will work.
The orange string binds the mesh to the top frame of the head and is refereed to as top or cross lace.
I also recommend using top lace for the two sidewalls. The two white sidewall strings are top lace as the size of top lace is 1/2 millimeters thicker than traditional sidewall lace which allows the string to last longer.
Pocket Break (Maroon)
The maroon string near the heads top, known as the the pocket break, shortens the pocket increasing hold.
Shooting String (White)
The white thick shooting string resting on the heads mid-section is similar to a thick shoe lace. This sting will be the easiest to loosen or tighten when making quick pocket changes.
Bottom Tie Off (Maroon)
The thickness of the bottom maroon sting does not matter as it's sole purpose is to close the end of the mesh.
Step 2: Crosslace
Before stringing the top lace, stretch out the mesh by pulling it apart so the diamond holes become wider. Fold the first row of diamonds backwards so it overlaps the next row of diamonds creating a flap. Make sure the back of the head is facing you.
- Take the thick top lace string and make a knot near the end. Push the un-knotted end of the top lace through the top hole and weave it through the first diamond in the flap. Loop the string back outside the head then through the same hole and first diamond. Pull the string tight so the top left mesh corner is snug next to the top left corner of the head.
- From the back of the head, put the top string through the first oval hole in the scoop and back through the second set of diamonds then above the original line of cross lace. Carry the string through the next diamond set and out the same oval hole and under the line of cross lace. Pull the Lark's head knot tight.
- Repeat Step 2 across the top frame along the scoop. Make sure this lace is tight; it should be the tightest sting on the stick.
- Finish the top string by pulling it through the last diamond set and top hole like you started. Loop the string back through the same diamond set and hole. Tighten the string; then tie a knot.
Note: I have 4 Lark's head knots due to the scoop holes in my particular head, but you may have more or less depending on your mesh size and lacrosse head's brand.
Step 5: Sidewall
- Similar to the crosslace, start the sidewall string with feeding it through the next hole down on the frame. Loop it through the hole again so the string firmly hugs the plastic head.
- Weave the sidewall string through the top of the first diamond set. This is the same diamond set you began the crosslace through.
- Bring the string back up through the next diamond on the side of the mesh.
- Loop the sidewall string over the plastic sidewall and out through the third hole resting the string on top of the lace. Tighten the string.
- Repeat Step 5 down the sidewall until you reach the bottom of the head where it will be tied off.
- Be sure the top half of the sidewall string is very tight. The bottom half should have some give.
Note: Depending on your stick's number of sidewall holes and mesh size, you might have more loops. I typically have 6 loops along the sidewall not counting the top knot. Traditionally, the method is one side diamond for one sidewall loop, but you can weave more mesh diamonds for one sidewall hole on the pocket's bottom half. Be cautions; where you add more mesh diamonds, your pocket will give more, creating whip. Do not add more mesh diamonds per sidewall hole on the head's top half because your pocket will whip.
- Repeat Step 6 on the other sidewall.
Step 8: Pocket Break
- Tie a knot in one end of the pocket break string through the third sidewall hole. Lay the pocket break string across the top of the mesh about three diamonds down from the head's top frame. Put the loose end of the string through the other side's third sidewall hole.
- Weave the loose end along the same row of diamonds going over and under the first piece of string connecting the pocket break to the mesh.
- Repeat Step 9 until you reach the other side of the mesh.
- Push the remaining loose end through the same hole where the pocket break string began. End the pocket break with a knot. The beginning knot and ending knot should be side by side through the same hole.
Note: The tight pocket break string is not always used in stringing lacrosse sticks. It's intention is to act like the head's top frame and shorten the pocket, providing a release for the ball. Do not make this string too tight; it will cause the ball to nose dive into the ground when throwing and shooting. This string is easy to alter when breaking in the pocket.
Step 11: Shooting String
- Wrap the shooting string around the side diamond hole and sidewall sting. Pull both ends of the shooting string to to make sure the fold is the shooting string's middle.
- Weave half of the shooting string through a mesh row about one or two diamonds below the pocket break lace.
- Take the other half of the shooting string and weave across the same row except go opposite the first pass and cover the entire row of mesh. If the first pass goes under the mesh, the second pass goes over the mesh. Go high and low with the second pass wrapping the first pass.
- Repeat Step 12 until the shooting string reaches the opposite side.
- When you reach the last diamond on the other side for the second pass, wrap the end around the other side's sidewall sting and mesh. Take both ends and tie off the shooting string so the string is snug.
Note: The shooting string should look like an arch. There are several places to put a shooting string, but I find the ideal location is just a diamond below the pocket break. It's purpose is to provide power for shooting. If the string is too tight, there is excess whip. This string is the easiest string to untie and fix, if you need to change your pocket's release.
Step 14: Bottom Tie Off
- Push the small string through a hole at the head's base and weave it around the mesh.
- Bring the string's end back through another hole at the base and tie the string ends together in a knot. Leave at least an inch of loose sting.
Note: Altering how much slack in the tie off sting, allows you to control whip and hold. Having more slack, gives you more whip and more hold. It is important to not give this string to much slack. When my stick is whipping to much, I tighten this back string quite a bit.
Step 15: Finishing Touches
Once the head is strung, you can cut and burn the excess string. Leave at least two inches so the strings may be altered later on if you decide to manipulate the pocket.
Step 16: Breaking in the Pocket
Once your head is strung, it is time to break in the pocket. Work the pocket into the mesh at the center of the head. Here are a few tips:
- Pound in the pocket with your fist, lacrosse ball, or Pocket Pounder.
- Add a little water or even spit on the mesh before you throw and catch.
Step 17: Whip and Hold
I recommend the following procedures if you have to much whip or need more hold. Try one or several options until you find the perfect balance. Ultimately, once you break the pocket in, the strings will relax and allow for easy stick manipulation.
If you have to much whip:
- Tighten the top of the sidewall stings
- Tighten the bottom string about half an inch
- Loosen the shooting string or loosen the pocket break lace
If you need more hold:
- Tighten the shooting sting or tighten the pocket break lace
- Loosen the bottom string about a quarter of an inch