All Tied Up

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I get a lot of questions about how I string my stick or what kind of mesh I use. So much so that I’ll be creating another E-Book shortly with exactly how to string your stick to your game, but I couldn’t wait until then to share with you some of my preferences!

Many people use the old saying, it’s the magician not the wand. While I totally agree mechanics are a major part in how you throw, your stick is something that you want to invest time and money into, as well. Goalies have such large pockets that unlike a field stick, a bad pocket can be really bad. I’ve picked up player’s sticks before and haven’t been able to throw with them- so there is something to be said about how your stick is strung! Below we’ll go over some of the basics about mesh and how to string, along with what I prefer and my setup:

Number of diamonds: The number in front of the “D” represents the number of diamonds in a row that makes up the mesh. So for instance, 10D has 10 diamonds running across it where 20D has 20 diamonds. All mesh is generally the same width, so lower numbers usually equal bigger diamonds and larger numbers usually equal smaller diamonds. 10D and 12D is more commonly referred to as “monster mesh” given the large nature of the diamonds. Standard hard mesh is usually 16D, and then there is 20D which is the same sized diamonds as 16D, but just wider so you can have a deeper pocket.

Large vs. Small Diamonds: Simply put, the larger the mesh diamond, the more grip it will naturally have on the ball. This means more hold, but also slower release. Smaller diamonds act the opposite, they have less grip so it has less hold, but usually a speedy release.

Hard vs. Soft vs. Wax: This refers to the coating of the mesh. Hard mesh is just that, hard. It takes a while to break in, however once you do, it has a nice sweet spot and holds up well to the elements. Soft mesh has no coating. This is super easy to break in, often good for rebounds, but does not do well in tough weather. This is also usually only found in 16D mesh. Wax mesh has recently started flying off of the shelf. There are multiple retailers with different amounts of mesh, but generally speaking waxed mesh is suppose to have the feel of soft mesh with less break in time, but with its wax outer coating, hold up to the elements like hard mesh (perhaps even better than hard mesh).

Color: A lot of companies now offer a variety of color options. Some come in one solid colors while others come in multiple colors in one strand of mesh. It’s fun to rock your school colors, but make sure that your choice is legal. Many rules only allow for one color and no deception (i.e. having a ball like spot printed on your mesh). I’ve also found that some colored mesh has a different feel to it than standard white. Call me crazy, but maybe it’s the dye or something.

Depth: Some goalies like deeper pockets while others have shallow pockets. The advantage of a deeper pocket is rebound control and more hold. The advantage of a shallow pocket is the quick release for clears.

Shooting Strings: Some people prefer hockey laces, other prefer nylon, the best method is really just playing around and seeing what you like. Your sidewall setup will determine a lot about your pocket, but your shooters will also play a big role. Keep your top shooter (closest to the scoop of the stick) as tight as possible, and then any other shooters progressively looser. This ensure you have a good ramp on your pocket and not too much whip (the forcing of the ball to throw down from staying in the pocket longer). The more aggressive of a ramp, the more whip you have. The less ramp, the less whip.

 

Personally, I like to keep it simple. I’ve been using the same setup since I can remember with only one slight change- wax mesh. My setup right now is an STX Eclipse on a STX Sci-Ti shaft of some variety (it was the Axe and Scandium Pro in my Syracuse playing days, now the Surgeon Sci-Ti.). Yes, I am sponsored by STX, but no they are not paying me to say that. I’m not sure I would be willing to play with any other setup unless forced to. I just love having a light shaft with the weight tilted towards the head and old faithful has been working for 10+ years.

As for the mesh, I am a HUGE fan of 12D mesh. I’ve been using Jimalax mesh since I was 12 and they still produce some of the best mesh out there. I started off with simple hard 12D mesh given the Upstate winters, but have recently moved to their wax/rubberized mesh. It’s not too sticky for me and give just a little more grip on the ball. Furthermore it has really held up nicely to all of my playing in the UWLX and USWNT.

As far as stringing goes, I like to keep the mesh tight to the sidewalls, interlocking half of the way down, and then will start skipping some diamonds. I don’t like it too deep though, as quick clearing is important to me, so I don’t go crazy with the skipping (12D also provides enough hold that I don’t need a super deep pocket to get the hold I want). I use three hockey lace shooters up top, the first one as tight as I can get it and rolled, and the other two progressively looser and woven in. Last, I use another hockey lace for the bottom of my pocket, as I have found that really preserves the mesh from ripping (where I find it commonly does).

Remember, just like in style of play, pocket is personal preference. You’ll see all sorts of crazy things out there, but the most important stick is your stick. Figure out what you like, what controls the rebounds and allows you to clear well, and stick with it. String your back up stick identically and rotate them in practice so there are no surprises if your gamer ever breaks.

Happy Laxing!

-Liz Hogan

2Lacrosse Founder

About the Author

2Lacrosse

Our mission is to use mental and physical training to help our athletes succeed not only as players, but as people off of the field as well. We live by 2 basic principles: Be Fearless, Never Stop Learning.

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