Hot Pot

Hot Pot Of Lax: Traditional Stringing

britt trophy kiss lacrosse ncaa locker room
No comment needed.

As of right now, I have 5 confirmed traditional stringing requests.  Heads, leathers and shooting strings people prefer are all starting to fill my mailbox but I’m not worried.  I’ll get them all done well before the season starts because the pockets will all need time to settle and adjust.  I saw a comment today that got me thinking about traditional and why people have gotten away from it.  It simply isn’t that hard to learn how to do, the break in time is not that bad and the play is THAT much better.  There is just no comparison.

Is it laziness?  Or is it being conservative?  Too concerned about rain or mud to risk the perfect pocket?  “I”ll take the OK pocket because it will be better in the rain”  Really?  All pockets suck in the rain.  Spray your head with scotchguard or something. but don’t tell me traditional is that much worse than mesh.  Even if mesh IS that much better, traditional is still worth it.  I’m obviously opinionated when it comes to this matter, but tell me how you feel.  You a traditional guy?  You have a thing for mesh?  Think a pocket 34 comes close (It doesn’t)?  Let your voice be heard!

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In Other Mooos:

Williams College’s mascot is a Purple Cow.  Or an Ephman.  Yeah, seriously.  They’re also good at stuff. |  Williams.edu

Lindsey Munday is the first Head Coach of the Women’s Program at USC.  How far behind can the men be? | Mercury News

One of Quint Kessenich’s most intelligent posts ever.  He’s not idealistic enough for me.  Does lacrosse want to be football? | ESPN

IMG will now rep the NLL.  Unless this means more NLL on TV (not streaming) I’m not convinced. | NLL.com

Cuse signs a big one.  The article says he chose Syracuse over Syracuse. Tough choice. | Lacrosse Magazine

If I got ABC 2 in Maryland, I’d watch this game so hard.  D3 lax for life, son! | Washington College Athletics

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Thanks to Michael Britt for these two pictures.  Quite simply, you do this:

britt over the head lacrosse lax summer check

summer ball. putting in work.

so that you can do this:

britt trophy kiss lacrosse ncaa locker room

No comment needed.

Now talk about how awesome traditional is.  I dare you not to.  Them’s fightin words mesh lovers.

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About the author

Connor Wilson

Connor is the Publisher of LacrosseAllStars.com. He lives in Brooklyn with his better half, continues to play and coach both box and field lacrosse in NYC as much as possible, and covers the great game that is lacrosse full-time. He spends his spare time stringing sticks and watching Futurama.

15 Comments

  • I’m a P34 guy (notice the one in the bottom picture, top left), but I went out on a limb this season and I asked Lyle over at Shooterz Lacrosse to string me up this beauty. I haven’t received it yet, but I can’t wait to try it. I’ve never tried traditional as an actual game stick, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s all about. This quote from Michael Watson makes me feel confident with my traditional purchase though:
    “Pocket 34 enabled me to transition from a traditionally leather strung pocket to mesh seamlessly without sacrificing the characteristics I preferred in the traditional system.”
    I’m sure it works in reverse too :D

    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs787.ash1/167732_1571722573000_1233577507_31399343_2545459_n.jpg

    Further, I think the P34 suffers the same environmental problems as any other pocket, but it doesn’t claim to do otherwise. I’d be hard-pressed to imagine a pocket that doesn’t change in the rain in at least one respect, and I’d be even more hard-pressed to imagine a stick stringer who thought he had a consistent solution.

    • wow. pocket looks nice! I think you’ll really like the traddy my man. The more you use it, the better it gets.
      My comment on the rain and wetness had more to do with people who love mesh thinking it bags less or throws more consistently in the raib. I was just saying I don’t think either performs great in the rain but that some people claim mesh is better. Does that make any sense?

  • I’ve played with traditional my whole live. From the get go at age 5 to now: out of college, coaching, and playing on spring/summer lacrosse teams . It’s not like I haven’t tried mesh: you name the mesh, I’ve strung it and gave it a once through.
    I switched from long pole to facing-off specialist/defensive middie my sophmore year in college. With hard mesh, I found that I could pass, pass, shoot, and catch but not faceoff with the mesh straight away. Soft mesh I could pass, catch, and faceoff but not shoot well. But with traditional, I could do everything. March mesh was the only thing that came remotely close but only after a little broken-in. Fully broken-in it bagged to much for me.
    As far as the weather, my stick usually preformed better than every other stick on the field. It might have been the prep for the stringing process (I go through 3 stages of stretching the leathers). It never bagged out, never hung in the pocket unless thats what I meant for it to do.
    I personally believe that players now choose convenience over high maintance. Practically anyone can string a good mesh stick, but it’s pretty tough finding a great strung traditional stick that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Once someone tries out a very well strung trad, there’s no comparison, but you pretty much have to keep tuning it–thus the high maintance part.

    • Very curious as to the 3 step process for stretching the leathers… care to share? i think a lot of kids get discouraged with traditional stringing because their store bought models don’t take time to work the leathers first. It’s cool for a week but then gets very messed up once the leathers start stretching, especially if they stretch at a different rate than the nylons.

      • I’d love to hear his process, but here’s my process (I’d guess his step one is soaking them in water). Starting at one end of the leather thong, bend it back over itself so that both smooth sides are touching, now while pinching the sides together you want to slowly work your way towards the other end. Now do the same for the reverse (rough) side, then do both one more time (four total passes). Now grab each end of the thong and stretch it generously – don’t worry about it breaking, if it breaks you didn’t want that one anyway. As for soaking in water, I soak the pocket in water, then go play wall-ball until it dries, make adjustments if necessary, and finally leave it to dry for 1-2 days with a pocket stretcher.

        • So my process is :
          1. Soak the leathers in warm water (it helps the leathers stretch) for 5minutes. Once they are soft, i stretch them by hand. Like Mr. Willson stated, you want to stretch them pretty vigoriously. If it snaps it’s a bad leather, it wouldn’t last very long in a stick anyway.
          2. While the leathers are still wet, I put the leathers in the head and pull them tight. Let the leathers dry then soak and stretch again.
          ~String the stick. I’ve used twister/pita/dogtrack/etc, I’ve heard it called alot of different names.
          3. Once athe stick is all strung, shooters included since they stretch also, take a knife and ball/pocket stretcher and soak the whole head again.
          ~So thats my 3 stages to stretching the leathers, and I do this before I ever throw a single pass. Then I finally take a bucket of warm water, a ball and hit the wall for a 1/2 hour.

  • i spent 2 years with mesh… by far the two worst years of lacrosse in my life… the 2 years prior spent with a Pita Pocket were pretty good, the 2.5 years afterward spent with a Pita Pocket have been VERY good… i’m not saying, i’m just saying… traditional stringing saved my lacrosse career. The feel, the consistency, it’s all been better when i’ve had a traditional stick. Definitely need to learn how to do it myself but i just haven’t really had the time… Connor, what’s the possibility i can be the 6th request?… hit me up via email. By the way, got my Grow The Game tee in the mail today, looks awesome!

  • I am a firm believer in being able to string your own sticks even if it is mesh but a nice trad or custom is just so much more customizable for your own playing style. I generally use a custom of some type right now I am using an ish pocket which is actually very good in the rain because of the coils which don’t really stretch or shift very much. also if you use synthetic runners you dont need to worry about leather stretching
    the second and third sticks are both ish pockets but are not done by me and are not my sticks either
    http://forums.insidelacrosse.com/showthread.php?t=178185&highlight=ish
    The main thing that i like about trads is that they get you closer to your tools and allow you to get closer to the game. I hate when kids come to me during practice with a poorly strung mesh pocket and say “Can you put more/less whip/hold in my stick for me?” or “Can you make my stick throw like yours?” and then i have to say that it would need to be restrung because it will all ways throw inconsistent even if i mess with the shooters for you. That is why generally when i string sticks i try to teach the person who im stringing for how to tweak their mesh patterns or their shooting strings.
    If these kids were taught to string up their own trads/customs then they would know how to fine tune their sticks to their exact preferences and possibly giving themselves a slight advantage because they know that their stick will throw where they want it.
    Also, living in Illinois i see very few trads or customs outside of my team (because i string many of their sticks) or Rock-it Pockets but i am trying to bring them back in style because they are just so much better

  • You know you’ve been stringing customs and traditionals for a long time when you can feel the minute differences between different colors of crosslace from the same vendors (some even aren’t the same diameter so you have to watch what you mix). Same thing applies to different leather thongs from different vendors. I’ve strung about 40 customs over the last two years, but easily twice that amount of mesh pockets. I try to sway the kids when they ask for a restring by keeping a selection of cheap loaners with custom (non-mesh) pockets. I hope to string more customs this year than mesh since I’m working with a HS varsity team now – some of those kids already use my pockets.

    Right now I’m going through a parachute-cord traditional phase that I’ll post on SSL soon – one ten-diamond in OD green mil-spec (heavier) and doing another 12-diamond in a lighter commercial paracord. Why? Why not? I’m still experimenting after 20 years of stringing. Paracord has excellent shock resistance properties, which (so far) seem to translate well in the one I’ve completed – it catches more easily (lazily), not unlike soft mesh or Canadian mesh. Bonus: the increased cord diameter makes the head feel slightly pinched because the pocket is smaller than it would have been using regular crosslace (had to start the final sidewall loop through the outside, otherwise the sidewall trapped the ball). I’m also going to try Warrior’s waterproofing solution as part of the experiment because they say leather is OK in their product writeup (I think Scotchguard et al are not recommended for leather, as I believe I researched that about this a year or two ago). My concern: waterproofing might cause the leather to lose too much of its natural elasticity, as typically you use nothing but water or neatsfoot oil to recondition thongs (and how would that be possible if they’re waterproof?). Also, there are some badass paracord colors (including combos and trios) available at paracord.net, more than you’d get from any of the current lax vendors’ crosslace selections. I have no concerns about the additional weight of a custom or traditional pocket, even with paracord weighing it down more – stick technology is so advanced these days that EVERYTHING feels lightweight to me if it was made in the last decade. I think anyone who complains about the weight of their stick (particularly the pocket) should eat a bowl of Wheaties for breakfast or something.

  • I’ve always wanted to try out a traditional stick, but have been warned not to due to facing off. I play post-collegiate ball, so I’ve been stuck on mesh for a while… Any middies out there who play both ways, face-off, and string up their wand with traditional or does anyone know of any?

    • Jeremy Thompson of Syracuse seems to have success with it. I was warned against using it because the opponent could use the diamonds to lift my stick off the ball in the faceoff. Frankly thats a non-issue cuz if they wanna do that and you have mesh they just lift from the plastic anyway.

    • I faceoff now, post collegiate, and faced off in college with tradition. The fact in the matter is that if they want to grab your head, mesh/trad included, they’re going to do it whether or not what your using. I also am a 2 way middie(more so now than in college actually).

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