Pocket 34


Ever heard of Pocket 34 by Shooterz Lacrosse?

A reader recently wrote in to tell us about it…

The guy who strings it is named Lyle Tomlinson. He’s the man. He strings for top pros and D1 athletes, including Lorne Smith who was on Marin at the Tahoe Tourney and Virginia’s entire offense.

He’s only taught a select few people how to string it. All the people in the forums who try to copy it aren’t even close. I won’t play with anything else. This guy deserves huge recognition. I think there’s a video interview out there on the internets somewhere. Thanks for listening!

[Ed’s note: Couldn’t find the video anywhere! If you got it, send it on through!]

Why is this pocket so hard to reproduce?

Mesh simply isn’t that hard. EVER. It is rare that 2 people string sticks the exact same way so I’m not surprised to see guys on the forums giving it a shot, but not getting it 100% right.

Brendan Mundorf and Ned Crotty play with double Vs in their sticks and while I don’t think they are Pocket 34 guys, the concept is the same.  I’m doubtful that this is the ONLY way to get a great mesh pocket, but it certainly seems like a really good one.

Regardless, props to Lyle Tomlinson for creating such a hot method. Sounds like he’s the guy to know!

[Top photo credit: faceofflax15]

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  1. First thing's first. The picture up top screams “Lyle didn't string me.” If you don't cringe because you can immediately tell why, then you clearly haven't looked hard enough on the forums haha.

    I looked around for that video and I couldn't find it, although I distinctly remember watching it a while back. However, here's a shoutout from MLL midfielder Kyle Dixon, who, by virtue of being a Virginia standout, also has his sticks strung by Lyle:

    While admittedly mesh is designed to be “easy” (at least comparatively speaking), I have not seen anyone other than the few Lyle has instructed actually copy his pocket to the degree he'd check off on, which begs the question, is this really just a mesh pocket? Technically speaking it is; it's mesh and sidewall with some shooters artfully tossed in. Yet these big-name players that associate themselves with Lyle don't have the forum copycats rigging their wands. No, they ship them across the country to California for the real deal instead. If there weren't more that goes into this “easy” mesh pocket than you can extract from a set of photos (even if they actually were of Lyle's work) I doubt they'd bother with the shipping costs. I apologize for my militancy–admittedly I have a bit of a penchant for the dramatic–but it seems to me what the stick-doctors of the forums are missing is modesty, of being humbled by a pocket that might be less “easy” than they assume…

    • you're absolutely right. the top pic is not a Lyle creation. I tried (and failed) to find something that really looked like his and didn't find much. the top string is a good place to start in terms of differences and there are certainly many more.

      your third paragraph is probably our comment of the week!
      I like to sum it up thusly: stringing mesh is easy, stringing mesh really well is not easy.

      People are clearly HUGE believers in what Lyle does… I've never seen one of his string jobs so I can't call myself a believer but there do seem to be a lot of fanatics out there and that certainly means something. The fact that many are pro-level guys adds a certain amount of additional gravitas.

        • The issue is, people haven't seen close enough pictures to actually replicate the pocket. It was originally meant to be strung in an evo pro due to the spacing in the holes. not sure if its the 34 or a variation, but one of them has a speical knot that people have been trying to replicate for a long time. All I'm saying is once someone who cares enough gets ahold of a 34 or variation, it's not hard to study and replicate it exactly. The reason people don't send their heads to other people is there's no reason to. People swear by the guy and his jobs are legend. We all have superstitions about our sticks and having people advocate for the guy will go far.

          • Makes sense. Although I don't see why someone hasn't mastered the knot and shown good enough pics (probably just a matter of time), it is clear that Lyle strings a special stick and I definitely understand why he's as popular as he is. He deserves it! I'm just always hungry to learn. A lacrosse stick is a magical thing. I'm with you on that… and a great one is priceless. One of my weird hangups is that I string my own sticks. traditional, mesh, shook shakedown, whatever. So unfortunately, I can only use a 34 when I string it. I'll check the pics and think creative. then do whatever works. then probably go back to traditional.

          • If you search the forums the knot isn't very hard to duplicate. I would agree it works best on an evo pro or maybe a pp. I met one of those few who were instructed by Lyle and it seems like at least one of those forums are correct even though there is apparently a patent issue. Props to Tomlinson for inventing it but it is only mesh and a lot of MLL guys don't string there own sticks.

  2. There were over 400 All Americans in boys HS lacrosse last year. I wonder how many of them needed a stick actually strung by Lyle Tomlinson to to get to that level? It's the wizzard not the wand. The reason anyone goes back to a guy to string their stick over and over again is consistency and performance. Lyle Tomlinson hasn't invented anything new…. he is just good at the craft of stringing and has a following. There are tons of guys who are good at stringing and can create consistent pockets with a channel, hold, whip, etc…

    Keep in mind their are more top players in the world using a stick NOT strung by Lyle Tomlinson than there are with one of his. Just like all sales… its about the marketing.

  3. Lyle coached me in middle school and made a fortune charging 13 year olds to string up sticks that were for “elites”. I never really liked the way his string jobs threw but thats just me. The first stick i ever strung was actually at a little work shop at a camp taught by Lyle stringing his 34

    • hahaha the first stringing i ever attempted was also at a little workshop at jake bergeys wings camp…he was not a great teacher, nor the nicest guy, nor that good at lacrosse, but he could string a stick like no other. god forbid he ever gave anyone else any tips. He would charge 11 year old kids 40 dollars for a string job.

  4. if you dont mind id like to butt in….. I work for shooterz and have been stringing with lyle for about 8 years. the pocket started as the love channel at California lacrosse co. it ten transformed into a goal scoring beast on the lax field called the P34. its called the P34 cause 34 was lyles number in high school and college. even if you were to stare at a real P34 for hours in the day youd still never make one like a Shooterz P34. the small detail that goes into every stick is a thing of art. the pliar work will litterly ive you blisters.

    The amount of pros and elite college players that use it should be enough to make any lax rat NEED one. The ENTIRE Harvard mens D1 program just ordered P34s. You cant tell me that doesnt give it some street credit in the lax world.