Editor’s note: Please welcome Kevin McGuirl to LAS. Kevin is President of the Men’s Lacrosse Club at Rutgers University, and he’s come by to teach us all a thing or two about stringing up a solid wand. Check out his first post below!
What’s up LAS nation?
Ever since my uncle handed me my first lacrosse stick, I’ve been stringing up my own. However, I have to admit, at first, it wasn’t pretty. But the way I got better was by looking at correctly strung sticks and trying to mimic the patterns on my own heads. I would repeat this over & over again until I felt confident enough to string with no help.
What surprises me the most about us lacrosse players is the number of guys who don’t know how to string up their own rig. I can’t tell you how many sticks I’ve strung for other players. From middle school to high school and even during college I’ve been stringing up my teammates sticks.
The way your stick is strung up could be the difference between an off and an on-target feed, a takeaway check and dodging through it, or even the difference between a missed shot and a goal.
That being said, if you’re one of the many who don’t know how to string or you’re stick looks like a tennis racket, it’s time to learn how. So here is a very simple, effective way to string up a 10-diamond mesh pocket.
There are so, so many ways to string up your head, below is just one, simple and effective way.
MATERIALS & INITIAL SETUP
1 – Unstrung head
1 – Piece of 10-diamond mesh
1 – Top string, approx. 3 feet long.
2 – Sidewall strings, approx. 2 ½ feet long each.
1 – Bottom string, approx. 8 inches long.
3 – Shooting Strings
1 – Something to cut strings, ex. scissors
1 – Lighter to burn strings
1 – Pair of pliers to tighten strings
First, I start off by stretching the mesh out as far as I can, followed by folding over the top row of diamonds so that there are now only 9 full diamonds on the new top row. Also, I like to have the rough side of the mesh be on the inside of the head, I believe that it gives you a better grip & feel of the ball when it’s in your pocket.
Before I start stringing, I make sure that I have a hard, pointed tip to each end of the string.
This is a very simple knot that we will be using throughout the head during this tutorial.
THE TOP STRING
Now the top string…what’s really important here is that you really pull each knot and loop as tight as possible. The worst thing you can do is to have a loose top string.
The first step is locking in the first diamond to the sidewall. After tying your knot, you will want to put the string through the first sidewall hole, then through the front and out the back of the first mesh diamond.
Now go back through the first sidewall hole and pull the mesh as close and tight as you can to the sidewall.
Next, you are going to lock in the second mesh diamond to the first top scoop hole.
First take the string and put it through the back of the top scoop hole. Than bring the string back through the front of the second diamond of mesh, ‘tying’ it like so.
Remember to pull the string as tight as you can once you’ve completed the correct string route.
Next, unlike the first loop, you are going to go put the string through the back of the mesh diamond FIRST and then bring the string through the front of the first scoop hole, locking it in like so.
Again, once you’ve got the correct pattern, make sure to pull the string as tight as possible. The finished product should something look like this.
Follow this scoop-locking pattern in mesh diamonds 4, 6, and 8. Although there are many different hole designs on each heads, nearly all of them have holes that line up with the mesh diamonds that we are interlocking in this tutorial.
Now, we’re almost done with the top string. The last step is to lock in the 9th mesh diamond with other sidewall. Just like you did with the 1st mesh diamond, you are going to do the same thing with this one. Once you’ve finished, make sure you pull the top string as tight as possible and finish the job with a knot. Then cut and burn the excess string, leaving about an inch or so left for any future adjustments.
Now that you’ve got the top string strung up, it’s time to string the sidewalls. One of the best things about mesh is that you can manipulate where you want the pocket to be with great ease. Feeders and attackmen may want the ball to sit near the throat of the head and shooters may want the ball sitting high in the pocket for a quicker release. The best way to figure out what pocket is right for YOU is to try different ones until you find what you feel fits your game the most. With this tutorial, I’ve decided to string pocket in middle.
Start off by tying a knot in your sidewall string, then putting it through the next available sidewall hole. Next, put the string through the front of the next available mesh diamond. After that you will lock the mesh in by putting the string through the outside of the sidewall hole and locking it in by pulling it tight.
Next up is locking up the following mesh diamond. Now, instead of going through the front of the mesh you will put the sidewall through the back of the mesh, then locking the mesh in the same way you just did.
You will follow this pattern until you decide it is time to ‘double-up’. Although not completely necessary in heads with as many string-holes as the Brine Clutch, doubling-up is a key way to manipulate where the ball will sit. The basic idea is to interlock two mesh diamonds within one sidewall lock. To double-up, you will put the sidewall string in the back of the first doubled-up diamond, then put the string in the back of the second doubled-up diamond. Next, you will lock the sidewall down like you have throughout the entire sidewall, again making sure that the sidewall string is as tight as possible.
After you double up, you can go back to the basic, one-diamond per sidewall hole pattern that we did earlier until you reach the throat of the head.
I like to finish up the sidewall string by going through the back of the last mesh diamond I want to use, then threading through the outside of the last sidewall hole and back through the inside of the 2nd-to-last sidewall hole. Finish it up by tightening the sidewall string as tight as possible and than tying a knot.
For the other sidewall you will do THE EXACT SAME THING on the other side of the head. I stress the fact of doing the exact same thing because it is extremely important that the stringing is symmetrical. Most of the mistakes I see novice stringers make is not having the same pattern on each sidewall, do not let this happen. An asymmetrical string job can change the accuracy of the stick.
THE BOTTOM STRING
The bottom string can be done in many ways. In this stick, I’ve decided to do a basic, weaving pattern throughout the diamonds to lock in the bottom of the mesh. Start by tying a knot and putting the string through the first throat hole, next weave the string through a row of diamonds. You will skip the first and last diamond of the mesh, but will weave the bottom string in and out diamonds 2-9 as depicted in the picture below. Finish up by tying a knot through the last sidewall hole. You can adjust the bottom string to receive a pocket depth that you like and to fit legal rules.
Manipulation of the bottom string is one of the easiest ways to adjust how the stick throws. Loosening will typically result in the head throwing more down while tightening the bottom string will take away some of the whip.
The shooters are probably the easiest part of stringing to master. Adjusting shooting strings will directly affect the way the stick throws and holds the ball. Even if you can’t string a complete stick, you should be able to adjust your own shooters.
On this head, I am stringing a 2 straight and 1 ‘u’ style of stringing shooters. I like to put the top shooter two rows of diamonds down from the top string. To string the shooters, you will weave the one end of the string in and the other out of each diamond in the row. To make sure you’ve done it correctly, you shouldn’t be able to see any ‘white’ of the mesh in between the laces. You should skip a row of diamonds in between each shooter. For the ‘u’, it’s important to make sure that the ‘u’ is symmetrical, otherwise use the same, weaving technique as with the straight shooters.
Another important thing to remember is that the shooting strings should get gradually looser from the top of the head to the bottom. Having the top shooter the tightest, the second a little looser, and the third even a little looser will give the stick a smooth release.
And there you go, you’ve done it!
Some things to remember:
- Tighten strings as much as possible.
- Have symmetrical stringing patterns.
- Find the pocket position that’s right for you.
Hopefully this tutorial was helpful to all of you who don’t know how to string. Please comment below if you have any questions about this tutorial or if you would like to learn any other techniques/styles of stringing.