Editor’s Note: Please welcome Joe Hart, aka OldGreyLaxer, to the LAS Network! OGL picked up lacrosse a bit later in life, but has great perspective on the sport, and how it can be so much more than “just a game”. This week he’s talking about Stringing!
“It’s not the wand, it’s the wizard” – Duff Goldman
Truer words could not have been spoken, especially when it comes to lacrosse. The problem comes when a new lacrosse player has a brand new stick with a horrendous factory pocket in it. It’s hard to decide if the player is just having a hard time, or if the pocket is letting them down. It’s one of those chicken or the egg questions.
That was the crossroads I was at about a year ago. I was helping coach and kids would have a new stick with a horrible pocket and throw right into the ground. To their credit they did not get pissed and throw their stick down and stomp off. During that time I would let them borrow my stick and try and get something of a pocket on their head. Now, the throw would get to their partner, maybe not on target but better than 3 feet in front of the thrower.
The above is perfect example of why it is important to be able to string a head. I learned to string a head, because I was unwilling to pay $20 to get shoddy workmanship and I wanted to be able to help our players. So I jumped on Youtube and started filling my head with stringing knowledge.
At the time I did not realize how fulfilling and soothing stringing a lacrosse head could be. I found stringing a pocket to be soothing, just something that you can focus on and not worry about your troubles. I really had to focus when it came to stringing a traditional pocket. No beer for Joe while stringing traditionals. Actually, it didn’t really matter whether I had a beer or not. It would go well until I was on the last part and I would lose focus and screw up the interlocks. I have strung one traditional that was remotely good. I threw with it and then took it apart. My kids think I’m nuts.
I also find it fascinating how there are so many ways to skin the stringing cat. Pick a pocket: High, Low, Mid, P34, Mark Mathews, Traditional, PITA, Revolving Doerr, etc. All the choices in pockets make you think about your game. Are you a feeder, outside shooter, pole? There are plenty of pockets that you can try them all out and see what works best. You can experiment with a pocket and experiment with your game. Greg Rose has some interesting articles that deal with that very topic.
My wife for the longest time thought I was getting new sticks, because I was always stringing one. She didn’t realize that I would string a head and, if it was some what serviceable, take it out throw with it to see what it would do. Then I would come back in and tear it apart and start over, even if it threw well. My kids would have to hide their back up stick so I wouldn’t pilfer it and restring it. I didn’t touch their main stick after I had gotten it to throw right.
Stringing a stick can also be artistic. You can take a plain head throw some stickers on it and dye it. String it up with some funky mesh and complimentary shooters and you have a work of art. Take a look at a few of Greg’s creations on East Coast Dyes and you will see what I mean.
Not only is stringing good for the mind and eye. Stringing is a good way to break the ice. I have met quite a few people because I asked about their stick and how it was strung. Most people are proud to show off their stick/handy work. Stringers are pretty helpful and will explain what they do to string a stick or reasons why they like stringing a certain way.
I am glad that I am cheap. I learned to string lacrosse sticks to save money, but it has done much more for me than just save money. I can spend 15-20 minutes focusing on a pocket thinking about how it can change my lacrosse game. Stringing makes me a better player in a round about way. I will be a better wizard because I know my wand.
“Some call me Tim.” – Tim the Enchanter