The “Deal” With Traditional Stringing


StringKings recently dropped a new website on the world, and part of that website has been articles on lacrosse stuff. Their post on Traditional Stringing is a clear piece of troll bait, but I’ll bite on it, because I’m a sucker for stuff like that.

Let’s take a look at some of the ad hominem attacks on traditional stringing:

So we’ve been talking around the office for the last couple days about traditionally strung pockets. What’s the deal with them? Does anyone actually use one? Let me rephrase that, does anyone actually use one because it has performance benefits? I have plenty of friends that would use them to joke around with cause they thought they looked cool, but they were joking.

You know about Steele Stanwick, and all of the other guys on the All Traditional Team, right?

I know Steele Stanwick uses one, but that has to be for superstitious reasons.

Gotcha. I’ll assume the same for the rest of them.

His game can’t be improving with his proven inferior set up.

Yeah, the Stanwicks are not good. Wait, scratch that. The whole family is my hero.

They are heavier, less consistent, more vulnerable to break, less weather resistant, and more confusing to string.

False. False. True. False. True. 2 out of 5 ain’t bad.

Are they superior in any way? What am I missing here? Why do people still sell these bad larrys?

Ok, here we go.

I have had a lot of people string me mesh pockets. I can string a mean mesh pocket myself. I’ll take traditional any day. I get better hold, with a smoother and more consistent release with a well done traditional stick, and it can be diamonds or pita. The leather of the pocket stretches a bit with your cradle motion, and I can really feel the ball in my stick, wherever it sits. I don’t need V shooters either. My pocket can be customized 100%, and each tension points represents something I can change. If you have 35 tension points on a mesh stick, you have about 50 on a traditional. I’d say that is an easy point of superiority, especially for a stringer worth his salt.

What is Jake missing? A lot. But that’s ok! Here are the big complaints with traditional:

– In the rain, it bags out. This can be true of traditional, and it can be true of mesh, even waxed mesh, Ever played a game in cold rain with waxed mesh? Your pocket hardens right up. It’s science. How is that an advantage? Stretch your leathers, break in your pocket, and a traditional set up could actually be better in the rain. If you get your leathers from Chris Tiernan, they are already stretched AND waterproofed. I’d actually say they are better in the rain than mesh.

– It takes maintenance. It sure does! But if you’re one of those guys who is constantly messing with their stick, why is this a concern? If you can string your own pants off, don’t you want to use your skills? Nothing wrong with a little maintenance.

– It takes time to break in. This is just true. It’s part of life. Nice things take time to make nice. Put in the work, you’ll be rewarded.

– When your head breaks, it’s done. Not true! Check out the Tear Drop Top String and keep your pocket alive for MUCH longer!

It’s fine not to know about traditional, and why it’s so awesome. It’s what we’re here for.

Ok, enough from me. Answer the question below and settle this once and for all:

How Do You Feel About Traditional?


      • I string
        pita pockets in all of my sticks because I love the feel, but have no issues
        with mesh (I put mesh in my six year old son’s stick, although I did let him
        use one of Dad’s traditional sticks and he later claimed it as his
        own)….whatever works for the individual. A buddy of mine (who I string mesh
        for) sent me a link to that article and asked me what I thought. After reading,
        I was very skeptical of the claims. Because of what was written about traditional
        pockets, I told him that it sounds like a bunch of marketing BS and to spend
        his money elsewhere. Stringer Shack sells a composite mesh that is probably
        very similar (if not identical to) and much cheaper than the product discussed.
        If the material is superior, spend some time proving this point. If there
        wasn’t so much time spent on bashing a system that people have been using
        successfully for decades, I would have given more credibility to the opinions
        about how much better their new mesh is than others that are currently
        available. Customer satisfaction is the best long term marketing strategy available.

        Conner, I
        always enjoy reading your posts about traditional….keep them coming! This master’s
        level player won’t be giving up his pita anytime soon!

        •  I am likewise a fan of CW’s posts and find his passion for the trad refreshing. Funny you mention the resemblance of SK’s mesh to stringer’s shack composite because I thought the exact same thing. I took the bait and grabbed a piece of this new SK mesh so I will be sure to let everyone know if this turns out to be an overpriced slice of ultra mesh

  1. Connor,


    Got ya with the troll bait! We know full well that this is a
    touchy subject, especially for the die-hard stringers (us included!). If
    properly maintained, a traditional pocket is a Ferrari. But I would not
    recommend a Ferrari to 95% of drivers, just as I would not recommend a
    traditional pocket to 95% of lacrosse players. All of your points stand strong.
    Our point is that traditional pockets are impractical for the majority of lacrosse
    players because they take expert skill and knowledge to wield and maintain. But
    you are absolutely right that, if properly maintained, traditional pockets can
    be fantastic. We also wanted to spark some controversy and get some excitement
    surrounding the lacrosse pocket, so thanks for the post and keep up the great
    work at laxallstars! Everyone has their opinions, let’s hear them!

  2. Conner who is Chris Tiernan and how can I reach him to get those leathers you mentions. I’ve tried a couple traditional pockets (pita and regular) my pita ones were great but I love regular ones better for look and feel. But the last two I strung were my best regular tradish but got ruined in rain. So I haven’t tried again since. I want to try again. Could you help me out by showing me were I could get those leathers. THANKS!!!!

  3. Hi Connor,

    Love the feedback and the debate. I am going to respond to some of your comments but will not quote them in this comment in order to save space…

    1. StringKing lacrosse mesh DOES NOT bag out at all in wet weather. We don’t just coat nylon lacrosse mesh with wax or spray it with rubber. Our lacrosse mesh is rebuilt from the ground up. We use new performance fibers (yarns) for our mesh. Our base material is unaffected by wet weather. 

    Nylon is a highly elastic material that is greatly affected (effected?) by water, temperature, and stress. Nylon is an extremely impratical material to use for lacrosse mesh. We spent over 16 months testing different base materials, thicknesses, etc. The material that we use much harder to control in the manufacturing process. This is most likely why todays manufacturers use nylon… We had to spend 16 months developing our manufacturing process to precisely control our product. We know have the production down, can get our net extremely tight, and can control the diamond size to within .5%. Our competitors net are closer to 5%.

    2. Our lacrosse mesh requires nearly zero maintenance. I say nearly because I always promote some pocket maintenance. My colleagues push for “zero maintenance”, but I like to say nearly zero… Anyways, you can play with our lacrosse mesh in the wetest muddiest conditions and then just throw your stick in the garage for a month. Come back 1 month later, throw a ball in, and give it one hard cradle and the pocket is the exact same as it was before that rainy/muddy game. This is my favorite aspect of the net. You need to try it for yourself to believe it.

    3. Our pockets take 60 seconds to break in. This is because our coating soaks deep down into the fibers of our mesh. There is very little coating on the surface of the net. The reason that current lacrosse mesh needs to be broken in so much is because the coating is caked onto the surface. You need to break through that coating…

    Another reason that current lacrosse mesh needs to be broken in so much is because the coatings are designed to repel water. Current lacrosse mesh needs this type of hydrophobic coating because nylon is greatly affected by water. 

    Because our base materials are not affected by water, we were able to design a coating and coating process that aimed for durability, the perfect hardness throughout the course of the meshes life, and also find the perfect amount of pocket shape retention…

    4. Leather has similar elasticity properties as nylon. The idea of “breaking in” the leather is really just breaking through the elastic properties of the net. Every time you “break in” the pocket the elastic recovery decreases. For nylon mesh you will find the perfect “sweet spot” of elasticity between ~2-6 weeks of use. Generally after 6 weeks the mesh becomes “dead”. Our materials deliver that “sweet spot” of elasticity for a much longer period of time…

    Traditional pockets use nylon strings… So the same properties about nylon mesh apply to traditionally strung pockets.

    5. You talk about traditional pockets having “50 tension points”. What you are calling tension points is a little fluffy, but thats a long winded answer as to why… So lets assume that traditional pockets do in fact have “50 tension points” and mesh pockets have “30 tension points”. 

    Traditional pocket “Tension points” are going to be less consistent than StrignKing Mesh tension points. This is because of the materials that are used. (our pockets also use knots that never loosen once tied). 

    Also lets call each place that leathers and strings meet in a traditional pocket “connectors”. In mesh pockets lets call each place two columns of net meet “connectors”. The connectors are where inconsistent pockets come from. 

    Our “connectors” are made with the highest performance materials, are knitted by a $1,000,000 machine, then heated to high temperatures to get the “connectors” as tight as possible. Our materials do not stretch much so our “connectors” are extremely consistent…

    Traditional pocket “connectors” are strung by hand, cannot be as tight as our “connectors”, and use materials that slowly stretch over their lifetime. The materials also stretch in wet weather conditions and then shrink afterwards. 

    So traditional pocket “connectors” are continually loosening and changing, while StringKing Mesh “connectors” don’t change in any conditions that you will encounter in a lacrosse game.

    So I would prefer the consistent “tension points”/”connectors” and fewer “tension points”…

    6. I agree with many of your points when comparing traditional pockets to other mesh companies products. I think that it is true that an extremely well engineered traditional pocket can be better than StringKing Pockets, but NOT with todays current traditional products (strings, leathers, etc).

    I believe that mesh is a much better way to continually improve lacrosse pockets because traditional pockets have way too many variables to control. 

    7. I would love to discuss the details and intricacies that go into engineering our pockets, but I just don’t have time right now and I’ve already exhausted my space.

    I hope that none of my comments have come across as arrogant. We have spent the last 2 years rigorously engineering our products and I fully stand behind them. 

    I would love if you could send me your favorite traditional pocket and then we could send you some of our pockets and products. If there is a traditional pocket that is better/more consistent than our pockets then it is imperative that we see it. We are 100% dedicated to improving our products and providing the best possible products to our customers. That is what drives us.

    Great debate. Thanks,

      • Traditional Poket Enthusiasts (Eric and Connor),

        very late where I am right now. Will post a reply within the next 12 hours or so. I’m no trying to criticize or alienate anyone. Just trying to openly discuss my thoughts and explain our methodology a little.

        I like the back and forth. Lets harness the good energy an block out the bad… All good things


    •  Jake,

      I haven’t seen your mesh product, or your company’s pocket so I can’t make any statements on the Stringking.  But I would like to point out what seems to be a flaw in your logic:

      Per your statements, you’ve spent a lot of time researching mesh pockets, and the materials used within the pocket.  You seem to have a good understanding of the workings of the mesh pocket and how to optimize it.  That said, you’ve never once indicated that you’ve ever done the same research on a traditional pocket that you have done with mesh, and you make the statement “Traditional pockets use nylon strings… So the same properties about nylon mesh apply to traditionally strung pockets.” 

      You can’t just lump traditional pockets into to the same research you did with mesh just because traditional pockets “use nylon strings”.  There are numerous configurations and variances in how the nylon is laid out in addition to the size and location of the “diamonds” that are made from the nylon string.  Additionally, what impact does securing the nylon to the leather make?  Aside from the sidewall and top string, mesh pockets are “free floating” where as in traditional pockets you have the sidewall, top string, and leathers.  These factors significantly invalidate any of your research on mesh pockets from correlating to traditional pockets.

      I am curious if your sidewall and shooting cord are also made of this unnamed non-nylon material, or are they just nylon like all other manufacturers?  If they are not nylon, in theory, you could also offer it in crosslace and market the materials to create a “superior” traditional pocket as well.  This would seem to be a better approach than blindly attacking a potential customer’s preferred pocket, as you would be opening your business to cater to all lacrosse players, rather than specifically alienating a certain segment.


    • Jake,
      Good points, and I have seen your product on a couple players heads at a tourney I played at, it is good stuff.  And the info on the benefits of your product are pretty good selling points.  But when it comes down to it, the one thing that NO mesh company can offer that traditional stringing can, is the ability to truly customize each pocket and it’s characteristics to each player and their style of play.

      Yeah, anyone can say, well string up your side walls like this, tighten up the shooting string, add u’s and v’s, but Traditional stringing can give you more avenues to adjust the pocket to YOU.

      You can adjust the hold by tightening or loosening the outside and inside leathers.  And because of this you dont necessarily need the deepest pocket like some think they do with a mesh pocket.

      With truly traditional stringing, you can reduce the overall surface contact between the ball and the crosslace.  Less contact, less friction, more speed.  OR you can add tighter diamonds or more of a pita pocket attribute to create a pocket that gives you more control over your release points, ball rotation, etc.

      Some will create a tighter rail at the top and bottom of the pocket, and a looser diamond pattern in the middle.  What this does is help to channel catches into the pocket.  Making it EASIER to have ball control even from an off target off balance catch.

      Now, I am not going to say that I don’t have mesh, because I do.  But in my opinion, the benefits of traditional (or any variation of traditional) pockets far outweigh the durability benefits of waxed/coated mesh pockets.


  4. maybe try some thicker and wider leathers from before saying all leathers are the same and have the same properties. I’ll put my handcut leathers against any mesh in any condition on the field. All of these tech advances in mesh would have been great 10 or 15years ago when everyone had a wider head. Now, with the already narrow modern heads getting pinched, kids just need to learn how to cradle instead of expecting some magic mesh to do the work for them.