Editor’s Note: This multi-part series Women’s Stringing Roundtable on #TheGopherProject will provide insight from experienced stringers and representatives from stringing manufacturers. Check out the first week in the series here, and the second edition here. You can find the third edition here. Today, our roundtable discusses the biggest challenge in head design that manufacturers face when adjusting to the new women’s rules.
Women’s lacrosse pockets have always had more restrictions than men’s pockets. With the recent relaxing of the rules and allowing women’s lacrosse mesh pockets, it will be interesting to see how the game evolves. Let’s introduce our panel for this part of the roundtable:
Nick VanRensselaer and Austin Atkinson of ECD
Julie Gardner of STX
James Miceli and Evan McDonell of Epoch
Kit Smith and Matt Schuler of String King
What has been the biggest challenge in head design with these new rules in place?
ECD: The biggest challenge that all companies are going to have with the adoption of mesh, will be the stiffness of their heads. When you look at most women’s heads, with exception of a select few heads, most women’s heads are light, but very flexible. We have talked to numerous women who play at a high level who have had this issue with heads. This issue comes out a lot when stringing full mesh pieces into women’s sticks. Since a lot of women’s heads are flimsy, you can’t form a “good” channel using typical stringing methods. However, a few very talented stringers use some “fancy” methods to get that desired channel and side-to-side control.
STX: Finding the balance between the traditional and modern player! There are so many different preferences in our game and no two players are alike – which is why we have options!
Epoch: Since the mesh rule is still so new and the rules seem to change pretty frequently, the challenges are still a bit unknown. That being said, one challenge has been the ability to be flexible with our designs so that we can react to the rule changes. Players are also hesitant to fully switch over to mesh, our designs have to accommodate a market that is split between mesh and traditional. In addition, we feel there is a gap between the written rules and what referees interpret on the field but believe in time this will synchronize.
String King: For the Legend W and the Womens Mark 2 Line, it was the first time we were simultaneously developing the mesh, head, and stringing pattern. Typically for our men’s heads, we have our latest generation of Performance Mesh and a decent sense of what the pattern should be so we can keep the mesh and stringing variables constant while we try new things with the major head design aspects like the bottom rail profile and face shape. With the women’s pocket, however, the design for the mesh, stringing pattern, and head were all independent variables so it limited how deep we could go into experimenting with any single variable.