I first saw a floating pita pocket about 15 years ago. It was being used by a Long Island guy named Jay Spatafora, who had just finished up two years at Nassau CC, and one of his friends from out on the Island had been putting together his sticks. They were unlike anything I’d ever seen, and being a novice stringer at that point, my mind was blown.
He had two of them, one was almost brand new and needed to break in, while the other was the most perfectly dialed in traditional stick I’ve ever seen in my life. That was true back in 200o, and while I’ve seen a LOT of traditional pockets since then, it’s probably still true now. That pocket was legend!
Now that I can pretty much string anything I want, I figured it was high time to share this pocket with a broader audience, and supply some tips I learned along the way to help you out.
Materials Used: Brine King HS head, Throne of String leathers, homemade flatlace, StringKing sidewall and shooting strings.
The basic premise is that the sidewall strings attach to the plastic of the head only at the top and bottom of the pocket. This allows the sidewall strings to be pulled inwards, and for the pocket to sort of wrap, or fold, around the ball when it is in the pocket.
While the pocket looks like a basic pita, it does have some weird kinks to it, so it’s not quite as simple as just stringing a traditional pocket like you usually do. As with all traditional pockets, proper tension in your strings is key to a great pocket, but as this one can move around on you a bit more, precision is extra important. TAKE YOUR TIME STRINGING ONE OF THESE. I’m yelling because I’m serious.
Floating Pita Stringing Tips
Tip 1 – Keep the sidewalls TIGHT
As you can see in the photos, the sidewall seems to sag, and give the pocket extra depth, but you do not need to put in any extra sag yourself, it will happen on its own. String your sidewalls as TIGHT as you possibly can. As they settle in and knots slip a little (natural and more or less unavoidable), they will sag all on their own and you may need to actually tighten them up again. So let it happen on its own, and keep your sidewalls tight.
Tip 2 – String the pocket tightER
Do not string a TIGHT pocket, but think about making your stringing and knots just a little more TAUT. Those two words do not mean the same thing. Look up the difference if you don’t know it already. At first, the pocket will seem shallow, but as the sidewalls sag, you’ll be glad you went with the taut stringing. If not strung properly, these pockets can whip out like crazy.
Tip 3 – Can I use a Traditree?
Yes, this definitely can help you string one of these. One note here is that since the sidewall floats, the tree does not get locked into place, and can slip off the sidewalls. This can be frustrating, but can help more novice stringers get the taut pocket they need here. For more accomplished stringers, free hand will work just fine, as long as your tension is good!
Tip 4 – Lock down a couple sidewalls loops
I have seen this pocket where the entire sidewall floats, and while I like it, I have been messing around with locking down the first 2-3 sidewall connections before floating the sidewall, and I find this works incredibly well. It gives a little added structure, and creates a very consistent release point right at my lower shooters.
Tip 5 – Lock down your shooters
Your shooters don’t need to be super tight, but I do recommend locking them around the plastic, or through and open sidewall hole. 2-4 shooters will get the job done if you’ve strung the pocket correctly. Again, combined with the locked down sidewall, the locked down shooters provide a consistent release, and excellent hold, without adding much whip, if any.
Tip 6 – Allow break in to deepen the pocket
Don’t let your leathers out too much, or loosen your sidewalls after the pocket is done. Just give the pocket a good pound out, and then go hit the wall or have a catch. The best way for the pocket to let out is naturally, and this also allows the pocket to break in specifically for your throwing motion, which is an added bonus.
Tip 7 – Whip problems
First thing you can do if you’re having whip issues is to tighten your sidewalls down even more. The second place to look is for loose crosslace in your pocket, especially higher up near the scoop. The third thing to look at is your shooting strings. They shouldn’t even be TAUT, just sit them there. Not too taut, not too loose so they bunch up. Come, on Goldilocks. Finally, take a look at your leathers. You don’t need a total bag with this pocket, so take them in just a bit if you’re throwing down.
If you do all that and the pocket still stinks, tear it our and try again. Each time you string one, the end product will get better. I’ve done 4 of these in the last couple weeks and this is my best effort yet. It’s only going up from here!
This pocket is highly channeled for a traditional, gives great feel, and if you get it right, it’s a joy to behold. It’s not the easiest to string, but it’s not impossible, so get on it and share your work with us on social media. We’re everywhere!