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. Women’s lacrosse equipment manufacturers discuss the timetable that they think will need to happen before we see a full-mesh women’s stick.
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
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Julie Gardner of STX
James Miceli and Evan McDonell of Epoch
Kit Smith and Matt Schuler of String King
Do you think there needs to be a few generations of women’s heads before you get the right match of a full-mesh women’s stick?
ECD: The biggest problem that I see with current women’s heads and mesh pieces, is that the current heads on the market are not designed for full mesh pieces. They are designed with the aggressive angle sidewall higher in the head, so if you want to get the most out of your stick, the pocket (sweet spot) should be higher too.
When you look at the pockets in a lot of full mesh pieces, the pockets tend to be formed a little lower (what guys would call a mid pocket) which means it is harder to get as deep as a pocket as if the pocket matched up with the angled sidewall. If heads were designed with the aggressive angle in the sidewall a little lower, you could get a deeper pocket, and more hold.
Ultimately, the head will change whether it is in favor of the full mesh or not. For the full mesh to take over the market, that mesh would have to solve the problem that full mesh pieces have had. Full mesh does not offer significant side-to-side stability and hold without the pocket being illegal.
STX: We are constantly receiving feedback from our consumers and getting new ideas. Mesh is a brand new category for us to experiment in and we will never stop innovating! Follow @stxwlax for upcoming product releases!
Epoch: With the advancements in mesh/material and stringing techniques, an experienced stringer can get a high performing mesh pocket in our current Purpose head. Prior to the release of the Purpose, US Lacrosse announced mesh would be legal for the women’s game. The timing of this announcement allowed us to verify the Purpose would perform well with mesh. Moving forward we do feel there is certainly an opportunity to introduce mesh specific technologies (ie. Knot-Lock on the Z1) into future heads that will only strengthen the performance of a full mesh pocket.
String King: The women’s mesh pockets will definitely get better over the next few years as we find little ways to improve the head and the mesh, but by far the most important part of the women’s pocket has been the stringing pattern and resulting pocket. We’ve spent at least a thousand combined hours fiddling around with different knots, different styles of stringing, and different pattern combinations. Compared to the head and the mesh, the pocket pattern definitely gives you the best bang for your buck in terms of performance improvements, and at this point, we feel like it’s in a pretty good place.