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#TheGopherProject: July Mailbag

It’s Mailbag time again! We are answering our audience’s questions on heads, dyeing and stringing on this week’s edition of #TheGopherProject.

Kevin Henry of #TheGopherProject Answers Your Questions


How do you know if a new head is as great as they say?  This one is tricky.  Every head that launches gets labeled as being “the best” for that position.  It’s tough to determine by a pic/video. The easiest way to gauge is look for reviews that have actually used the head for a good period of time.  Does the head look shiny and new in the review or does it have some use? I’ve got a two-week rule; in that time, I can give an honest assessment.  More importantly, not every head will work for you or your style of game. Find the one that works for you. Starting this fall, we’re going to incorporate the reviews I do on my YouTube channel into #TheGopherProject.  Want a particular head/shaft reviewed? Let us know.  

Is there a company that you refused to dye/string for people?  Nope.  Now that doesn’t mean I recommend every head.  When it comes to dyes, I try to find out what’s important to the player and how to arrange that on the head.   Some heads are easier to dye than others because of larger real estate and less texture. Whether it is traditional or mesh, most current heads take them equally well.  For me, budget and position help me suggest the head, not the company.


What are the pros and cons of having a floating sidewall in a traditional opposed to having a non-floating sidewall? Let’s start with the Pros portion.  Floating sidewalls will allow the pocket to naturally shift from low to high better than a non-floating sidewall set up.  I think cradling is improved due to this. For the cons, you’ll get more whip at the release of your shots/passes. The floating sidewall doesn’t offer the smoother release of the two.  Perhaps that is due to the less structure to the sidewalls. I definitely recommend trying it. You may see traditional floating sidewall in a future article on #TheGopherProject…..

Pita vs traditional?  This one is all preference.  For men’s heads, I string about 25 6 diamond traditional to every 1 pita.  I think it’s easier to maintain the six-diamond personally. Pita’s got a huge boost in popularity from the Steele’s but have faded a bit.  Still, a well strung Pita is a great pocket. For women, the single twist Pita is still a favorite. While mesh pockets are still a work in progress, the Pita still remains an ideal string up.  

My son just started playing and has a beginner stick.How do I know if the pocket is strung well?  Let’s say you’re talking about a factory strung pocket on this.  If it was strung by a professional stringer, I’d hope it is strung well.  Two companies come to mind when you look at factory pockets. Anything from East Coast Dyes or String King are going to be good to go right off the shelf.  The other companies are improving on the beginner stick packages but these two lead the way.


What is your favorite material to mask a head with?  I’d first have to start with vinyl.  If applied properly, it’ll cover the most area and is the easiest to trim.  Hot glue comes in second and acts as a sealer to the vinyl.  

How do I dye a goalie head if I do not have a big enough pan?  A couple of options are at your disposal for this.  If you have a big enough stock pot or roaster, you can use the wagon wheel method.  Here you just keep dipping a section in the pot and rotating. The other requires a bit more effort and parental support if you’re younger.  It takes a large heat resistant container, dye, and boiling water. Measure how much water it would take to submerge the goalie head and fill the can to that level, drop the dye in and stir, then add the head.  Make sure you properly dispose of the dye after.

I’ve been trying to cut an image on the vinyl cutter but the decal won’t cut cleanly. What am I doing wrong?  One of two things.  One, take a few lines of detail out of the image.  This will allow those tiny lines to not lift up while cutting.  Two, slow down the blade speed of the cutter. The slower the blade goes, the cleaner the cut.  Also, make sure you are using a new blade. When the blades start to go, they’ll cut rough.  

I’ve got a Phantom Pocket. Can I dye it?  Funny this question was submitted.  I asked the same question to Michael over at Phantom a week or two ago.  Yes, you can dye the plastic pocket but it creates more of a tinted pocket than deep color dye.  The trick is to use Rit Dyemore and bring the water to a slight boil and cut the heat. Add the dye, stir, and insert the pocket.  It’ll take longer to take the dye but it will darken.  


Summer is slowly winding down; have you been practicing or is your stick just sitting in the corner?  Now’s the time to put in the wall-ball work and practice reps in. Don’t wait until a week before the season.   

What’s your favorite offseason routine?  Whoever sends the best one will get a call out in next month’s mailbag edition of the #TheGopherProject.

Hope to see some of you at the DC Shootout for Soldiers on July 26th!

Next week stay tuned for a Dandy of a spotlight……use #TheGopherProject in your string ups to earn string up of the week honors!