Gear Tips: Forming a Perfect Pocket

YLHQCircleLogoMediumGuys lacrosse sticks obviously have much deeper more defined pockets than those used in the girls game. That is because the guys game is more physical and without a good pocket, the ball is just going to fly out all the time. But when you buy a new stick or string up a new pocket it doesn’t come out ready to go. A pocket needs to be formed, broken-in, made your own. So how do you do it? Well you can deepen it by lowering where it is tied off on the bottom of the head, but that will only get you so far.  Instead, try these three methods:

1) The old butter knife & ball trick:  

ButterKnife2ButterKnife1ButterKnife3This one is an absolute classic – and its pretty simple too. Just wet the pocket in some water, then take a normal lacrosse ball and place it in the pocket.  After that, take a regular old butter knife and stick it over-top of the ball but under the bottom of the lacrosse head and leave it over night. This will stretch out the pocket and form it to the perfect depth. If you can’t get the ball down far enough to get the knife through, try just placing it under the top side-wall to start.  Then try again after using the stick for a few days.

** If your pocket is made with leathers, avoid using water.

Not in to the butter-knife thing?  Want a cool tool to do it for you? Check out the pocket stretcher. This hand-crank device will let you fine-tune the pocket depth. They are pretty sweet, I used to borrow one from a friend all the time.

2) The Pocket Pounder:

This method will take a bit more work – ok more than a bit. Basically you simulate the force of a ball hitting the pocket and break the stick in while watching TV. It follows the same logic as breaking in a baseball glove by throwing the ball into it yourself. You will need a pocket pounder to do this.  So what is a pocket pounder? It’s pretty much just a lacrosse ball with a stick in it. You can either buy one or make one yourself. To buy one check this out.

To make one, drill a hole half-way into a lacrosse ball or have someone else drill it for you (Use a vice to hold it, DO NOT HOLD THE BALL WHILE DRILLING), then take a dowel rod and glue it into the ball with super glue – DONE. 

Once you have your pocket pounder the real work begins. Every time you sit down to watch TV or hang out, just hit the ball into the pocket.  Try to aim for the spot right below the shooting stings – sort of halfway down the head. Remember that the ball must not sink below the side-wall of the lacrosse head or it will be illegal. So don’t go too crazy.

3) Stop being lazy, turn off Assassins Creed 43, go outside and USE IT:  

Yeah we said it. The best way to make sure your pocket breaks in the right way is to go out and play with it.  There really is no substitute for a good pocket that has worn in naturally. That’s why we say NEVER THROW AWAY A GOOD PIECE OF MESH! Once you have a broken in piece – use it till it breaks. This is also the reason I always have at least two sticks at all times. That way, if I needed to take the time to break one in I had a second ready for the game.

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