Editor’s note: Welcome Josh Rottman back to SSL! Josh has something to say about stringing materials and pocket consistency so if you’re learning how to string or just want to get better, you need to keep reading.
Even the stick doctors in the house have their “gamer,” that one head strung to such perfection that it simply could not be replaced in earnest. Part stringing know-how and wherewithal, part placebo effect, this head brings you the type of unbridled confidence that can only be matched by the crispiest of flow.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to string that replacement. I recently came into a bunch of Evo Pro X6 heads (my weapon of choice) and have been trying to replicate how my gamer throws, shoots, and cradles. Replicating my pocket is easy, I’ve been doing it for years. The P34 is like a scientific formula, its the same every time, adjusting only for human error. However, as you’ll find out if you haven’t already, there is a great deal of inconsistency in stringing materials.
Since winter break, I have strung three sticks for myself in exactly the same manner as my gamer, one of which was featured on Sweet Sweet Lax. Despite how perfect they looked, all three had too much bag right under the shooters and whipped too damn hard.
I don’t play with much whip, so this can happen as a function of any number of factors, but the frustration is the same. I’m used to my pocket being play ready as soon as I tie the bottom shooter off. My teammates both at home and at school can attest to my mental state after finding another hour of labor produced zero results. I finally gave up. I was going to let one of our more talented rookies string my last head, hoping that perhaps a fresh set of hands would create something I could work with. Out with the old, in with the new or something. I reached into my bag of shooting strings to find something appropriate (I was fresh out of all-white shooters) and I found a piece of mesh that I forgot about.
I bought this piece of mesh at a Sacramento location called Lacrosse Fanatic. I bought it in the same trip as the mesh from my gamer, I’d just forgotten it was in my paper bag of stringing stuff. The mesh I’d used for every replication I’d tried I’d bought from an Alamo location called Sling-It Lacrosse. These are the pieces of mesh in comparison:
They both have 10 diamonds across the top and 15 diamonds going down the side, yet the one from Lacrosse Fanatic is about an inch shorter than the one from Sling-It. This means the diamonds are actually smaller, even though it may not seem like it when you hold them on top of each other.
This discovery in my moment of weakness led me to test the hypothesis that the mesh I’d been using from Sling-It, despite its obvious quality as a product, was simply not the same as the mesh I’d used to string my gamer, and that if I used this shorter piece of mesh I’d rediscovered, I’d be back to my old ways with a stick that wouldn’t get a 3-minute unreleasable every time I score (a topic I’ll surely cover soon). These are my intermediary findings:
Before putting shooters on it (I’ll have to take them off one of my other replications) it is almost identical by every metric to the sick I’d been trying to clone. It’s a little shallower, but I remember loosening the bottom string on my gamer with time, and I imagine I’ll be doing that with this one too, a true carbon copy.
This is a cautionary tale; a boombox is not a toy. Also, there is a great deal of inconsistency in stringing products that can not only provide stick-doctors a lot of frustration, but also allows different style players to string different style pockets. It’s a double-edged sword, both a gift and a curse. Don’t let the frustration overcome you; I’ve been stringing sticks for 10 years now and I’m still learning new things with each one. Armed with this knowledge you can rise above. With great power comes great responsibility.