Recently, I was involved in middle-manning a stick between two of my favorite lacrosse players. This transaction brought to my attention a stringing lesson I thought I’d share with the SSL readership; stringing with whip vs stringing a bag. Are they the same thing? Is there a method to this madness? How do you know which is for you?
A former player of mine, Mikie Schlosser, a junior at Davis Senior HS who is headed for Michigan in 2013 – came across a silver Evo Pro X6, my favorite head. Obviously, he can’t use it yet because he’s a wee highschooler. But, after going to California Gold, he knew which tall midfielder from ASU he wanted to be able to shoot like. So he gave the head to me to hand off to Ryan Westfall to string.
Now if you’ve seen Ryan play, you know he shoots hard. And extremely accurately. What you might not be able to see on TV or on Youtube is that he plays with more whip than any human being on the planet. I can’t even play catch with one of his wands. Yet his pocket is shallower than mine and shallower than most other offensive players I know. So what gives?
How do you achieve a stick with so much whip and consistency without the huge Paul Rabil-style bag?
The white circle indicates the tension point I use when I string this head.
I pull the mesh down tight to this hole, and double up the mesh underneath it to relieve the tension creating a channel that ends up a little wider than the ball.
The yellow circle indicates the tension point Ryan uses when he strings this head.
He only attaches a single diamond under my tension point so that he can continue bringing the mesh tension down the sidewall. This lower tension point forms a channel smaller than the ball, hugging it low for a truly bizarre amount of whip from such a shallow pocket. But the whip comes from the sides of the ball, not necessarily from on top of it.
Most stringers focus on getting the whip to come from above the ball, namely from shooting strings and a higher pocket. This stick shows that there’s more than one way to skin a whippy cat, that you can achieve an unruly amount of whip with a shallow, consistent pocket. The ball hardly moves around in Ryan’s stick, giving him one less thing to worry about when cradling through doubles. It really has no where to go.
Whether Mikie will be able to find the cage shooting with this stick is another issue entirely.