Almost everyone’s first Lacrosse stick is strung up with a mesh pocket. Whether it’s a factory string job or a custom one it is the easiest pocket type to learn how to catch and throw with. It is also the easiest to string, at least compared to the Traditional version of a pocket. Besides looks there are a few big differences between these two pocket types.
When it comes to stringing it’s pretty obvious that a mesh pocket is the easiest way to do it. Once you get the basics down and figure out how different knots and patterns affect the mesh you can pretty much understand how to string a pocket in any head. Being a part of a Universal Lacrosse I’ve had to string my fair share of mesh pockets and now it feels like a second nature.
Stringing a traditional is a completely different story. These kinds of pockets take a lot of tender loving care to get them on point. It’s all about different tensions in the strings, spacing between knots, and almost constant adjustments to keep it just right. Practice is a HUGE importance as well. You will need to string a couple of these pockets before you can get them down. Traditional pockets also take a lot of work to break them in. There isn’t any ten-minute break in time like there are with some of the premium mesh pieces out there.
When it comes to playing I feel that the big difference is durability. Once you have a mesh pocket broken in it’s going to stay that way for quite some time. With a traditional pocket, however, you are going to have to make adjustments to it along the way to keep it consistent, especially after some bad weather. Once you do have that traditional pocket locked in though, it does perform just as good as any other stringing.
There are plenty of elite players that still use tradition stinging. Just take a look at some of the Thompson brothers and the whole Stanwick family. They have been using this type of pocket for years and remain at the top elite level of lacrosse. I know that their playing ability doesn’t come from their pocket alone but if they can play that well with it just shows that a traditional pocket won’t hinder you game after all.
Traditional stringing definitely looks cool but I wouldn’t base you stick choice solely off of that. Using a traditional pocket takes a lot of care and not everybody is willing to put that much effort in to it. I do want to encourage every player to at least give them a shot just so you can see how much dedication you need to keep your pocket dialed in.
I’m a mesh user but I do love how traditional pockets look so I think I’ll be giving one a shot soon and I encourage you to do the same. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into!
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