So You Got a New Head for One of Your Lacrosse Sticks?
Like getting a new baseball glove, getting new basketball shoes, or soccer cleats, it’s extremely important that you break in a new head on your lacrosse sticks.
Why is it important to break in the head of my lacrosse sticks?
It is essential to make sure you feel confident and comfortable with every part of your lacrosse sticks. Especially the head, the head is the most important part. You do not want to have to blame your gear when you drop balls.
With a brand new head, the mesh is hard and lacks the wear to help lock in catches with ease. It is very easy for a ball to bounce off of hard mesh.
It must be said again though; it is vital to be comfortable with your gear. Your stick is your greatest tool. A craftsman who lacks the knowledge and comfort with his own tools will put together a crappy house compared to the craftsman who knows his tools inside and out.
Plain and simple, rituals like this, breaking in your head, are important for you to feel confident and comfortable to make plays in the heat of a game.
Okay, How do I Break in the Head of my Lacrosse Sticks?
There are a couple different methods we have gathered for you to wear in the head of your lacrosse sticks at home.
1. Always wet your pocket using warm water before carrying out any of these following methods.
– Having a wet pocket will loosen up the string fibers and allow for you to give the pocket some shape with greater ease.
(NOTE: However, if you have a pocket made with some leather do not use water to break it in. Water & Leather DO NOT MIX)
Okay, here are the methods:
(A) Quality Time, You your stick, ball, and a wall (or a friend)
Here we have the most old school, traditional way of wearing in your pocket. Grab a wall or grab a friend who does not care if you drop a few balls here and there and play some catch.
Playing wall ball or playing catch with a friend is the most natural way to wear in your pocket. A more natural method of wearing your pocket will yield a lacrosse head more attune to your playing and catching style. That is why we like this approach the most, but it does take some time and we know it is important to have your sticks ready quick.
Don’t have a flat wall at home? Can’t get a hold of a friend? Maybe check out some lacrosse rebounders and bounce backs that will give you the freedom to practice at any time.
(B) Butter Knife and LAX Ball
A tried and true way of breaking in the mesh in your pocket (according to several lax players themselves), is to…
1. Take a lacrosse ball and put it in the mesh towards the center so it creates a deep pocket
2. Take a butter knife and put it through each side of the lacrosse walls
3. Leave it overnight
4. Repeat as often as possible. Not using the stick? There is no reason why you should not be using this method.
This is a great way to loosen up your pocket and get your stick “game ready” sooner. This takes very little effort as well, you can break in your pocket while you sleep.
(C.1) Tools: The Pocket Pounder
A pocket pounder is a tool to use that simulates the force of a lacrosse ball hitting your net.
This method does take some work, a bit of an exercise in itself, but it is nothing you cannot do while watching T.V., relaxing with friends, or while in the car (if you are not driving of course).
We recommend this product here, by STX , but that is not to say there are a lacking of good Pocket Pounders available. Be expecting an article in the future for specific Pounders we find effective.
(C.2) Tools: The Pocket Stretcher
Particularly if you have tried a pocket pounder and do not love the manual labor required, a pocket stretcher may be better suited for you.
A pocket stretcher is a tool (a little more technologically advanced than the ball and butter knife) that will allow you to adjust the depth of the pocket to whatever you choose.
Set the stretcher up, and leave it be.
As said with the pocket pounder, we tracked down a great pocket stretcher here, by Gait Lacrosse, but again, there are a number of models we would recommend as well. A post gather such information will be published soon.
Closing: Thinking Ahead
Ideally, if you have a stick that needs to be broken in, you are either in the off season, or you have another stick that is game ready.
As best you can, avoid playing in a game with a lacrosse head that is brand new. You will drop balls you normally catch and that may cost you some game time.
If having two sticks at one time is unrealistic for you, then put the time in using the methods we gave you above to get that stick game ready AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Our goal here at One Stop Lacrosse is to make sure there is never a lag in your LAX game. Take our advice and make sure your stick is always game ready!
If you have any other tried and true methods of wearing in your pocket, please let us know so we could make this post an even better resource for the One Stop Lacrosse community!