Not paying attention. Lacrosse sticks are the most important part of the game for any player. A lackadaisical attitude will hinder your ability to play, therefore making it less fun. Heads will warp, strings will break and stretch, pockets will wear due to time and use. Poor maintenance will result in poor play. Especially for those who are new to the game and may develop a disdain for it and give up on one of the oldest and greatest games there is to play. A young player is more likely to lose interest if he or she cannot play the game well. However, there are precautionary measures that can be taken to avoid this problem and many of them are fairly easy. Pay attention!
Not rinsing the dirt out of it after a game. Lacrosse pockets are made from a number different materials including woven nylon, polyester, leather, and cotton. During play all of these materials absorb mud and dirt. This dirt if not rinsed out of the pocket properly, will cause your pocket to tighten therefore making it more shallow resulting in inconsistency. Throwing and catching are extremely important actions of every player on the field. There is an extremely easy way to avoid this problem in three quick steps. The first step is rinsing the head of your stick under a shower head with hot water removing all the debris off the materials, you will physically see the residue in your tub. Secondly, put a dry towel or paper towels in your pocket and let dry forming the pocket back to your preferred shape, some like to put a ball and butter knife where they like the placement of the pocket. Finally once the pocket is clean and dry throw with it for a few minutes until the pocket is back to normal.
Not keeping it broken in. Its quite common for a lacrosse pocket to tighten up, this can be caused by two things, weather and infrequent usage. A player should have the pocket as deep as legally possible. Note that if you can see daylight between the top of the ball and the bottom edge of the head then it is illegal. A nifty inexpensive trick that can deepen a pocket is to take a butter knife and lodge it on the back edge of the head between the strings and the plastic in the portion of the head that the player generally likes to ball to sit while cradling. Next take a ball and slide it underneath the knife, there should be a great amount of tension on the pocket after doing so. Now you need to set the pocket, run the head with the ball facing up under hot water until it is soaking wet. Lastly air dry until the pocket is completely dry with no dampness whatsoever and remove the ball. You should now have a deeper pocket but make sure you check it to make sure it complies within the rules.
Not checking strings. Every player should be giving a once over to their stick daily during season. Making sure all knots are tied tightly and strings aren’t breaking and fraying, that could really ruin your day. If a string begins to fray burn them with a lighter, with parental approval, making sure there black at the edges. Now, shooting strings are the horizontal strings at the top of the pocket that the ball releases off of and gives it trajectory when thrown by the player. These strings are extremely important as they are what makes a pass errant or accurate. If they are too tight this will force the ball to throw downward, if the are too loose the ball will throw high and even result in the ball hitting the top of the plastic head. A simple way to adjust them is to untie them all and throw with your stick, you can pull them tight or loosen them to your preference until you are having an accurate release. Then tie them in a tight knot to ensure they stay put to ensure consistency.
By: Van O’Banion