New lacrosse sticks, or one with a restrung pocket, need to be "broken in." The anatomy of a lacrosse pocket determines the track and whip of the ball, and a broken in pocket has better control over these factors. Lacrosse pockets are broken in, or stretched out to the player's preference of depth, with various methods.
Nylon mesh webbing is more common for lacrosse stick pockets than woven leather. Nylon reduces rebounds and requires fewer adjustments than leather pockets. Mesh pockets are easier than nylons to care for, but harder to break in depending on the thickness and number of diamonds. The more diamond-shaped stringing in the pocket, the harder it is to break in since the pocket is stiffer and holds its shape better.
The pocket's sidewall strings can be loosened or tightened until the pocket is the right depth for you. To stretch out the pocket's shooting strings, continually press a ball into it until the mesh loosens. The top of the ball should sit somewhere between the top and lower edge of the sidewall, depending on your preference. This may take a few days, depending on how committed you are. Wet the mesh with hot water to encourage the strings to stretch.
Unlike men's lacrosse sticks, women's sticks require little to no breaking in since those sticks are generally made from woven leather. Leather pockets are noted for pocket conformity since the fibers are pliable. It makes it easier for a player to catch or throw, but the leather is less efficient at controlling the ball on the run. Women's lacrosse stick pockets are also shallower than men's. The pocket is the right depth if the lacrosse ball in it peeks out over the top edge on the sidewall.
Pocket Upkeep and Replacement
Pockets commonly stretch out during a season and need to be readjusted or replaced. Mesh sidewall strings require re-tightening to keep the stick legal. Leather pockets, which can be strung in numerous ways, require adjustments and maintenance much more frequently than mesh pockets. After each adjustment, press a ball into the pocket and throw it around some to stretch out the new string.
- Penfield Lacrosse: Lacrosse Sticks
- Dick's Sporting Goods: Selecting a Lacrosse Stick
- SimplyLacrosse: Lacrosse Stick Guide
- Sports Authority: How to Buy a Lacrosse Stick
- Carroll Manor Recreation Council: Breaking in Your LAX Stick
- StringKing Lacrosse: Pockets 101
- Stick Doctor: What Should I Use in My Pocket?
- Captain LAX: Stringing Manual - Traditionally Strung Pocket
- Captain LAX: Stringing Manual - Mesh Pocket