Preparing a New Kids’ Lacrosse Stick

This post was written by Coach Tom on June 15, 2015
Posted Under: Equipment,Kids Lacrosse,Stick

When you buy a new lacrosse stick for your player or if he’s getting a hand-me-down, there are several things you should do before putting the stick into play.

The following brief anatomy of a lacrosse stick is from my recent post entitled “Selecting a Kids’ Lacrosse Stick.”

All sticks have a head, a molded piece of plastic that vaguely resembles a Halloween drawing of a human skull, a net tied to the head and called a pocket, and a handle known as the shaft. The point where the shaft connects to the head of a stick is the throat. At the end of the stick opposite the head is a removable rubber cap known as the “butt end cover,” “butt end cap,” or “end cap.”

Start by thoroughly inspecting the stick. Ensure that the screw on the back side of the throat is screwed all the way in. Verify that there are no cracks in the head. Double check that none of the strings are untied. If the butt end cover is loose, use athletic tape to secure it to the stick.

If you have a camera on your phone, you should do a little photography. Place the stick flat on a contrasting surface. You want the stick to stand out against the background in your pictures. Take a picture of the head and throat. You want to catch the details of the head and pocket to show where the strings run and where those strings are knotted or tied off. Turn the stick over. Take another detailed picture of the backside of the head and throat. Turn the stick on its side. While holding the stick with one hand take a picture of each side of the head. If you need both your hands to take the picture, use something to prop the stick up on its side. Email the pictures to yourself or store them somewhere in the cloud. You’ll need them located where they are easy to retrieve.

You may be wondering why would anyone photograph their son’s sports equipment. It’s because the pocket and strings of a lacrosse stick are complicated to those unfamiliar with them. If something comes loose or in trying to make changes you make a mistake, you’ll be able to refer to the pictures and restore the status quo.

Next determine if the pocket is legal. A pocket that is too deep violates the rules. To determine if a pocket is too deep to be legal, put a ball in the deepest part of the pocket. Hold the stick horizontally—level and parallel to the ground—with the bottom edge of the stick head at your eye level. Looking through the pocket from the side, if you can see straight over the top of the ball and under the bottom edge of the head, the pocket is too deep. If it’s a legal pocket, you won’t be able to see over the top of the ball; the top will be obscured by the side of the stick’s head.

While a pocket too deep causes a problem with the rules, one that is too shallow can make passing and catching unnecessarily difficult for your player. On most sticks there is string that ties the end of the pocket to the part of the head next to the throat. This string is loosely woven through the pocket mesh and is threaded through a hole on each side of of the head. Loosening this string loosens the pocket. Tightening the string tightens the pocket.

You may have to adjust the pocket a few times to get it to a depth comfortable for your munchkin. I’d start with it deep, but legal. Sometimes a deep, though legal, pocket causes a player to throw passes into the ground. If your player has this problem, tighten his pocket in small small increments and watch him throw. See if one of the tightening adjustments fixes the problem.

A month or so after you reach the adjustment you want, double check that the pocket is still legal. Pockets tend to stretch from use.

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