Pocket Guide

The following lacrosse pocket guide provides useful information for choosing a lacrosse pocket or stringing your own.

The lacrosse stick pocket is an often overlooked part of the game of lacrosse, but is arguably more important than any other piece of equipment.  The lacrosse pocket effect a player’s ability to catch, throw, and shoot, and if formed incorrectly, can render even the most skilled player useless.

The history of the lacrosse pocket goes back to the native Americans that founded the game, when a hand strung leather pocket was attached to the end of a hand carved shaft.  Leather shooting strings are still used today on traditional style pockets, including custom pockets such as the Rock-It Pocket.

Today’s lacrosse athlete can choose from a variety of pocket styles, all offering their own pros and cons, depending on level of ability, style of play, and weather conditions.  The most common pockets include mesh, traditional, and variations of the two.

Pocket Styles

Soft Mesh – Soft Mesh is the original mesh pocket, which first became popular during the late 90’s as an alternative to traditional pockets which tend to be difficult to maintain in inclement weather.  Soft mesh is made of nylon strings, woven together to form a ‘mesh’ pocket.  Soft mesh pockets are easy to maintain, and are great for the beginner lacrosse player, as they are also easy to catch with.  Soft mesh tends to be more difficult to throw with however, because the ball does not always roll out of the stick on the same path.

Hard Mesh Pocket

Hard Mesh Pocket

Hard Mesh – Similar to Soft mesh, hard mesh (also know as dura-mesh) is made of woven nylon, however is coated to make it much firmer that Soft Mesh.  Hard Mesh was grown in popularity over the last five years, and is probably the most popular pocket style on the market.  Hard mesh provides the reliability soft mesh, with performance of traditional when passing and shooting.

Traditional Pocket

Traditional Pocket

Traditional – Traditional pockets date all the way back to the American Indians, and were originally formed by woven hide skin leather stings.  Today’s traditional lacrosse pocket still utilizes leather shooting strings, but is woven together with nylon string.  Traditional pockets typically come strung in an 8 diamond pattern, however can be strung with 6 diamonds for more whip.  In general, traditional pockets have fallen out of favor with all but the most old school traditionalist.

Pookie Pocket

Pookie Pocket

Hybrid Pockets – Hybrid Pockets and custom strung pockets have begun to take on a larger chunk of the lacrosse pocket market, as more and more retailers offer these options.  These pockets can be strung for a variety of player abilities and styles. The original custom pocket, the ‘Rock-It Pocket’ utilizes four standard leather shooting strings, but rather than diamonds, the nylon strings are twisted to form a deep grooved pocket in the center of the stick.  Since the Rock-It Pocket, many variations have been introduced including the Pookie Pocket, the Pita Pocket, the Corner Pocket and others.

Choosing a Lacrosse Pocket

As a beginner, I would recommended starting with soft mesh.  It is the easiest pocket to catch with and is simplest to adjust and maintain.  Once you get a feel for throwing and catching that you may consider moving to hard mesh or traditional.  These pockets help improve passing and shooting, and can be adjusted with a just a bit of practice.  After a year or so of playing lacrosse, a player will begin to get a feel for certain playing styles such as cradling preference (high or low) and shooting style; whip vs. no whip.  At this point a player may choose to go with a custom of hybrid pocket designed with those particular playing styles in mind.  The best lacrosse pocket is the one that feels right for you, so try out as many styles as you can before deciding.

Stringing Your Own Lacrosse Pocket

One of great things about the lacrosse pockets, is that it can be truly customized to meet the needs or preference of an individual player.  Great lacrosse pocket stringing a truly an art form.  It takes practice, patience, creativity and knowledge of the game.  Fortunately there are many great resources on the internet for learning how to string your own pockets, and suppliers of all the materials you could ever need.
Here are a few great resources for stringing your own pocket:

http://www.e-lacrosse.com/stech.htm
http://stickdoctor.net/lacrosse-products.html
http://www.rock-itpocket.com/