Lacrosse sticks tend to throw down if they have too much “whip” which is usually the result of bad stringing of the pocket. We show you how to remedy issues such as incorrect pocket depth, overtight strings, defective shaft, warped head and much more. Get the complete lowdown on how to remedy your lacrosse stick by reading below.
A huge frustration often experienced by even the best lacrosse players is “throwdown”. This is when you find that, no matter what you do, the stick just keeps throwing the ball straight to the ground whilst you are standing there kicking and berating yourself in the middle of the field.
This is because players often do not realize that it’s not actually their fault at all but a fault with their much-cherished lacrosse stick! If you’re a beginner, this can make you throw in the towel before you’ve even played your second game!
Troubleshoot Your Shot
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, right? This is certainly true when it comes to whip. Too little and the ball will go high making you look like you’re playing with a tennis racket out there! Conversely, a deep pocket with too much whip will throw the ball right to the ground, and you don’t want to earn the unenviable reputation of being a “bag hag”!
HAVE YOU GOT A ROCKET POCKET?
So let’s take a look at the pocket depth. If you find your lacrosse stick is holding onto the ball for a fraction too long, you may need to tighten the pocket strings. Especially as there are legal limits to just how deep it can be!
The strings will loosen over time, stretching with regular use and therefore making the pocket deeper. If you tighten the bottom string, this will help to reduce how low the ball sits in the pocket. Remember the top strings should always be looser than the bottom.
SHOOTING STRING OVERKILL?
When checking the strings, the first thing I recommend is to see how many shooting strings you have. You need no more than 3 max otherwise they can actually cause obstruction to the ball exiting the pocket.
This would mean delayed release of the ball, creating that extra unwanted whip, and the ball would be thrown down. So try removing any extra shooting strings, have a few practice throws, and see if this improves your throw.
It’s important to examine your strings regularly and carefully, identifying any tears or defects, no matter how small. It can seriously affect your play if the strings are in the least bit worn or damaged.
Make sure you check all of them, from the shooting strings, to both of the sidewalls, the top string, and bottom strings. If you encounter any faults with them, you must replace them. Just make sure you know what you are doing or get someone who does to help you.
TYPE OF STRINGS:
Check if your strings are nylon or cotton. A lot of lacrosse sticks come with nylon strings and the main issue with these is that they create a degree of resistance. This affects the speed at which the ball leaves the pocket and causes it to travel in a downward motion.
Cotton strings are a lot smoother and they lay flatter, therefore giving you better release. So try swapping out your nylon strings for cotton ones and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
PLACEMENT OF SHOOTING STRINGS:
You need to check if your shooting strings are positioned too low as this could also seriously affect your play. Take a look to see if they are positioned below the second 10-diamond row.
If they are, you need to move them on up as being in that lower position slows down the throw in its initial stage of flight.
LOOSEN UP A LITTLE?!
Hey, no one’s calling you “uptight” – I’m talking about the strings! Too tight is not good for your shot. Tight strings make the pocket more of a racket and don’t allow the catch point to occur at the correct time. So it may well be time to loosen up dude!
TOP STRING TEST:
Your top string is really important too. This one has to be nice and tight to the lacrosse head making sure there is no gap between the string and the head.
If there is a gap, the ball can quite often hit the edge of the head as it exits and again travels downwards, which you really don’t want.
IS YOUR POCKET SITTING TOO HIGH?
Your pocket needs to ideally sit on or just below the midline of the lacrosse head. If it sits too high the slope to the channel will be way too fierce, whereas if it sits just a bit lower, it will create a more gradual slope. You will need a pro to adjust the sidewall pattern to achieve a lower position.
IS YOUR MESH CAUSING A MESS?
It may well be that the mesh on your lacrosse stick is causing the problem. If your mesh is waxed it can cause it to grip the ball. Also, if the mesh is a large diamond type, it can cause this same problem. I recommend getting it checked out and if necessary, get it replaced for a smaller diamond mesh.
NAVIGATING A TIGHT CHANNEL:
The pocket channel is what determines the route of the ball when you throw. The ball should travel neatly along the center of the head. If the channel is too tight it will result in the ball being gripped and releasing later, which can once again cause throwdown..
The channel needs to be pretty much the size of your ball for the duration of the exit, with just the very end of the channel tapering into a V-shape. To achieve this, the sidewall strings need to be adjusted to make the channel slightly wider, and once again this is a job for a pro.
DO YOU HAVE A DEFECTIVE SHAFT?
You’re probably thinking you would notice if you had one of these for sure, but they can often go undetected. Check closely for any slight bends to see if it veers off to one side.
It can be the slightest angle that can prevent you from hitting the sweet spot! All it takes is one exceptionally hard knock and you could find yourself with an unwanted bend in your shaft.
IS YOUR HEAD WARPED?
Stay focused – we’re still talking lacrosse sticks here. More often than not, this occurs with poor storage and high temperatures. Examine the head to see if it looks pinched or misshapen in any way as this can be another reason for your lacrosse stick throwing down.
Unfortunately, the only real remedy for this is to replace it and make sure you don’t store it next to the boiler/heater or anywhere else it could get damaged. It’s a good idea to store it with a ball of similar size inside the head.
DEALING WITH A BROKEN HEAD:
Once again, examine the head very closely, paying attention to the whole of the plastic section. Lacrosse heads take a lot of knocks and can only deal with so many. Breaks can happen during a hard check or bad angle of ground contact and cause a snap in the plastic.
It is absolutely essential that you regularly inspect your entire lacrosse stick, including all of the pocket strings, head and shaft to identify any potential faults or weaknesses. This should be done before and after every game.
It’s no use rocking up to a game with a lacrosse stick which you didn’t thoroughly check after your last game, only to find the head is warped or the shaft bent and you don’t have time to remedy it.
Indeed, you may have checked it at the end of the previous game, but during storage or transit it got damaged, and you only find out during the first few moments of play that there is something seriously wrong. Not good!
So you start to think maybe it could be those beers you sank the night before affecting your judgement, or perhaps it’s because you haven’t been sleeping so good lately? But you don’t for one minute think it is your stick because you checked it after the last game right!?
Wrong! So make sure you get into good habits and check before and after a game – every time! It only takes a few minutes to do all the necessary checks above to make sure you don’t experience the dreaded throwdown during your next game.
Always remember that creating and staying on top of a good maintenance routine is key. Doing the correct checks of your lacrosse stick can make all the difference. So let’s see you performing that awesomely breathtaking back-breaker and not hammering home a Grandma goal and joining the goon squad!