Lacrosse shooting laces control how the ball sits in the pocket and releases from the stick. Shooting strings are vital to the quality of your lacrosse pocket and your performance on the field. Improperly strung shooting strings can cause a lot of trouble when trying to execute even the simplest of passes or shots.
Shooting Strings vs. Shooting Laces
Shooting Strings, or shooting laces as they are also commonly called, weave between the mesh. Depending on how you would like your pocket to throw a more narrow shooting string or a thicker shooting lace may be more appropriate than the other. Typically, sidewall string or a lace resembling a hockey lace is used.
Shooting strings can be tied very tight and have very little flex. A shooting lace has much more give in the pocket. I am currently playing with a pocket with with both shooting strings and shooting laces. The shooting string I use is at the top of the stick to ensure a smooth release while the shooting laces are lower in the pocket to add ball control and increase pocket hold.
Techniques for Stringing
Shooting string are shooting laces are strung using two basic techniques. We will call these techniques the “weave” and the “roll”. From experience, I have found the weave to be a much more popular technique. Woven shooting laces are my personal preference as well.
A shooting string should never change the natural formation of a pocket, it should only enhance it. Your sidewall strings must be strung well enough that a pocket is already beginning to form without shooting laces.
In woven shooting strings, the string is feed between the diamonds of the mesh. The string adds tension to the mesh. Woven shooting strings are easy to adjust by adjusting the tension on the knot at the end of the string. To add tension, pull the knot tighter and tie against the outside sidewalls. To release tension, tie the knot further away from the outside sidewall. For new stringers, it is recommended to use this technique.
Rolled shooting laces are losing popularity. They are more time consuming to string and take longer to adjust than woven shooting strings. In a rolled shooting string, half of the string is laid on the back of the mesh across the stick while the other half is “rolled” between the diamonds and over the string on the back. A rolled shooting lace may have a smoother release however, I believe that you lose feel of the ball in the pocket.
Shooting String Theory
When I teach a new stick doctor how to string shooting laces, we compare shooting laces to a stairway. Your shooting laces should gradually transition the ball from the deepest part of the pocket to the scoop of the stick. The top shooting lace should be the tightest while the lowest shooting lace should be the loosest.
How to String Shooting Laces
We will go over stringing the two different basic techniques of shooting laces. For both types of laces you will want a string between 28 and 33 inches wide. Goalie heads require longer laces. This may be accomplished by tying two 33 inch laces together. We will have a separate post on specifically stringing goalie shooting laces.
Stringing The Weave
To string the weave start by folding your shooting string in half so that you have two separate halves.
- Layout a path for your shooting string
- Tuck the string around the sidewall string so it is connected to the stick.
- Begin the weave by feeding the two ends through the opposite sides of the same mesh diamond.
- Continue this pattern until you reach the other side of the head.
- Tie off the string around the sidewall string.
Stringing The Roll
To string the roll split the shooting lace into thirds.
- Layout a path for your shooting lace
- Lay one third of the lace across the back of the mesh
- Tuck the other two thirds behind the sidewall string so the lace is connected to the pocket
- Begin to feed the lace in and out of the diamonds while wrapping around the lace on the back. You will begin to see a “roll” effect.
- Continue this pattern until you reach the end
- Tie of the lace around the sidewall string so it stays connected to the pocket.
Shooting strings take a special touch to string well. The best way to learn to string is do string and unstring a head over and over. Once you can string one head very well, move on to another head. New stringers should begin stringing shooting laces by trying the weave. In most cases, the weave will give you the feel and control you are looking for.