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What's the Difference Between Mesh and Traditional Pockets?
Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Charlie and I’m a self-proclaimed, all-out stringing enthusiast. I’m been a stringer for the women’s game for five years, specifically international play, working closely with Team England and Team Scotland. My work has also appeared on the rosters of more than 20 other national teams at major championships. Working with STX has meant that I've been able to use lacrosse to travel and meet some of my favourite players and people in the sport.
As you read this, World Lacrosse sits on the edge of passing a major overhaul that could revolutionize the women’s game in unprecedented ways. Okay, maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but it’s true that we haven’t seen a change with such massive potential impact in decades.
Last year, the United States approved the use of mesh pockets for women and now World Lacrosse (previously the FIL) is considering a rule to approve the use of mesh and previously non FIL-approved pockets for international play.
For players across the world, this means there’s a whole host of pocket options newly available to them. As always, with more options come more questions: Is mesh the right choice for your game? Is there a way to mix the best of the traditional pocket with the efficiency and ease of the mesh pocket? How do you even string a mesh pocket?
Hanging with the squad in the States at STX's HQ.
My hope is that this short piece will help you gain a better understanding of the mesh pocket, answer a few of those burning questions and encourage the skeptic in all of us to give it a go.
Before we get into it, let me clarify — mesh is by no means new. In fact, it’s been a staple of the men’s game for years. So, it’s about time women had the opportunity to weigh in and benefit from this major innovation…
Your style, your choice
STX Pocket Line-up: Crux Mesh Pro, Crux Mesh, Traditional & ProForm.
There are a variety of options available to you depending on your style of play and how much time you like to spend customizing your pocket.
The Crux Mesh Pro is a full mesh pocket and provides a ‘fit-and-forget’ approach. After some initial tweaking to ensure the pocket sits within the legal requirements, you’re set. The most common adjustments are as simple as retying the bottom string or adjusting the shooters in order to tighten up your release.
Spotlight: Crux Mesh Pro.
The narrower 7-diamond Crux Mesh offers a bridge between a more traditional set-up and a full mesh pocket. Pairing the narrow pocket with leather runners provides a stiffness that accentuates the mesh channel. Maintaining the pocket simply requires adjusting the bottom string and keeping tabs on the leathers to ensure the channel stays defined.
Spotlight: Crux Mesh.
Putting durability to the test
While our signature downcast and rainy weather has inspired many a great music lyric and movie scene, the constant mix of cold and wet can do some serious damage to sports equipment. But you’re in luck! Mesh is water-resistant and more durable than traditional materials. Especially for players in the UK, this means your pocket will last longer and sustain performance through bad weather, maintaining its grip on the ball. And with the Crux Mesh Pro option, you don’t have to worry about your leathers rotting after many a rain game. Bonus: In addition to enhanced durability features, the mesh pocket is lighter than a traditional set-up!
The learning curve
So, what are the cons? Not going to lie, when mesh was first approved in the States, the stringing purist in me was dead-set against it. It wasn’t until I rocked up to LaxCon and the team threw me a Crux 600 and a piece of Crux Mesh that I started to explore and embrace the possibilities.
One of my favorite weekends of the year — LaxCon. Find me in the zone at the Stringers' Union.
Of course, with these possibilities comes a bit of a learning curve, but it doesn’t take long to adapt to the ease and efficiency of a mesh set-up. Check out this video with Liz Hogan for some quick tips and mesh stringing hacks.
A sweet spot that stays
When strung properly, mesh provides a strong, consistent sweet spot — it doesn’t bag out with time and use, and the resulting channel ensures a smooth release. Because of the sweet spot, you’ll find that you’re able to dangle the head further back than you can safely do with a traditional set-up. And when working the stick around the side, you’ll find the mesh hugs the ball securely. For players looking to perfect that sidearm low-to-high corner stinger, this makes a huge difference.
Finally, a mesh pocket is removable, so if you unfortunately rip your mesh or a string, repair and replacement is cost-effective and doesn’t require an entirely new head. You can keep your signature head with all its personality and memories!
Still not convinced? For a complete breakdown of all your traditional and mesh pocket options, What Kind of Lacrosse Pocket Should I Get? is a must-read!