Buying any new piece of fitness gear can be exciting, and a lacrosse stick is no different. However, unlike most fitness equipment, lacrosse sticks are not ready for real-world use straight out of the package. If you try to use your lacrosse stick before breaking in the pocket, your throws will be inaccurate and the ball will be more likely to bounce off or just fall out of your stick when you try to catch a pass. A properly broken-in lacrosse pocket will make the game more enjoyable and will save you from unnecessary errors.
Soak the pocket in warm water for a few minutes before attempting to break it in. This will make the mesh more pliable and receptive to the break-in method you use.
Loosen the sidewall strings of a hard mesh pocket, and repeatedly hit the pocket with a lacrosse ball. Use a pocket pounder, which is basically a lacrosse ball mounted to the end of the stick, to hit the pocket harder and make the process less painful on your hands.
Use a pocket stretcher to stretch the pocket. Mount the pocket stretcher in the stick using the included instructions and turn the screw incrementally to stretch the mesh of the pocket. Leave the pocket stretcher in place for 24 to 48 hours, and turn the screw again to further stretch the pocket. Wait another 24 to 48 hours, remove the pocket stretcher and decide whether the pocket is sufficiently broken in.
Use a screwdriver if you don't have a pocket stretcher. Position the ball in the center of the pocket and press down on it. Insert the screwdriver through the mesh, just below the head of the stick, to hold the ball in place and maintain downward pressure on it. Leave it in place for 24 to 48 hours.
Bounce the ball off a wall and catch it with the lacrosse stick to continue breaking in the pocket. Repeat this process as needed. This is a natural way to break in the pocket more rapidly than if you'd just played lacrosse and relied on the nature happenings of the game to break in the stick. Note that this method works best after using one of the other break-in methods.
- Don't worry if your lacrosse pocket isn't completely broken in before you start playing. As with all sports gear, your lacrosse pocket will continue to break in as you use it for regular play.
- Don't assume that any break-in method will break in your lacrosse pocket ideally without actual use. By using your stick in regular lacrosse play, your pocket will break in to match the exact way you play.
Kevin Richards has been a writer and editor since 2009, specializing in fitness, health and nutrition, as well as technology, finance and legal issues. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan.