Why Play With a Pinched Lacrosse Head?
Playing with a pinched head makes it easier to keep the ball in your stick and give you more control over how you handle the ball when you have it on your stick. It also directs your passes more and in many cases makes them more precise/accurate. It also directs your passes more and in many cases makes them more precise/accurate.
This is because the thinner throat on a pinched head keeps the ball on a track within your stick and doesn’t allow it to wobble around in your pocket as much. The same effect can be replicated with a very tight channel in a normal head, but if not done correctly this can lead to more whip and an undesirable throw or shot. Finding the balance in pinching your head or stringing a tight channel is a delicate act that must be done carefully and cautiously in order to get the feel you are looking for.
Pinching a Lacrosse Head Tutorial
If you decide that pinching your head is the right decision for you remember that it will most likely void the warranty on your head and could affect the legality of your stick if you make it too thin in the throat. In order to pinch a head correctly and keep it legal for your level of play, you will need a guide to assure that you can still play within legally.
If you don’t care about the legality and are going to be using the stick for Summer ball or just for fun I still recommend a guide in order to make sure you can perfectly control the pinching of your head. Remember it is a lot easier to go thinner than wider. Having to widen your head after pinching can weaken the plastic of your head even more than pinching will. Keep in mind that altering the shape of your head will always make your head weaker, so pinching a brand new lacrosse head that you want to be your gamer might make the shape more like what you like but it will decrease how long the head will last.
- A Lacrosse Head (not a brand new head is recommended)
- A large pot of water on a stove top
- Some wood that you can cut
- A saw to cut the wood
- Tape measure or ruler
- Two wooden spoons
- Some thick zip ties or some type of string/twine (sidewall works)
Now that you are ready with all of the needed materials remember one thing: USING BOILING WATER AND A SAW CAN BE DANGEROUS, SO DO THIS WITH AN ADULT AND TAKE THE PROPER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS!
Put the water on the stove/hot plate and start heating it.
You want your water to be hot but you aren’t going to want it to be boiling because that will be too hot for the plastic of your head. It needs to be hot enough to warp the plastic, but not hot enough to melt the plastic. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit so if you can measure the temperature we recommend around 150-170 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the thickness of the plastic.
Insert wood cutouts and use heavy duty zip-ties to obtain the desired width
Take the wood and cut it to the width that you want to keep the throat of your lacrosse head. The throat is part of your head that you need to keep a certain width in order to make sure your head doesn’t get ruined. The legal width of the throat in NCAA play is at least 3 inches at its thinnest part and in high school. The legal dimension is at least 6.5 inches in the scoop and making sure that the ball can easily exit the stick. The graphic below better shows how the legality of sticks works. If this is not for collegiate or high school play I recommend 2.5 inches in width.
Insert the wood in the throat of the head and then use your zip ties or twine to pinch the head by pulling the two sides closer together. Again in you are trying to keep the stick legal use a ruler or tape measure the entire time to assure your stick shape is not thinner than legal. Use several zip ties or pieces of twine in many places in order to get a shape that is not distorted or uneven. Once you have a shape that you like or are comfortable with boil enough water to submerge all of the restraints.
Put your wooden spoons across the pan and place the head in so it is not touching any plastic.
Once the water is hot enough to start warping the head set up the two wooden spoons (or any other support) as a way to keep the head from touching the metal. This is so that the metal doesn’t melt any of the plastic and create any imperfections in your head. After creating a way to balance the head in the water make sure that all of your restraints on the head are still intact so that you are not just heating your head at the same size.
Wait for a few minutes.
You are going to want to either turn the heat lower or completely turn in off whenever your head is in the water because you would rather be cold than hot. You can always make your head more pinched, but un-pinching a head is a much harder task.
Your wait should be around 3-4 minutes on average for most heads to heat up enough to the softness that you want out of the plastic.
Not all heads are created equal so if you are using a defensive head with very thick plastic you may need more time; however, if your head is very thin and made of weak plastic you may need less than 2 and a half minutes in order to no overheat the plastic. This is why it is important to be attentive and focused while pinching your head. You also should use oven mitts to handle the head after it has been in the water in order to not burn yourself.
Remove your head from the water, tighten the restraints, and let cool.
After the initial heating, remove the head from the water and tighten each restraint slightly and put it back in the water for one minute, again carefully monitoring the head’s progress to ensure that it isn’t ruined. Again remove the head and place it somewhere that you can allow it to set.
This is the longest part of the process and only requires your patience. Leave the head with the restraints still on it and the wood still in it on a table or counter, undisturbed for 45 minutes to an hour so that the plastic can cool and retain the shape you changed it to.
Take off the restraints to see your finished product.
Finally, after all that waiting you can cut off the restraints and see your finished product. Assuming that you took your time and followed all the instructions you should be left with a great, BRAND NEW TO YOU lacrosse head.
The head will begin to expand slightly but should stay relatively the same shape for the rest of its days. Remember to keep your stick in a room temperature environment and not in the cold if you want it to last, and always be sure it is legal for what you are using it for. If the head isn’t exactly how you wanted it, don’t be afraid to try the process again that too many tries will just ruin it.
String up your stick!
Now that your head is complete string up that bad boy and hit the wall or play come catch with a friend so you can get adjusted to the feel.