Guest post by SidelineSwap user Ollie33. You can find his stringing work on Instagram at olliestrings.
When it comes to stringing, understanding that every head is different is crucial. Some heads - Brine's Clutch series and StringKing's Mark 2 spring to mind - are easier to string due to features like sidewall holes (29 for the Mark series) and offset (Clutch). Others, like the Hammer 500 or anything "OG", can be difficult.
To summarize: when it comes to stringing your very own pocket for your shooting style and the way you play, each head is different.
**Some things to think about when it comes to position:
Attack: most attackmen want a pocket that can be used with a low style. Some like that high pocket style, but whatever you use can be changed by the way you use knots. More on that below.
Midfield: Midfielders play both offense and defense, and must feel comfortable with their pocket at all times. When I string a pocket for a midfielder, I work to understand their style of play – typically, I look for the solid mid-point of the head and try to keep right there, while the break-in will cause the ball to sink a little low for one handed action.
Defense: I played defense in college, so I mastered what a defensemen wants in a pocket. When your pocket gives you the right amount of hold/release whip, you can execute picture-perfect toe drags and pass smoothly. Therefore, I recommend a shifty mid-pocket. The "shifty" aspect comes from the mesh you use and of course the way you string. This gives you a pocket that can really be high, mid, and low.
Faceoff: I recommend a lower style pocket that is loose. Being ready to pinch and pop is key for the faceoff. This style of pocket can be different due to the realities of warp, so keeping it away from the solid mid-style is key.
Now, most people you see on Instagram and YouTube use knots that are difficult, or can take some serious time to complete/learn. Personally, I use simple knots that anyone can figure out. Understand that first, the topstring gives your pocket life. It must be tight and well balanced to give you maximum potential in your pocket. Try practicing stretching out your mesh and eyeing up where you need to match holes. Same goes for the sidewalls. Use a double (or single, if the hole is not big enough) loop to start your sidewall, then tie into a simple anchor knot. (ECD provides a nice primer here.)
The anchor knot dictates your pocket placement. With it, you can easily change your pocket from High to Mid to Low.
Most heads take about 3 anchors to get to Mid, 4 to low, and 2 to High – , but only if you have a head made for a high pocket, like the Epoch Hawk or Maverik Kinetik.
Once your knots are in place, you have the beginnings of a pocket. After I've figured out shape, I like to stretch the mesh out and form it myself (easy way to break in mesh as well). Most mesh nowadays is performance-based (sorr,y wax fans), which brings life to your pocket within about 10 minutes.
Now to the good stuff: 1's and 2's.
1's: This is a simple way to give your pocket true balance. A 1 comes bottom up through the mesh and into the first sidewall hole, and continues down the head until the bottom.
2's: Basically, when you go through 2 mesh holes. Sometimes you have to just give your pocket a little depth due to mesh style. (Some meshes are stiff to the 1's, so giving it a little more depth with 2's will help break in that pocket better.)
Overall, the head you buy is most likely position specific. From the OG Blade to the Mark 2, each head has a different look and feel – and as a stringer, different styles give you different options. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly on Instagram.