It’s time to choose the mesh of your lacrosse head – which do you pick? Is it hard mesh or soft mesh? When you’re just beginning to love lacrosse and it’s your first time to get your own lacrosse stick, questions like these are great to help you figure out how to build your own stick. And if you didn’t know it yet, you can customize and personalize your lacrosse stick.
The Basics of the Mesh
There are two things that you need to know when it comes to your lacrosse mesh – the types and how to string one. While stringing is a skill that you learn over time, it’s secondary to knowing what mesh you should get.
There are three kinds of mesh – hard, soft, and dura. The more common types are the hard mesh and soft mesh. If you’re a beginner, the dura mesh won’t easily be your choice because it’s best for intermediate or advanced players. Before you even make use of a dura mesh, you have to be able to practice with either a hard or a soft mesh.
If you force using a dura mesh while still learning, you won’t be able to identify which works better for your game. Besides, you have lots to learn with the other mesh types before you go to a more advanced one.
Hard Mesh and Soft Mesh: What’s the Difference?
What’s the best mesh for beginners? There are varying opinions on this but if you want to focus on practicing your shots and being able to “feel” where the ball is in the pocket, it’s a soft mesh.
A soft mesh is made from nylon interwoven with each other to create a net-like appearance. The holes are quite big, but not big enough for the ball to fall out. Judging by the name “soft mesh”, you already know that the nylon used is not hard. Rather, it’s soft and easy to string. If you’re not fond of strings, this is the easiest mesh you can string to the frame.
Another thing you should know about the soft mesh is that it’s not that durable. Sure, it’s soft enough so you can feel the ball in the pocket, but the downside of that is that it can’t last on a rainy day. In fact, you’re not supposed to use it when it’s rainy outside. The pocket will just fill with water and it will ruin your game. Plus, there’s a chance that it will snap easily when you use it too often.
Nonetheless, soft meshes aren’t that bad especially when you’re after the feel of the ball in the pocket. It’s also ideal for practicing your throws and catches with the ball in the pocket.
If the soft mesh is for beginners, then does that mean that the hard mesh isn’t? Not entirely. A hard mesh is also great for beginners especially when you want to learn the hard way. And for some coaches and players, that’s the best way to go.
A hard mesh is also made up of nylon, though it uses a harder version of it creating a harder, but not necessarily thicker, mesh. Of course, with a harder mesh comes a more durable string that will last for a long time. You don’t have to worry about changing your strings every now and then. A hard mesh also withstands rain.
So why is it better? Because the mesh is harder, it’s more difficult to “feel” the ball when you’re running. On the other hand, others take it as training for when they’re cradling the ball. How? If the mesh is hard, you’ll be forced to be more mindful of how you cradle the ball especially when it’s not easy to sense if it’s still there.
Pros and Cons
What should you get? Is it a soft mesh since it’s beginner-friendly or is the hard mesh because it’s more effective in training you at cradling? There are no right and wrong answers here because it all comes down to preference. To help you decide, here is a pros and cons list of using a soft mesh or a hard mesh.
Hard Mesh: Pros and Cons
1. The ball sits in one spot.
Are you trying to master cradling but having a hard time keeping the ball inside the pocket? This is where the hard mesh will come handy. The hard mesh is thick and sturdy to help keep the ball in place. While it’s not a guarantee that it will not fall off, it will help you run with more ease than when you’re using a soft mesh.
2. It is more durable.
For obvious reasons, a thicker and stronger mesh will be more durable than those that are less thick. If you don’t want to spend a lot by replacing your broken soft mesh, then the hard mesh is a great option for you. It’s going to be slightly more expensive, but at least you don’t have to buy another set every few weeks.
3. You can play in the rain.
Do you know the best advantage of a hard mesh? You can play lacrosse in the rain! Because it’s strong enough to withstand water, you don’t have to worry about it bagging out and getting heavy when you’re carrying the ball. If you love lacrosse so much and you don’t want the rain stopping you, then this is what you need.
1. It’s hard to string.
One of the downsides of a hard mesh is that it’s hard to string. To keep the mesh in place, you’ll have to string and knot four nylon strings as thick as the mesh. For most people, this will be an inconvenience because it’s time-consuming.
2. You can barely feel the ball when you cradle.
Another disadvantage of using a hard mesh is that you barely feel the ball when you cradle it. The thickness of the mess hinders the stick to be “sensitive” to the ball’s movement in the pocket. For some people, this is good practice to be able to cradle without feeling the ball, but for some, it can be hard to play.
3. It has a longer break-in time.
Similar to boots, the thicker and harder the mesh, the more time you need to break it in. This means that you have to constantly use it for it to reach the ideal size, depth, and “softness”. Wait, softness? Does that mean that the mesh will go soft after several uses? It’s a yes and a no. It will not get soft significantly, but it will soften just a bit after cradling the ball for a lot of times. However, it’s not going to get soft to the point that it’s as soft as the soft mesh.
Soft Mesh: Pros and Cons
1. You can easily feel the ball when you cradle.
As a beginner, your common concern would be not knowing if the ball has left the pocked and had fallen out. If you’re using a soft mesh, it’s going to be easier for you to know if the mesh still has the ball. This will help you notice it’s there and adjust your play and movement to keep it in there.
2. Easy to string.
Hate stringing? Then you better get the soft mesh. You don’t have to spend a long time to string it together with the frame. Plus, it’s just easier in general to assemble than when you use a hard mesh. If you haven’t mastered the art of stringing a lacrosse mesh, then you can use this to start with.
3. There’s no need to break in the mesh.
Because the soft mesh is soft enough to easily adapt to your game, you don’t need to break it in. That means, the moment you string it, you can immediately play lacrosse out in the field. Excited to play? Then this is the type of mesh you need.
1. The ball moves around the pocket.
While you can feel the ball in the pocket easily, there’s a downside to it – the ball can easily fall from the pocket. This is because the mesh is not sturdy enough to not move while you run. Picture the ball moving around the pocket because the soft mesh doesn’t “hold” the ball down. In effect, even if you can feel the ball in the pocket, it doesn’t stop it from easily falling out.
2. It gets loose and damaged easily.
Another downside to a soft mesh is that it breaks easily. It’s not that fragile, but it’s also not that durable to last for a few weeks especially when it got rained on. This means that you have to replace it for more times than you would with a hard mesh.
Both the hard mesh and the soft mesh have their own pros and cons. If you want a more durable mesh, then the hard mesh is the best option for you. However, if you prefer a mesh that you can easily feel the ball when you cradle, then the soft mesh is the best.