Is there a way to adjust the shape of your lacrosse head? Are you even allowed to adjust the shape of the head? Fortunately for lacrosse players, there are games where you can adjust the shape of the lacrosse head. You can make it wider or narrower depending on your preference. Of course, that’s not for all types of lacrosse. If you’re interested in pinching your lacrosse head, here is a guide and a few things you need to know.
What is a Pinch?
Most people think that the width of the lacrosse head is already the pinch. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not it. The pinch is the narrower part of the head that is attached to the shaft itself. It looks a lot like a human’s neck when you look at the whole head.
What is meant by pinch? The pinch is the actual measurement of the distance between the sides of the lower part of the head. It’s the measure of the space between those sidewalls. If you have a lacrosse head with you, try pushing the sidewalls closer. Since the sidewalls can be adjusted (although not as easily), lacrosse players often look for the right pinch that makes their game better.
What are the Measurements for the Right Pinch?
Here’s some good news for players – how much you pinch will solely rely on you, and a bit of some game rules. Unlike the mouth width whose distance is always measured, the pinch doesn’t. But doesn’t the pinch affect the width of the mouth? At some point, yes, but you wouldn’t pinch your lacrosse head too much for it to significantly narrow the mouth width.
If you’re wondering, the mouth width for NCAA games should be 6 inches while those playing youth or NFHS games should be 6.5 inches. The narrower width for the NCAA games is to increase the hold on the ball while cradling and at the same time increasing the velocity when it’s thrown.
Going back to the pinch size, there aren’t any measurements for it. So what are you waiting for? Here’s all you need to know in pinching your lacrosse head.
A Few Reminders
Did you know that when you adjust the pinch of your lacrosse head you void the warranty of it? If you didn’t know that before, then you’re lucky you reached this part to be informed even before you do any pinching. When you adjust the shape of your lacrosse head, you invalidate the remaining warranty (if it still has one). This is because the pinching process changes the quality and the shape of the lacrosse head.
What about the width of the pinch? Is a narrower pinch better? Well, that depends on your preference. Needless to say, you should know what works for you first before you start altering the pinch of your lacrosse head. To give you an idea, a narrower pinch would be better if you have difficulty cradling the ball. Obviously, if the throat of the lacrosse head is wider, then the ball is harder to keep inside the pocket. The narrower pinch will help you prevent it from falling out.
Does that mean that a wider pinch won’t be good? That’s not necessarily true either. There are players who can cradle well even with a wide space. Having more space makes it easier to catch the balls, too. However, as you already know by now, there are disadvantages to having a wide face.
Lastly, you should know that not all games allow you to have pinched lacrosse heads. Depending on the rules of the type of lacrosse you play, you might not be allowed to pinch the lacrosse head. Usually, field lacrosse, youth, and NFHS games don’t allow any adjustments on the head.
Step-by-Step Guide on Pinching Your Lacrosse Head Properly
Curious to know how to pinch your lacrosse head? It’s easy! Here’s how to do it.
1. Gather all the materials.
First, get all the materials you need. Pinching is not a complicated task and you don’t need hard-to-find tools. All you need is a long string, boiling water, a pot that fits your lacrosse head, and of course, your lacrosse head itself.
2. Remove the mesh.
Does your lacrosse head have the mesh already? If it does, remove it so it doesn’t get damaged or doesn’t pose as a disturbance when you look for the right pinch.
3. Know your preferred degree of pinching.
Once the mesh is removed, figure out what your preferred degree of pinching is. How do you do that? Well, you have to know what works best for you – a wider pinch or a narrower pinch. Ideally, you already know your preference because once you pinch your lacrosse head, there’s no going back especially when you want to make it wider.
4. Tie it with a string.
Already know the degree of pinching? You can now start “locking” the pinch with a string. To do this, get a piece of strong and knot one end of it. Leave 1-2 inches in the end before the knot so it’s easier to use. When you’ve done that, insert the end without a knot to the fourth hole in front of the lacrosse head.
Don’t see holes? You’re probably looking at the wrong side. All lacrosse heads have holes because these are where you’ll insert the mesh later on. Count four from the top of the head and then insert the string on the fourth hole.
With the other end, insert it to the opposite side’s fourth hole. Make sure that the string looks straight because you don’t want uneven degrees of pinching.
5. Secure it with knots.
Pull the string until you receive the desired pinch. To make it easier for you, pinch the lacrosse head with your free hand. This will make it easier for you to adjust the shape of the head. When you’re satisfied with the shape, insert the string to the hole below and insert it again on the opposite side. This should create a parallel line to the first one you made in the previous step.
Now, make a knot with the string by inserting the other end in the hole below. It doesn’t have to be a complicated knot because you just need to “lock” the pinch.
6. Place the lacrosse head in boiling water.
Do you already have boiling water? You can do the boiling while you’re tying the strings, but if you didn’t, that’s okay too since it only takes a few minutes to boil water.
For this step, all you need is to boil water in a pot where the whole lacrosse head can fit. Once it’s boiled, submerge the pinched lacrosse head in the pot. Let it stay there for 3-5 minutes. You don’t need to cover the whole pot.
7. Place the lacrosse head in the freezer.
Wait, in the freezer? You read that right. After 3-5 minutes in boiling water, put the lacrosse head in the freezer right away. This is the last crucial step to make sure that the new shape holds. The cold temperature will harden the new shape so that it doesn’t get altered anymore.
Leave the lacrosse head in the freezer for at least 10 hours. You can leave it up to 15 hours to make sure that the shape truly hardens.
8. Insert the mesh.
After the 15 hours of freezing, it’s time to do the finishing touches. Before you put the mesh, take a look at the finished shape. Is it your preferred degree of pinching? If it is, then you can now proceed with placing the mesh and knotting them with the holes. Of course, you have to remove the string you used in pinching the head a while ago.
A Few More Tips
When you’re pinching your lacrosse head, try to overpinch it. It sounds crazy, right? But it makes sense because when you remove the string, the structure will still try to go back to its original shape. Don’t worry, it won’t really go back to the wider shape, it will just “relax” a bit.
Another tip is that you should knot the string to the hole below and not on the last hole you’ve inserted the end of the string in. Why? It’s because the knot on the lower hole will make everything more secure. Plus, when you knot it to the lower hole, there’s an additional resistance making the pulling even more effective.
Lastly, don’t forget to decide what the right pinch for you is. People often overlook this important step because they automatically think that a narrower throat is better, but that’s not always the case. Remember, a narrower pinch will make it more difficult for you to catch the ball.
Properly pinching a lacrosse head is easy. What’s great about it is you can do it at home and it doesn’t take a lot of tools to get it done. The only challenge here is making sure that you get the right degree of pinching so you don’t ruin the overall shape for a size you’ll regret later on.