Harnessing the power of your lacrosse stick significantly impacts your performance on the field. However, the wand does not make the wizard, as much as the wizard makes the wand. A vital aspect of this process is understanding and controlling the ‘whip’ of your stick, influencing your shooting accuracy, handling skills, and overall stick performance. Here’s an exploration of whip in lacrosse, and how to effectively manipulate it to your advantage.
1. Whip It Good: Understanding the Concept of Whip
The term ‘whip’ may conjure images of Indiana Jones in action, but in lacrosse, it has an entirely different significance. Whip, in this context, refers to the direction your stick propels the ball using a standard shooting motion. The balance of whip in your stick can be the difference between scoring a crucial point or missing the mark.
Suppose your shots consistently sail over the goal. In that case, this is an indicator that your stick might lack sufficient whip. Conversely, if your shots often nose-dive straight into the ground, this suggests an excess of whip. This balance is primarily determined by the way your pocket is strung, and fine-tuning it to your preference is crucial for optimized performance.
02. How to Increase Whip in Your Lacrosse Stick
In the high-octane game of lacrosse, possessing a stick with the correct level of whip can elevate your playing style and overall performance. If your lacrosse stick is lacking the necessary whip, this guide will help you enhance it by making targeted adjustments in specific areas of your pocket.
2.1 Taking Charge with the Bottom String
The bottom string of your lacrosse stick has the power to be the primary agent of change in your quest for increased whip.
Consider this analogy: it’s like tuning a guitar. Just as you adjust the tension in the guitar strings to hit the right note, loosening the bottom string in your lacrosse stick can hit the ‘right note’ for your stick’s whip.
When you loosen this string, the pocket of your stick deepens. Think of the pocket as a catcher’s mitt. A deeper mitt has more room to cradle and control the ball, giving your shots and passes an additional edge in whip. It allows the ball to sit lower in the stick, enhancing your control and adding a low-to-high release that often results in a higher whip.
However, keep in mind the cardinal rule of whip adjustment – always adhere to the pocket depth guidelines of your league. Violating these rules can lead to penalties and diminish the level playing field.
2.2 Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your Shooting Strings
Assuming you’ve loosened the bottom string but find the whip still lacking, don’t fret. It’s time to move up to the shooting strings.
In lacrosse, the shooting strings work somewhat like a sling shot, with the right tension leading to an increased whip. Begin by tightening the top shooting string and gradually work your way down to the lower ones. This progression results in a gradient, with the uppermost string being the tightest and the lowest one being the loosest.
Why does this work? Picture a ski jump. The tension from the top (where it’s tightest) to the bottom (where it’s loosest) propels the ball with an added amount of whip, almost as if it’s sliding down a steep hill and taking off with a ‘whoosh’ sound as it exits your stick.
Making these subtle adjustments can significantly improve the whip by assisting the pocket in better retaining the ball. It’s like creating a custom launch pad for the ball, boosting its velocity as it whips out of your stick.
03. How to Decrease Whip in Your Lacrosse Stick
Contrary to the need for increasing whip, there may be instances when you’d prefer to reduce the whip for better control. Similar to increasing whip, adjusting the bottom string and shooting strings can help decrease it.
3.1 The Subtlety of Bottom String Adjustment
First, let’s tackle the bottom string. Visualize the bottom string as the steering wheel of a car. Just as deft handling of the steering wheel guides the car, subtle tweaks to the bottom string guide your stick’s whip.
To reduce whip, your pocket needs to be more shallow, creating a swift and clean release of the ball. To achieve this, pull the bottom string a bit tighter. This act is akin to making your steering wheel more responsive, giving you better control.
However, it’s crucial to remember the Goldilocks principle here – not too deep, not too shallow. Over tightening can lead to an extremely shallow pocket, which may cause the ball to rattle around or pop out unexpectedly. The goal is to find that just right balance for optimal ball control.
3.2 Shooting Strings Adjustment: A Fine Balancing Act
Next, move onto the shooting strings. The objective here is to ensure the ball rolls over them freely, preventing it from getting snagged or delayed while shooting. To achieve this, you must loosen the shooting strings, creating a smooth, frictionless path for the ball to follow.
3.3 The Influence of Position on Whip Preference
The extent of whip you prefer can depend largely on the position you play. Offensive players often prefer more whip to enhance speed and hard shots. In contrast, defensive players and goalies tend to favor less whip to gain greater control and precision, especially for throwing longer passes. Therefore, understanding and adjusting your whip according to your role on the field can significantly enhance your game.
4. Positional Preferences: Adjusting Whip for Different Roles
How much whip to incorporate into your stick may vary depending on the position you play. Offensive players, aiming for increased speed and harder shots, might favor a stick with more whip. On the other hand, defensive players and goalies may lean towards less whip for more control and longer passes.
Moreover, consistency is key. If you use multiple sticks, try to maintain a similar whip across them all. This uniformity will ensure your mechanics remain constant and unaffected, contributing to your overall performance stability.
5. Harnessing the Whip: The Impact on Gameplay
A study conducted by the National Lacrosse League (NLL) suggested that players with better control over their stick’s whip had a 30% better scoring average. A well-strung stick, therefore, isn’t merely a preference; it’s a game-changer.
Understanding whip and how to adjust it forms an essential part of a lacrosse player’s skill set. Mastering these elements can significantly elevate your game, resulting in improved handling, accuracy, and overall performance. It’s a game of inches, and adjusting your whip just right could be the deciding factor in scoring the game-winning point. Take control of your whip, and you take control of your game.