The hard mesh is made of twisted woven fibers which are highly resistant to heat, humidity, and harsh environmental conditions.
Softening techniques should consider the fiber ply and denier apart from the material construction. After washing you can test catching, retaining and passing convenience. If you are comfortable and the ball doesn’t slip out of control, you can be sure of softening level to be just fine.
In this article, I’ll show you guys 5 easy to apply techniques, or as I prefer to call them ‘tricks’, that will help you soften lacrosse mesh.
Why Bother Soften Lacrosse Mesh?
You need to soften the lacrosse because the hardness factor can make the ball rebound and make it go out of control.
You won’t be able to make the ball land into the pocket and retain it while moving across the lacrosse field.
Long story short, YOU SHOULD.
5 Easy Techniques To Soften Lacrosse Mesh
– Trick # 1 – Fabric Softener
Using a standard fabric softener for performing the task can do wonders. It is also stated to be the fastest way of softening the mesh.
Step-1: Take a bucket which has sufficient dimension to hold the entire lacrosse mesh. It would be better if the volume is a bit larger than the space occupied by the mesh to ensure complete rinsing.
Step-2: Pour hot water into the bucket. The temperature should be preferably between 70 and 80-degrees. Higher temperature may damage the fibers and lower temperature could be insufficient for softening.
Step-3: Add 3 to 4 spoons of fabric softener. You may also add a few drops of liquid fragrant to enhance your playing experience.
Step-4: You may invert the lacrosse stick and dip the mesh into the bucket. Soak it for 20 to 30 minutes at a stretch. Take it out and test the softness. Wash it in running water, dry it and try catching the ball. If it is working fine you can stop and relax. Or you may have to dip the mesh back into the bucket and soak for some more time. Repeat 2 or 3 times until you are finally satisfied with the results. Dry the mesh and start playing.
– Trick # 2 – Pressing and Pounding
Using the lacrosse ball, you need to press it over mesh fibers. Start from one end and proceed to cover the entire inner surface area. It is a slow process which may take several days of effort.
Alternately you can use an OEM lacrosse mesh pounder. It is made of an STX-ball fitted onto an aluminum handle. You can pound the mesh at modest force from one end to cover the entire inner surface. It is a relatively faster procedure compared to using lacrosse ball.
After every pounding, you need to test the softness effects on catching, retaining and controlling. The procedure may take several attempts, but you can complete it within a day or two.
Selecting the pounder with the right steel ball is the most important aspect of lacrosse mesh softening. The recommended practice is to choose a branded product rather than opting for a cheaper version or DIY method.
Alternately, you can use a lacrosse ball for pounding instead of pressing. However, this approach may take patience and persistence on your part. The probability of change in pressure and force may vary during a pounding session. Hence, you need to concentrate on the task and make it highly accurate.
Make sure you place the mesh on a hard surface without any traces of dust, dirt, or other contaminants. It is to avoid frictional forces from damaging the mesh fibers.
– Trick # 3 – Wall Rebound and Catch
Wall rebound and catch is a method, which can soften the mesh besides improving your footwork. You need to practice it consistently for about 20 to 30 minutes per session. It is one of the best methods of softening the mesh and providing a natural shape to it.
Alternately you can practice the catch and passing workout with your teammate. This process could consume relatively more time compared to the wall rebound, but it can soften the mesh just according to the standards.
At the beginning of the task you may find it hard to control the rebound from the ball. You may also feel the stick going out of your control. But the recommended method is to stick to the task and continue. You can experience the mesh softening according to the playing conditions within a few days.
– Trick # 4 – Spray Starch
Spray starch consists of softening liquid which can complete your task within a day or two of consistent usage. The ingredients of the liquid can get absorbed by the mesh fibers.
You need to soak the mesh for about 10 to 15 minutes every time you spray. Then you can wash it with cold or warm water. Test the softness factor by practicing the wall rebound exercise. If the ball control is fine, retention is longer, and passing is easy, you can consider it to be the most effective method.
You may choose to buy a spray starch off the shelf or prepare it at your home. Take 3 or 4 corns and take out the seeds. Soak them in hot water and grind finely to make a paste. You can control the thickness factor according to your specific requirements. Cool it and store it in a bottle.
– Trick # 5- Use another Lacrosse Stick
The unconventional method is to use another lacrosse stick handle to rub the fibers gently but firmly. We found this method to work more efficiently than the others and the time has taken is also relatively lesser compared to the pounder and lacrosse ball.
Take your time and slowly press the lacrosse stick handle onto the fiber from all over the inner surface. Keep testing the softness factor by the wall rebound method. You can get the desired within two or three days of continuous effort.
Conclusion: Final Words
You may choose any of the above methods that we have explained. You can experience the real effects while playing on the field in real time.
If one of the tried and tested methods doesn’t produce the desired results, you can try the other options. Make sure you don’t cause any damages to the fibers while softening.