There’s no right or wrong way to break mesh in as long as you are trying. There are, however, some tricks to get that new stringing job ready for use. Many players believe that your wand is game-ready, but they are sadly mistaken. Just like baseball players and their weathered gloves, we must pay close attention to our pockets.
First, there are many different kinds of mesh – soft, durable, hard, Canadian, and a few in-between. Second, there has to be pocket depth. And thirdly, you have to be comfortable with your pocket in order to get the best out of your ability, so try different kinds.
Soft: Soft mesh does not need to be broken in. The mistake people make with soft mesh is not making the pocket deep enough. Soft mesh is awesome for players that like to do a lot of stick fakes because the pocket forms around the ball. Brine’s soft mesh is a great example and is considered paramount by some of the best in the game.
Durable, hard, Canadian, and a few in-between: These types of mesh pieces need some work in terms of breaking in. The upside to them is that you can place your pocket (where the ball sits) anywhere you want. All you need is lotion, Vaseline, hot water, and a screwdriver.
Whether your stick is strung or unstrung, the first thing you should consider doing is running hot water from the faucet over your mesh. Once you’ve done that, stretch it to the max. This method relaxes the material, just like it would if you were playing in the rain. You can apply the water to a specific spot or all over.
The fun begins once the stick is strung. LPG prefers lotion, but many have been known to use Vaseline on their pockets. We know this method sounds funny, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Lather up the pocket and gently work it in with a ball.
The final tip involves a screwdriver. After you’ve poured water or lotion or both, slide a screwdriver through a few holes on the same line of mesh and twist lightly until you can’t twist anymore. Do it where you want the ball to sit and “voila” you’re ready to rip corners.
These are the basics of breaking in that new mesh, but its just a start. Check back for more tips in the coming days or give your two cents below. How do you break in your new mesh?