Each week Lacrosse Playground will be featuring a different lacrosse athlete as part of our “Grip ‘N Rip” series, where we’ll find out what the best use to fine tune their game. As the 1995 Baltimore player-of-the-year and a three-time All-American and National Champion at Princeton, Lorne Smith knows lacrosse. Smith’s post-collegiate career includes playing professionally and on the club circuit, as well as coaching. Smith now runs several West coast lacrosse camps and works as a sales rep for Warrior.
Check out one of Lorne’s instructional videos below and read the answers to equipment questions we threw at him.
What head do you use?
Warrior Revo Pro 2.0
What handle do you use?
Where does your pocket sit/what type of pocket do you prefer?
I use a traditional leather pocket, and it sits about 2/3 the way up the head.
Who is your stick doctor? Do you string it yourself or have someone else string it?
In high school at Gilman, my older brother Bryan (Loyola College ’97) always strung my sticks. My attempts at stringing my own sticks never came out as nice as his. At Princeton, Jon Hess strung my sticks.
What kind of mesh (or traditional) do you use and why?
I have always used traditional leather pockets. I like how leather holds the ball, and feel that I get a harder release when shooting.
What is your preferred glove?
Right now I am using the Warrior Brass Monkeys. Those knuckle protectors are great for guitar players – I can’t sacrifice a broken finger.
How much whip does your stick have?
I use a fair amount of whip, but not so much that throwing becomes difficult. I like to find that line between maximum control and snap, and being able to throw accurate passes.
Anything unique you do to your head or shaft (pocket upkeep, tape jobs, alterations, etc.)?
I like to tape the bottom 6 inches of the shaft, and I add a thin band of tape four fists up the shaft. This is the hand position I do most of my passing and shooting from.
How long do you keep a stick before you get a new one?
The pocket normally is the first thing to wear out. If it’s working, I’ll keep it around as long as possible, fixing as many string breaks with patches and tape reinforcements. Ideally I like to get one new stick per season, and keep any old ones for backups. The toughest thing is finding someone that can string up a good leather pocket these days. Lyle Tomlinson (Shooterz Lacrosse and creator of Pocket 34) strings a nice one.
You work for Warrior and have camps all over the West, and you grew up and played back east. Are there any trends in equipment in the West that stand out to you as different than in the East?
I have been on the West Coast for the past 10 years, so it is hard to say if what I am seeing is unique to the West Coast or if it’s what everyone is doing these days. Socks seem to be a bigger part of the overall look than they used to be back home. There are also a lot more custom team gloves and arm pads out there than I remember on the East Coast. I think this is less a regional difference and more just the evolution of the gear and what the manufactures are able to produce.
Since you work in the industry, what’s one thing kids should know about their equipment that you don’t think many do?
The pocket/head/shaft combo is the most important part of your gear. With so many options out there, players should try to customize their rig to suit their game. I have always been partial to the true offset head – I used the original Brine Edge and Warrior Revolution at Princeton – because these heads offer the most control and a harder shot than other options. I still use the Warrior Revo Pro for the same reasons. If I was feeding more than shooting, I probably would have used something like the Warrior Evolution, because the shape of the offset I feel is more suited to accurate passing. Many players just getting into the game do not take the time to learn all they can about how heads, pockets, and shooting strings effect passing, shooting, and ball control. Some of the new technology out there is amazing and you should see if it suits your game. I am planning on checking out the Warrior Noz this spring. It is the lightest head on the market and I am curious to see how it helps my shooting and overall feel. If Jon Hess reads this, do you think you can string one more up for me?
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Being a Lax Rep is my dream job. I would do anything for that gig. It would be nice to sell something that I am actually passionate about. That’s got to be such a cool feeling knowing that you are an ambassador to the game and helping it grow, especially on the Left Coast. I wish Club-level standouts, like myself, could land opportunities like this.
The progression of heads in the past 10-20 years has been unreal. I remember my first stick was the Brine Shotgun (wish I still had that) and then I got an Edge, what a difference! From there I progressed into the original Warrior Revolution before falling in love with the STX Proton. I still rock my Warrior Nemesis that I used back in H.S. from time to time, but mainly stick with the STX Eclipse that I used at the end of H.S. and throughout college. Now that I play pick-up box and coach a youth program I stick with my EVO 2.0 for my shorty. Very accurate with that stick. It makes ripping corners on 12 year olds easy.
Keep growing the game. The movement is spreading