Question: I am going to put a pita pocket on my new head and was wondering the benefits and downsides between leather and mesh. I live on the west side of Washington so we get all kinds of weather. Also concerning the pocket I would string it with the ball already in so the pocket would already be made when I am done stringing it. Also should I go with a different style of pocket I play attack 5'10" 145 pounds
Answer: Sean if you are anywhere in the Northwest I would recommend mesh. And this is coming from a guy who, when I was younger, strung all my sticks with leather. I grew up in the northeast where we had snow in the early spring and rain a fair bit in the season. The leather shrinks a ton and then gets really brittle. You'll need to have a couple of sticks on the go so that you can keep the pockets consistent.
Guys will sometimes argue that leather is more accurate. I don't believe it anymore. I did at one time. But having spent a ton of time in Canada with guys who can rocket the ball with great accuracy I've seen how well mesh can work. The biggest benefit of mesh that I've seen is that once you've got the pocket broken in once it has gotten wet, you've got a pretty consistent pocket from their on out. It may droop or "bag" out in the rain, but if you've got some slack in your sidewalls you can usually remedy that with a couple of moves on the sideline between plays or after warm up.
Even though you are strining the pocket with the ball in it, that will change. Your leathers are going to stretch at one rate, and the lacing will stretch at another. You may find that the leather puckers in between the lacing. So even though you've strung it around the ball it's going to be a bit on the shallow side once it shrinks, and it will stretch prior to that.
To be honest, I would go with a small diamond mesh "shooters" pocket for attack. There used to be a great article at www.insidelacrosse.com but I can't seem to find it. The pocket in that stick is lower to the throat so you can keep the stick verticle and keep it protected by your head when you dodge, but you can rifle a pass or a shot with very little wind up. Most coaches in the know will recommend you go with that sort of pocket.
Hope that helps Sean. Let me know what you decide. By the way, learning how to string a stick is a really valuable skill. You can make $40 a head for all the guys on your team. It's a nice little side business.