I came up with a new hybrid pocket (or at least what I think is a new hybrid pocket) by combining different elements from a couple traditional variations. This pocket uses two leathers, four pieces of sidewall, two 10 foot sections of crosslace, one 6 foot section of crosslace, and 3 shooting strings.
The pocket combines elements from a standard traditional (there are four runners in this pocket), a Pita pocket (the center track), a Shook Shakedown (the long weaving crosslace and shooting strings), and to some extent, a six shooter (the side runners are synthetic, and snug the pocket inwards). This pocket was also inspired by the interesting traditional pocket that Gary Gait was using in Hawaii this year.
By taking some of the best attributes from each of these pockets, I came up with this new hybrid pocket, which may or may not have been done already. Who knows? Lots of people string sticks out there! Since I haven’t seen it before, I’m calling it new.
New Hybrid Pocket
I started out by putting in the two leathers as the middle runners, but attached them to the throat using the outer two throat holes. Then I put in two pieces of sidewall as the outer runners, finishing them off on the bottom sidewall hole. I then put in my sidewalls with 7 loops, starting on the second hole down from the top and finishing on the third hole from the bottom.
The next step is using the two long pieces of crosslace to weave back and forth to create the main structure of the pocket. I start at the top sidewall holes and weave one piece of crosslace over, then under, then over, then under the four runners. I then connect it to the sidewall, and I keep the string loose. I then use the other piece of crosslace to wrap around the first piece, making sure to go over a runner wherever I went under with the first piece of crosslace. Once I have one coil done across the head, I pull it tight to create even tension and looping across the head. Taking your time with this is the biggest key to having a great pocket of this kind. You will finish on the open second to last sidewall hole.
Notice in the pictures how different numbers of coils are used in different places.
To see how I do this for yourself, check out this years-old two leather traditional tutorial. It still gets the job done, but production value is a little low! Oh well, I’d rather be smart than pretty. Still working on the smart thing…
Check out the LaxAllStars YouTube Channel for more videos on stringing!
I would also recommend using a TradiTree for this pocket if you can. It will really help, especially if this is your first time trying it. Overall, the new hyrbid pocket I created is very similar to the pocket tutorial above. That pocket was originally designed for Brendan Shook, a player at Hopkins, and the OG tutorial can be found HERE. This is all Pat Miller’s work, so I take very little credit for my tweaks! He’s an old school pocket genius, what more can I say?
After I finish the coils across the whole head, I will now put in a Pita Pocket center twist, but since there is nothing to interlock with on the coils, I will put in a knot above and below each coil, to keep them in their place. I’ll tie each piece off on one of the leathers, then tie them together at the bottom.
After I put in my rolled shooters (using the coil as a guide), I’m good to go!
The sidewall runners (#1 and #4) can be tightened up to help snug the ball in the middle. They add extra pinch and feel to the pocket, without making it stiffer, like additional leather would do. The Pita center track keeps the leathers together, which creates a consistent ramp for the ball to roll on for crisp passes and shots, and a consistent throw. Each coil almost acts as a shooter as well, so the ball sits nicely all over, and you have good hold without any of the whip.
Overall I like the adjustments I’ve made to this original Shook Shakedown. I hope Pat Miller is out there somewhere, and pleased. I’d like to thank him for his awesome original gift to the stringing community!