Holiday Buying Guide with SlingIt's Jordan Ambler

Holiday Buying Guide with SlingIt’s Jordan Ambler

As we enter the holiday season we sat down with SlingIt’s Jordan Ambler to get an expert’s recommendation on all things gear-related! There’s lots of great information below to put in your letter to Santa as you look for a few new items for your bag this holiday season!
Q |
 Jordan, can you give our readers a little background on you?
A | Sure, I started playing lacrosse in San Ramon, CA in 2003 for California HS. My first year of high school was the first year my school offered lacrosse, so myself a few other ice hockey buddies decided to give it a try. Best move ever, as I continued to play through college at Sonoma State University, and now work for Sling It! Lacrosse and am completely surrounded by the sport. I live and breath lacrosse, and I love it. 

What recommendations do you have for offensive players in terms of heads?  Defensive Players?
A | For offensive guys I typically recommend something narrower in pinch, lightweight but, still stiff. A few of my favorites options include the String King Mark 2V, Maverik Optik U, Nike Lakota U, STX Stallion 700 and the ECD Mirage. All of these are narrow, but not too pinched that it’s difficult to catch, have the right amount of stiffness for passing and shooting, and are light weight. And, they all string up beautifully.

Maverik Sports

For Defense, stiffness is also important, along with having a scoop that allows for easier ground balls. My favorites include the String King Mark 1, Maverik Tank, Hammer 500 and the UnderArmour Command. The Command and Mark 1 are also great options for LSM’s or D Middies, as they are a little narrower than the Tank and Hammer. You can’t go wrong with any of them, and we carry all of them at Sling It.

Last, Face Off guys. The Nike CEO, or the STX Duel are my two favorites. The Brine Dictator is new but looks promising, too.

What is your favorite string jobs? Why?
A | This can be answered quite a few ways, as string jobs can cover a lot of topics. I’ll start with mesh. My favorite pieces of mesh for pure performance, at the moment, include String King Type 3S or 2S, and ECD Hero Mesh. I don’t think there is a more consistent piece of mesh that String King Type 3, and Hero Mesh offers the ability to string a pocket with the best ball retention, without sacrificing consistency (too much). After that I am a big fan of Red Star Mesh V2. It’s designed locally by a coach in Walnut Creek, it offers great performance and is inexpensive. Also, when you buy a pack you get 2 awesome stickers.
Mesh type is important, but it is not the end all be all, most meshes on the market are going to perform just fine, IF they are strung properly. You’ll get the most value out of your stick by making sure the pocket is strung professionally. Properly strung can mean different things to different people, but I think a few key concepts apply to most playing styles. First, unless you can shoot the ball 100 mph, you are likely better off with a stick that does not have a lot of whip. The more whip you have the tougher it is to get passes and shots off quickly, especially while under pressure. Second, don’t be too concerned with pocket placement. If a stick is strung by a professional, they are going to try and match the pocket to the head so the two pieces work together, to provide maximum performance. Or just say, I want a mid pocket with a quick release.
Lastly, shooting strings. I firmly believe you don’t need more than two. You can’t go wrong with a wider lace for the bottom shooting string, and a thinner shooting cord as the top shooting string (sidewall string is commonly used here). You just need to make sure the tension of each is correct. A good rule of thumb, make them the same tension as the mesh row they are in. 

Q | There are a million options with handles.  Can you give our readers 2-3 options which can make an impact for them right away?  Can you also give them some buying advice?
A | I am going to refrain from handing out any specific handle options, and just stick with advice for when you are purchasing a handle. Feel in your hands, I believe, is most important when choosing a handle, consider the shape (round vs angular), texture (smooth vs gritty) and the overall weight WITH your head on it. Weight balance of your stick is more important than overall weight (within reason, nobody wants a super heavy stick). Yes, a super light stick will allow you to shoot harder, but there are some trade-offs. More often than not you are sacrificing durability and strength. It can create an unbalanced top heavy stick, which can cause problems with stick work, catching and cradling in particular. Finally, they’re expensive, and if you have a history of breaking handles, it’s going to add up. Ultimately, find something that feels comfortable in your hands, buy within your budget, and try not to over think it. The handle is the least important part of your stick when compared the head and pocket. 
QMesh or Traditional on your stick?
A | Mostly mesh. I string a lot of different sticks, and am always trying new things. Mesh allows me the to make quick changes or adjustments. While I would love a traditional pocket that I’ve spent the time on.

| For players trying to take their game to the next level, what are 3 recommendations you have?
A | HIT THE WALL. Make sure your stick is strung properly, Sling It! Lacrosse can help with that, HIT THE WALL. 

What did you ask for Christmas?
A | Time off.
Thank you to Jordan for providing us with a lot of insight into heads, shafts, and stringing that will help our players elevate their game.  Visit SlingIt Lacrosse today and make sure you have all the gear you need to perform at the highest level!

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