The Under Armour Command is just awesome. It has excellent stiffness, face shape, aesthetics, and the ability to take mesh and traditional pockets equally well. I went with Throne Leathers and a bright New York Lizards color scheme that I thought would pop against the dark grey head.
For this head, I also got to try the new Traditree break-in. This allows you to easily string your pocket shallow and break it in to the proper depth. This is especially useful for leathers with some inherent stretch, such as chrome-tanned leathers.
It is important to consider the leathers you are using when choosing the depth at which you will string the pocket. It is also important to consider the number of diamonds and the amount of cross lace you will be using to construct the pocket. The less cross lace you use, the more the leathers are exposed, and the more the pocket will stretch with break-in. The more cross lace, the more structured the pocket will be, and ultimately this may lead to less stretch on break-in.
I went with an 8-diamond Trad-X pocket. The Trad-X is a great pocket for first-time stringers or first-time trad users because it is a symmetrical pocket. Symmetrical pockets are generally easier to tension and maintain because it is easier to mirror the diamond size and spacing from one side to the other.
After stringing the sidewalls, and installing the leathers and Traditree, I focused on the center track. It is important to have even tension with the interlocks mirroring each other all the way down. If you get the tension of the center track correct, the rest of the pocket goes quickly and smoothly, so I always take my time to make it as perfect as possible. I ended the center track with a minimal box knot saddle.
I finished the sides with alternating black and neon, then set about to break the pocket in. I spent about five minutes pounding the pocket with a pool ball, which works great because it is heavy, smooth, and leaves no marks on the pocket. One overnight session with a pocket stretcher completed the initial break-in. I added three neon shooters, and it’s ready for some wall ball to get the pocket truly game-ready!