Boys Lacrosse Points of Emphasis - 2017

By NFHS on November 22, 2016 lacrosse-boys Print

Coaches and Team Area – The only time a coach is allowed to enter the lacrosse field is to attend to an injured player, to warm up a goalkeeper or during halftime. If a coach is on the field of play during a live ball or dead ball for any other instance and the coach does not have permission from an official, it is considered a foul. Officials are encouraged to enforce this rule and keep coaches restricted to the sideline and coaches’ area during live play, during time-outs and between quarters.

Defenseless Hits – In the past three years, the concussion rate in boys lacrosse players has been trending down due to the emphasis placed on illegal body checks. An illegal body check includes, but is not limited to: hitting a defenseless player from the “blindside,” a body check when the player’s head is down, and when there is a check to the player whose head is turned. It is important officials watch for these hits and call them as directed in the section of the rules book. Coaches are also instructed to properly teach their players legal hits to a competitor, including when and where it is legal to hit a competitor. The chair of the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), Dr. William M. Heinz, said, “I think the point of emphasis this year for the referees is to pay more attention to calling fouls for blindside hits. This would be one way to reduce the concussion rate.”

Blindside Hits – Boys lacrosse is a contact sport with a rich tradition and history. As with any contact sport, continued awareness and emphasis to minimize risk for all participants is important. The penalty for excessive hits to the head and neck is in place as an effort to eliminate this type of contact from the game. A section is in place to address penalties for hits to defenseless players and blindside hits. Coaches should continue to educate their players about how to make a proper body check and the dangers and risks of unnecessary or excessive contact. Officials should strongly enforce penalties for body checks. A body check that targets a player in a defenseless position that includes but is not limited to a player who has his head down or head turned away or even if the player turns toward contact immediately before the contact is dangerous and illegal.

Mouthpiece Fitting – It is strongly recommended that mouthguards be properly fitted and not be altered in any manner that decreases effective protection. Mouthguards cannot be clear and must be of any visible color other than white to allow for easier rule enforcement by officials. Coaches should instruct players to have their mouth guards properly in their mouths at all times, i.e., no fish hooking. Officials must enforce this rule.

Reminder of Crosse Change in 2018 – The crosse shall be an overall fixed length of either 40 to 42 inches (short crosse) or 52 to 72 inches (long crosse), except for the goalkeeper’s crosse, which may be 40 to 72 inches long. The circumference of the crosse handle shall be no more than 3½ inches. The head of the crosse at its widest point shall measure between 6½ and 10 inches, inside measurement, at the top and the bottom of the wall. (Figure 3) There shall be one crosse 10 to 12 inches, inside measurement at its widest point, at the top and bottom of the wall. This crosse shall be used by the required designated goalkeeper. The walls of any crosse shall not be more than 2 inches high. EXCEPTION: The gut wall.

Beginning in 2018, minimum stick specifications shall be as follows: The measurements for the crosse shall include:

Measurement from throat (inches) Minimum distance between narrowest point of head (inches)
1.25 3 (all measurements)
3.0 3 (all measurements)
5.0 3.5 to 4 on front; 3.5 on back
Widest point 6 (all measurements)

NOTE: From the 1.25-inch measurement to the widest point of the crosse, the distance between the sidewalls of the crosse must be at least 3 inches. Rationale: The committee defined crosse dimensions and specifications at different locations to address issues with the ball being stuck in the crosse. This change in equipment will beginning in 2018 to allow for phased implementation.