High School Youth

2014 NFHS High School Rule Changes

NFHS logo
Crest of the NFHS

Since I joined Team LAS, I have been chomping at the bit to weigh in on some new rule changes. I have officiated a wide variety of levels throughout many regions across the country, and I love to talk field or box, youth through the pros. I know that the high school season is over six months away, but the NFHS met in Indianapolis and made some BIG changes for next year.

Here are a bunch of them:

No Horns

When the ball goes out on the sidelines, it comes right back in to play with no wait. In my opinion, this was the best thing that the college game has done as far back as I can remember (I’m not that old). I am so pumped for this change and I can’t wait to see it in action. Quick restarts make the game so much more exciting.

Max of 3 In The Box

No longer can you build up a penalty box full of your whole team. Only three guys can serve a penalty simultaneously. When the fourth (or more) player commits a foul, he is to come off the field and wait by the table in the bench area, and when a spot opens up for him, he will take a knee and his time starts.

Length of the penalties are not a factor, only the order. If there are penalties waiting to serve and a goal is scored, only the first 3 players are released. Before the next whistle, the waiting culprits will fill the 3 penalty slots until every penalty is served or released.

Defenseless Position

The newest example of the the illegal body check is targeting a player that is in a defenseless position. This is related to hitting a player on his blind side, hitting someone with their head down on a loose ball, or blasting a guy during or after a pass is caught while their head is turned will cost you two or three minutes and is non-releasable.

Taping The Head

Anyone taking a faceoff can’t have any tape on the head of their stick. As a ref I like this rule, it makes it a lot easier to watch the top hand during the faceoff. The only excuse you could have for tape there is the hole in your head doesn’t match the one in the shaft, and I get it. It only matters if you’re taking faceoffs, so if you do, I’m sorry but that’s something you’re going to have to deal with.


Must be a solid stroke, no lettering, logos or writing are permitted. C’mon man! EN: Did Roger Goodell write this one?!

Head Shots

Any hits to the head or neck are automatically two or three minutes and non-releasable, no more chance of getting a one minute penalty.

Flag Down

During a flag down situation, if the defense gathers a second flag the play is to stop immediately. I can get behind this rule, it will keep things from escalating quickly and I think it promotes preventative officiating. The only time the refs shouldn’t kill it immediately is when a goal is imminent. +1 for Safety.

End Line Balls

Four balls must be five yards apart on each end line and on each sideline. On the bench side they just go on the table. It’s all about speeding it up.

The Box

The sub area is now going to be five yards wider on each side to increase vision and room to run on and off. I enjoyed it a lot last year in college, the field feels a lot less cluttered over there.


Finally defined as more than six on offense or seven on defense. It doesn’t matter if you have too few and it never has. This definition will just make it easier for everyone to count forward across the midline, and the refs don’t have to look back over their shoulders.

I love that the theme this year is safety, and they added a bunch of practical applications on how to clean up the game and the keep it moving at the fast pace in which lacrosse is intended.

Also note: You might start seeing refs back in the old long white socks with the black at the top, that’s now ok again with the NFHS, but I turned all of mine in to snowboarding socks and I refuse to look back.

To check out the full write-up on the new NFHS rulings, head over to NFHS.org and take a gander yourself.


About the author

Mark Donahue

Transplanted in Boise from Ohio, Mark is the editor, video guy, and box lacrosse junkie at LaxAllStars.com. When he’s not obsessing over lax at LAS HQ or officiating a game somewhere, you can probably find him on the slopes or at the disc golf course.


  • @bringbackheadtape You say that it’s all in fun when not in season, but that’s not the case. The HS kids I’ve coached absolutely hate when someone bends or breaks the rules at the x. You can make a huge defense for it being off season and it should be fun, but you shouldn’t generalize that everyone is that way. A lot of kids use the off season to get better and if someone is cheating it really throws them off. I’ve seen a lot of kids move away from taking face offs because of all the “tricks” that guys use. It’s not a good environment to have kids learning in when players are pushing the boundaries on breaking rules rather than abiding by them.

  • I’m not saying kids should cheat, I am saying open the rules up to give the kids who aren’t cheating a chance. Not to make a crazy analogy here but its like gun control. There are plenty of anti-gun advocates but the criminals are going to use them regardless of if you tell them not to. So instead of disarming the people who can protect themselves, let everyone use them.

    Let the kids grab plastic and use tape on their heads. The people making the rules are looking for ways to speed up the game (and the faceoff) well this is a way to do it. It will also make official’s job easier in a time where we keep putting things in officials hands and keep giving them tough decisions.

  • @socolax2 I can see where you’re coming from about giving the kids who aren’t cheating a chance. It’s extremely frustrating to be beat every single time on a faceoff, especially more so when the other person is cheating, but by opening up the rules to allow these practices that are seen as cheating is basically saying “Hey you guys that have been cheating forever, you beat us. There is no way other kids can compete with you in an honest way so we’re gonna allow everyone to do the same thing you’ve been doing.” It’s rewarding negative behaviors and it further perpetuates the idea that we are condoning cheating on the lacrosse fields.

  • I have to jump in because this whole conversation has turned embarrassing! Different situation, same topic…my 10 year old Son’s U11 team went to the Stowe VT tournament this past summer and played almost ALL of his games against U11 teams LOADED with kids too old to be playing U11! How do I know? Because my Son would ask these kids how old they were…he played attack one game against a goalie and a long pole who were both 14!! (if you have kids, the growth at ages 12-13-14 is amazing)

    So, PLEASE all of you who are arguing that rules are just “suggestions”, or “summer doesn’t count”, or “if you ain’t cheating you ain’t tryin”, PLEASE come to Hopedale and tell Blake, who works on his craft constantly and who’s ability to compete on a level playing field and “best man wins” was taken from him, to suck it up and next time “be 14” because everybody does it! I will even meet you where it’s convenient for you! Look him dead in his eyes and use the arguments you are using here to prove your point…

    The sport we all love is going through a growth spurt, and it is up to us to police it and there HAS to be honor among thieves! If you coach your team to cheat at the X, or turn a blind eye to illegal pockets and come to my school and beat us, then prepare to be ridiculed out loud by me…enjoy your victory Coach, you sure earned it! Have a beer and sleep like a baby knowing you are the best coach here today and you were able to beat us by going man against man! Or not!!…

    Some forget, we are charged with coaching boys/young men/men and it is not our job to teach cutting corners, or “by whatever means necessary”. Those who are coaches, we are building better humans “through” lacrosse and everything they hear from us becomes who they are as men…remember that.


    PS I think stick rule changes is a way to make people buy new gear because they now “can’t ” use the stick/pocket they already paid for, but that’s just me.

    I also think that HS and younger kids I see can’t handle the technology they are allowed to use! I can go to any field in the North East and point to a kid with $100 Rabil HS head with a high pocket and high whip…that kid will be practicing his toe drags on the sideline (because the ball CAN’T come out, not because he’s good at toe drags!) . That same kid in the game can’t throw a pass farther that 8 yards and will miss a lacrosse net entirely (probably shooting sidearm) that is 36 sq feet! Is that helping them become better lacrosse players?! That is a rhetorical question, the answer is no.

    And to the kid who is bigger and faster than everyone else, have fun with your dodges because when you move up and EVERYONE is big and fast, you will realize you forgot to become a “lacrosse player”. To the coach who runs the offense through that one kid, take a minute to tell the other 5 kids on your offense that you have no time or interest in developing their skills or building a team offense, but they should be lucky they get to watch “Big Jimmy” score all those goals!

    PPS Sorry, this turned from response length to blog post length.

  • @elmoxim agreed, this is the bane of my existence coaching and playing lacrosse, its painful to watch kids with the expensive stuff or the naturally big kids beat up the smaller ones. Anyone who argues that HS players aren’t good enough yet to adopt NCAA rules, and too bad to play with class doesn’t realize that a freshman in college playing isn’t even a year older than a HS senior. Dedication is better than natural ability. Your son sounds like he’ll be really good one day and will get respect on the field, for all the right reasons.

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