Hot Pot Of Lax: Lacrosse Players Touching Pockets

Lacrosse player touches pocket after goal
What's going on behind the helmet?

Beware, today’s Hot Pot of Lax is Nitpicky!!!!!

This week’s Hot Pot victim: Lacrosse Players touching their pockets after scoring a goal!

When Pull Strings became a major issue in college lacrosse, the rules committee in the NCAA made some changes, and a player is now not allowed to tug on their strings at all during game play, and if a ref asks then for their stick, they are forbidden from touching the pocket again until it has been inspected.  But players touch their pockets almost instantly after scoring, and this all happens before a ref has put their arms down signifying said goal has been scored.

A ref simply can’t ask for a stick fast enough!

I’m not saying that there are a lot of illegal pockets out there, or that guys are adjusting their pockets after scoring goals.  I actually don’t think that’s happening.  And that is why this Hot Pot is a little nitpicky.  At the same time, the NCAA rule about not touching your pocket after a ref has asked to inspect it MUST be there for a reason, right?  It can’t just be something that is thrown in there for fun.  At least I’d hope not.  So if it’s there for a reason, what is the difference between a player touching his pocket after scoring, and touching his pocket after the ref asked him for his stick after scoring?

Lacrosse player touches pocket after goal
What's going on behind the helmet?

If players didn’t touch their pockets after every goal, this wouldn’t be an issue.  But if adjusting your pocket before an inspection is illegal, shouldn’t it just be illegal to adjust your pocket at ALL after a goal?  At any other time in the game, the post-inspection request adjustment should be illegal.  But after a goal, before the ref has ever asked for the stick, the pocket has been touched, so this small rule simply doesn’t work.

Thankfully, the NCAA Rules Committee has shown a great willingness to look at their decisions and make changes.  Hopefully, they take a look at this one and either do away with the rule, or make it effective.



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We’ve got FOUR videos of the week for you today, and they ALL feature the Slovakian National Team.  David Washo, who played in last year’s World Lacrosse Championship for the Slovakia Lacrosse team, recently asked Jen Butcher to put together some highlights from their games against Bermuda, Italy, Poland and Norway.  Jen did just that and the videos came out great!  International lacrosse… Growing the Game!


  1. It doesnt make sense, because must players are jamming their fingers into the V or U shooters. My only guess is that they are too tight and would not allow the ball to be dislodged while doing the stick check. I think you should not be allowed to touch the head/pocket at all while on the field. That seems a bit much but if there is something going on here then that is the only way to stop it.
    Lets not forget about goalies either, they are constantly pounding their pockets during the course of the game, lets just stop this as well.

    I don think the guys at Denver need to worry about pounding their pockets… (Courtesy of

    • The “best” pockets flirt the line during the test, and bag out during game play.

      to me the bag does nothing but limit range and mess up mechanics, but i’m a pole so i don’t do too much shooting.

  2. Is it true that the refs are limited as to what they can do for a stick check?  It doesn’t seem unreasonable if a ref were to push on the ball to see if the pocket will deepen because of a pull string or something, but I’ve heard that that isn’t allowed.  I’ve heard of player rubbing the pocket against their leg after a goal before they hand it over.     

    I probably push out my pocket at every stoppage of play, it’s kind of like baseball players pounding their fists into their gloves; a nervous habit to make sure everything is OK with your gear.        

  3. I don’t know if they jump on it at the D1 level, but i know at the D3 and MCLA level around here, if you even touch the head of your stick after the ball crosses the plane on a possible goal, you get the flag, the goal gets wiped, and you go to the box.

    i do think that not as many people are using illegal pockets anymore like there used to be, at any position on the field.  There’s still ways to get away with it but in my opinion its just totally not worth it.

  4. If you watch ASU play either Michigan or BYU on Fox Sports Net you’ll see that my boy Ryan Westfall will do that almost every time he shoots, and his pocket is no where near illegal. I’ve seen him do this since we were in 8th grade. It has nothing to do with pocket legality. What he’s trying to make sure is that if his pocket turned inside out at all when he was shooting, that it doesn’t stay that way before he catches the next pass. It may seem pointless, but I’ve caught myself doing it too.

  5. first that is the worst picture for this article, they are clearly celebrating a goal by chest/shoulder bumping whatever and his hand isn’t at his hip. Nothing crazy there

    I would have to agree with Josh, after any shot of mine or even after a pass if I see my pocket is inside out, i’ll quickly push it back. Why? I don’t know, I guess in my head the pocket is “normal” then.

    So are guys playing with illegal sticks or do they push the mesh around just as an added protection?  it probably goes both ways,