College Gear

New NCAA Head Regulations: How Will They Change Play?

head_regulations

the nitty gritty

As most of you probably know, the dimensions for an NCAA legal head change for the 2010 season.  The heads will be the subject to very similar width restrictions at the top and the same restrictions surrounding depth.  The changes in the regulations are most evident in the throat of the stick, where most players have the deepest part of their pocket.  This part of the stick will now be required, at a minimum, to be 3 inches wide whereas in the past the ball basically just had to barely fit through the two sidewalls.  The changes aren’t extremely drastic but I do think they will have an effect on the game.

We are going back to the days of the Brine Edge in terms of throat width.  In fact, Brine is even bringing the stick back for sale! The only real differences is that now the head comes in 10 different colors AND has a much better stringing configuration functionality with the added sidewall holes.

Earlier this summer I spoke with a couple of current division one and division three players about the new regulations and the reactions ranged from “it shouldn’t be a big deal”, “I’m a defenseman so I really don’t see it as an issue” and “it isn’t the wand, its the wizard” to “my game is done, man”, “WHHHHYYYYYY?” and “maybe I’ll pass more”.  Now Harry Potter might not agree that the wand doesn’t matter but the point is valid nonetheless: truly great players will still be great players.

Ryan Powell playing with an edge back in the day at Cuse

Ryan Powell playing with an Edge back in the day at Cuse

The least affected group here is probably defensemen.  They handle the ball less, use their stick to pick off passes more and generally can benefit from a slightly wider head.  The mo

st affected groups of players will probably be attackmen, dodging middies and fogos.  The attackmen and middies are for the obvious reasons surrounds ball control and retention.  The fogos come to mind because while they are ALL dealing with same changes, they will ALL have to adjust their game accordingly and this gives newer names a chance to rise to the top and evens the playing field to a certain extent.  Trust me, facing off with a wide Edge is VERY different from using a pinched Blade.

I’m curious to hear reactions from the players as they pick up their new spoons.  If you have any insight throw it into the comments section and we will try to address your questions or comments in the next post.  I get the feeling that head width is going to be a pretty popular topic come spring time!

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About the author

Connor Wilson

Connor is the Publisher of LacrosseAllStars.com. He lives in Brooklyn with his better half, continues to play and coach both box and field lacrosse in NYC as much as possible, and covers the great game that is lacrosse full-time. He spends his spare time stringing sticks and watching Futurama.

8 Comments

  • I actually can see these changes as sort of a “push” as far as seeing the ball on the turf. Being a guy who's job is team lacrosse sales, I've had samples of the heads for quite sometime, and watching guys play with them one thing comes to mind. It's much easier to CATCH the ball. The pass that used to hit the throat of the stick on the sidewall and ricochet off, now hit the inside and go into the stick. So my guess is that for every ball that is dislodged by a defenseman during a game, a pass will be caught that previously wouldn't. Let's not forget the 6″ top measurement. If you've seen any of the 6″ heads compared to the “universal” heads you'll notice how much more narrow it is!

    The bottom line is: Does it change the game? Yes Does it ruin the game? NO
    If you've got the skills to pay the bills, you'll make the adjustment and be just fine.

    My $.02

  • According to a recent article in MCLA the Mag, one coach (Duluth maybe?) thinks that it will actually make the bar harder to dislodge. I'll reserve my comments on that until I see it in action.

    I believe, however, that the most serious impact comes in the form of its potential to discourage incoming freshman from playing MCLA ball. Here's what I mean: at the MCLA level, a good portion of the kids on each team aren't lacrosse maniacs. They play because its fun. Once you get them committed, they'll pony up the dough and pay dues, buy gear, etc. However, the incoming freshman who aren't absolute lax fanatics are often skeptical about the price tag. But since they already have all the gear you can usually get them to come out to fall ball and before they know it they're on the hook.
    My concern is this: how many of those kids who are on the fence will choose not to play because their high school stick (for which the standards haven't changed) isn't MCLA legal?
    This, of course, won't affect NCAA ball or any well-established MCLA teams, but some of the fringe MCLA teams might have a hard time.
    The solution: implement the changes at the high school level.

    • I think the changes will eventually trickle down the HS level but for now we DO have to address the problem you pose.
      FALL BALL: kids can still use sticks from last year in fall ball so that is when teams have to get their teeth into them. Once the spring rolls around, they will be dieing to buy a new spoon and then they will just have to “choose wisely”.
      I'm thinking of picking up an Edge just to use one again. Why Brine ever stopped selling them as their premier wand still leaves me speechless, which is rare.

  • Thank GOD for Men's League. My pocket will remain abnormally deep, and my throat pinched tighter than the diameter of the ball itself. Ah, to be a blackhole.

    As far as the NCAA/MCLA is concerned, I do expect us to see enough of a change in the style of some players (statistically speaking, the greater throat width WILL result in a greater number of dislodged balls), but your right, great players will still be great players. Players who rely on stick work and less athleticism will likely be the most impacted.

  • I actually can see these changes as sort of a “push” as far as seeing the ball on the turf. Being a guy who's job is team lacrosse sales, I've had samples of the heads for quite sometime, and watching guys play with them one thing comes to mind. It's much easier to CATCH the ball. The pass that used to hit the throat of the stick on the sidewall and ricochet off, now hit the inside and go into the stick. So my guess is that for every ball that is dislodged by a defenseman during a game, a pass will be caught that previously wouldn't. Let's not forget the 6″ top measurement. If you've seen any of the 6″ heads compared to the “universal” heads you'll notice how much more narrow it is!

    The bottom line is: Does it change the game? Yes Does it ruin the game? NO
    If you've got the skills to pay the bills, you'll make the adjustment and be just fine.

    My $.02

  • According to a recent article in MCLA the Mag, one coach (Duluth maybe?) thinks that it will actually make the bar harder to dislodge. I'll reserve my comments on that until I see it in action.

    I believe, however, that the most serious impact comes in the form of its potential to discourage incoming freshman from playing MCLA ball. Here's what I mean: at the MCLA level, a good portion of the kids on each team aren't lacrosse maniacs. They play because its fun. Once you get them committed, they'll pony up the dough and pay dues, buy gear, etc. However, the incoming freshman who aren't absolute lax fanatics are often skeptical about the price tag. But since they already have all the gear you can usually get them to come out to fall ball and before they know it they're on the hook.
    My concern is this: how many of those kids who are on the fence will choose not to play because their high school stick (for which the standards haven't changed) isn't MCLA legal?
    This, of course, won't affect NCAA ball or any well-established MCLA teams, but some of the fringe MCLA teams might have a hard time.
    The solution: implement the changes at the high school level.

  • Thank GOD for Men's League. My pocket will remain abnormally deep, and my throat pinched tighter than the diameter of the ball itself. Ah, to be a blackhole.

    As far as the NCAA/MCLA is concerned, I do expect us to see enough of a change in the style of some players (statistically speaking, the greater throat width WILL result in a greater number of dislodged balls), but your right, great players will still be great players. Players who rely on stick work and less athleticism will likely be the most impacted.

  • I think the changes will eventually trickle down the HS level but for now we DO have to address the problem you pose.
    FALL BALL: kids can still use sticks from last year in fall ball so that is when teams have to get their teeth into them. Once the spring rolls around, they will be dieing to buy a new spoon and then they will just have to “choose wisely”.
    I'm thinking of picking up an Edge just to use one again. Why Brine ever stopped selling them as their premier wand still leaves me speechless, which is rare.

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