First and foremost…
I am reminded heavily of the NCAA rule changes a little while back. The nervousness of the community was the same and the rule changes are potentially identical.I will get into the potentials in a moment. This should not be seen as a limitation, but rather another opportunity to let your creativity run wild.
Rules are not made to be broken, but there are benefits to be gained for those who learn to work most effectively within the restrictions given.
My Stylin’ Strings website has already made 8 legal pockets. There is little difference from the out of date pockets and the new ones. Life will go on. Trust an experienced stringer when he says, “It could have been a whole lot worse.”
For starters let’s review the pocket relevant rule changes, as well as the rule changes that could have happened, and that are likely to happen in the future. Trust me fellas, when it is all said and done, there may be more concerning issues.
The Rule changes that are pocket relevant:
- All shooters must be within 4 inches of the top of the cross
- It didn’t kill the NCAA and you will survive too.
- 90 degree stick check rule
- Let’s get serious. If you can turn your stick upside down, you are basically cheating. I accept this rule with open arms. Lastly, if your stick performs in this way… you are asking to get hit by a D-pole. Which is why the rule was enacted. It is meant to protect players from this.
The rule changes that could have taken place but didn’t:
- Single colored mesh and pockets -This could have taken a lot of fun out of the game and a lot of money out of startup firm’s pockets. Be thankful you can still have all a flashy spoon.
- Head specification changes - The NFHS is moving towards NCAA specs and rules. I would say it will not be long before all players are trading in their sticks for an X or U model
- Coated mesh restrictions - I love me some coated mesh as much as the next guy. But when a particular piece of mesh becomes an advantage, it means that the powers that be begin to take notice.
So how does this break down for use in games? It really is only separated into two segments at this point.
NCAA, NFHS, Universal
Pockets in this category can be used under any rule specifications, including NCAA and NFHS. Buying pockets in this category will give you the peace of mind that you can walk onto any field, no matter what rules are being used, and have a perfectly legal pocket.
Pockets in this category are not legal for use under NCAA or NFHS rules. These pockets can only be used, for example, in men’s league games, box/indoor leagues or other leagues not operating under NCAA or NFHS pocket ruling. Be sure to check with coaches or officials involved in your league to confirm the ability to use these pockets.
Interpretation is going to be the kicker. Just like when the NCAA changed their rules, we had to see how the men in zebra stripes read and applied the rule changes out on the field. Many know of the arching measurement that is employed when checking for the 4”, but many have already forgotten that it was not specified that the arching measurement was going to exist. It actually never came up as a thought when the rules were first read.
So to put this to rest I plan on meeting with some refs in a later installment and seeing what they have to say.
Stay tuned, folks!