The Lacrosse Show: Proposed NCAA Stick Stringing Rule Changes


Propose new rules for stick stringing in the NCAA and people will FREAK OUT! It happened in 2010 when the head width measurements were adjusted, and very little change came as a result. Now that the Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee has recommended MORE changes, people are worried all over again. But should they really be worried? Is it that big of change?

Connor Wilson and The Lacrosse Show take a deeper look at what these new stick regulations could mean if they are adopted.

So what do YOU think? Are the proposed stick rules really that big of a deal, or will talented stringers just find more ways around regulation?


It seems like no matter what rules are imposed, crafty stringers out there will manage to stay ahead of the curve.  As Connor demonstrated, it’s really not that big of a difference… so why all the beef? If you already own our Mesh Doctor T or a our Dye Master Tank, you probably aren’t too worried.


  1. quick question about your video, you proved how the ball roll out tests are not that big of a deal, but could we see the same tests with a pocket with higher whip and higher hold that a division 1 shooter might actually use?. Also is there any new regulation on bottom string length and where exactly it has to go?

  2. If it doesn’t make any difference, why have the rule at all? If the rule will accomplish what it intends, it will therefore make a difference.  You’re holding both sides of the argument simultaneously.  Ultimately, I agree with your first opinion that it won’t make a difference and that players will adapt their stringing methods to create the same hold as they would have with U or V. So my question is why even have the rule?  The only answer I can come up with is that for whatever reason they still think the equipment is hurting the game and they’ve been hammering the manufacturers with regulations and rule changes that have cost these companies big time $.  This was a feeble attempt to make alterations to the equipment with out all the cost and potential lawsuits coming from the stick manufacturers.  In general, I find the whole ‘stick technology’ argument way off base.  There was no greater change to the stick than the change from wood to plastic.  Once that happened the whole ‘stick technology’ argument ship sailed as far as I’m concerned.  Yea, it was crazy when I picked up a brine matrix pre width rule and a ball couldn’t fit in the throat straight out of the factory, but I think the new dimensions rules cleared that up.  What’s been given ZERO attention is the way players on defense play the game.  It’s basically become an automatic assumption that because of ‘stick technology’ defensemen have abandoned the take-away check and resort to chopping wood.  What I see is more and more physically imposing defensemen who have not been taught nor possesses ANY stick skills.  The guys who do have stick skills have no problem getting the ball on the turf.  I’m talking about guys like Jesse Bernhardt for MD, Karalunas when he was with Villanova, etc.  Now defensive schemes are all about packing it in and sliding physically with the body.  I certainly don’t discount stick technology playing a role in this, my point is that it isn’t the only factor but it’s the only factor being given any attention.  By the time the rules committee figures that out it will be too late and mid/att will be stringing up their new eclipse goalie heads in 2014 and US Lacrosse and US Field Hockey will merge as they now essentially represent the same sport.

    • I agree, it’s not stick technology, it’s pocket stringing consistency that has allowed such great offensive maneuvers possible.  Now any young player will have consistency from stick to stick as he grows and develops in the game.  This used to be a huge hindrance in the old days where every stick was different. 

      Every sport such as baseball, tennis, golf, ping pong, badminton, hockey, has gone through radical equipment changes and it only made the game better.  Same thing for lacrosse: both offenses and defensive players can now handle the ball incredibly well.  All good for lacrosse.

      It’s more about how the game is played and officiated.

    • Maybe I wasn’t clear, but when I said it doesn’t make a difference, I was referring to the fact that you can still have a low pocket, or a mid or a high pocket, and your stick can still have hold and whip if you’d like. But where it DOES make a difference is in ball retention, which is what the Rules Committee seems to be going after.

      In fact, in the video I’m certain I said the high school head I strung will not retain the ball quite as well as the college head with the V shooter, even thought it is more narrow. Sure, it’s CLOSE, but not quite. So like I said, they are changing the rules a bit and it does make a difference, but does not ‘ruin stick stringing” as many seem to be suggesting.

      I do think stringers will be able to stay ahead of the changes though, so maybe you’re right!

      If the Rules Committee has some personal vendetta against Manufacturers, then why create a new set of rules that doesn’t change anything for the manufacturers? I’d love to see that seemingly baseless straw man expanded on. I’m intrigued!

      Really? there is no difference between a Brine Air Attack and a Brine Clutch X of today? Could have fooled me! Yes, the emergence of plastic was a seminal point in stick tech, but to disregard everything that has happened since is willfully ignorant at best. Of course then you note the difference with a Brine Matrix, so I’m not sure what to think here. The 2010 regulations didn’t do SQUAT to change high retention pockets. In fact, I know a lot of people who string better sticks now than they did in the past, precisely because the extra width allows you to bunch mesh which rubs on the ball and keeps it in the stick. It seems like you’ve given up on stick tech wholeheartedly… too bad no one else has.

      I agree with you on the “teaching defense”, but I believe that it isn’t done much because the reward is so slim. Sure, there are still takeaway guys out there, but they were becoming much more rare IMHO. With less retentive sticks dodging becomes a bit harder and stick checks may actually be effective again for more players. Seems like perfect incentivization for more takeaway guys.

      Overall, I think your comments are incredibly interesting and insightful and I appreciate you dropping them here. Hope to see a reply! Thanks again!

      •  Okay, gotcha now on the pocket difference, I did misunderstand you, my apologies.  I agree it doesn’t ‘ruin’ stick stringing, but it takes away a personal preference and in my opinion won’t actually make a difference on the field, therefore it makes it seem like the committee was really tinkering and that’s something I would like to see them stay away from.  The shot clock should have been the main focus this year, by combining that with the new faceoff and stick rules in total it seems overly oppressive for a sport that everyone agrees is basically good and on the rise.

        I guess I wasn’t clear enough on my point about manufacturers.  I didn’t mean to say the committee has a vendetta against them, I was suggesting the opposite.  That they have beaten up on the manufacturers so much so in the past, they felt like they couldn’t and shouldn’t make any changes that would affect the manufacturers this again year but they obviously still felt the need to further regulate the stick itself.  The rule they proposed accomplishes both.  The manufacturers would have raised holy hell had they been made to change the dimensions again, but I think they underestimated the personal connection players have to a type or style of stringing as well as the effect of customization and personalization has had for the popularity of the sport.  Which uproar is worse? Guess we’ll find out… For my next ‘two shooters’ theory I will throw out accusations that this is the beginning of the committee trying to outlaw the ‘lax bro’ from the game, MUAHAHAHAHA.

        I’m certainly not saying that today’s Evo is the same as a laser hiwall.  That’s a red herring. I am saying the change in technology from wood to plastic was far more drastic and far more likely to supposedly ‘ruin’ the game. Obviously the game survived that change. So, I’m skeptical at best when someone is basically telling me 1′ difference in dimensions didn’t matter but it’s the 1″ that is ruining everything now.

        With regard to your comment on the 2010 rules, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree, but your statement feeds into my point.  You’ve (and everyone else) moved the goal posts on this one.  Prior to 2010 it was all about dimensions, dimensions, dimensions, offset, dimensions.  Now it’s shifted to stringing style.  Once these shooting string rules go into effect and nothing changes on the field it will shift to something else.  The ultimate fact that the committee is trying to outrun is that technology, progress, adaptation can’t be stopped. It’s a fool’s errand. So yes, I have given up on stick technology for the most part because to me they are putting their proverbial finger in the dike.  I worry they will chase the stick rules so far down the rabbit hole that the collateral damage will effect the sport adversely,  and they won’t ever consider what other factors contribute to the problem.

        • When it comes to pockets, I think if they just added the test that the ball has to come out of the back we’d be good to go. It’s simple, similar to what they do already and it ideally makes stringers string more “honestly” but I’m sure they will find a way around it. The good ones always do.

          But just because people can string their way out of anything, I don’t think we should give up on it altogether. I’m ok with tweaking.

          As to your conspiracy theory, I’m ON BOARD! That actually sounds pretty reasonable, and I clearly misunderstood you, because now that you’ve explain it, I can see that as a possibility. Interesting!

          Gotcha on the measurements thing. I guess I’m thinking that as you get closer and closer to heads being the width of the ball, or even slightly wider, every single millimeter matters more and more. We know the Matrix went too far, and was too pinched as to be completely unfair, so where is the line?

          I’d like to see Universal heads be the only heads, but like you said, this will not alleviate the problem on its own.

          As to your last paragraph, I think you really nailed it. It’s the same problem we see with steroids in pro sports as masking agents will always be a step ahead of testing methods. I’m just not willing to give up just quite yet.

          Have I moved the goal posts? You bet I have. I did think the new head specs would help. 100%. I was wrong. But with the new test, I do think the newer specs could be more truthfully applied, and when we talk about millimeters mattering, I’d like to think it could help.

          Thanks again for the great comments and ideas!  Very much appreciated!

      • I use three shooters on a traditional and the lowest horizontal shooter on each stick like this is borderline illegal (right at 3.5″ or barely over). Based on this completely unscientific anecdote, I’m curious if that particular rule is a throwback to early plastic heads of the 70s-80s where a two-shooter setup was common or even single-shooter woodies (part of the gutwall sidewall). Perhaps they’re trying to put the “shoot” back in shooting strings? It’s not like they’re called ball-retention strings.

  3. One thing i haven’t seen discussed is weather or not the sticks are being checked during these “bull dodges” or when a player penetrates through a series of dodges. Many times when I get in tight near the crease i find myself  being checked in the arms and the chest and my stick is not being touched. This is by no way a “diss” to defensive players, but to hear coaches or officials miss take skill for a persons stick being to good blows my miind

  4. Great work Connor!!

    I think the shot clock idea is the worst concept I have ever heard of.  Personally, I think they should have first widened the crosse, then if that didn’t work change the stringing.

    One question that I had is does the new 4″ from the top stringing rule apply to goalies?  (I sure hope not!)