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Garden City Vs. Loyola-Blakefield

U and V Shooters Return To High School Lacrosse

0 - Published August 19, 2014 by in Featured, High School, Stringing Rules

U and V shooters, which extend below 4′ from the scoop, will once again be allowed in high school lacrosse, but only for one more season. Originally, the NFHS had adopted the college version of the shooting string rule for 2015, but yesterday announced that this rule would be delayed for one year, until 2016.

There was serious uproar from some of our readers, but also a reaction of “who cares?” by many others. The division in the community and arguments for both sides was all interesting, but it did little to change the fact that this rule change still seems to be coming, and soon.

I am most curious to see how many high school players adopt this rule change a year earlier than mandated. If you’re a senior and you plan on playing in college, wouldn’t you make the switch to a college legal set up now, in order to start preparing? And if you’re a junior or younger, and you know this rule is coming to high school next year, do you prepare for it now, or hold off for another year? Could it go further than that?

Goodbye U and V Shooters?

Garden City Vs. Loyola-Blakefield U and V shooters

If the rule is coming to high school, isn’t it conceivable that middle school and youth players might start playing with no U or V shooters? Why get used to something that you’re going to lose in the near future? Will manufacturers start producing heads with only two or three straight shooters again? Will the MLL or NLL ever get on board with this rule? What about the FIL? Where does it stop?

It makes sense that the rule could continue downwards, from college to high school, and then on to youth lacrosse. Many of the younger age brackets look to older brackets for guidance on the game, and so they can prepare players for the next level. But will the MLL or NLL ever adopt these rules? What about the Canada Lacrosse Association? Or even the Federation of International Lacrosse?

Canada vs United States 2014 World Lacrosse Championship Gold Medal Game U and V shooters

My guess is probably not, and definitely not in the next couple of years. But down the line, my “probably not” begins to change. What if the 4″ rule sticks around? What if an entire generation of kids goes 8 years of not U or V shooters (4 years HS, 4 years college) and then hits the MLL? Will we see anyone add in the U or V? Or will the no U and V shooter rule just become an unwritten rule all by itself, enforced by a generation of players who never used that set up?

I think the above is actually possible, but I doubt that Major League Lacrosse would make the move preemptively. When it comes to the international game, I also wouldn’t throw out the idea of the rule, or something like it, making its way to the game in some way. The FIL recently changed the rule on stick widths, and this past Summer 4.5″ wide heads were out, and players could only use 6″ heads or wider. If a couple of countries make a strong push for a rule change like this, it could happen, but that type of push would take time, and this rule is still relatively new and untested.

As for box lacrosse, who knows? Some defenders have bags on their sticks, but those guys usually run off the floor quickly when their team has the ball. The O guys need to be able to pass and shoot quickly and accurately, so channeled V and U pockets aren’t in play all that much. It honestly doesn’t seem to be a huge issue in that version of the game. My guess is we don’t see a change there.

6 Nations Chiefs vs. peterborough lakers Box Lacrosse Photo credit: Larry Palumbo

I got on board with most of the recent college rule changes pretty quickly, and I think that the pocket and head spec rules did have a positive impact on the game. I also think that Universal heads should be required at both the high school and college levels (and every level, really), but think that move could be a couple years away. I had a number of high school players use college legal pockets this past year, and I think it made many of them more consistent players.

So while high school players can use U and V shooters that extend below 4″ for one more year, the big question has to be; how far will this rule end up going? Does it stop at high school? Or does it continue to make its way through the entire lacrosse world?

My advice to current high school players? Make the switch now, and keep looking to the future.

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