US Lacrosse Releases Rule Interpretation Videos


One of the big takeaways I got from the Team USA vs. Loyola game was that the new rules will take some time to get down. It isn’t a big deal at all and I feel this happens every year when new rules come out. At the end of the day, the onus is on the individual referees to read and understand the rules, and then actually know when to call them in the game.

US Lacrosse released two videos today about the 2013 Rules Interpretations for both the Men’s and Women’s games below the college level. After watching the Men’s one, here are a few quick takeaways and points of emphasis, so you can make sure you are up to date when you start playing this spring, or are watching with your friends on TV. Check out the video below and see some of my key points to help you find something specific.

Key Video Points:

  • 3:40 – 2012 NFHS Points of Emphasis (old rules are still important!)
  • 4:20 – 2013 NFHS Points of Emphasis 
    • Hits to the head/neck
    • Properly worn equipment
    • Sideline sportsmanship
    • Field dimensions
  • 4:40 – Hits to the Head/Neck
    • Stricter enforcement
      • It’s a collective effort! It isn’t just the refs job to stop these, it start with coaching.
  • 7:20 – Properly worn equipment
    • Always wear the proper equipment, especially your cup.
  • 9:45 – Sideline Sportsmanship
    • ALL coaches need to put emphasis on being positive role models and modeling positive behavior.
    • Show respect for both referees and other team
    • Compete with class, honor the game
  • 10:40 – Field Dimensions
    • Concerns on improper field size have been raised
    • Square of alternate color at midfield X
  • 12:00 – NFHS Rule Changes
      • Sportsmanship
      • Minimization of risk
      • Increased uniformity between sets of rules (US Youth, NFHS, and NCAA)
    • The ball can now be orange as well
    • Extra string hanging on heads can only be 2″ max in length
    • Protective cups are now recommended (only?!)
    • Refs can wear black shorts now too, as long as they all match
  • 15:35 – Face-offs
    • Varying cadences on face-offs
    • Using your hands on a face-off is illegal and enforced with an unsportsmanslike conduct (1-3 min.)
      • Inadvertent touches are not a penalty (should be interesting to see individual interpretations of this)
  • 19:15 – Advancing the ball into the box
    • Now in line with other rules for boys lacrosse
  • 19:45 – Head Injuries
    • Players cannot initiate contact to an opponent’s head or neck with a crosscheck and any part of their body including but not limited to their head, elbow, or shoulders. Follow-through that makes contact with the head or neck will also be called.
  • 20:30 – You can’t spear your opponent while in possession of the ball (??)
  • 22:55 – Illegal Procedure
    • Clarification added to delay of game. Must have the ball in the designated spot within five seconds
  • 23:30 – Conduct Foul
    • Clarification to align rules

While US Lacrosse has their own points of emphasis, I have my own takeaways from the video. These are: a) Alignment of Rules, b) Safety!, and c) Sportsmanship

Alignment of Rules – This is huge to me, especially considering that our boy Greg Rose just brought up a great point on MLL/NLL/LXM Pro/NALL stick rules being much more lenient then college rules and below.

It makes complete sense that from the time they pick up a stick, kids should be able to play by the same rules throughout their careers. Of course there will be a couple changes here and there, but for the most they shouldn’t have to learn a new set of rules each time they go from Youth to HS, HS to College, etc. All in all, the alignment of rules is a great thing.

Safety! – As a high school coach myself, I couldn’t be happier to see player safety being a point of emphasis this year. Especially in an area like Idaho where you get a lot of crossover from football, players feel the need to hit as if it were football. The school I coach at actually lost several guys to concussions last year because of hits to the head, several of which weren’t ever called.

With concussions and and head injury research all over the news in the football world, it’s great to see lacrosse taking steps to curb these hits and checks before things get too bad. When it comes to high hits and blows to the head, I would personally rather see refs call it too tights than too loose. Start that transition back to finesse!

Sportsmanship – I am guilty of occasional comments to the ref (as are most coaches), but it sounds like the emphasis is being pushed to just general sportsmanship and oddly enough, coaches comments to the opposing players (this happens?). Either way, this is definitely a good point of emphasis to add in.

Sportsmanship starts with the coaches and parents, and we should all hold ourselves to a higher standard and be better role models.

Just as with any rule changes, there will be some frustrations with learning the new rules and getting them down – for refs and coaches both. It is imperative though, that everyone takes the necessary steps to set themselves up for success. Read the new rule book, ask questions, and ensure you understand what you need to be looking for.

2013 Women’s Lacrosse Rules Interpretations

I’m far from an expert in the Women’s game, so I will let that video do its own teaching. It’s absolutely worth a watch though, I’ll probably check it out just to learn more about Women’s lacrosse.

No matter what though, I’m excited for the 2013 season to start!