Category Archives: Updates

2013 AYL Fall Lacrosse Rules for U9, U11, and U13

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As I promised to our U9, U11, and U13 players, coaches, and parents this post covers everything there is to know about the 2013 AYL Fall Lacrosse Rules. If you still have questions after reading this post and the linked resources please email me at I will endeavor to respond to all queries as soon as possible.

These are the five most important resources to all players, coaches, and parents. I highly suggest reading through each of the following links as they will help you understand the age-specific rules:

Again, I stress that everyone look at the information from the above four links as it will help everyone though the fall season better understand the game.

The rules for U9, U11, and U13 are fairly consistent with each other. Here are the major rules to know:

  • U9, U11, U13
    • No one-handed stick checks at all
      • Rationale: Get players to demonstrate the ability to land controlled stick checks with two hands on their own stick
      • Penalty: 1, 2, or 3 minute personal foul depending on severity as determined by the officials
      • U9 players do not play man-down. The penalized player must leave the field and be substituted for and cannot return until his penalty time is up.
  • U9 and U11
    • No intentional body checking
      • Rationale: The focus at this age is on skill development. Passing in particular. Outlawing body checking gives the players a game atmosphere where they can focus on getting better at basic skills without worrying about getting leveled.
      • Penalty: 1, 2 or 3 minute personal foul depending on severity as determined by the officials
      • U9 players do not play man-down. The penalized player must leave the field and be substituted for and cannot return until his penalty time is up.
  • U13
    • Body checking permitted but no takeout checks
      • Rationale: U13 players need to understand how to make proper body contact to better prepare for higher levels of play as they grow older, but they should not worry about taking excessive body checks as they are still working on skill development.
      • What is a takeout check?
        • Excessively late, lining a player up from beyond three (3) yards, or a hit that was unnecessary in the judgement of the officials
      • Penalty: 1, 2 or 3 minute personal foul depending on severity as determined by the officials
    • Body checks targeting the head or neck and blindside hits
      • Research into the long-term repercussions from concussions led the rules committee to beef up existing body checking rules at the youth levels to better protect players from devastating hits and severally penalize those that commit high, hard hits. Additional research indicates that youth players who do not see a hit coming are at an increased risk of injury.
      • What is a body check targeting the head or neck?
        • Any body check where one player lowers his helmet or shoulder, or puts his arms or crosse into the head or neck or another player.
      • What is a blindside hit?
        • Any body check where a player from one team hits another player who cannot see the hit coming.
      • Penalty: For both body checks to the head or neck and blindside hits, the penalty starts at a minimum of 2-minutes non-releasable.
      • Most severe penalty enforcement: Officials have full authority to issue a 3-minute non-releasable penalty and Eject a player for a flagrant, vicious, or very severe body check to the head or neck. This is a very severe option for a severe illegal body check to the head or neck.

Those are the major points to know about in the U9, U11, and U13 Boys’ Youth Rules for fall 2013. The rule penalizing targeting the head/neck and blindside hits is a rule change for spring 2014, but as the Head Official at AYL I want our players used to playing with that rule as they will likely be playing with it for the duration of their youth lacrosse days.

Once again, please read all of the linked resources at the top of this post and if something does not makes sense or is not clear please email me at

Here are a few additional video resources that I’ve created over the last two years to better educate everyone on the various rules and penalties:

You will usually find me out at the fields on game days wearing a bright orange or green Zebra shirt. If you prefer asking questions face to face I’m happy to answer them so long as I have time between games.


When Less Really Is More

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I’m a fan of balance. Which is why I am perturbed with the ever expanding attitude of more, more, more when applied to youth sports. I’m also a fan of the psychology of marketing. There isn’t an ad agency in the world selling a product to dogs. They sell to humans because humans put down the money, and it doesn’t make much sense to market anything in a manner that won’t appeal to a human being. Take toothpaste for example.

Images of toothpaste on a toothbrush, like the one in the featured image on this post, are all over toothpaste print advertisements and commercials. A little kid getting ready for bed puts a huge glob of toothpaste on the toothbrush and starts brushing happily. Once done, the kid rinses and flashes his pearly whites in the mirror. The message of use lots of toothpaste is clear, but why use so much when dental care professionals suggest a pea-sized amount is sufficient for cleaning teeth? There are two reasons for the gratuitous use of toothpaste in commercials:

  1. It looks fantastic in the ad
  2. It gets people to use more toothpaste, which means they run out of toothpaste faster and have to buy more

More toothpaste in ads just looks better than the recommended pea-sized amount and it gets people to use more toothpaste, which increases annual sales of toothpaste. In the end it boils down to how can the advertiser make more money by exploiting human nature? There is nothing wrong with making money in this way either, since the dawn of bartering the best salespeople knew their customers. Today, however, there is more science and big data behind advertisements and there aren’t many advocating for people to buy less of their product.

Being a smart consumer in the face of targeted ads playing on our subconscious is important, and so is being smart in youth lacrosse.

Our brains are hardwired to think that more is good, but we are lucky to live in a world of abundance while walking around with brains designed for being cave people. The more food/water/shelter a caveman had, the better his chances for survival were. Even though most of us have all the food/water/shelter we could ever need our brains want us to get more stuff. So we start looking for other things to accumulate or do to fill this very primal desire. For some people they desire to make more money, others more clothes, still others more accolades. We are driven by ancient processes written into our DNA whether we admit it or not.

The good news is by being aware of these processes we can work on thinking differently, which brings me back to doing less in youth lacrosse. I cannot tell you how many new players and parents buy the most expensive equipment for Fall Ball, or pay for upwards of four private lessons a week, or spend thousands of dollars to send the player all of the country to three different recruiting events. “Buy, pay, spend” – as if more money makes a better player. The only thing that makes a player better is time invested, not money, and the time invested must be consistent and focused.

I’m going to do another post on focused practice, but for this post I’m interested in consistency. Players cannot practice well if they are tired, burnt out, or injured. My jiu-jitsu instructor when I was a teenager always told classes that consistent practice was the way to improvement. Someone could train seven days a week and go hard every single day, but that person developed a higher risk of injury and burnout. He cautioned us to go four days a week max so we could train without injury and keep up our desire to practice. As a teenager, I did what all teenagers do, I ignored my instructor and trained six days a week. I would have trained seven, but the academy was closed on Sundays. The benefit of being a teenager was I could basically destroy my body during four hours of jiu-jitsu after school and wake up the next day feeling fresh. Now that I’m twenty-five I can still destroy my body during a workout, but my recovery time increases every year.

While I got very good at jiu-jitsu in a few short years, by the time I was eighteen I was burnt out. My practice suffered because my focused dropped, and suddenly all the little aches and pains after class were not so little anymore. I took a year off to let my body and mind recover, but when I came back it wasn’t the same. I’d lost my desire to practice jiu-jitsu and I’m still working on getting it back. Fact is, most teenagers are terrible at time management. Like I did, they’ll spend the bare minimum required doing something they hate and spend the rest of their available time doing whatever it is they have a passion for. That is not balance, that is using all of their toothpaste.

More practice, more shooting, more traveling, more wins do not necessarily make a great lacrosse player. The Gaits, Powells, and Rabils of the lacrosse world did not get to the top of their game by spending more money on gear or private lessons. They spent their time on consistent practice, and players can spend fifteen minutes a day (pea-sized amount) on practicing in a focused manner, and a small amount of consistent and focused practice will always beat out a large amount of inconsistent and lazy practice.


Playing Men’s Lacrosse in 1869 On LaxAllStars!

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Last week I did a post on about the Original Game of Lacrosse. This week they posted my second article in my four-part series entitled “Playing Men’s Lacrosse in 1869“. This post is all about how the game was played after William Beers developed standardized rules. The most striking difference readers of this post will find is that the men’s game in 1869 bears a greater resemblance to the woman’s game today than the men’s. In fact, I assert that Beers would find the men’s game today as sloppy and unartful when compared to the women playing. All of this is because the men in 1869 played with crosses that did not have pockets (or bags as Beers described them).

Here is an excerpt from my LaxAllStars article:

Sportsmanship, while not termed exactly so by Beers, is huge to him and his contemporaries. They felt every player should always endeavor to be a gentleman on and off the pitch, and Beers emphasizes the sportsmanship (in his words – moral high ground) of lacrosse in this way: “It knocks timidity and nonsense out of a young man, training him to temperance, confidence, and pluck; teaches him to govern his temper if he has too much, or rouses it healthily if he has too little. It shames grumpiness out of him, schools his vanity, and makes him a man. It develops judgment and calculation, promptness and decision; destroys conventionality, and creates a sort of freemasonry which draws men of the same tastes and sympathies together” (50, 73).

Comment here or on LaxAllStars and help us all #GrowtheGame!