Tag Archives: boys

USL Youth Boys Lacrosse Resources

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For those of you new to the game of lacrosse, and even those who’ve been around a while, there are tremendous resources from US Lacrosse available to you players, coaches, parents, and officials out there.

Everything in this post can be found here: www.uslacrosse.org/rules/boys-rules.aspx

First and foremost, for folks new to lacrosse is the Youth Rules & Best Practices Guidebook For Boys, 3rd Edition. This is a fantastic and in-depth resource for the new player, coach, parent, or official because the guidebook is geared for each!

It is difficult to enjoy or effectively teach the game if you do not know the rules. While reading the rulebook can be a pretty dry endeavor there are more visually exciting videos that USL has put together:

There is also a handy FAQ listing reasons for more severe enforcement of violent body checks at the youth level and the national emphasis on proper fundamentals and the development of skillful play. My personal favorite question is:

  • Q: “Why is USL taking body checking out of the game?” 
  • A: USL does not want to remove body checking from lacrosse. The USL age appropriate rules are designed to provide an environment that fosters development of critical skills in our youngest athletes. Body contact is introduced over time to prepare players for higher levels of play in High school and College but does so in a manner that creates the best playing experience at the younger ages. Research in a variety of sports has proven that player development and a positive playing experience are maximized when violent contact is limited or removed in the younger age divisions. This is also a fundamental best practice that US Lacrosse is emphasizing with regards to player safety and skill development.

Why is that my favorite question? Let me get on my soapbox. I played lacrosse for ten years and heard that “they” were taking hitting out of the game when I first geared up. Better medical knowledge is leading to greater enforcement of high and blind-side hits in contact sports around the country, but what should little Jimmy be learning when he steps onto the field at 10 years old for the first time? Should he learn how to hit or how to pass and catch? I’ll pick a kid for a high school team that has never tried to body check an opponent for his entire youth playing days, but already mastered the basic lacrosse skills. I’d rather teach kids how to play the game well and teach them hitting when their bodies and skills are more developed.

Two helpful videos that you might not see right away are:

  1. Field Player Equipment
  2. Goalie Equipment

Finally, check out the USL Core Skillz Videos on the USL YouTube Page at: www.youtube.com/user/uslacrosse8/search?query=core+skillz

Well I hope you find these resources helpful to you in the season. A lot of hours gets put into these materials and the more you use them and share them the better our game will be at the youth level throughout the country.

Cheers,
Gordon

Everyone Needs To Pass The Rules Test

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You cannot legitimately criticize a player, coach, or official if you do not understand the game.

I have finally moved through the Kubler-Ross model after listening to blatantly incorrect statements from players, coaches, and fans as a lacrosse official. More commonly referred to “the five stages of grief”, the Kubler-Ross model is a guideline for the typical emotions most people go through when facing death or extreme grief. I’ve spent five years going through my own stages of rules grief as I see less overall lacrosse knowledge as the sport grows unbounded in Georgia.

The Five Stages of Gordon’s Rules Grief

  1. Denial – When I started officiating I dissected the rulebook and learned the exceptions to the exceptions. I’ve never thought that the average player, coach, or fan should know precisely how to administer live-ball simultaneous fouls. But I still can’t believe how many people think that a body check to a player’s chest is a push in a Varsity game.
  2. Anger – In year two of my officiating career I got angry. Mostly at coaches. I was too particular in applying the least-understood rules at the worst times, and I became angry because a lot of players, coaches, and fans had no idea what I was calling and then yelled at me for making those calls.
  3. Bargaining – At this point in my career I started to understand the basics of game management. So I approached coaches and players with more understanding. I still applied the least-understood rules of the rulebook, but I got better at explaining what I called and why I made a call. I was also learning the game-within-a-game between officials and coaches. As I understood how coaches were approaching a game I got better at conversing with them and, while not convincing them that I was right every time, that I was consistent.
  4. Depression – When you ref almost eighty games during the regular season, and over 150 games of varying age levels in the off season you can get a little burnt out from the same comments endlessly repeated. I don’t have a problem with the regular “C’mon ref call something!” comments. I got depressed over hearing “he’s offside!” when the player stepping offside was forty yards away from the ball and gained no advantage. I got even more depressed when multiple parents asked me after multiple U9 games, “You mean I shouldn’t tell my player to lower his shoulder into the attackman?” No, no you shouldn’t.
  5. Acceptance – I am pleased to report that I have reached a state of acceptance over the general lack of lacrosse rules knowledge by the public in our developing area. I hear the same blatantly incorrect statements from the sidelines, but I let them pass through me and I am unaffected.

Now, just because I’ve reached the “Acceptance” stage of the five stages of rules grief personally does not mean I’ve reached the “Acceptance” stage for the lacrosse community that I am a part of. I do not accept that anyone can fully enjoy a sport without knowing what the rules and their application are.

For instance, I enjoy watching rugby. I find that sport to be incredibly fast and exciting to watch, but I have no idea what is going on. I do not know what the rules are or how rugby plays are designed. In short, I don’t know the game. I think I would find rugby much more fun to watch if I knew what the major rules were and how basic plays were run.

I know that any person is perfectly capable of illegitimately criticizing anyone even if the person doing the criticizing has no experience or understanding about that which they are criticizing. I could strongly question my doctor for what I believe is an unnecessary prescription of antibiotics based off a cursory reading of my cold symptoms on WebMD when I am feeling ill. Just because I can access and read any information about the common cold from a Google search does not mean that I have the same level of comprehension that a qualified and certified doctor has. That doctor knows more about antibiotics and possible medication side-effects than I will ever know, and I’m not going to tell the doctor, “Whoa, doc, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night and read up on the best course of treatment for myself.”

We live in an age with vast amounts of interconnected information that we can access on the phones in our pockets. Unfortunately, just having knowledge does not bestow comprehensive understanding of it’s application. You need to test yourself.

I propose the following model for all youth lacrosse leagues to help increase overall understanding of the rules of lacrosse.

Rule Comprehension Testing

We will never stop ignorant criticism of those who apply knowledge in a manner that we disagree with, but we can improve legitimate criticism by providing everyone the knowledge of lacrosse rules and test everyone on the application of those rules. Perhaps after a few years of doing this spectators will stop telling me that a slash is a two-minute technical foul.

Cheers,
Gordon

Busting Rule Myths

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My November post for LaxAllStars went up today! I decided to set the record straight on what I consider the Top 10 Rule Myths in NFHS and NCAA Boys Lacrosse. I will likely do some youth rules myth busting before the start of the spring season, but until then check out this excerpt from my LAS article:

You hear really strange rule interpretations when working as a traveling lacrosse official. I listen to the most incorrect explanations of what the current lacrosse rules are at every level I officiate and every region I do games in. In this post I cover what I consider the Top 10 Rule Myths in NFHS and NCAA Boys Lacrosse and I bust those myths using the 2013 rulebooks for each respective level.

Myth #10

Whichever player is closest to the end line or sideline when a shot goes out of bounds gets the ball.

NFHS Rule 4.6.3.c – “When a loose ball goes out of bounds as a result of a shot or deflected shot at the goal, it shall be awarded to the team that had an inbounds player’s body nearest to the ball when it became an out-of-bounds ball, at the point where it was declared out of bounds. […] In determining which player is nearest, the ball is considered out of bounds when it crosses the plane of the end line or sideline.”

NCAA Rule 4.6.b.3 – “When a loose ball goes out of bounds as a result of a shot or deflected shot at the goal, it shall be awarded to the team that had an inbounds player’s body nearest to the ball when it became an out-of-bounds ball, at the point where it was declared out of bounds.”

Busted! – For the purposes of the above rules, the stick is not considered part of the body. A team is awarded possession of the ball on a shot out of bounds when their inbounds player’s body is closest to the ball WHERE it went out WHEN it went out. If the ball goes out at X, and you are at one of the corner pylons, you do not get the ball just because you are closest to the end line.

Want to read the whole article? Head over to: http://laxallstars.com/busting-rule-myths-in-nfhs-and-ncaa-boys-lacrosse/

Featured Image Credit: http://laxallstars.com/busting-rule-myths-in-nfhs-and-ncaa-boys-lacrosse/

Cheers,
Gordon