Tag Archives: goal

“Just Hand The Ball To The Ref!”

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My Dad and I watch a lot of sports together, and I’ve noticed a few things that he usually says during football games in particular. Be it college or professional football there is a 68% chance of my Dad saying, “quit showboating and just hand the ball to the ref,” after a player does some fancy dance after a scoring drive. There is a 100% chance of my Dad following up that statement with this statement: “act like you’ve been there before.” He is perfectly okay with an enthusiastic fist pump, but the ball better be in the official’s hands within five seconds of the score.

If the game is close he gives a little extra leeway to celebrate. Maybe a fist pump and a chest bump, but the player still has to get the ball to the official quickly. What he cannot stand more than anything is if a team is destroying another team and does some elaborate end zone dance, or if a team that is down by several touchdowns manages to finally make a decent tackle and the defender crosses his arms and does the “no-no” shake of the head. He is not a fan of showboating when a team is winning, or of defenders celebrating the one time their team wraps up the winning team’s running back. I believe he finds both of those actions pretty classless.

I take the same view of my Dad but for different reasons. As a sports official I am less concerned with how cool or funny a celebration is. I am concerned with it escalating into a bigger problem. The 2013 NFHS lacrosse rulebook has this to say:

Rule 5.10.1.c – [Players may not] bait or call undue attention to oneself, or any other act considered unsportsmanlike by the officials.

Fans look at celebrations and wonder why officials flag the players for just having a little fun, but that is not how we view excessive celebrations that call undue attention to the goal scorer or their team. Imagine you are the losing team and the winning team just scored their fifteenth unanswered goal. Then the shooting team decides to do this:

You would be justifiably pissed off, and you might decide to do something foolish if the winning team does something similar following another goal. We officials are not trying to ruin the winning team’s fun, they are choosing to win without class. Plus, they scored! It’s already fun to score! Why rub salt and cayenne pepper into the wound?

I had a game that was 17-1 to start the fourth quarter. The winning team was being very respectful in their domination, but three young fans walked into the stands yelling to the losing team, “17-1! You suck! Come back when you learn to play lacrosse!” I saw the head coach of the losing team looking both angry and a little sad, and when the ball went out of bounds I called an official’s time out and told him I would take care of the three knuckleheads. The rules state that the head coach is responsible for the spectators so I went to the head coach of the winning team and pointed out the three young men who were not representing his team or his school very well. He promptly kicked them out of the stadium. That is the mark of a classy program and the game wrapped up without incident.

If I hadn’t stepped in and had the coach exercise his authority, those fans could have incited some on-field mayhem. Some goal celebrations bump up against my threshold for calling a penalty. In those cases I go up to the player who celebrated and tell him that I’m okay with what he did happening once, but that if he does it again or goes further my flag will hit the ground before he finishes his Macarena dance.

I’m okay with being called a fun-killer by the fans, but I am not okay with a huge melee breaking out on the field and having the fans go, “why didn’t you do anything?” What I and my officiating brethren do is never popular, but we are not out there for the player’s fun. We are out there for safety and fairness. Excessive celebrations raise the game temperature and impact player safety. If you want to celebrate, pump your arm into the air and get to your spot for the next faceoff. As my Dad would say, “act like you’ve been there before!”

Here are the Top-10 Touchdown Celebrations before the NFL outlawed most celebrations:

Featured Image Credit – www.kansascity.com


Pipe City

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Pipe City

I hear this every time the ball hits two pipes: “If it hits two pipes it’s a goal!” I used to believe that was true until I became a lacrosse official.

It seems so logical. One pipe is clearly not a goal, but if the ball hits two pipes it must count as a score. If the ball somehow hits three pipes the game automatically ends, the person who shot the ball is crowned team MVP and his team wins the game regardless of the score at the time. If the ball has enough momentum to hit four pipes, tradition requires that the net be cut down and fashioned into a cape that the shooter wears for the remainder of the season.

As I wrote about in my No Goal post a while back, a goal in lacrosse is scored when a “loose ball passes from the front, completely through the imaginary plane formed by the rear edges of the goal line, the goal posts and the crossbar of the goal, regardless of who supplied the impetus” (NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rulebook 2013).”

There is no rule anywhere in the rulebook which states that hitting multiple pipes on a shot counts as a goal.

I have called a two pipe shot a goal on one occasion. The ball hit one of the upright goal posts and ricocheted into the goal, past the rear edge of the goal line, hit the rounded pipe at the bottom of the goal and then came out of the goal into the field of play. I whistled the play dead and signaled goal. Not because the ball hit two pipes, but because it fully crossed the goal plane.

So the next time you hear someone yell out, “if it hits two pipes it’s a goal!” Please educate them about the correct rule.

Featured Image Credit – www.elixirind.com


Some Video Instruction

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I got my camcorder properly set up and did some video editing today. The following video covers everything a new parent, player, or coach needs to know about the U9 game at Atlanta Youth Lacrosse.

Now lets move to the specific rules for the U9 division. In this section, I will post the US Lacrosse rule and then I will give an explanation as to why the rule exists and why it is enforced.

U9 Division Rules:

  • The length of all crosses for all field players shall be 37 to 42 inches.
    • This rule exists because smaller players benefit from being able to use a shorter crosse. If your player is having trouble handling the ball with a regulation stick (40-42 inches), I would recommend shortening the stick. Now, please do not cut down the nice new lacrosse stick you just got for your player. Instead, go out and buy a cheaper stick that you can cut down to size.
  • At the U9 level, if the coaches from both teams agree, one coach per team may be allowed on the field during play to provide instruction during the game.
    • In U9 games, one coach from each team is permitted on the field to help the players learn where to go during the game. So long as the coaches do not interfere with play or get in the way, their presence is highly encouraged.
  • Game will consist of four 12-minute running-time quarters (clock stops only for a team timeout, an official’s timeout, or an injury timeout). If stop time is to be used, 8-minute stop-time quarters are recommended.
    • Here is an AYL EXCEPTION. We use a central clock while we run three U9 games simultaneously, with a horn indicating the beginning and end of each half. Instead of quarters, we run two twenty-minute halves with a five-minute halftime.
  • The Final Two Minute stalling rule shall be WAIVED for these Divisions.
    • U9 players need not concern themselves with officials calling stalling. This rule is waived at the U9 level because we want the kids to be focusing on the basics of play, and not the more advanced concepts of advancement rules.
  • At any point during a game when there is a four-goal lead, the team that is behind will be given the ball at the midfield line in lieu of a face-off as long as the four-goal lead is maintained, unless waived by the coach of the trailing team.
    • Here is an AYL EXCEPTION. After a goal is scored, the goalie will pass the ball to a teammate and play will resume with that pass. There are no faceoffs after goals. Faceoffs are only used to start each half. We have found that setting players up for the faceoff after every goal takes a lot of time off the clock, and impacts their playing time. We would rather have the kids just worry about playing the game.
  • The defensive 20-second count WILL NOT be used. The offensive 10-second count WILL NOT be used.
    • In older divisions advancement counts are used to maintain a fast pace of play. At the U9 division, these rules are waived. We want these young players focusing on the basics of the game, not the more advanced rules.
  • No body checking of any kind is permitted.
    • I explain U9 lacrosse as basketball with sticks. Players can push, box-out, and maneuver another player around the field. However, they may not deliberately body check another player. We want the players focusing on proper checking technique, and not on who can crush who.
  • Any one-handed check will be considered a slash, whether or not it makes contact with the opposing player.
    • No one-handed checks are allowed at this level, mainly because most players do not have the coordination or timing to successfully perform a one-handed check. More often than not, these checks become wild haymakers that are completely uncontrollable. Players in this division are required to keep two hands on the stick at all times when checking with their crosse.
  • Any player who accumulates 3 personal fouls or 5 minutes in personal foul penalty time shall be disqualified from the game.
    • If a player is out on the field committing multiple personal fouls, which are fouls of a serious nature, we want the opportunity to explain to that player what they are doing incorrectly. So if a player gets 3 personals or 5 total minutes of personal foul time their game is over for the day, which hopefully informs that player that they are not playing within the rules.
  • Offending player must leave the field and remain out of the game for the length of his penalty time but his team may replace him with a substitute on the field. No man up situation should occur.
    • If a player commits a foul, they must exit the field of play for however long the foul is. At the U9 level no team plays man down. So a substitute is permitted to come onto the field for the player who must come off.

The Two Pass Rule

The two pass rule was put into effect in Fall Ball last year. The goal of this rule is to reward players for looking for open teammates and staying open on the field. In U9 games the players have a tendency to clump together and move en mass across the entire field. The two pass rule seeks to teach these players the importance of staying spread out on a lacrosse field. The two pass rule is explained in detail in the above video.

I hope the video above and the rule explanations were helpful to our parents, players, and coaches. If you have any questions about the rules please email me at rules@ayllax.com.