Tag Archives: slash

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.


Every Lacrosse Signal

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This week is Rules/Officiating week. Two quick things before we dive in: The last post of the week will detail an officiating camp open to all 5th-12th grade AYL players, and any parents who are interested in officiating. Second, I will be detailing youth rules that may not be implemented in your local league. I highly encourage fellow youth lacrosse leagues to consider implementing one or two of the rules I will discuss that drastically improve player skills and are easy to get the hang of. Now, onto every lacrosse signal!

During my sideline Q & A sessions, I often get asked what a particular signal means. I explain the offsides signal, crease violation signal, illegal procedure signal, and more. I always get eyeballs that light up in understanding from the fans, especially youth parents who are brand new to the game. This sideline Q & A is not just great for the fans, it also helps me and my officiating partner during the second half. Because all the fans now recognize that the official knows the game, and they relax and enjoy the game even more since they now know what the officials are signaling.

All official lacrosse signals can be found in the back pages of the NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rulebook. They are broken down into three categories:

  1. Procedural Signals (timeouts, goals, stalling, counts, failure to advance, etc)
  2. Personal Fouls (slashing, tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct, ejection, etc)
  3. Technical Fouls (pushing, illegal procedure, warding, conduct foul, etc)

The video below details every signal in the back of the NFHS rulebook. After watching it you will be able to identify what any US Lacrosse-trained official is signaling during any lacrosse game. Also, any youth players who are interested in officiating can improve their signaling by practicing the signals in this video.


Avoiding Penalties in Youth Lax

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Penalties are a part of lacrosse. In the youth game, penalties are usually a big part of the game for two reasons. One, young players mature at different rates. U13 is always the worst grade for me to officiate because half of the kids are Davids, the other half are Goliaths, and the Davids do not have throwing stones. Because of some kids are bigger and faster they will, fairly or not, get the majority of the fouls. Second, youth players do not always remember the best way to check, which often results in big swings, cross-checks, and pushes. Over the years, I accumulated different methods of avoiding penalties, and I share a few here.

Slafkosky - Defensive Wizard

Slafkosky - Defensive Wizard

In tenth grade I attended a camp that Dave Slafkosky, a legendary defensive coach from Maryland, was teaching at. I inhaled his lessons about defense. He spoke about positioning, communication, and hard sliding, but he gave one nugget of information that I will forever remember. He said, “Gordon. Your first check should always be a poke check right to the guy’s stomach.” In the context of a youth game, this is very good advice. Typically, young players cradle with both hands. As a result, their stick runs diagonally across their body, which makes aiming a poke check at the stomach area a very high percentage check.

The other reason for throwing the first check at the center of your opponent is a mind game with the official. I usually remind our AYL coaches that my hand goes to my flag when I see a player wind up for a big check, since, more often than not, the stick is coming down hard on the helmet, shoulder, or back. When I see a wind up I profile that player as someone I need to watch, but when I see a player throw a hard poke check towards his opponent’s stick I profile that player as a safe/smart individual. Often, my first observation on a player’s behavior prove correct. So coaches, remind your player’s that officials pay attention to the high, wind up swings, and will focus on players who repeat that checking motion.

Now let’s talk about the “I’m Beat,” or desperation check. Here’s the situation:

  • Red player gets burned by Blue player on a roll dodge. Blue player spins around and chases Red player with his stick outstretched behind him with one arm. Red goes to shoot, and in the process of shooting, Blue swings his stick overhead. He hits Red’s stick and then ricochets hard into Red’s helmet, drawing a one-minute slash penalty.
^ Think This is a Cross-Check?

^ Think This is a Cross-Check?

I defy any coach to comment that none of their players have ever committed the above infraction. The problem here is the nature of youth players. They get beat so they panic. They know they cannot let the other player score, so a gigantic wind-up check might redeem them for getting beat. Honestly, I might as well throw the flag when I see the wind up because nothing good is coming from it.

For the coaches, there is a method of teaching the desperation check that will almost always prevent a flag, and there are three parts to it:

  1. When your player gets beat the first thing they need to do is run as hard as they can to catch up to their opponent. The distance has to get picked up before a check can be applied.
  2. Do not worry about getting in front of a shooter. Why? Because the shooter is going to do one thing, and that is draw his stick behind his body in preparation for a shot. Drawing that stick back turns it into a huge target for your defensive player.
  3. Swing the final check up to the sky, not down to the ground. It is very difficult for a player to hit his opponent’s helmet checking from below the helmet. Nearly all slash calls result in the stick coming down on top on the helmet, not the other way around. In all of my private instruction sessions, I teach players to swing up on the desperation check because the chance of hitting the helmet hard enough to draw a flag is miniscule.

I have gotten beat more times than I care to remember, but learning how to properly do a desperation check saved many goals from hitting the net. Remember, the only way to eliminate the panic from getting beat is to teach effective methods of dealing with it. If coaches do not do this, the first thing a player will do is wind up and swing down wildly. So teach them the better method, and you should see your team’s penalties decrease over time.

*Note – There will be future posts expanding on this topic.

Featured Image Credit – www.ctpost.com