Tag Archives: tut

So You Want to be an Official?

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You have read Every Lacrosse Signal, and Off The Book Rules. Now you think you might want to be a lacrosse official. As a current official who loves my job I highly encourage any person to pick up officiating. So long as you don’t mind a job where:

  • You make fifty percent of the spectators angry
  • You are always wrong
  • You are expected to be perfect
  • You are responsible for keeping players safe
  • Everyone thinks they can do a better job than you
  • You get to wear stripes, so you’ll always look thinner

If you still want to be a lacrosse official after reading that, then welcome to the club! I will be your helpful guide as you learn the fundamental skills.

Every lacrosse official needs to perform five basic tasks:

  1. Look the part
  2. Blow the whistle loudly
  3. Throw the flag high
  4. Give clear and obvious signals
  5. Relay penalties to the scorer’s table

In my experience, if you do those five things during a game you can do a competent job. I am not going to spend eight paragraphs explaining each of these tasks. Instead, I created the following five videos that show how to do each of the five tasks every lacrosse official needs to have down pat. Practice them before you hit the field, and you will be in good shape to start the game.

Featured Image Credit – www.minnesotafunfacts.com

Make sure to read the blog tomorrow morning. I’ll be posting information about an officiating clinic for any 5th through 12th graders, and any parents, interested in officiating at AYL this Fall Season.


How to Gilman

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Every now and again a player will yell “Gilman” at the top of his lungs. For everyone unfamiliar with this lacrosse-specific term, a “Gilman” is throwing the ball as far as possible towards your opponent’s goal from your defensive end. There are a lot of other variations: “throw it, bomb it, launch it, toss it, and deep” are a few. However, the term Gilman has stood the test of time, and new lacrosse fans can expect to hear it at least once per game.

Unfortunately, the correct method to launch the ball is applied incorrectly by about 50% of youth lacrosse teams. To properly apply a Gilman clear, players must aim for two specific targets on the field, which are diagrammed below:

How to Gilman

How to Gilman

On the above diagram, there are two red targets. These are the two areas on the field that a proper Gilman should be directed towards. Often, coaches will yell “throw it up!” Then their player throws it twelve yards in front of them, the other team picks up the ball, and runs down and scores in transition. The objective of the Gilman it to give your offense, specifically the attackmen, a chance to pick up a ground ball and start a settled offense.

Aiming for the two sides of the field, beyond the restraining line, gives attackman a chance to pick up the ball. Also, by throwing the ball over and beyond the midfield line, it avoids a fast transition by the opposing team if they pick up the ball. Instead of having to run twelve yards towards the goal, the other team now has to run forty plus yards. That gives your team plenty of time to ride and settle the defense.

Remember players, if you get into a bind and you need to throw the ball upfield. Launch it as far as you possibly can. If you do not, you run the risk of shorting the pass, and giving an easy turn-over to your opponent.

Featured Image Credit – www.insideflorida.com


AYL TV – Warding Off

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Rule 6, Section 11 – Warding Off (NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rule Book)

A player in possession of the ball shall not use his free hand or arm or any other part of his body to hold, push or control the direction of the movement of the crosse or body of the player applying the check. A player in possession of the ball may protect his crosse with his hand, arm or other part of his body when his opponent makes a play to check his crosse.

AYL TV – Warding from Atlanta Youth Lacrosse on Vimeo.

Warding is a confusing call for many fans watching the game. Often any time a player on the other team shakes his arm a, “he’s warding ref” comes from the stands. On the flip side their own player could maul the facemask of his defender with his free hand and it is all fair play to the fans. The main part of the rule to focus on is a player may not “hold, push or control the direction of the movement of the crosse or body of the player applying the check.” As long as a player does not prevent a defenseman from throwing a proper check there is no problem.

But, Mr. Official what about the Bull Dodge? Fantastic question. The Bull Dodge is exactly what it sounds like. The offensive player runs over the defensive player instead of dodging around him. That dodge does run counter to the wording above, “any other part of his body” to manipulate the defender. In fact if every official called the ward as written the Bull Dodge would be called every time.

Here is how I see it. If the offensive player cleanly runs through the defender I have no problem allowing him to do so. However, if that offensive player lifts his front arm or shoulder and moves the defender while doing a Bull Dodge I have to call that because he is actively pushing the defender away. Calling a Bull Dodge is quite the Catch-22. Don’t call it and every offensive player will run over every defender. Call it and everyone is calling for the official to let the boys play. This is one of those fouls where most officials strive for balance. They will allow some but not all wards. This is especially true as players advance into higher and higher levels of play.

I hope the video and the explanation helps everyone who was not clear on what a ward is. If you have any comments or questions please post them below.