Tag Archives: warding

Regarding Penalties

Published by:

In a little over a month we will be starting games for the 2012 Spring Season. With games we cannot escape getting penalties. I assure you, at some point during the season at least one player, and probably more, will receive a technical or a personal foul. I have yet to ref a perfect game, and no player has yet played in a perfect game. Because penalties are a part of lacrosse, it is important to educate players, coaches, and parents about the various kinds of penalties.

Safety is the main goal of every official. At Atlanta Youth Lacrosse, we believe that if we keep the games safe and fair, that players will naturally have fun. For youth sports there is a strong emphasis on safety. In fact, here is how we want every official to focus on:

  1. Safety
  2. Safety
  3. Safety
  4. Fairness
  5. All of the above when maintained = Fun!

So with my safety speech taken care of, lets dig into some previous posts regarding personal fouls. The following are all videos that I put together along with a few AYL players to teach everyone what the various personal fouls look like, particularly at the youth level.

Hopefully the videos above, and the posts associated with them, will help inform any new players and parents, and reinforce the information that some of our more experienced players know.

Next up are some posts I’ve written about avoiding penalties, what to expect from an official in youth games, and how to behave on a lacrosse field.

If anyone has any comments or questions, feel free to post them below. Or, you can find me at the field between games.

Featured Image Credit – www.laxallstars.com


Ignorance is no Excuse

Published by:

Ignorantia legis neminem excusat – “ignorance excuses no one” – (www.m-w.com)

The concept of ignorance in defense against criminal punishment goes back as far as the Roman Empire, which is where we get the phrase: “ignorance excuses no one.” Imagine what society would look like if I could go up to anyone on the street, punch them repeatedly in the head, and state to the police officer: “Sir, I had no idea I could not do that.”



One jurist stated the following regarding ignorance: “It has always been accepted as an axiomatic principle that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Were the position otherwise it is obvious that the legislature’s handiwork could be flouted indiscriminately, an offender taking care to insure that he did not make himself cognizant with the law” (www.duhaime.org). That laborious phrase simply means that laws would mean nothing if individuals could say they were unaware of the laws.

Now how does this apply to lacrosse? Well, I do not have enough fingers and toes to count how many times a player, coach, or fan yelled: “That’s not a rule,” or, “I didn’t know that was a rule!” So, everyone look yourselves in the mirror and admit that you have done that at least one time while watching a professional sport.

There is not a single lacrosse official in this country who believes that every player and coach on the field knows every rule in the rulebook. In fact, I repeatedly ask coaches who argue with me what color this year’s rulebook is. Then they realize that I read the rulebook regularly. The color is green for 2011, by the way. Still, we zebras do our best to educate. We patiently explain to irate coaches, angry players, and clueless parents.

That’s right parents. I laugh every time you yell “WARD” from eighty yards away. It is not a ward, and I am supported by Rule 6, Section 11 – Warding Off. Also, here is a handy video on warding if you are unsure about what a ward looks like compared to just moving arms.

Angry Coach

Angry Coach

Ok, now it is my turn to eat all of my previous words. Even though I wear the black-and-white stripes I am ignorant of the rules from time to time. I forget when I am supposed to do a play-on verus a flag-down. I forget the specific rules and regulations of tournament play during the summer. I even forgot the required measurements of a legal lacrosse stick in a Varsity game. The point is, we are all ignorant from time to time. The difference is, officials, lawyers, and criminals are generally the only people that know we are being ignorant, and we study the laws again as soon as we get the chance.

So to ensure that everyone has a fair shake at being knowledgable about this year’s AYL Rules. Please visit this page: www.ayllax.com/ayl-2011-spring-boys-rules.

Featured Image Credit – www.threedonia.com


AYL TV – Warding Off

Published by:

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.