Many aspects of high school and youth lacrosse will be changing in the next few years. These changes will be seen on both the boys’ and girls’ side and are meant to keep the players safe while also making the game more enjoyable for all those playing and watching.
When players meet at the face-off X this upcoming season they will undergo a revised procedure for the face-off. Similar to the recent changes in the men’s college ranks, the two face-off players will be required to get set properly and to the official’s satisfaction before the ball is placed between the crosses. Continuing on the path of mirroring the collegiate rule changes, the high school game will now introduce the over-and-back rule which states “that the offensive team may not carry, pass or propel the ball into its defensive half of the field once it has been advanced into the goal area” according to US Lacrosse. How players string up their sticks for games will now be affected as the 4-inch shooting string rule will now take effect which does not allow any shooting strings below 4 inches from the top of the head essentially eliminating the “U” or “V” shooting strings. Along with these changes for the 2016 season, the rules committee has placed an emphasis on a list of procedural and in-game activities to ensure safety and the quality of the game. These points deal with contact (cautious towards excessive contact to head & neck), helmet standards (Ensuring NOCSAE standards are met), halftime warm-ups (recommend final 3 minutes before 2nd half be used for warm-ups), equipment fitting (education on proper equipment fitting at all times) and defending the crease (encourage not to block goal after goalie has left the crease).
On the side of the girls game there will be a slew of changes from changes in overtime to new carding procedures. Some of the more noteworthy changes for the upcoming season include the implementation of alternate possession over the throw, sudden victory in overtime and a new mandatory yellow card for dangerous contact in game. The rules committee placed a huge emphasis on the safety of women’s lacrosse when considering these rule changes and it will be noticeable through the fall calling this season. A few other changes include the addition of new field markings for starting points after fouls, acceptance of lime green balls as well as restrictions on any clear, white or teeth graphics on mouth guards.
Moving into the 2017 and 2018 seasons, you will see more dramatic changes to the equipment allowed on the field of play for both boys and girls. By the 2018 season, the only acceptable heads allowed in play at the boy’s high school level will have to meet NCAA specifications. This move will help standardize the equipment used from high school to the college ranks as well as address some concerns about head dimensions and balls getting stuck in the crosse on the face-off.
For the girl’s game, a new standard in eyewear will be enforced in the 2017 season as well as the use of optional headgear. The headgear used in games will not be required but by 2017, any headgear used must meet ASTM standards. A few other changes for the 2017 season revolve around player/team appearance in regards to jersey color, eye black and visible undergarments. Those changes will require home teams to wear light colored jerseys, the opposition in dark, and any visible under garments (long or short sleeve shirts) must match those uniform colors. The eye black must remain a solid stroke with no logos/numbers/letters and shall not exceed the width of the eye or depth of the cheek bones.
The upcoming seasons will see a number of changes which the NFHS Rules Committee deem necessary to move the sport of lacrosse forward and become safer for the players and more enjoyable for everyone involved. For all updates on equipment regulations and access to new accepted equipment, follow LACROSSE.COM.