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Over the past several years a major emphasis and change in Lacrosse in 2008 from First grade through High School is reducing unneccessary and violent "takeout" type checks.  It continues to a major focus for EMLOA (Easter Mass Lacrosse Officials Association).

Checking or Contact is allowed at the U13 and U15 levels of Youth Lacrosse.

The objectives are:
  1. To gain possession of the ball
    • Contact with an opponent carrying the ball and knocking them out of bounds
    • Seperating an opponent from carrying the ball, AND staying the play for the ensuing ground ball
    • Eliminating an opponent from a ground ball situation from competing for it within five yards

Any check considered to be intending to put the opposing player "On the ground" will be considered for 1-2 minutes unreleasable penalty -
meaning: no matter how many goals are scored, the player stays off the field and the team remains short handed or 'man down'. This often called a "take out" check where the player obviously only has one goal and that is to check their opponent and inflct as much force as possible without any regard to the stated objectives above.

Many officials are giving the penalty with a warning that, if it happens again, depending on severity, the player can be ejected from the game. All ejections are followed by a one game suspension and the player is asked to leave the field with a parent.

As parents, we need to be especially watchful for analogies of hockey or football, or cheering for 'big hits'.   The proper sports analogy for a well played lacrosse game is basketball.  For example, picks (stationary offensive players) are a useful offshoot of basketball for rubbing off a defender and gaining 'separation'.

Lacrosse is an awesome game when the ball is in the air, in a stick, passing, and shooting. It is these skills that make the game exciting and is created unparalelled growth in particpation, nearly 20% compounded annually for six plus years.

High Level College Lacrosse - it is rare that any  team has more than 3-4 penalties per game - it usually results in goals over 75% of the time. Games are often won and loss in man up / man down situations.  This is also true at the High School level where man up offenses are often so effective that ball ends up in the back of the net upwards to 60% of the time.

Other rules to be aware of:

(head on head contact, or leading with head) - especially happens during ground balls - very dangerous, can lead to upper body severe injuries.  This is different than brushing or indirect contact - that is why we wear helmets. NOT ALLOWED IN ANY CONTACT SPORT - no excuses.

this when your stick is 'out of control' - IT DOES NOT REQUIRE CONTACT TO BE CALLED.  Any stick contact below waist also considered slashing. Wild swings with one or two hands  with or without contact will be called.  Our stick is a tool for possession, not a weapon. The game is about keeping the ball in the air and skill.

May be a push, awarding possession to other team, or intentional roughness, with penalty - NOT ALLOWED IN ANY CONTACT SPORT - no excuses.

Hitting the player with the stick parallel to ground, both hands seperated on the stick. This will be called when the contact made is with the stick, not the hands.  (In other words, a defensive player can have his hands on the stick touching each other and push the offensive player back with his hands). If the hands are seperated on the stick such that the offenve player is being hit by the stick directly, it is cross-checking.
Offensive players cannnot initiate contact
The most common call is WARDING - This is where the offensive players uses his off hand or arm to 'ward off' (push away, or stiff arm) the defender.  Not allowed - lose possession. Running your defender into a stationary pick is allowed and an excellent tactic. Penalities can and are called for players carrying the ball that opt to "run over" an opponent as opossed to trying to avoid them.

a player taking a running start of two steps or more away from the opposing player is a penalty called for illegal body check at least.

putting your leg or stick out deliberately to down the opponent.  If you leg has been stationary for a second or more and the opposition players trips, no call.

OUR Primary goal is SAFETY.

Our SECOND goal is possession of the ball (it is tough to score without it), trained use of our sticks and strong footwork are our allies.  Knocking the other guy down to gain possesion is not Lacrosse.  And we hate to play shorthanded.

We are asking all coaches and parents to reinforce these above at practices and games. It is especially important for boys just coming off hockey, or  football players, although many of these rules already live in the other sports they are not a part of field lacrosse.