New College Lacrosse Rules–Biggest Change in 20 Years
As some of you have heard, there have been new rule changes to the game of collage lacrosse. Along with impacting players, coaches, and refs,lacrosse manufacturers are left scrambling as well. Most of these new rules are designed to make the game faster and, in many minds, more entertaining for fans. Some of the rule changes won’tt have much impact. However there are several that have the potential to change the game as it’s coached and played today.
One of the significant changes is the way that players are now allowed to string their sticks. Before the rule change, players were not in any way inhibited as to how they strung their stick. This meant they could have the shooting strings as low down the stick as they wanted. In addition, they could also use what’s known as “U’s or V’s”. The U or V looks like an upside-down U when looking at a stick. Stringing a stick this way used to allow the player to channel and control the ball. When stringing a stick now, the rules change makes the use of U’s or V’s restricted .
When speaking with Coach Brazill he said, “This rule is terrible. In comparison, if Tom Brady has a great year are they going to take a lace out of the football?”
Along with the elimination of “U’s or V’s”, the rule also states that no shooting string may be below 4 inches from the top of the head. Coach Brazill says, “ All that will change is the way sticks are strung; the game will not change.” He added, “Coaches and those implementing these rules are slow to understand that players are just better at the sport now. So you can change minor aspects of how the game is played, but in comparison to the same game 22 years ago players these days are better athletes.”
In addition to the stick stringing changes, there are also new rules for the faceoff position. During a faceoff, if there are 2 pre-whistle violations in a half, the 3rd and every faceoff following will result in a 30 second penalty. (Pre whistle violations consist of the faceoff man moving before the whistle, not being lined up correctly, or a wing leaving early.) Also, the rule changes make it so that if there is a pre-whistle violation the faceoff man no longer has to leave the field; he is allowed to play on defense. In Coach Brazill’s view, “This will limit the opportunity on a brief moment of transition play.” Last of the faceoff rule changes is, if a team is man down they are no longer allowed to bring an attack man on the wing. This is a huge advantage to the team that has the man advantage. By not being allowed to bring an attack man to the wing on the face off, the other team has to think very carefully which side to put their only wingman on the field, because it can easily change the mentality of the faceoff men.
Elimination of Horns
The rule that Coach Brazill really thinks will turn the game on its head is elimination of horns in the game. (A horn in the past would allow teams to stop play if the ball traveled out of bounds over the sideline. At which point teams could substitute specialized players on the field for either offense or defense.) Many don’t realize what a major change this will bring to the sport. With the passing of this rule, teams are now required to substitute players “on the fly” (during game play). This will greatly speed up the pace of the game because of the transition opportunities. To combat the elimination of horns, the substitution boxes which in the past were 10 yards wide are now going to be 20 yards wide. This will continue to add possible transition opportunities. Coach Brazill says, “This is designed make lacrosse play at a much faster pace, which will make it more fun for spectators to watch.” The negative aspects of this change will affect the positions of defensive mid fielder and long stick mid fielder. Coach Brazill feels this rule change could cause these position to potentially die, as the quick restarts (because of the elimination of horns) will require more players to be 2-way midi fielders, rather than specializing on offense or defense.
Implementation of Shot Clock
One of the most discussed rule changes is the implementation of a shot clock. This is when, after a team is on offense and the referees feel that team is stalling, they will call for a shot clock. After a shot clock is called the team on offense has 30 seconds to take a shot on goal. The referees will call out the last 10 seconds of the shot clock with their hand to allow the offensive team the ability to see how much time they have to shoot the ball. The shot clock only resets if a shot hits the goalie, hits the post, or goes in the net for a goal. Coach Brazill says, “Teams like Merrimack, who only were called for less than 3 stalls all of last year, will not be affected like other teams whose offense is designed to slow down the game”.
It’s safe to say that these rule changes have changed the way this upcoming season will be approached, as well as the way it will be played. Midfielders are going to need to be in much better condition, as well as more rounded on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Coach Brazill’s closing comment was, “These new rules make for more change to the game than I’ve seen in 22 years of playing and coaching lacrosse.”
Interview With a Faceoff Middy
Coach Bryan Brazill (CB): I’m here with Pat Coskren, Merrimack college faceoff midfielder. In your own words how do you feel last season went?
Pat Coskren (PC): I really believe we had a great team. However there were a few games where we lost trust in one another, and along with a lack of communication we had some tough loses, that otherwise never would have happened.
CB: What are your goals this year, Pat?
PC: I hope to help bring my team to a Ne-10 final, and take steps toward accomplishing our biggest goal–a national championship.
CB: You have had a great pre-season. Maybe you could tell us what you look for when lining up the faceoff X. Read more
What is LAX IQ and How to Strengthen It
You’ve heard the term “Lax IQ” a lot and you probably have a general feel for what that means. Yet very few players—even at the college level— really do understand.
When I’m coaching at Merrimack, I see kids who are just unbelievable lacrosse players. But when we start talking about the why’s and when’s of what they should be doing and how they should be doing it— they have no idea. A lot of them are just beating someone by being more athletic or more skilled. They’re not necessarily using an intelligence of the game—or Lax IQ—to beat their opponent.
Let’s break out exactly what Lax IQ means. In a nutshell, there are 3 components:
- The understanding of strategy
- The ability to observe and assess a situation
- The experience to know what action to take when
These three components will determine the difference between a good lacrosse player and a great lacrosse player. While a good lacrosse player is athletic and has good stick skills, a great lacrosse player is athletic, has good stick skills and knows when and how to use them. The “when and how” is the Lax IQ.
For example, offensively a good player can split-dodge down the alley, run faster than their opponent, take a nice outside shot from 12 yards and score. Someone with a great IQ might have a great split-dodge down the alley, run faster than their opponent, and notice that the one slide slid, the two slide slid, and the three slide is out of position. The pass goes to the player who’s being covered poorly by the three slide who’s two yards from the cage. Now, the goalie has to change pipes from his left pipe to his right pipe. So, now he’s moving and he’s got to take the two yard shot vs staying planted on that left pipe, being able to read the stick the whole way down the alley and save a 12 yard shot.
To develop Lacrosse IQ on your own, start by watching films of games to look for what you missed when you were playing. It’s a great way to learn about the sport, because a lot becomes glaringly obvious on playback. Then there are things you’ll need a coach to point out, but watching film is a good place to start.
Also watch college lacrosse in person or on TV. Compare what they’re doing to what your team is doing, and compare what your favorite player is doing to what you’re doing. That’s a pretty easy way to develop Lacrosse IQ.
The biggest thing is to start looking at the sport from more of a bird’s-eye view, and not just from when the ball is in your stick or when your guy is dodging on you. Look at lacrosse as the ultimate team sport. Offensively, defensively. Even a goalie, when he’s not stopping the ball, his biggest job is to control his defense so that he sees the shots he wants to see. He could be the best goalie in the world but if he’s not controlling his defense to play proper team defense, he’s going to be getting a lot of shots from the crease, which are harder to see than from 12-15 yards out. A good goalie who has Lax IQ will captain his defense to control the shots that he sees. And that’s just one example.
So, again, once you’re able to start looking at the sport from that bird’s-eye view, you’ll start to see more options, which means you’ll develop more weapons, which will make you a better lacrosse player.
Lax IQ is super important, so put in the time to start developing it.