Changes to the stick regulations are an inevitable part of the modern game of lacrosse. In both 2015 and 2016 the National Federation of High Schools ('NFHS') made a series of rule changes that impact boy's lacrosse sticks.
Many of the 2015 and 2016 NFHS rule changes are driven by a desire to reduce rough play and associated risks to the players. Others are made to promote fair play. Generally speaking, when NFHS makes rule changes, US Lacrosse adopts the rules for youth players, with some minor age appropriate modifications.
The legend of the perfect stick
It's worth remembering that a player comes to see their stick as an extension of their own body - and with enough use, muscle memory deepens. The stringing style, positioning of shooting strings, weight and resulting whip for a specific stick will eventually create a subconscious game time reaction from the player's body, specific to that combination.
So while a number of the proposed changes will not be implemented until 2018, it might be worth assessing their impact before it's required - so your player has time to adjust to the new equipment.
Before we get to the details, let's break and watch this oldie but goodie from ESPNU - because this is lacrosse sticks we are talking about - and context is important...
Video and link credits go to: ESPNU, Joe Canali for posting and Vimeo for hosting.
Clearly the gear has evolved a bit but the spirit of competition is inspiring, no?
So for our modern players there are currently two sets of rules to focus on - those that will impact the 2016 season and those we need to address BEFORE 2018.
Bucket one (ie: focus on now):
We've heard a lot of chatter about number one and three, but how many people have seen number two enforced?
1) Shooting strings need to be no lower than 4" from the top of the head. This could impact deep set “U” or “V” shooting strings and change the way the stick plays.
2) Tape for the face off middies. A single-wrap of tape on the handle is now required. Start the tape at the plastic of the head (not touching) at the throat of the crosse and continue for six inches. Tape must be of contrasting color to the head, gloves, and shaft.
3) Hanging strings must be 2" or shorter. This impacts any player who was using pull strings mid game changes to how deep the ball could sit in the pocket.
3a) p.s.: only one side wall string
4) Covers on hollow crosse handles. Buy a lacrosse stick end cap if you need one.5) Length (and width) matters. Here's the current parameters for stick dimensions:
- 40-42" for short crosse
- 52-72" for long crosse
- 40-72" for goalie crosse
- handle circumference 3.5"
- 6.5-10" width at widest point at top and bottom of the inside wall
- 10-12" width for goalie
- 2" high walls, except for gut wall
6) No adjustable handles. Seems ok.
7) No broken sticks. Seems reasonable.
8) No uber deep pockets. So if the ball isn't visible above the side wall when in the pocket, it's too deep. This way the ball can't get trapped deep in the pocket in an unfair way.
Bucket two (before 2018):
It's important to note that these changes are intended to make the NCAA and NFHS rules more consistent, which is likely to help everyone involved.
1) The measurements are listed below. The changes are being made to reduce the ball being stuck in the cross.
- 1.25" from throat - 3" width (front and back)
- 3.0" from throat - 3" width (front and back)
- 5.0" from throat - 3.5 to 4" on front; 3.5" on back
- widest point - 6" front and back
NOTE: From the 1.25-inch measurement to the widest point of the crosse, the distance between the sidewalls of the crosse must be at least 3 inches.
Photo credit: NFHS.com
So after a review of this list, hopefully you're already in compliance for 2016 - but the 2018 changes might be a different story. Consider the benefit of making the switch to a new head with plenty of wall ball time before prime time play 2018 rolls around. No one wants to have to break in a new stick during a prime time game
Looking for more on rules of the game being implemented this year? US Lacrosse has a great blog post (here.)
Why focus on these rule changes? Because Yo Momma said so.