The game is to be played with emphasis on the proper development of individual stick skills, team play, player safety, and sportsmanship.
2014 Points of Emphasis
US Lacrosse endorses the points of emphasis in the 2014 NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rules, and adds the following points of emphasis for youth play:
Violent Collisions – Some body contact is permitted at all levels of boys’ youth lacrosse, with progressively more age-appropriate contact permitted as players become more physically mature and learn proper checking techniques. However, sports medicine research indicates that the severity of certain injuries may be reduced if a player can anticipate and prepare himself for an oncoming hit, and other sports medicine research indicates that peripheral vision may not be fully developed in many boys before approximately age fifteen. Therefore, there is no justification for deliberate and excessively violent collision by any player at any youth level, especially intentional player-to-player collisions with defenseless players (so-called “blind side” and “buddy-pass” checks), checks involving the head and/or neck, and excessive body-checks (“take-out checks”).
The 2014 NFHS Rules and US Lacrosse Boys Youth Rules more clearly define such violent collisions and in many cases increase the severity of the penalties that prohibit them. US Lacrosse urges officials to apply these rules and utilize the more severe penalty options, and reminds them that body-checks that might be acceptable in high school play may be excessive in youth lacrosse, and should be penalized accordingly. Coaches are encouraged to coach players to avoid delivering such checks, and to support the officials when they call such penalties. All participants must work together to reduce or eliminate such violent collision from the game.
Sportsmanship – Unsportsmanlike conduct by coaches and/or players and/or spectators degrades the experience of youth players and erodes the integrity and appeal of the sport. Therefore, unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated. Obscenities need not be used in order for language to draw a penalty. Tone, intent, and body language can all contribute to unsportsmanlike conduct. Players, coaches, and spectators should exhibit the highest level of sportsmanship at all times. US Lacrosse expects officials to enforce the Unsportsmanlike Conduct rules without hesitation, and further expects coaches to promote good sportsmanship among players and anybody associated with the team, including spectators, and to support officials in maintaining an environment of civility and sportsmanship
US Lacrosse initiated the Sideline Manager and Sportsmanship Card program in an effort to invest the lacrosse community with responsibility for seeing that good sportsmanship is the rule, rather than the exception, in the sport of lacrosse. When used in conjunction with the rules, the Sportsmanship Card procedures serve as an effective deterrent to abusive behaviors. The program was created with the goal of establishing constraints that should:
- eradicate the "unsportsmanlike behavior" that is creeping into sport,
- strengthen sportsmanship,
- contribute to the retention of officials,
- and honor the game.
US Lacrosse encourages leagues and local programs to utilize the Sideline Manager and Sportsmanship Card program, details of which can be found at www.uslacrosse.org under the “Programs & Grants” tab on the homepage.
Age and Eligibility Guidelines
US Lacrosse establishes eligibility guidelines in order to promote the game of lacrosse among the youth of America in a safe and sportsmanlike environment. To best achieve this goal, US Lacrosse believes that leagues, associations, and other organizers of youth lacrosse should seek to provide playing opportunities that, as much as possible, establish a "level playing field" among players of similar age, size, and ability.
Age and Eligibility Guidelines are not considered “game-day rules” and are not enforced as game-day rules by officials.
HUDSON VALLEY YOUTH LACROSSE uses grade based divisions. There are three divisions in boys and girls play.
Third and Fourth Grade
Fifth and Sixth Grade
Seventh and Eight Grade
Format of the following Section: Existing NFHS Rule and Section reference, followed by the corresponding US Lacrosse Boys Youth Rule section modification. All divisions will follow NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rules with the following modifications:
Rule 1 — The Game, Field & Equipment
The Game - Number of Players
RULE 1 SECTION 1.
Boys youth lacrosse is played by two teams with 10 players per side on the field. However, if a governing league or association deems it necessary or desirable, for example, due to the number of available players or skill level, or if in non-league contests both coaches agree, games can be played with as few as seven (7) per side on the field.
The Field – Dimensions
RULE 1 SECTION 2.
Play on regulation size field is preferred; however, the coaches and officials may agree to play on any size field available. If a game is played with reduced numbers (e.g. 7 per side) it is recommended that field size be reduced as well.
The Field – Spectator Restrictions
RULE 1 SECTION 2, ARTICLE 11 a, b & c
a. Spectators and media, including photographers, are not allowed behind the end lines except in stadium structures where permanent seats exist which are also protected by a fence or netting.
b. Spectators must be on the side of the field opposite the table and bench areas or in permanent stands separated from the bench area by a barrier and/or a buffer distance such as a track.
c. Where possible, limit lines will be used. Spectators and media, including photographers, are not allowed within the limit lines at any time during a contest.
If the field is laid out in a manner that does not allow spectators and media to be located as prescribed by paragraphs a, b and c of this rule, as modified here, the game official can waive one or more of these requirements.
RULE 1 SECTION 5
The ball shall be white, yellow, orange, or lime green and meet NOCSAE lacrosse ball standard. White balls shall be used unless both coaches agree prior to or during the game to use a yellow, orange, or lime green ball. Game balls shall be supplied by the home team. NOTE: Beginning in 2014, all game balls must include labeling which states: “Meets NOCSAE Standard”.
Crosse Dimensions HUDSON VALLEY YOUTH LACROSSE supports the crosse dimension recommendations listed below but sticks checks will NOT be performed as per NFHS rules
RULE 1 SECTION 6
US Lacrosse recommends that coaches assess players’ size, strength, and skill in determining proper long crosse length for defense players, within NFHS rules. US Lacrosse further recommends that a long crosse should not be taller than the player at any youth level. Crosse dimensions will conform to NFHS or NCAA requirements, with the following modifications:
The length of the crosse for field players may be 37 to 42 inches or 47 to 54 (“long crosse” for purposes of NFHS RULE 2 SECTION 1 ARTICLE 2). Many coaches find that the use of a 37 to 42 inch crosse is best for players’ defensive development in the U11 Division.
The length of all crosses for all field players shall be 37 to 42 inches.
RULE 1 SECTION 9
Equipment shall conform to NFHS requirements, including gloves, arm pads, shoulder pads, mouth piece, shoes, and NOCSAE-approved helmets, which must be properly fitted and worn, with the following modifications:
- All goalkeepers are required to wear arm pads. NOTE: Many coaches believe youth level goalkeepers benefit from wearing shin, knee, and thigh pads. Such pads are authorized for youth play, so long as they do not significantly increase the size of the limb protected (e.g., no ice hockey, field hockey, or box lacrosse goalie pads).
• A protective cup is required for all players. NOTE: The officials are not required to inspect the wearing of a protective cup, and may rely on the coach’s certification and/or a player’s statement regarding satisfaction of this requirement.
• Rib pads are recommended for all players.
• Game Jerseys: The provisions of RULE 1, SECTION 9, ARTICLE 1.g need not be strictly enforced at the youth level. A team’s game jerseys should have numbers centered on the front and back of sufficient size to be clearly visible by game officials anywhere on the field and opposing teams’ jerseys should have contrasting dominant colors. Home teams are responsible for contrasting jersey colors and will provide and wear contrasting color numbered pinnies or pinnies that allow jersey numbers to be clearly seen, if needed. The jersey, pinnie, or an under jersey should completely cover the shoulder pads, which will help hold them in place.
• The color provisions of RULE 1, SECTION 9, ARTICLES 1 and 2 for helmets, uniform shorts, under-jerseys, compression shorts, and sweatpants need not be strictly enforced at the youth level.
Game Administration – Sideline Managers
RULE 1 SECTION 12
Add to Rule 1 Section 12: Each team should provide a designated Sideline Manager (one adult per team, on site, per game-day contest) to help encourage, maintain, and manage the sportsmanlike behavior of spectators and fans and assist the coaches and officials in keeping spectators and media an appropriate distance from the sideline. If used, it is the responsibility of each team administration to ensure that the Sideline Manager is present and in place to perform his/her duties; however, this is not a game day rule to be enforced by the officials. HUDSON VALLEY YOUTH LACROSSE encourages but does not require a sideline manager as provided in Rule 1 section 12
Rule 2 — Game Personnel
At the U9 level, if the coaches from both teams agree, one coach per team may be allowed on the field during play to provide instruction during the game. Teams are encouraged to take advantage of this teaching opportunity but this presence does not authorize the coach on the field to address the game officials or - unless agreed to by the other teams coach - members of the opposing team. Coaches are encouraged to stay wider than the face off wing lines extended to the end line and not get in the way of players or officials.
Rule 3 — Time Factors
At all levels, all timing and overtime rules must be determined prior to the start of game, preferably by the governing league or association. If a league/association mandates, or if in non-league contests both coaches agree, shorter time periods, stop time, or running time may be used. If running time is to be used, the clock will stop for all timeouts.
NOTE: US Lacrosse strongly discourages the use of a “braveheart” competition - or any other means which requires, for example, one or a few players to compete against another such individual or group - to determine the winner of a game. Such “braveheart” competitions encourage reliance on ... and put potentially excessive pressure on ... the most physically precocious or skilled children and contradict the concepts of team play we seek to instill.
Game will consist of four 8-minute stop-time quarters. In the event of a tie, one 4-minute sudden-victory overtime period will be played. If the game remains tied, provided time permits and coaches and officials are in agreement, one additional 4 minute sudden victory overtime will be played. If the game is still tied at the end of this OT period it will be recorded as a tie. In sudden victory overtime, each team is entitled to one timeout per period.
Game will consist of four 8-minute stop-time quarters or four 12-minute running time quarters. If running time is to be used, the clock will stop for all timeouts.
In the event of a tie, one 4-minute sudden- victory overtime period will be played. In sudden victory overtime, each team is entitled to one timeout per period.
In the event of a tie at the end of the one regulation overtime time period the game should end as a tie.
Game will consist of four 12-minute running-time quarters (clock stops only for a team timeout, an official’s timeout, or an injury timeout). In the event of a tie at the end of regulation time the game should end as a tie.
Final Two Minutes of Regulation Play
RULE 3 SECTION 3
7-8 Grade The Final Two Minute stalling rule shall be ENFORCED for these Divisions ONLY IF BOTH COACHES AGREE.
5-6 GRADE AND 3-4 GRADE The Final Two Minute stalling rule shall be WAIVED for these Divisions. (This rule also modifies “Final Two Minute” provisions of RULE 4, SECTION 31.c.1)
Rule 4 — Play of the Game
RULE 4 SECTION 2
Before the lineup, US Lacrosse strongly encourages game officials to meet with both teams, separately or together, near the team areas to explain any special ground rules, emphasize safety and fair play, and remind players that they must be properly equipped with mouthpiece in place at all times on the playing field.
Alternatively, a league, association, or other governing authority may mandate that when the game officials call for the lineup before the opening faceoff, the head coaches will send all of their players (not just the starters, as has been traditional) to the center of the field. At this time the game officials will convey the equipment, safety, and fair play information, in addition to explaining any special ground rules as required under NFHS Rule 4-2. HUDSON VALLEY YOUTH LACROSSE supports this rule but leaves it to the discretion of officials and coaches when to use a lineup. Consideration should be given to schedule time limits which may preclude the lineup in favor of using the time to play a complete game.
RULE 4 SECTION 3
All NFHS face off rules will be followed.
3-4 & 5-6 Grade
At any point during a game when there is a six-goal lead, the team that is behind will be given the ball at the midfield line in lieu of a face-off as long as the six-goal lead is maintained, unless waived by the coach of the trailing team.
Advancing the Ball
RULE 4 SECTIONS 13 & 14
The defensive 20-second count will be used. The offensive 10-second count will be used. Only if both coaches agree.
3-4 & 5-6 Grade
The defensive 20-second count WILL NOT be used. The offensive 10-second count WILL NOT be used.
STALLING RULE: In games where the advancing the ball rule is not used and the game official detects an effort to stall the advancement of the ball in either the defensive clearing area or the offensive zone outside the goal area, the official will give a verbal command to “advance the ball” followed by a visual 5-second hand count. If the team so warned does not attempt to advance the ball to within five yards of an opposing player within the 5-second count, a turnover will occur with restart at the point of the stalling infraction (or laterally outside the goal area).
RULE 4 SECTION 21 ARTICLE 2
Horn Substitution Option: For all levels of play, substitutions will be allowed after the ball has gone out of bounds on the sidelines. For such substitutions, the timer shall sound a horn upon the request of a coach indicating to the officials that a substitution is desired. All other rules with respect to substitutions during suspension of play shall apply.
RULE 4 SECTION 24 ARTICLE 6
If the player in possession of the ball loses any piece of required equipment the official should stop play immediately regardless of proximity of opposing players.
RULE 4 SECTION 25
Two (2) team timeouts - of a maximum duration of two minutes each - are permitted per team per half, unless league or association rules specify otherwise. Whenever circumstances allow, leagues and organizers should permit no fewer than two team timeouts per half. Many leagues permit teams three or more team time-outs per half to enhance instruction, safety, and opportunities for substitution.
Get It In/Keep It In
RULE 4 SECTION 31
3-4 &5-6 Grade
Section not enforced at these levels.
Rule is enfornced only if both coaches agree to play Get It In/Keep It In
3- YARD RULE
3-4 & 5-6 Grade
All stick checks, body checks, legal holds, and legal pushes must be on a player in possession of the ball or within 3 yards of a loose ball or ball in flight. This is a change from the 5 yards specified in RULE 4 SECTION 15, Checking With Crosse; RULE 5 SECTION 3, Illegal Body Check, ARTICLE 1; RULE 6 SECTION 3, Holding, ARTICLE 3.a and d; and RULE 6 SECTION 9, Pushing. (NOTE: This change from five to three yards does not apply to a restart under RULE 4 SECTION 5, Play of the Ball Definitions, ARTICLE 1, in which no player may be closer than five yards to the player awarded the ball.)
7-8 Grade will play NFHS rule 5 yards
Rule 5 — Personal and Ejection Fouls
In keeping with the overarching emphasis on player safety and sportsmanship at the youth level, US Lacrosse expects stricter enforcement of the Cross Check, Illegal Body Check, Checks Involving The Head/Neck, Slashing, Unnecessary Roughness, and Unsportsmanlike Conduct rules than is common at the high school level.
RULE 5 SECTION 3 US Lacrosse calls special attention to new (2014) NFHS RULE 5 SECTION 3, ILLEGAL BODY-CHECK, ARTICLE 5,
which addresses the concept of a DEFENSELESS PLAYER:
ART. 5 . ... A body-check that targets a player in a defenseless position. This includes but is not limited to: (i) body checking a player from his “blind side”; (ii) body checking a player who has his head down in an attempt to play a loose ball; and (iii) body checking a player whose head is turned away to receive a pass, even if that player turns toward the contact immediately before the body check.
PENALTY: Two- or three-minute non-releasable foul, at the official’s discretion. An excessively violent violation of this rule may result in an ejection.
US Lacrosse NOTE: Sports medicine research indicates that the severity of certain injuries may be reduced if a player can anticipate and prepare himself for an oncoming hit. Other sports medicine research indicates that peripheral vision may not be fully developed in many boys before approximately age fifteen. Game officials should be especially alert to blind side checks at all youth levels.
Add the following US Lacrosse Boys Youth Rules Articles to NFHS Rule 5 Section 3:
ART. 6 ... TAKE-OUT CHECK/EXCESSIVE BODY-CHECK. Take-Out Checks/Excessive Body-Checks are prohibited at every age level. A Take-Out Check/Excessive Body-Check is defined as:
a) Any body-check in which the player lowers his head or shoulder with the force and intent to put the other player on the ground.
b) Any body-check considered more aggressive or more physical than necessary to stop the advancement of the player carrying the ball or to keep or move a player away from a loose ball. This includes but is not limited to: (i) any check in which a player makes contact with sufficient force and intent to knock down the opposing player; (ii) any check in which a player makes contact with sufficient force and intent to injure the opposing player; and (iii) any check made in a reckless or intimidating manner.
PENALTY: Two- or three-minute non-releasable foul, at the official’s discretion. An excessively violent violation of this rule may result in an ejection.
ART. 7 ... LATE HIT. An avoidable body-check of an opponent after he has passed or shot the ball is an illegal body check.
Limited Body Checking is permitted (see RULE 5 SECTION 3, Illegal Body Check; RULE 5 SECTION 4, Checks to Head/Neck; and RULE 5 SECTION 9, Unnecessary Roughness). Note that body-checks that might be acceptable in high school play may be excessive in youth lacrosse, and should be penalized accordingly.
3-4 & 5-6 Grade
No body checking of any kind is permitted.
Legal pushes (RULE 6 SECTION 9, Pushing) and holds (RULE 6 SECTION 3, Holding, ARTICLE 3) are allowed.
In all loose ball situations players should “play the ball,” but incidental contact, “boxing out”, or screening techniques during such play shall not be considered a violation of this rule.
If a loose ball is not moving, stuck, or the players are having difficulty picking the ball up the referee may re- start play following the alternate possession rule.
Checks Involving the Head/Neck
RULE 5 SECTION 4 US Lacrosse calls special attention to NFHS RULE 5 SECTION 4, CHECKS INVOLVING THE HEAD/NECK:
ART. 1 ... A player shall not initiate contact to an opponent’s head or neck with a cross-check, or with any part of his body (head, elbow, shoulder, etc.). Any follow through that contacts the head or neck shall also be considered a violation of this rule.
ART. 2 ... A player shall not initiate an excessive, violent, or uncontrolled slash to the head/neck. ART. 3 ... A player, including an offensive player in possession of the ball, shall not block an opponent with the head
or initiate contact with the head (known as spearing).
PENALTY: Two- or three-minute non-releasable foul, at the official's discretion. An excessively violent violation of this rule may result in an ejection.
RULE 5 SECTION 7 Add the following US Lacrosse Boys Youth Rules Article to NFHS Rule 5 Section 7:
ART. 4 ... Any one-handed check shall be considered a slash, whether or not it makes contact with the opposing player.
NOTE: This restriction applies at all youth age levels in 2014.
RULE 5 SECTION 9
US Lacrosse calls attention to the NFHS Rule 5 Section 9, UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS, quoted below, and the US Lacrosse PENALTY modification for boys’ youth lacrosse:
ART. 1 An excessively violent infraction of the rules against holding and pushing.
ART 2.Deliberate and excessively violent contact made by a defensive player against an offensive player who has established a screening position.
Art3. Any avoidable act on the part of a player that is deliberate and excessively violent, whether it be with the body or crosse. This may include a legal body check.
ART 4. A check delivered with the gloved hand or hands may not be delivered with a punching blow.
PENALTY: Any penalty for Unnecessary Roughness shall be non-releasable.
RULE 5 SECTION 10 Unsportsmanlike conduct by coaches and/or players will not be tolerated. Obscenities need not be used for language to draw a penalty. Tone, intent, and body language can all contribute to unsportsmanlike conduct. Players and coaches will exhibit the highest level of sportsmanship at all times.
RULE 5 SECTION 11
Any player who accumulates 4 personal fouls or 5 minutes in personal foul penalty time shall be disqualified from the game. A substitute for that player may enter the game when the disqualified player would have been permitted to re- enter had he not fouled out. For U9, a disqualified player must leave the field but his team may replace him with a substitute; no man up situation should occur.
RULE 5 SECTION 12
Add to NFHS Rule 5 Section 12: Any player or coach ejected from a game by a game official (Note: this does not include fouling out per Rule 5-11) shall be suspended for his next regularly scheduled game (at the time of the ejection). The second time a player or coach is ejected in the same season or tournament he will be suspended for the next two regularly scheduled games (at the time of the ejection). A third ejection in the same season or tournament will result in a suspension for the remainder of the season or tournament.
RULE 6 SECTION 10
Rule 6 — Technical Fouls
All NFHS Stalling and Advancing the Ball rules are in effect, including Rule 4, Section 32. Only if both coaches agree.
3-4 & 5-6 Grade
ARTICLE 2. Not used at these levels. However, if a game official detects an effort to stall the advancement of the ball in either the defensive clearing area or the offensive zone outside the goal area, the official will give a verbal command to “advance the ball” followed by a visual 5-second hand count. If the team so warned does not attempt to advance the ball within the 5-second count to within five yards of an opposing player, a turnover will occur with restart at the point of the stalling infraction (or laterally outside the goal area).
ARTICLE 3. The team with the lead NEED NOT automatically keep the ball in the goal area during the last two minutes of the game.
Time Serving Penalties
RULE 7 SECTIONS 1, 2 & 3
Rule 7 — Penalty Enforcement
In all “Running Time” games and situations, penalties will also be running time, and will begin with the next whistle resuming play. The running time penalty clock will stop for all timeouts and at the end of periods.
5-6 & 7-8 Grade
Time serving penalties are enforced per NFHS rules.
Offending player must leave the field and remain out of the game for the length of his penalty time but his team may replace him with a substitute on the field. No man up situation should occur. Ball is awarded per NFHS rules.
Officials will have authority to terminate a boys’ youth game in response to flagrant acts of unsportsmanlike behavior including excessively rough play or the encouragement of excessively rough play by coaches, athletes, or spectators. A game termination will be the last resort in ensuring the players’ safety and preserving the integrity of the game. If possible, game officials will issue at least one strong warning that the game is in danger of being terminated. However, it is conceivable that games may be terminated on the first instance of a flagrant unsportsmanlike act. Every effort should be taken to avoid game termination, including the enforcement of existing rules for team-conduct penalties, unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties, and ejection fouls. Mechanics for terminating a game for flagrant unsportsmanlike behavior can be found at www.uslacrosse.org (Programs & Grants, Sportsmanship Card). All games terminated by an official will result in a 1-0 victory for the team that is innocent of the terminal offense(s). It is recommended that the game should count in league statistics as a full game, and all goals, assists, saves, and other team statistics should count toward team and league records.