This is the second in a series of blogs, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, highlighting safety initiatives that seek to enhance the lacrosse experience.

Beginning with the 2017 season, US Lacrosse published age appropriate youth rule sets to support the new Lacrosse Athlete Development Model (LADM). These rule modifications, for both boys and girls, support appropriate physical, cognitive, and emotional development of youth players at the 6U, 8U, 10U, 12U, and 14U levels. 

One of the key points of emphasis in the boys’ youth rules for 12U, 10U, and 8U addressed allowable body and stick checking. Limitations on body checks at those age levels are intended to help players in developing the fundamental skills of lacrosse while instilling a love and excitement of playing the game.

Feedback collected by US Lacrosse via its annual rules survey following the first season of the new youth rules has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The responses from parents, coaches and officials have been about 85-percent favorable on these changes,” said Rick Lake, men’s game senior manager at US Lacrosse. 

Clearly, limitations on body and stick checks at the youth levels helps to maintain a safer game for players who are still developing their skills. 

“Our hope is that, first and foremost, players will learn the fundamentals of playing good defense,” Lake said. “Delivering good stick checks and using defensive positioning to redirect or force an opponent into an unfavorable shooting position are the techniques that should be taught and learned. 

“One handed stick checks, hard stick checks and big body checks should be the last tools used.”  

Lake notes that additional feedback in the future could help guide the rules committee in making further adjustments regarding allowable contact.

“We’re always looking for data to help guide us in shaping rules and keeping the game safe,” Lake said. “Input provided through our annual survey is always reviewed very carefully before decisions are made.”

In previous years, the boys’ and girls’ youth rules were contained as a list of modifications to the high school rules in the back of the National Federation of State High School Associations Boys’ Rulebook and the US Lacrosse Women’s Rulebook.

US Lacrosse strongly encourages the use of these age appropriate rules, with the rules committee prepared and ready to issue periodic updates and clarifications as needed to assist leagues and organizations in adopting the new youth rules.

“The Men’s Rules Committee is proud to embrace the principles of the LADM that other sports have incorporated so successfully,” said David Seidman, chair of the committee. “While we expected lots of questions, we were confident that the kids were going to love playing under these conditions, and coaches and parents would appreciate the simplified rules.” 

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