High Sierra Lacrosse promotes and supports men's and women's lacrosse for grade school, high school, and collegiate participants in the Northern Nevada, High Sierra, and Lake Tahoe region.

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New Boys and Girls Youth RulesHigh Sierra Lacrosse League final v1 - Copy.jpg

US Lacrosse has announced rules changes for boys youth lacrosse and girls youth lacrosse, which basically scale down the game for younger players. As far as is possible in our current lacrosse reality, High Sierra Lacrosse will adopt these changes beginning with the Spring 2017 season.

The Rationale

The most important thing a players can do at the youth level is develop their skills and learn in a safe environment. The new rules address this by making fields, goals and team sizes dramatically smaller. This down-scaling is new to lacrosse but not to most other sports, where the game is adjusted in some manner for each age level: soccer has different goals sizes for every age group; basketball has lower rims for every age group; baseball has t-ball, little league etc.

 

For High Sierra Lacrosse League, where the game is new to many, the advantages of the new rules are considerable and include:

 

  • Early Focus on Fundamentals-  Smaller teams and fields mean MORE TOUCHES. Youngest players will pick up basic skills (throw, catch, ground balls) more quickly with more touches and without cumbersome equipment.

  • Fewer Barriers to Entry Across the Board- Newest players need just a stick to start, so costs to parents are minimized. Early-level coaches and officials are teaching/running a simpler game, meaning new volunteers are more likely to “step up.”

  • Greater Grasp of the Game Across the Board- Simplified rules help not only new players, but also new parents, coaches, and officials learn the concepts of the game piece by piece (the same way we learn language, math etc.) and grow organically into a solid grasp of the game. This is especially important in our region where “lacrosse IQ” is not inherent.

  • Increased Safety- Checking and contact are prohibited at the younger levels, again allowing them to focus on fundamentals. With this increased focus on fundamentals, kids will be “heads up” players by the time they are participating in the full-contact game.

  • More Efficient Use of Field Space- Smaller fields will allow us to run more games in the same amount of space.

  • Less Need for Referees- Lower levels can be officiated by coaches, relieving stress on our limited pool of officials.

  • More Potential Coaches- Again, a simpler game equals more potential new coaches to bring to the game. A coach could also potentially work with multiple squads for practice, if necessary, which would break into teams for games.

  • Refocus on Fun- Like all youth sports, there is invariably the overzealous contingent for whom competition, even at the youngest level, is primary. The new rules make the younger levels about learning as opposed to winning, letting player focus on mastering the skills they will need when competition becomes more relevant.

For HSLL players who are “ahead of the curve” with regards to the changes, there will be post-season tryout opportunities for summer and fall Avalanche travel teams.

 

Additional Information:

2017 USL Boys’ Youth Rules                    2017 USL Girls’ Youth Rules

USL Press Release on Boys’ Rules Changes            USL Press Release on Girls’ Rules Changes

Small Ball:  A new approach to lacrosse Player Development     USL Reduced Squad Guidelines


 

Proposed HSLL Plan for 2017 Spring Season

 

Boys Youth

Age

Players

Field Size /Location (1)

Equipment

Goals

Coaches (2)

Refs

6U

3 v 3 (no goalie)

60 yds x 35 yds (Secondary)

Sticks only, soft ball

3ft x 3ft

Parent OK w/ 1 clinic

No - Coach’s whistle

7U, 8U

4 v 4 (no goalie)

60 yds x 35 yds (Secondary)

Full equipment, soft ball

3ft x 3ft

Parent OK w/ 1 clinic

No - Coach’s whistle

9U, 10U

6 v 6 (or 5 v 5 w/goalie)

60 yds x 35 yds (Primary)

Full equipment, NOCSAE lacrosse ball

6ft x 6ft

HSLL Certified

1

11U, 12U

7 v 7 or 10 v 10

60 yds x 35 yds or full size (Primary)

Full equipment, NOCSAE lacrosse ball

6ft x 6ft

HSLL Certified

2

13U, 14U

10 v 10

Full size (Primary)

Full equipment, NOCSAE lacrosse ball

6ft x 6ft

HSLL Certified

2

 

(1) Locations: Primary = Lined fields with hard cages; Secondary = Unlined fields OK with pop-ups (e.g. small parks)

(2) All Coaches must be league approved and  pass background check


 

Girls Youth

Age

Players

Field Size /Location (1)

Equipment

Goals

Coaches (2)

Refs

6U

3 v 3 (no goalie)

60-70 yds x 35-45 yds

(Secondary)

Stick, mouthguard, soft ball

3ft x 3ft

Parent OK

No - Coach’s whistle

7U, 8U

4 v 4 (no goalie)

60-70 yds x 35-45 yds

(Secondary)

Full equipment, soft ball

3ft x 3ft (4x4 allowable)

Parent OK

No - Coach’s whistle

9U, 10U

8 v 8, includes goalie

60 yds x 35 yds (Primary)

Full equipment, NOCSAE lacrosse ball

3 feet by 3 feet (4x4 or 5x5 is allowable)

HSLL Certified

1

11U, 12U

8v8 or 12v12, includes goalie

60-70 yards by 35-45 yards for 8v8; 60-70 by 110-140 (full field) for 12v12

Full equipment, NOCSAE lacrosse ball

6ft x 6ft

HSLL Certified

2

13U, 14U

12 v 12 includes goalie

Full size

(Primary)

Full equipment, NOCSAE lacrosse ball

6ft x 6ft

HSLL Certified

2

 

(1.) Locations: Primary = Lined fields with hard cages; Secondary = Unlined fields OK with pop-ups (e.g. small parks)

(2.) All Coaches must be league approved and  pass background check

 


Boys Officiating

Age

Penalties

Body Checking

Stick Checking

6U

Player leaves the field. No time-serving penalties. Penalties used as a teachable moment to explain the foul that has been committed.

No body to body contact is permitted.

Stick to stick contact is not permitted

7U, 8U

Same as above

No body checking permitted. Any overt (obvious) collision should be enforced as an illegal body check. The following types of body contact are allowed:

  • legal holds

  • legal pushes

  • positioning yourself against an opponent to gain possession of a loose ball (i.e. boxing out)

  • defensive positioning to redirect an opponent

  • incidental contact

Only checks with the crosse listed below are legal. In all cases stick checks must be made on the crosse of an opponent or gloved hand of a crosse when an opponent is in possession of the ball or within 3 yards of a loose ball.

(a) Lift the bottom hand, when it is on the stick and below the chest; or the head of the stick when it is below the chest area.

(b) Poke the bottom hand when it is on the stick and below the chest area; or the head of the stick when it is below the chest area.

(c) Downward check initiated below the shoulders of both players.

9U, 10U

Time-serving penalties

Same as above

Same as above

11U, 12U

Time-serving penalties

Same as above

Same as above

13U, 14U

Time-serving penalties

Limited body checking is permitted. However body checks that might be acceptable in high school play may be excessive in youth lacrosse, and should be penalized accordingly.

Last season’s US Lacrosse stick checking rules will still apply which includes a rule prohibiting one-handed stick checks.


 

Girls Officiating

Age

Fouls

Other Notes

6U

For major fouls, player leaves field for a brief time; team does not play short

Other notes: No draw – after a goal the defense is given the ball for a clear; no score is kept; one pass rule before shooting; teams must play 1v1 defense.

7U, 8U

For major fouls, player leaves field for a brief time; team does not play short

Other notes: No draw – after a goal the defense is given the ball for a clear; no score is kept; one pass rule before shooting; teams must play 1v1 defense.

9U, 10U

Time serving cards, team does not play short

Traditional lineup for draw; officials are required and score can by kept; introduction of the 8-meter arc and restraining line; after goal, goalkeeper clears; no checking and 3 seconds closely guarded applies; no pass rule before shooting; teams must play 1v1 defense.

11U, 12U

Time serving cards, team plays down

Draws after goals (mercy rule can be applied); modified checking is allowed; 3 seconds closely guarded applies; no pass rule before shooting; must play 1v1 defense outside of the critical scoring area (unless playing shorthanded).

13U, 14U

Time serving cards, team plays down

Draws after goals; modified checking is allowed; 3 seconds closely guarded applies; no pass rule before shooting

Age Segmentations

Last March, US Lacrosse announced a very different way of segmenting youth lacrosse age groups. As part of their overhaul of US Lacrosse's player development program, they went back and examined the age groupings for youth lacrosse. This was done in light of the sport growing, and recruiting starting younger and younger. They also wanted to make the sport safer and ensure that players were on the field with other players close to them in age. Read the full rationale and FAQs here. Major takeaways are:

  • Age groups are determined based on a calendar that starts on Sept. 1 (instead of January) and ends Aug.31.

  • At the youth level, there are now age groups for every single age, e.g. 14U, 13U. Previously it was every two years: u15 u13 u11 etc.

  • At the high school level (also known as scholastic) they are attempting to keep players from playing down after re-classing.

As a parent, the new rules at the youth level are aimed at making the game safer. Instead of having your child play against a player who is potentially two years older than them (think an older 14 year old playing against a young 13 year old), they will be playing against a player who can be no more than 12 months older than them. This is the aim of the new rules, but there is the exception that divisions can include two age groups e.g. 7U/8U. HSLL’s ultimate goal is to break out the age pairings, with the understanding that this is dependent on registrations and will not be possible for all teams at this time.

 

In larger, more established programs, this will help managers and coaches by splitting up every grade and making team sizes more manageable. In developing programs, where age groups are combined and kids play up, it will provide the framework and blueprint as they grow and add more players at every age group.

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  1. For paired segments, the even year age group is the maximum: 7U/8U, 9U/10U, 11U/12U, 13U/14U.

  2. Age Group reflects the maximum age of a player during the playing year. For example, 7U means that players 7 years and under are eligible.

  3. Grade Affiliation reflects the grade for majority of players in that age group. Birth date will be the final determinant of eligibility.