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Women's Officials News

Women's Officials News

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
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2017 US Lacrosse Clarification on Girls' Stick Specifications

March 27, 2017- The following document contains highlighted information regarding the US Lacrosse Stick Specifications.  This contains no changes from the current 2017 rulebook.

View Memo

Memo regarding NFHS Rules Clarifications

February 8, 2017- The following document contains all rules clarifications, corrections and additions to the NFHS Girls rulebook presented at the US Lacrosse Convention.

View Memo



February 8, 2017-

The following document clarifies that there exists only 2 current legal headgear products that meet ASTM F3137 standards and therefore are legal for play at all levels of play.  This is includes US Lacrosse Youth and Scholastic, NFHS and NCAA.

View Memo

Headgear Clarification - 2017


Memo regarding USL Legal Stick Stringing

March 22, 2016 -

The interpretation of legal stringing has been revised for USL Appendix B.
Revision to Appendix B, Sections 2, 4 and 20 for the 2016 season only:

Section 2
For the 2016 season only, additional holes that have been drilled into the head of a crosse at
the ball stop prior to the release of the changes to Appendix B, may be filled with a substance to
comply with Appendix B, Section 2. The substance used to fill the holes may not impede the
free movement of the ball, may not be added as a sticky/tacky substance to the thongs (see the

Note following Appendix B, Section 28), and may not provide any advantage to a team.

Note: There are some sticks that have been modified to provide a "locking" system for the thongs. This
was done by an "aftermarket" manufacturer by drilling additional holes in the ball stops of sticks that
have already been certified by the lab. This is in violation of the new rules indicating drilling holes is
illegal. Because teams have purchased these sticks prior to the rule change, the decision on the NCAA
and USL level is to allow them for this year.


Section 4
To determine crosse compliance with the linear measurement specifications in US Lacrosse
Appendix B, all measurements shall be made to the nearest 0.01 cm.

NOTE: Due to the variances
in measuring tools used by officials, any measurement taken by an official should allow a total
deviation of .3cm (1/8 of an inch) from the standard (previously .09cm).
Note: This is to allow for some variance between a tape measure and the precise tools used in the
lab. In other words, when checking for sidewall attachments, thong spacing and attachment to the ball
stop @ 1.5 inches (for example), an additional 1/8 inch is allowed and the measurement will still be

NOTE: Thongs knotted at the ball stop are not in violation of section 20.

Note: NCAA and USL do NOT match here

2) Requested stick checks shall include pocket depth and measurement of stick length only. Stick
length shall be measured only if specifically requested by a head coach. If no specific
measurement is requested, the official will do a pocket check only. (Rule 5, Section 28-29, p. 42-

3) Sticks that are being sold and used with thongs knotted at the ball stop are legal play for
contests using US Lacrosse/ NFHS rules.

For the full memo with examples show click below:

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Memo from the US Lacrosse National RulesChair:

Rule Interpretations, Clarifications and Approved Rulings for US Lacrosse.

     March 15, 2016-

     To: Women’s Lacrosse Community

     From: Ericka Leslie, Rules Interpreter

     Cathy Russo, Youth Rules Interpreter

     Lissa Fickert, Rules Chair

     Jen Dorff, WGOSC Chair

     Stefanie Smith, NCAA Secretary-Rules Editor

     Issuance Date: March 14, 2016

Subject: Rule Interpretations, Clarifications and Approved Rulings for US Lacrosse.

The playing level rule interpretation (USL/NCAA) is indicated in parentheses. We remind everyone

that information regarding all rules is posted throughout the season on:

US Lacrosse website:

US Lacrosse Central Hub:

NCAA Central Hub:

Alternate Possession for stick head falling off (USL/NCAA)

  • Should the head of a stick fall off while in a throwing or shooting motion, that stick is illegal. If the

ball has entered the goal, the goal shall not count. The stick is taken to the table. The restart shall be

by alternate possession procedure.

  • Should the head of a stick fall off while in the act of taking the draw, that stick is illegal. The stick is

taken to the table. The restart shall be a draw.

  • Should the head of the stick fall off at any other time, this is a broken stick and is illegal. However,

since that player is not in possession of the ball, there is no change of possession and alternate

possession procedure does NOT apply. Time out may be taken for a replacement and to take this

broken stick to the table. (If the player is not involved in the play and wishes to exchange for a legal

stick or sub off, then a timeout is probably not necessary). If a player is involved in/near the play,

timeout should be taken to replace the stick and resume in the same relative positions for the restart.

Stick checks (USL)

Pregame – Pocket depth, measure length if suspicious. Visual check for shooting strings and new

stringing rules – pocket attachment, thong distance, bunching and obvious head alterations. Do a

further check if suspected violation.

Requested – must be by number. Check pocket depth only unless a measurement is specifically

requested (measurement request must be by head coach only. A player from the field may only request

a pocket check.) Measurement of the stick length is all that will be included.

(Rule 5, Sections 27-29; p. 42-43)

Rulebook Edit (USL)

Team Fouls/Offside

On page 55, Section 10, Delete c.

Section 10: If the defense fouls and the play ends with another major foul by the defense:

a. inside the 8m arc: penalize this foul, not the offside foul.

b. outside the 8m arc, but inside the 12m fan: penalize this foul, not the offside foul.

c. outside the 12m fan- penalize the offside foul (move the free position up to the top of the 12m

fan, clear the lane)

Dangerous Play Definition (USL/NCAA)

Player actions that are rough, threatening, and/or are without regard to player safety. May be carded.

3 Seconds (USL)

The criteria for determining 3 seconds has not changed. It is still a major foul and may be flagged.

The difference in the rule for 2016 is the location of the penalty administration. It is now awarded at

the spot of the ball rather than the spot of the foul.

AR 1: If the ball is outside the critical scoring area when a three-second violation occurs, the penalty

shall be administered at the spot of the ball. All others shall remain in their same positions and no

closer than 4 meters to the free position, offender is placed 4 meters behind.

AR 2: If the ball is inside the critical scoring area and below goal line extended, the penalty shall be

administered at the closest dot, all other players 4 meters away and offender is placed 4 meters behind.

AR 3: If the ball is inside the critical scoring area, outside the arc and above the goal line extended,

the free position shall be administered at the spot of the ball, offender placed 4 meters behind and the

lane is cleared.

AR 4: If the ball is inside the arc, the free position shall be administered at the hash mark closest to the

spot of the ball, offender placed 4 meters behind and the arc is cleared.

Print Memo

2016 US Lacrosse/NCAA Rules Comparison List

March 15, 2016- The following document compares the rule differences between the US Lacrosse high school rules and the NCAA rules for 2016.

This memo contains the differences regarding Rules 1-7 in both rulebooks.

Print Memo 

US Lacrosse Clarification on Girls' Stick Specifications for 2016

February 23, 2016- The following pictures are clarifications to the Girls' Stick Specifications for 2016.  Effective immediately, US Lacrosse is issuing several clarifications to the manufacturers specifications (section Appendix B of the rule book) in an effort to provide further clarity to the rules and allow for certain modifications for the remainder of 2016.


To print the image above, click the box below:

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US Lacrosse Memo: Examples of Illegal and Legal Sticks

February 12, 2016-  The following memo contains pictures and explaination of legal and illegal sticks according the 2016 manufacturer's specifications listed in Appendix B of the US Lacrosse Rulebook.

To view or print the memo click the box below:

View Memo

US Lacrosse 2016 Rules Clarifications

February 9, 2016- Following the US Lacrosse Convention Rules Interpretation Session, the following rule clarifications have been updated.  To view or print the clarification PDF click the box below.

            Possession Arrow

            Alternate Possession

            Illegal Player

            Illegal Stick

            Foul During and After the Shot

            US Lacrosse Delay of Game Cards

            Dangerous Play

            Other Rulebook Clarifications

To view or print the clarification PDF click the box below.

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Coaching; The Act of Inspiring Others To Be At Their Best

December 10, 2015 - Long-range planning for the improvement of officials, coaches, teams or players requires a learning environment balanced by accountability and support.  Planning for systemic change and improvement of the performance of officials across all USL local boards, require consistent actions towards supporting the growth and performance of officials.  One manner in which local boards have begun to support the growth and performance of lacrosse officials is through the coaching and mentoring of others.

Coaching is generally considered the act of one who teaches, trains, advises, and facilitates the learning and improved performance of others.  Executives may be the recipients of coaching, just as teachers, players, teams and officials are similarly so.  Today we focus on coaching and supporting the growth and improvement of lacrosse officials across the nation.

Often, players have coaches, teammates, personal trainers and others supporting their performance.  Officials, also need to have supportive others in their corner.  Sure, knowledge of the rules, training, fitness, communication, game management are all essential skills for officials, and require hard work in doing so.  So, what do good coaches do, to support and hold accountable, those with whom they work?  They ask questions, identify goals—short and long term, act with reciprocity, share ideas, engage and motivate others, ensure that others have a voice, interact well with all levels of players or officials, listen, and whenever possible—offer choice to those they coach or teach.  (Adapted from Jim Knight, What Good Coaches Do, Educational Leadership, 2001)

What are some of the undeniably noticeable assets in those great coaches out there?  What are the reoccurring themes and actions by a person that makes them a great coach--one that is remembered?

          Relational  — The coach understands how to interact with varying types of learners and those with varied ability levels.  They relate well to the star performer and the performer with the most challenges.  Their fairness speaks for itself and is unquestioned. They may have Connectedness and Relator as Strengths noted by Gallup.  This coach knows others intuitively and relates well to them.  They care about the individual and the team.

          Motivational — The team, official, or player is affected by this coach because this coach motivates them.  The coach motivates the individual and in turn they want to perform well for them and to get better in all aspects of the game. Individuals and the team put in the work because they believe in what this coach is saying.  A Gallup Strength of this coach may be described as being an Activator.  An activator is one who is quick to act and pushes others to act.  They feel an urgency to act, an urgency to start, not to wait.  They are a catalyst for others to get moving and get started.  They are opportunists to get moving in the right window of time.

          Consistent — The coach is consistent with their messaging, expectations, and the provision of feedback day in and day out.  The execution of consistency leads to a common understanding of individual and team goals. Gallup would say that this strength is having a keen awareness about the need to treat people the same, across a group. Synonyms are egalitarian, even-handed, selfless, orderly, fair, and uniform.

          Reflective — This coach recognizes that an individual or team’s improvement happens over a period of time.  She reflects often on the performance of individuals and of the team so that she can be planful in promoting positive change and improvement.

          Strength based rather than deficit based approach — This coach recognizes and acknowledges the strengths of individuals, knowing that each individual has areas to be improved.  While focusing on strengths provides a positive focus, promoting a growth mindset is equally important.  A growth mindset allows for the individual to recognize areas they have not mastered “yet.”  “Yet”—defined as not knowing up until a specified time, is a powerful word since the presumption is that a skill will be mastered in the future, even if not mastered to date.

         Learner — This coach continues to learn and perfect her craft.  Gallup notes that the theme of learner includes the motivation of one to think and enjoy the process of learning.  They are energized by continued learning rather than being on a learning plateau.

Just as players must begin to amp up their training based on the quickly approaching 2016 lacrosse season, so do all levels of officials.  Let’s prepare ourselves, while supporting and mentoring others around us, as they too prepare for a productive 2016 lacrosse season.  Let’s push ourselves while pushing for the benefit of others.  Providing a calculated amount of challenge, balanced with support facilitates the improvement of others.  That’s what good coaches do.  As many current coaches do, day-to-day, my college coach, Mrs. Suzanne Tyler knew the balance and the dance of challenging while supporting those around her to promote positive change in others.  It’s time to get out there and “do the work!”  Wishes for a productive, positive, growth-filled season!

Author: Patty Daley

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2016 Rule Changes Announced for Girls High School and Youth Lacrosse

US Lacrosse today announced rule revisions for women’s lacrosse, ranging from changes in overtime to new carding procedures for dangerous contact. Most of the rule changes are effective for the 2016 girls’ high school and youth lacrosse seasons, with some additional revisions for equipment and uniforms effective beginning in 2017 or 2018.

US Lacrosse writes the rules for high school girls’ lacrosse, and those rules are endorsed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). The rules also govern collegiate club lacrosse (WCLA) and youth girls’ lacrosse. In some instances, US Lacrosse provides some additional modifications to the WCLA and youth rules.

Noteworthy changes for 2016 include the implementation of the alternate possession to eliminate the throw, the introduction of sudden victory in overtime (first goal ends the game), and a new mandatory yellow card for dangerous contact.

“While some body contact will occur during normal play, there is no justification for deliberate and violent collision by any player, especially intentional player-to-player collisions with defenseless players,” said Lissa Fickert, chair of the US Lacrosse women’s game rules subcommittee. “The increase in the severity of the penalties is intended to send a strong message that this type of play is unacceptable.”

A closer look at all the rule changes approved by the US Lacrosse Women’s Game Committee is below. Rule references are from the 2015 US Lacrosse Women’s Lacrosse Rule Book.

Rule 1, Section 9: Two small circles/dots shall be added to the field marking and placed five yards below the goal line in line with the 8-meter mark on goal line extended. These marks will designate the spot for the ball to be put in play when a foul occurs in the critical scoring area below the goal line.

Rule 2, Section 5: The ball may be lime green in addition to yellow or bright orange in color.

Rule 2, Section 8:Mouthpieces shall be any color other than clear or white and must not have graphics of white teeth. This adjustment makes it easier to determine if a player is properly wearing a mouthpiece.

Rule 2, Section 9: Eyewear used in 2016 may meet the ASTM standard of F803 or F3077. The new ASTM standard (F3077) shall be in effect on January 1, 2017.

Rule 2, Section 10: Effective January 1, 2017, the only optional headgear allowed for use must meet the new ASTM standard, F31317.

Rule 2, Section 14: Effective January 1, 2018, home team jerseys shall be light in color and visitor jerseys must be dark in color.

Rule 2, Section 16: Effective January 1, 2018, visible undergarments (long or short sleeve) must correspond to the team’s predominate jersey color, or be light in color with a light jersey and dark in color with a dark jersey.

Rule 2, Section 17: Eye black must be one solid stroke with no logos/numbers/letters and shall not extend further than the width of the eye socket or below the cheekbone.

Rule 3, Section 10: Beginning January 1, 2017, the game must be officiated by at least two certified officials. Three officials are recommended.

Rule 4, Section 7: Overtime play shall be sudden victory (first goal ends the game).

Rule 4, Section 7:In overtime, there shall be no substitutions during the changing of ends.

Rule 5, Section 1 and Rule 5, Section 19: The goalkeeper must remain below the restraining line on the draw.

Rule 5, Section 2 and Rule 5, Section 19: The goalkeeper may not draw, shoot or score for her own team.

Rule 5, Section 20: The throw shall be eliminated and replaced by a procedure of alternate possession. The winner of the coin toss shall have the option of choosing ends of the field or having the first possession that occurs.

Rule 5, Section 23: The penalty administration for an illegal player discovered after a goal and before play is restarted shall be at the center.

Rule 5, Section 28: Stick check requests must include the number of the player whose stick is to be checked.

Rule 6, Section 1: A new foul for dangerous contact has been added. Dangerous contact shall be any action that thrusts or shoves any player, with or without the ball, who is in a defenseless position. This includes blind side, head down, or from behind.

Rule 6, Section1j: The free position for a three seconds violation will be the spot of the ball.

Rule 7, Section 28: The delay of game progression has changed. The first violation remains the same. On the next delay of game, the official will show a green and yellow card to the offending player and award the appropriate penalty (major foul). The offending player must leave the field for two minutes of elapsed playing time. No substitute is allowed. Any subsequent delay of game calls will result in a yellow card for misconduct.

Rule 7, Section 31: On goalkeeper misconduct, if a second goalkeeper is dressed, she must enter the game. A field player may not substitute for the goalkeeper.

Rule 8, Definition of Terms: The Critical Scoring Area shall be defined by the 12-meter fan in front of the goal and the area behind the goal between the 12-meter marks at the goal line extended and extending to the end line.

Three rule changes were made specifically to the youth rules:

1) Three seconds shall not be in effect for U-9 and below as players in this area are required to be playing 1-on-1 defense.

2) Also for U-9 and below, possession of the ball after goals shall alternate and restart at the center.

3) For U-11 and below, games should feature 7-vs-7, including a goalkeeper if there is one, and should be played on a modified field.

US Lacrosse and the NCAA have also specified a number of stick and pocket guidelines designed to minimize the aftermarket changes being made to sticks and pockets and to assist in determining their legality for play. These guidelines are incorporated as part of the Manufacturers Specifications in Appendix B. New and adjusted language is noted in red.

Section 1: A crosse may be deemed illegal if its design is a clear attempt to circumvent the rules.

Section 2: Recessed screws must be used to attach the head of a plastic/molded crosse to the handle.

Section 2: US Lacrosse approved heads may not be altered. Prohibited alterations to heads include, but are not limited to, baking, drilling additional holes, breaking and/or reconstructing with adhesive material, stretching, pinching and shaving.

Section 8: Each attachment to the sidewall shall be no more than 1.5 inches from its adjacent attachment when measured in a straight line from hole to hole.

Section 20: The pockets of all field crosses shall be strung with four or five longitudinal leather and/or synthetic thongs. Mesh pockets are not allowed. Longitudinal leather or synthetic thongs and/or other second material shall be 0.3 cm to 1.0 cm wide. Each thong must be made of one material (leather, synthetic leather or nylon cord) and run the full length of the head. Thongs must nominally be the same width along their full length. Thongs must be attached to the head through holes in the scoop and at the ball stop. A second material may be used to allow attachment to the scoop and the ball stop of each thong to the head. However, this second material may not be more than .5 inches from the scoop and no more than 1.5 inches from the ball stop. The thongs at the ball stop must extend 5.1 cm beyond the ball stop. Thongs must not be bunched along the width of the head (top to bottom) and may not be more than 1.5 inches apart as measured from the inside of adjacent thongs, regardless of the material. The loose ends of the thongs may not be woven back up through the pocket or the sidewall of the crosse. The loose ends of the thongs must remain below the ball stop. Any additional strings used for attachment of the pocket to the head of the crosse may not be tied behind the pocket above the ball stop. Additional strings not directly required for attachment of the pocket to the head of the crosse are not allowed.

Section 22: Cross-lacing in a premanufactured detachable pocket is defined as 8 to 12 evenly spaced pocket nylon laces that are sewn, traditionally woven, glued or otherwise safely affixed between properly spaced longitudinal thongs.

Section 23: The nominal diameter of the shooting/throw string (hereinafter “shooting string”) nylon cord and sidewall nylon cord shall be 0.3 cm maximum. The nominal diameter of pocket nylon must be less than 0.3 cm.

Section 25: Any shooting string must be directly attached to both sidewalls in the upper third of the head, or, the top shooting string must be directly attached to both sidewalls in the upper third of the head and the bottom shooting string may be an inverted “U” in shape and must be directly attached to both sidewalls in the upper two-thirds of the head, as measured from the top outside edge of the scoop (Diagram 15). Shooting strings may not be crossed. Shootings strings may not touch from outside the outermost thongs to the sidewall.

Stick Certification Procedures: Approved crosse heads and/or pockets may not be sold as US Lacrosse approved if the head, the pocket, or how the pocket is attached to the head, is altered in any way from its original lab approval. The testing lab will send the approval documents for heads and pockets to the US Lacrosse Women’s Game Senior Manager and the Rules Committee Chair. All documents will include photos of the side and the front of the head with an attached pocket. Pre-sewn/synthetic pockets may only be certified by the lab when attached to a head. The attachment must meet all stringing specifications. The US Lacrosse Rules Committee has the final authority to either approve or deny stick stringing and/or designs independent of lab approval.

For more details on the rules for girls’ high school, WCLA and youth play, please visit

Suggestions for future rule changes and modifications may also be submitted here at any time. All submissions are reviewed by the US Lacrosse women’s game rules subcommittee.

Women's Lacrosse Headgear FAQs

Points of Emphasis

  • The new ASTM standard F3137 is a performance standard, not a design standard.
  • Headgear products will be designed by manufacturers to conform to the standard.
  • Product designs will likely vary from one manufacturer to another.
  • Products will be required to provide full coverage of the head.
  • Products must be worn with required ASTM women’s lacrosse eyewear.
  • Use of the headgear is optional.
  • Any headgear used after January 1, 2017 must meet the standard.
  • There will be marking on both the packaging and product that states that the headgear conforms to ASTM standard F3137.
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The Emotional Side of Officiating 

Author: Brian Baxter

September 14, 2015 - “Serenity is not freedom from the storm; it is calm within the storm.” - Anonymous

The adrenaline, the anxiety, the pressure, the excitement are all a big part of sports. From the pre-game jitters, to the intense emotions experienced during competition, to the time it takes to unwind from a game, referees frequently experience the same emotional roller coaster that athletes and coaches do.

In the last article, I wrote about recovering from mistakes by focusing on the controllables – attitude, effort, preparation and present moment. You are more likely to perform consistently at your best when you focus on the things you can control, and block out the things you can't. And while the mental game is normally viewed of in terms of thinking the feeling or emotional side of it is equally as important.

Here are some before, during and after the game situations that you may face and some calming techniques to help you ride out the storm. Keep an eye out for “the controllables.”

Pre-game. Well, there is really no such thing as a professional, full time referee. Even the NFL officials are lawyers and businessmen first. So let's say you have a game to ref at 4pm, but a meeting at work has run late, and to make matters worse traffic is heavier than normal. So now it's obvious that you are going to be late. Frustrations run high and you start to panic and tense up.

Mental game tips:

1 – Prepare. Always have contact info handy. Let the coaches/other refs know ASAP. For the most part, with a little advanced notice, people are very understanding and forgiving when things like this happen. Show up late, flustered and making excuses and people are typically less understanding.

2 – Circle breathing. This is a technique where you simply take deep, slow, controlled breaths. Slowing down your breathing allows you to relax, be in the present moment, and re-focus to what's really in your control.

3 – Positive self-talk. Accept the situation you are in and do the best you can. Getting increasingly madder and having negative thoughts will not make traffic move any faster. Look at the positives and re-frame your situation from a more positive perspective.

During the Game. Probably the most frustrating part of officiating is dealing with irate coaches and fans. They can be disruptive and distracting. They are also rarely logical, and communicate based on extreme emotional levels. This can get you off track not only mentally, but emotionally too.

Mental Game tips:

1 – Circle Breathing. As mentioned in the pre-game portion, taking deep breaths is a good way to release and not let negative emotions build up. Circle breathing is one of the simplest, yet most effective sports psychology techniques. Many athletes I work with it tell me they use it a lot.

2 – Don't take it personally. These coaches and fans are yelling at the striped shirt, not the human being inside it. If you can hear them through that lens, it can help take the emotional sting out of it.

3 – Follow the rules objectively and logically, not emotionally. Using tips 1 and 2 above frequently will help this in the long run. Communicate calmly and logically whenever possible.

Post-game. Sometimes after an intense game it can be hard to unwind, especially those games that are later in the evening. The adrenaline is flowing and you go over the game in your head – the good calls, the mistakes, the “what-could-I-have-done-better” questions. This can make it hard to relax and sometimes even difficult to go to sleep.

Mental Game Tips

1 – Journaling. We need time to process information. Taking a few minutes to write about your experiences is a good way to get it out of your head. A typical format that I use for athletes can be perfect for referees as well. Simply start with: 1 positive thing I did well, 1 negative thing I didn't do well, and 1 thing I can do to improve.

2 – Breathing/Relaxation/Meditation – It might be the first instinct to get home and turn on some SportsCenter. Try taking 5-10 minutes to sit quietly and just take a few circle breaths. Consciously let go of the game, relaxing both body and mind. I suggest using a stopwatch so that you know when to get up.

3 – Don't add more stress. Sometimes thinking that you won't get enough sleep for the next day can cause stress which compounds on the problem. Be okay that you are resting your body and mind, and ironically you will get to sleep faster.

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