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2018 Youth Lacrosse Rule Changes

2018 Youth Lacrosse Rule Changes


The points of emphasis for 2018:

  • Sportsmanship: Players, coaches, officials and spectators should exhibit the highest levels of sportsmanship and congeniality at all times. Coaches, officials and spectators are all partners in providing the best possible experience for youth players.
  • Stick Checks to the Head: In youth lacrosse, any stick contact to the head should be called. This allows for more consistent penalty calling and helps mitigate injury risk.
  • Mouth Guards: In 2017, the penalty changed from a personal to technical foul to encourage greater penalty enforcement for violations. Mouth guards must be used and worn properly.
  • Age-Appropriate Rules: US Lacrosse youth rules are supported by the concepts in the Lacrosse Athlete Development Model (LADM). Players should follow age-appropriate rules that include, but are not limited to, field size, stick length, body contact and stick contact.
  • Experimental Rules: In order to test rule proposals submitted to US Lacrosse, the Men’s Rules Subcommittee encourages leagues to try several experimental rules (listed at the end of this release).

“Our goal last season was to produce a small and easier to understand set of youth rules," said Rick Lake, senior manager of the men's game for US Lacrosse. "During the season clarifications were made and our Rules Committee did a great job ensuring the 2018 rules will be easier to understand and apply.”

Rules changes in 2018 include:

  • Adoption of a small-sided unified boys’ and girls’ lacrosse field.
  • Eliminating the penalty for raking the ball at the 6U, 8U and 10U levels.
  • Including spectators as a potential cause of unsportsmanlike penalties for a team.
  • Applying a one-minute releasable penalty the second time a field player from the same team steps in the crease and acts as a goalie.
  • Adding language that a shot that hits the pipe or the goalie shall remove a stalling warning.
  • Aligning the wording at the 12U and 14U level to match NFHS rules regarding stalling in the final two minutes of the game, requiring teams to keep it in their offensive zone only if they are ahead by four goals or fewer.
  • Aligning the rule with other rule sets that a goal can be scored if the shot is released (rather than crosses the goal line) before the period ends.
  • Adjusting the rule at the 6U, 8U, and 10U age groups to read that officials should award the ball via alternate possession rules when at least three players are involved for a scrum for the ball for more than four seconds without gaining possession.

The updated rule changes and clarifications will appear on online in the 2018 US Lacrosse Boys’ Youth Rulebook early fall. 

“With the rulebooks now being available in the early fall and in an online format, it will be more accessible for youth lacrosse league to know what changes are coming and for lacrosse official associations to train for the spring season, ” Lake said.

Following are the experimental rules that the committee encourages leagues to consider and provide feedback.

  • Excessive Possession (no player keeping possession for more than 5-7 seconds after possession has been gained)
  • Reintroducing offside (10U)
  • Requiring a completed pass after a faceoff (10U, 12U)
  • Nominating a defensive in-home players (goalie can remain in the game after penalty while defensive in-home serves the goalies penalty)
  • Extending play during final two minutes (14U and 12U – if team leading in the game and commits a penalty in last two minutes, the game will be extended to full penalty time, if it surpasses the game time.)
  • Eliminating “get it in and keep it in” during the final two minutes of the game.



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