Last week US Lacrosse announced rule changes for the 2018 season. In 2017 lacrosse made sweeping changes at the U8, U10 and u12 ages. I really enjoyed the changes made last year. I coached U8. Playing 4v4 really opens the field up. It allow players to get lots of touches.
This year US Lacrosse is asking referees to make an emphasis on
US Lacrosse did not only make point of emphasis and add rules. They removed some rules as well. One rule eliminated is the penalty for raking the ball at U6, U8, and U10 levels. I might get some pushback, but I'm a fan of this. Often at 6, 7 and 8 years old raking is the only way to get it in your stick. I believe not raking the ball is a skill that coaches should teach and really emphasize why we don't want to do it. I myself have scored a few after quickly raking it in front of the cage. Little kids deserve that goal.
The next rule I would like to eliminate throughout youth lacrosse is the one pass rule. I think the one pass rule is great for practice to switch up the situation. Though, in competition, if a player intercepts a pass or picks up a great ground ball, they should be allowed to chugg down the field and score. It is up to the other team to stop ball and force a pass or bad shot. With the one pass rule the defense locks off the only other player around until the cavalry arrives. They are smart little buggers. I believe we take that pass away and we get more assists naturally. The defender will leave their man to stop ball and the ball carrier will make the one more pass. See you on the field soon.
Moments ago, I was playing video games with my son. We really enjoy Splatoon 2 for the Nintendo Switch. It is pretty much an online shooter, but not violent. I have been there and done that in the Marines, so we don't play other shooter games in our house . Anyway, despite my son splatting the enemy with paint, he was eliminated in a one on one battle. I explained to him that his weapon could reach the target, but was not strong enough to do damage. The enemy, on the other hand, had a more powerful weapon built for more range.
What does this have to do with lacrosse? It got me thinking about something I continuously teach at the training center; maximum range vs effective range. Maximum range is the furthest distance from the goal that you can shoot and hit the cage. Effective range is the furthest distance you can shoot while still being able to score consistently. Players should try to dodge to their effective range (or closer) to increase the probability of scoring. Shots from maximum range could be “beach balls” to the goalie. How do you establish effective range? Stand 5 yards from the goal. Choose a top corner. Shoot straight to the target. If you can hit the target multiple times in a row, take two steps back. Keep repeating the process until your percentages drop. So, if you can hit 6 out of ten targets from 7yds and 3 targets from 9yds, then your effective range is seven yards. Your effective range can always be improved, so keep working on it. I hope you see your goal tallies increase!
Coach Colin Knightly is the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier private lacrosse instructor. Prior to starting Colin Knightly Lacrosse LLC, Coach Knightly was the head coach at Saint Mary’s College (Moraga, CA). While coaching the Gaels the team won 3 consecutive conference titles and Coach Knightly was awarded coach of the year in 2010.