USA Lacrosse Points of Emphasis Note to Coaches and Officials - STL USA LAX Chapter

Hello SLYLA Coaches & Officials,

I hope everyone's SLYLA seasons are going well so far! As we are about halfway into the season, I wanted to remind everyone of the only USAL major rule change this year for youth lacrosse, and that is Illegal Stick to Body Contact.

At my first SLYLA games (14U) this past Sunday, it seemed pretty evident that this rule has not been enforced consistently since the start of the season. This was very surprising to me as I went over this rule change in depth at the SLYLA Rules Interpretation Meeting in March, which every team should have had a coach/representative attend. And I have told all officials to review and enforce this new rule. I have once again attached the sheet from USAL explaining this rule. Please review. 

In short, any stick to body contact that is initiated by the defender is a major foul, no matter what position the stick is in. This needs to be enforced and called by ALL officials across ALL levels of youth play, including 14U. If the attack player initiates body to stick contact first, or if there is incidental stick to body contact, officials should allow a reasonable amount of time (about 3 seconds) for the defender to adjust her stick positioning so that it is no longer contacting the attack player's body. 

I was happy to see that the teams I officiated did try very hard in their second game to adjust their defensive skills to avoid this foul. Hands only on the body or forearms on the body are legal (as long as they do not use the hands or forearms to hit, push, jab, or displace), but once we see the shaft of the stick make contact with the body we need to penalize the player who initiated that stick to body contact. Multiple and repetitive fouls of this rule (or any rule) could result in a yellow card. 

I can understand that this is frustrating to some coaches and teams as this is a major change from how we've been allowed to play. But this is the rule from USA Lacrosse and we need to follow and enforce it because the purpose is to promote safer play and teach defenders proper and safe defensive skills at the youth level.

Thank you. And last thing I wanted to remind everyone is that in youth lacrosse the sphere around a ball carrier's head is 12 inches. So with transitional checking checks need to be outside the 12 inch sphere. However, when the ball carrier is cradling the ball, she needs to only abide by the 7-inch sphere. I've also attached the handout from USAL regarding transitional checking. 

Please reach out with any questions... Thanks to all for everything you do for our sport!

Rose O'Donnell  

Local Board Chair to USAL

SLYLA Board Member: Women's Game Officials

Rules Interpreter