New Rules Limit Backhand Carrying, Enforce 'Backcourt'

In August, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) published its rules changes for the 2016 high school boys’ lacrosse season, and U.S. Lacrosse followed up with what it termed a “layman’s explanation.”

The U.S. Lacrosse article explains the four major rules changes and five points of emphasis, but there were two points that stood out as worth highlighting:

Faceoffs
In addition to spelling out the mechanics of the faceoff — which you can read in the U.S. Lacrosse article — the rule now states that players MAY NOT carry the ball in the back of their stick. This rule was implemented at the college level last spring, but it now applies in high school, as well:

By far the biggest violation for faceoff players and coaches to note is: A violation will be called if a player picks up and carries the ball on the back of his stick. It is legal to clamp the ball with the back of the stick, but it must be moved, raked or directed immediately. Immediately is defined as within one step.

To put it simply, the pinch-and-pop is still legal, as long as the player pops the ball out before he steps in any direction.

In the photo above, Matt Parham of Thousand Oaks won the clamp and is leaving the midline with ball in the back of his stick. Last year, he was allowed to run with it stuck there; this year, he must pop it out immediately.

Over and Back
This also went into effect at the collegiate level in 2015 and now is being implemented in high school. As U.S. Lacrosse explained it:

Think backcourt violation in basketball. If the offensive team satisfied the 10-second advancement count by touching the ball into the attack box on their half of the field, it is a violation if the ball returns to the defensive half of the field except on a shot or if the defensive team deflects the ball.

We saw this enforced Sunday at the L.A. Mavericks Fall Ball League, and at least one coach was unaware of the change.

If the offensive team causes the ball to cross back over the midline, it’s a turnover. Officials can allow the action to “play on,” if the opposing team gains immediate possession and has a fast-break opportunity. Or they can whistle the play dead and allow for a clean re-start, if possession of the loose ball is contested.

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