Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Postby lax4real » Sun May 29, 2011 3:58 pm

I am growing a little concerned about the women's possession game, specifically the "End Game." 6 years ago "stall ball" would start somewhere around 2 or 3 minutes remaining in the game. Now it seems it starts as soon as 12 minutes into the second half. Even the college game is getting (sometimes) boring to watch. Not sure if the answer is a shot clock like basketball (maybe 90 seconds though?), or if the girls game can use a box like the boys and have a "keep it in" type call. But wondering if I'm alone in feeling this is getting a bit too un-lacrosse. And if anyone has thought of creative way to move the offense into actually playing lacrosse. Because what I am sensing is that we are watching the fast pace, finesse and fluidity of the women's game - the best part of women's lax - turn into a game of keep-away and kill the girl with the ball. It's more than a spectator enjoyment thing. It's becoming a safety thing as well. When the offense goes into stall ball, the defense gets very frustrated, very aggressive, and very sloppy. The NCAA Div I Final just finished with a whole lot of wild checks to the head, yellow cards, and non-lacrosse-type play.

Coaches are always going to find new ways to leverage rules in their game strategy. But that's why we have Rules Committee and a process for making recommendations for change. I know a shot clock may sound too odd for field lacrosse - and transferring aspects of the boys games never seems to appeal to women's game traditionalists (though much has come over anyway - boundaries, restraining lines, possession timeouts, and now talk of real Extra Man Offenses). Just wondering if anyone shares my concern and has a cool idea on a fix for what I consider a lack of incentive to play lacrosse in the women's "situational end game" - which is getting longer - and l o n g e r - and l o n g e r.
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Re: Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Postby FHSrent » Sun May 29, 2011 4:55 pm

I had a hard time watching Foothill stall all year... always setting up and passing in circles for what seemed to be hours....taking away their quick transition and the 1 more, which they used to know so well. Lacrosse is a game of surprise, and creative play is what forces a defense to re-set over and over. So I agree with you. I didn't see any other teams do that. It hurt them in the end, because then they were not in good enough condition to answer the fast transition of the cougars... in NCS finals... just couldn't keep up. Smart play is one thing, boring games are another. I agree with smart play, but reeeeaaaaaalllly?

I agree with an end to stall ball... if it takes a shot clock, then that's what it takes. I am all for it.

Back to Indoor, where there's a shot clock!

:)
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Re: Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Postby laxwatcher » Tue May 31, 2011 12:24 pm

I agree that changes need to be made. I saw the same scenario at the second Cal/Amador game, Amador went into the stall with 12 to 13 minutes left. Ugly to watch. To me it just seems unsportsmanlike and contrary to both the nature of the game and the values that you hope sports help instill in your kids. I think a shot clock and probably a transition clock are needed, with helmets probably not far behind given the increasing number of head injuries.
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Re: Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Postby NotthePatientOne » Tue May 31, 2011 10:58 pm

Sorry, no helmets unless they get to adopt the play of the men's game.
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Re: Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Postby laxadaisical » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:50 am

I can certainly understand if some would prefer a shot clock. It would change the game significantly, and maybe for the better. I wouldn't have a problem if one were added but it would be a HUGE change in the women's game. However, I don't think it is "unsportsmanlike" or wrong in any way to use any strategy within the rules to give your team a chance to win. In the semifinal, Cal took big chunks of time off the clock when they had the ball because the previous game they had given up 20 goals to Foothill in a romp. They were "stalling" from the first minute of the game. The result, a one-goal loss that could have gone the other way with a break or two in their favor. What's unsportsmanlike about that? For those that argue that it's not that fun to watch, I'd counter that the last few minutes of that game were very tense because it was close. Better than the previous meeting, which was a blowout. Foothill attempted a similar strategy in the final, and I think it was a great move to give their team a chance to negate the speed advantage of Carondelet. If they had won because of it (or even just kept it very close), everyone would think it was a genius tactic (except the Carondelet folks I guess).

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Re: Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Postby lax4real » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:12 pm

Great points Laxadaisical! Sportsmanship is very different than "gamesmanship." And though there's always going to be that misguided coach with good intentions but bad form, I feel comfortable saying that the coaches I know honor the rules and teach excellent sportsmanship - at all levels. All competitive HS coaches want to ultimately win. And they will leverage the rules in their favor where possible in order to get the win. Unlike youth coaching where skills development, team-building, and fun are the primary objectives - HS coaches must do those things AND get the win. So unless we install a rule that prevents or discourages coaches from using stall type tactics - we'll continue to see the keep-away end game. It would be poor coaching to NOT use it.

And you make a great point on the slow game strategy. Often times what looks like stalling may just be a slowed offense or an offensive strategy to pull a defense out of a zone or off an 8M “wall defense.” It may also look like stalling when the GK steps out and does not pass when in fact that is a strategy to force the attack to RIDE the clear rather than just shut off the outlets (teams will do this when leading a game). As you pointed out - the Cal/FH semi-final is a great example of the slowed offense or pulling out the defense. Right from their first possession, Cal was clearly demanding that FH come off the 8M and play an extended defense. And FH's strategy was to stay near the 8M and say "show us what you got Cal." Of course Cal kinda did a few times. But that took a while and looked a bit slow to those watching the game. Both teams did this often throughout the game and it almost worked in Cal's favor since they nearly took that game. Sure, from a spectator point of view - it was less than exciting to watch the slow play. But that was strategy – not poor sportsmanship.

I agree that the game would change in a HUGE way with a shot clock and I’m not saying that should be the answer. But I think the women’s game is at its best when there are fast transitions and active pursuit of the goal. And if there’s some small change we could make to discourage coaches from slowing down the game – especially the obvious keep away tactic - I hope the Rules Committee considers it.
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Re: Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Postby lax4real » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:58 pm

So anyway - I did hear an interesting idea. Not sure it would work since it would require yet another subjective call on the part of the referees. Although I think in general they do a good job with those - there are times where subjective calls are a point of contention with coaches and fans. But in essence – the rule change would go like this:

There would be some point in the game – say at the 5 minute mark – where if the referees determine that there is OBVIOUS stalling they can issue a stall warning. At that point they would initiate a 45 or 60 sec shot clock. The boy’s referees already have pocket audible electronic timers that they use for the clear. It’s 20 secs in that case but they can easily be made for 30, 45 or 60 seconds. Once the warning is initiated by the referee, the offense would be forced to take the ball to goal. If there is a SOG (not just a shot) before the timer expires the timer is reset but the stall warning would still be in force until the opposing team makes a clear. If the timer expires before a SOG, then a loud audible signal alarms the referee and the bench that the shot clock has expired. The referee blows the whistle and the ball changes possession.

It seems this might work to rid the game of the end game keep-away and kill-the-girl-with-the-ball type play without making drastic changes to the women's game. I cannot claim credit for the idea but it’s the best I have heard so far.
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Re: Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Postby LAXISIT » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:41 pm

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I would love to see a rule change that would give referees the opportunity to initiate a shot clock if they observe obvious stalling before the last couple of minutes of the game. Stalling during a close game with just a minute or so to go seems reasonable. Stalling with 12 minutes left on the clock does not.

Gosh, I hope I didn't make any spelling mistakes. :wink:
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Re: Situational End Game - Rule Change?

Postby lax4real » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:02 pm

Wow - how's this for a coincidence. I just received a survey from the US Lacrosse Rules Committee. In addition to answering the survey questions I was able to suggest the above change on stalling. I also suggested true possession timeouts for coaches instead of the dead-ball only. That was nice to get this year but just did not go far enough. I think most coaches want to call timeouts while the game is in play. I also suggested true extra-player-offense and player-down-defense. No faster way to get rid of those wild slashes than to have a team go true extra person for three minutes - especially if they make it non-releasable. The man-down they have now has very little impact on game play - never mind game outcome.

The Rules Committee even asked a few questions specific to stalling so it seems it's on their radar. And did I miss something? Is there a problem with reverse pockets to gain better Draw control? I know a few players swap sticks after draw and there are some "DAGO" players out there (sorry - my girls version of FOGO). But players are reverse lacing stick heads to gain better draw control? Wow - that's either ingenious or really sneaky and unfair - not sure how I come down on that yet. Anyhow, curious to know if I just got lucky with a random survey or if others received the survey this afternoon.
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