Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby chmdave » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:18 pm

As our league grows, our players become more skilled, our clubs become more competetive...can we come to a consensus on body checking at the various levels?

The rule book addresses it but individual interpretations by clubs, referees, and commissioners seem to cover a very wide spectrum.

Where's the proper place to land?

What should we do as coaches if one of our games has clearly gotten out of hand but the zebras are mute???
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Re: Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby picknroll » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:10 pm

Body check rules are clear.
Unnecessary roughness calls are ref's judgement and that's where the variance comes in.

Last year I was complaining to a very knowledgeable ref friend of mine about the "illegal body check" calls in my game, which I could not understand because they all seemed clean by my understanding of the rule book. He asked me to go back and look at the scoresheet and see if they were really "illegal body check" calls. When I went back and checked and sure enough every call that the ref made was "unnecessary roughness" instead of "illegal body checks". My ref friend explained to me that roughness calls were the ref's tool for controlling a game and there was a sliding scale applied. "Roughness" in a U15A game is different than a U13A and U3B1 and so on. Although this seems subjective to me, it helped me a lot in understanding the calls.

Now with that said I am a huge proponent of good clean physical defense. I believe that one of the watershed changes for Nor Cal youth lacrosse was lifting the body check restrictions. Surprisingly I think that the big improvement comes on the offensive side of the ball. I can remember several years back when Pups (5th/6th grade) games were virtually void of passing, especially B level games. With no body checks guys could drive straight to the goal and shoot. IMO this hampered the growth of Nor Cal lacrosse, especially for those overzealous coaches that would just give the ball to their stud and let him keep driving to the goal. Without strong defense there is no need to develop stick skills and team offense.

On the flip side there's the guys out there that don't understand the difference between good physical lacrosse defense and football hits. That's where the ref needs to intervene which roughness calls. I actually think it's worse at the HS JV level than youth lacrosse. Some high schools don't have youth programs and fill out their roster with football guys can't throw or catch but do nothing but hit. That's really ugly.

It's all a growth and education process. I think overall we're on the right track, but of course there's bumps in the path.
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Re: Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby picknroll » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:20 pm

I was recently doing my yearly review of the rule book. Here's the specific youth rule on body checks. It's pretty clear. For clarification Senior=U15, Junior=U13, Lightning=U11, and Bantam=U9.

http://www.uslacrosse.org/the_sport/boys_rules.phtm

Body Checking - RULE 5 SECTION 3
Body checking is permitted in Senior and Junior Divisions; however, no take-out checks are permitted by any player. A take out check is defined as any check in which the player lowers his head or shoulder with the force and intent to put the other player on the ground.

Players in the Junior and Senior divisions may make contact in an upright position within five yards of the ball. No body checking of any kind (including man/ball "clear the body" type pushing) is permitted in the Lightning and Bantam Division. If a loose ball is not moving, the referee may re-start play following the alternate possession rule.
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Re: Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby quakesdad » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:14 pm

First post, so be gentle.

Last week we received a mass email from NCJLA boys youth director confirming that body checking is not permitted in U11. I watched two U11B games this weekend, and it's clear not all refs got the message.

I agree with the previous sentiment that allowing tough defense is important for developing offensive skills beyond dodging and driving to the goal. However, some of the hits I saw near the crease were clearly excessive, with no call either for roughing or for body checking. I imagine it's even more violent at the U11A level. Since my son is just as likely to be giving as receiving the punishment, this is not a complaint focused on his experiences. Still, I imagine the parents of some of the younger/smaller U11 players may be more concerned.

Thanks for your consideration.

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Re: Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby bigwayne » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:33 pm

quakesdad wrote:First post, so be gentle.

Last week we received a mass email from NCJLA boys youth director confirming that body checking is not permitted in U11. I watched two U11B games this weekend, and it's clear not all refs got the message.

I agree with the previous sentiment that allowing tough defense is important for developing offensive skills beyond dodging and driving to the goal. However, some of the hits I saw near the crease were clearly excessive, with no call either for roughing or for body checking. I imagine it's even more violent at the U11A level. Since my son is just as likely to be giving as receiving the punishment, this is not a complaint focused on his experiences. Still, I imagine the parents of some of the younger/smaller U11 players may be more concerned.

Thanks for your consideration.

quakesdad


The individual refs are the biggest factor. Training and recruitment of refs is tough in this area. The variability of how the refs we have call a game is very high as a result.
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Re: Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby SkylineCoach » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:03 pm

And I saw just the opposite in an 11B game on Sunday. The refs were so completely overprotective that any stick check which caused the ballcarrier's arm to move at all was called a 1-minute "Illegal body check" even when no body contact had been made at all. Not one incident - 6 or 8 times during the game, and called on both teams. Every time a kid fell down, someone nearby was called for a push, trip, or even another illegal body check. Sometimes kids just fall! Its not always a penalty.

Partially, I could see they were protecting one of the teams, a team without a win yet and who's roster is full of kids definitely on the small side of U11. They almost looked like U9 players (do some clubs just play U9 kids at U11 because they prefer the 10 v 10, full-field format?) And I saw what they were doing, didn't make a peep about the calls. But it is pretty hard to coach consistently when the refereeing is so inconsistent. You can't teach kids for 2 months to check gloves, only to have them called on it because they made someone's gloves move when they checked them.

The inconsistency within the vast U11B division is also pretty frightening. My team is average. Some wins, some losses. About even thirds between beginners, last year's U9 players, and some U11 2nd years. But we've had blowout wins (10-1, 10-3) and blowout losses (9-1, 12-5). I would honestly be concerned for safety if one of the teams we beat had to play one of the teams we lost to. It would really look like a U9 vs U13 game. But they're both in 11B, so it might happen. The refs would definitely have to call a tight game - but that doesn't help the better team, either, because those players won't learn anything and their coaches won't be able to prepare. Once you've taught kids how to play, you can't just change the rules for a game here & there and expect the kids to understand.
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Re: Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby SNMALAX » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:55 pm

Hey Coach :) ,
In order to make a difference, you and folks like you need to get involved in reffing. The only way that we can improve what's wrong with the game in the Bay Area is to take control of the problem and do something about it. Whether i'ts coaching, reffing, or administration, every single one of us involved in the game need to step up and do something about what needs to be changed.
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Re: Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby tioem » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:14 pm

I am a U9 coach this year, and we have faced a couple clubs that are obviously teaching body checks. I have a lot of really aggressive kids on my team, but out of 20+ kids, only one throws the occasional body check, and that's because he has an older brother who taught him how.

At U9, 99% of a kid's focus is on ball, so it becomes VERY apparent that checks are being taught when seeing little pikers out there headhunting. I don't know about other coaches, but I definitely don't want to be responsible for a kid getting hurt because I wasn't following the rules.

U9 games this year are officiated by coaches, so, if the coaches are not on the same page with regards to the rules, it send a pretty muddied message to the players.
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Re: Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby backdoor » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:41 pm

I had the opportunity to ref our U11 7v7 games this past weekend. I thought the kids for the most part played under control and respected the rules. The coaches were easy to work with and great about teaching the game and helping to make sure the kids were under control and safe. I was a little conflicted, being a high school coach, when it came to letting them play through technical fouls, like offsides, or moving early on a face off, but with explanations as the kids played, they learned and it was was fun.

I felt there could have been more body play, not body checking, but two hand pushes or equal pressure from defenders when a player would drive. The defenders tended to always check the head of the stick instead of lift checks or pushing on the hips. The offensive players weren't used to looking for the extra pass and a few really good players simply ran through several players scoring easily. Not sure what the attitude is about this. I allowed kids that used good push techniques to push other kids over as long as they weren't leading with their shoulders.

This was my first time watching this age and I thought it was a blast. Loved the attitudes of the players, coaches and parents and I was genuinely surprised at what these little guys can do.
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Re: Body Checking at U11, U13, & U15

Postby BLCJoe » Tue May 18, 2010 11:02 am

I have to say after a rough season in the U13 B1 level I found myself pondering over this the other day.

The U13 level seems in an unfortunate place stuck right in the middle of the non contact U11s, and the nearly full contact U15s. I, as a coach, was stuck roughly in the same place, this having been my first year as a U13 coach after assisting at the U11 level.

The calls this season regarding contact were sketchy at best. I'm never one to argue with a ref, and I would never do it in a game save for the random "Aww come on!", but I was baffled when shoulder to shoulder contact was called Unnecessary Roughness, or, even more awkwardly, Cross Checking.

Many B1 teams especially those in small clubs, have players that run the range from A quality to fresh on the field. The more experienced players tend to make attempts at wrap checks, and the body contact can get rather rough at times, while the newer players can often be more reserved.

My question is, how do you coach the kids to follow the rulebook and make only bump contact and consistent pressure when some teams are delicate, and others play prison yard style and outsize your guys by a foot and 40lbs? I think there needs to be an agreed upon consensus especially in the U13 age group and, if necessary, it needs to be split up amongst Play levels too, where A, B1, and B2 all have specific contact levels. The rules are far too arbitrary right now, and it can get rather difficult to coach at times.
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