Four Goal Rule - Useful or Not?

Re: Four Goal Rule - Useful or Not?

Postby picknroll » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:56 pm

Thanks ZLaxMom. Bella Vista was school that I was trying to remember! Bummer that they stopped wearing those shorts :( Those were cool. I guess I am dating myself :)
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Re: Four Goal Rule - Useful or Not?

Postby Drive'nDump » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:17 pm

SkylineCoach wrote:The 4-goal rule was briefly discussed at the NCJLA meeting last night. Some were in favor of eliminating it, others like it as-is, others think 6 goals is a better differential. My suggestion was that it remain 4 for all B divisions, and be eliminated for A divisions.

But at least its on the radar...


Glad to hear there is discussion about this rule at the NCJLA meetings. The Four Goal rule is one way of dealing with games where the score gets out of hand, which IMHO is an important issue to address. Our team has a different way to successfully slow down the scoring that does not penalize the players for performing well. First, we (our coaches) underscore the importance of modeling good sportsmanship if we are blowing out a team, then we challenge them to take this opportunity to improve their weak hand skills. Our rule is simple, whenever our team takes a commanding lead, around six or seven goal lead, we require all players on the field (who have already scored a goal this season) to shoot with their weak hand. If a player ignores this rule he is benched immediately. If he follows this rule, he is encouraged to keep scoring as best he can. At the youth level the scoring rate drops immediately. If your team is highly skilled then insist that both shooting and feeding be done with the weak hand. The kids really get into the challenge of off hand scoring and one other nice thing about this approach is that fast breaking can still be part of the game.
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Seven Step Plan to Stop Getting Blown Out

Postby picknroll » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:24 am

If you are getting blown out here's the steps that I would recommend. Some are tactical "quick hit" things while others are long-term which may require some cultural changes (culture = "the way we do things around here") that take time.

1. Put Good Players on Defense
This seems obvious, but I have seen teams where it looks like they filled all the attack and middie positions and then put whomever was left on D. If you do this the result will probably be that the opponent scores a lot of goals. Take a more balanced approach. Of your top 4 guys one should be a defender, one a middie, one an attack, and one the goalie. Keep going like that through your whole roster. You may have to deal with the dad that wants the star player to score goals and is unhappy about his kid on D, but those concerns go away pretty quickly if your team improves. Players and parents become savvy pretty quickly and appreciate the value of good defensive players. Reward your defenders. Make it cool to be a D guy or the goalie. I've seen teams with 3 stud attack players that never get the ball because the middie and D are weak. If you are guilty of that go turn your attack players into middies today. Now you've got three studs that can go back and help you on D! Having good players on defense is the quickest way to eliminate blowouts.

2. Install a Backer Zone
The NBA bans zone defenses for a reason - they are effective in reducing scoring. If you are having trouble stopping other teams from scoring play zone. There's a great DVD from Jack Kaley on the backer zone. Most settled 6v6 goals in youth lacrosse are scored because of poor offball defense - missing or slow slides. The backer zone will get players in position for help support if you are getting beat off the dodge. This will force the opponent to move the ball instead of just beating your 1v1. The nice thing about a backer zone is that it allows you to pressure the ball while playing zone offball. Also it's a good building block for an agressive crease sliding man defense as many of the principles are the same. It gets your players used to sagging offball and protecting the crease. The backer zone is pretty simple to install. You could do it in two practices.

3. Develop a Face Off Guy
Teams often just send a middie out to face off without much instruction or practice. The face off is the most individual part of lacrosse. Before the wing guys arrive it is a 1v1 contest so you all you need is to develop one guy into a great face off player to make a big impact for your team. There is a great DVD from Paul Cantebene on face offs. Some of the same material is also in a Youtube video. The DVD has technique and drills. Find someone to be your face off coach. They don't even need to know much about lacrosse since face offs are such a specialized thing. Find someone that can enthusiastically follow the advice from the Cantebene DVD. Set aside 15-20 minutes every practice for your face off coach to work with 2 pairs of players. If one of these players emerges as an outstanding face off guy send him out on every single face off as a FOGO. Winning a face off is better than getting a free clear because your team is getting the ball in an unsettled situation that can be advantegeous to scoring goals. Go watch an SRV HS game if you want a demostration of that advantage. Almost every team has a stud middie. Winning face offs is mostly an investment of time in practicing face off with proper technique. I often see face off guys out there that don't look like they have practiced face offs at all. Instead of taking a free face off make it a mission to win every face off. This is actually one of the easiest areas to win. You only need one great guy and a little practice.

4. Create a Competitive Environment in Practice
Blowouts can occur between two teams similar in talent because one team lacks game intensity. You'll see one team really getting after it and the other sort of passive. Sometimes you can even watch the pregame warmups and predict the outcome of the game by the type of drills that are going on. If a team is out running game situation drills with high intensity then they are probably going to perform well in the game. If there's a bunch of guys mulling around without much focus then it's hard to expect much more once the game starts. "Play like you practice" is a cliche, but it is true. If you can not simulate a competitive game environment in practice then it's going to be very hard to become competitive in the game. This is especially true at younger ages. Create competitions within your practice to simply practice competing. Here's one that I loved when I coached U11. Put 5 balls and 5 players behind each goal in "teams". Give each team the goal of getting all five balls in the opposite goal (one ball at a time). Every player has to touch every ball and no player can carry the ball more than two steps. Any time a ball hits the ground it must return back to it's starting point behind the goal. The ball has to move from one end of the field into the other goal without hitting the ground to "score". First team to get all five balls in the opposing goal "wins". The kids absolutely LOVED running this drill and would beg to run it and the practice intensity would crank way up (in a fun way). Don't spend your practice standing around running boring drills all the time. Find ways to turn practice into a competition so that your players learn to compete come game time. That doesn't just mean a lot of yelling either. Competition is fun for kids.

5. Agressively Recruit Top Athletes in Your Community
Because of the relatively small number of lacrosse players, there is probably 5 great middie prospects in your town for every one that you've got on the field. There's a networking effect in recruiting. The star athlete is usually friends with other star athletes. Get one of those guys playing lacrosse and you might get lucky had have 3 or 4 of his friends show up. If you are being blown out of games because you lack athletes then go find them. I guarantee that they are in your town (any town). When my kids were younger I used to send a lacrosse stick as a present to every birthday party that they attended. I got some good returns on those birthday sticks. Get the game out there and promote it in your community. It's a beautiful sport. Once you get a stick in a kids hands they will get hooked.

6. Provide Offseason Opportunities for your Kids to Play
If your kids put down their stick in May and come back in February, your chances of being blown out in a game goes way up. I'll tell you now that the competition is not taking the offseason off. There's more offseason opportunities than ever now with camps, indoor leagues, travel teams, etc. A lot of that is expensive fancy stuff, but you can also provide offseason opporutnities at low cost right at home. Get a field for Saturday mornings in the summer and run pick up games. This can be really fun for the kids and you'll see big improvements. The unstructured environment of a pickup game allows them to figure out the game without a coach trying to explain it to them. That is really important actually. Also use summer pickup games as a recruiting opportunity. Get new recruits out trying lacrosse in the summer while those no conflicts with other sports. Almost every year that I've coached we have been able to develop at least 1 or 2 A level new players over the summer.

7. Get Help in Educating Coaches
Everyone has the same challenges around finding competent coaches. We would love to staff every team with a former DI player (or even a former HS player), but there's not enough of them to go around. We still need to teach willing people how to coach lacrosse. Fortunately we have many great resources in our area that can help with coaches education for reasonable fees. Most college coaches in the area love to come out and help train youth coaches. All you really have to do is pick up the phone and ask. Kudda and DVDs and such are wonderful but there is nothing like bringing in a real expert for a session and picking his brain. We've done both classroom and onfield sessions from numerous coaches. We try to do five or six offseason training sessions per year with external coaches. It makes a big difference.
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Re: Four Goal Rule - Useful or Not?

Postby WestCoastLax » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:54 pm

In under-15 A play, the four goal rule is pathetic. We have been on both sides of the rule this year. When we are down by more than four, WE FACEOFF, plain and simple. I think it has a place the younger ages and perhaps at the B level, but U-15 A -- really? What next year when they are in high school? How long do we keep them in a little plastic bubble. Step up and be accountable. This is the top youth lacrosse league in Northern California and sometimes there are lessons which come with it. Work more on your defense - work more on your faceoffs. If you want a goal rule, make it 8-10 at least. Four is nothing. In reality, you're penalizing the defense on the good team for being strong. I am guessing many people who believe in the four-goal rule for A teams, still give out snacks after the games. I apologize for being harsh here, but I think it sends the wrong message to a majority of kids who are getting ready to head off the high school. So please accept my apologies for being so blunt, but I think it's the time the kids understand the real world - and as I have said, we have been on both sides of it.

Thanks all and good luck to everyone the rest of the way out.
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Re: Seven Step Plan to Stop Getting Blown Out

Postby Drive'nDump » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:05 pm

picknroll wrote:If you are getting blown out here's the steps that I would recommend. Some are tactical "quick hit" things while others are long-term which may require some cultural changes (culture = "the way we do things around here") that take time.



These are great suggestions and thanks for taking the time to lay them out for everyone's benefit.
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Re: Four Goal Rule - Useful or Not?

Postby Drive'nDump » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:42 pm

WestCoastLax wrote:In under-15 A play, the four goal rule is pathetic. We have been on both sides of the rule this year. When we are down by more than four, WE FACEOFF, plain and simple. I think it has a place the younger ages and perhaps at the B level, but U-15 A -- really? What next year when they are in high school? How long do we keep them in a little plastic bubble. Step up and be accountable. This is the top youth lacrosse league in Northern California and sometimes there are lessons which come with it. Work more on your defense - work more on your faceoffs. If you want a goal rule, make it 8-10 at least. Four is nothing. In reality, you're penalizing the defense on the good team for being strong. I am guessing many people who believe in the four-goal rule for A teams, still give out snacks after the games. I apologize for being harsh here, but I think it sends the wrong message to a majority of kids who are getting ready to head off the high school. So please accept my apologies for being so blunt, but I think it's the time the kids understand the real world - and as I have said, we have been on both sides of it.

Thanks all and good luck to everyone the rest of the way out.


I agree with much of what you say here but this is only half the message to communicate to kids AND coaches. Yes, the rule should be higher like 6-8 goals. Yes, kids should learn to fight hard to keep or gain the lead, learn from their mistakes and not expect gimmes but they should also be expected to understand and practice good sportsmanship, and shaking hands at the end of the game is NOT enough.

If you (and I don't mean WestCoastLax, I mean any coach) are dominating a team then use that opportunity to work on your players weak hand for passing and shooting. Take out your best face-off middies and develop the weaker ones. And tell your kids that they need to make some number of passes before they can shoot. Do this in the spirit of good sportsmanship.

Don't move your star middie to D and then let him run the length of the field to score with a long pole. Don't move your huge defenseman to center middie and have him bulldoze to another fast break and goal. Don't mob your goalie at the end of a blowout game, save that for the tough games you win. And don't let your NorCal All Star jack an opposing (and much smaller) middie when you are up by 10 goals at the half. I have seen all these behaviors from coaches and players and it amazes me each time I see it. On ocassion I will talk to a coach about it after the game and usually the sportsmanship issue never occurred to them but they get it after the fact. If the league can be more proactive about instilling sportsmanship, it would be great for the league, the kids, the coaches and the west coast game. But why wait for the league, why don't we just step up and take ownership of improving our sportsmanship ourselves, just like we expect taking ownership of improving our skills.
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Re: Four Goal Rule - Useful or Not?

Postby Bay Area Lax » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:26 am

For what it's worth, I think, if you are the team that is winning by 10 points or more, you as the coach should start to play your second and third string guys and take your starters out. If you really are the power house team, this will benefit you in the end. The more game time your other lines get, the more game experience they earn. And if you know you are going to the playoffs then you will have the depth you need to rally in those games. I have seen a few blow out games from some specific clubs and I have yet to see those head coaches pull their starters. I would ask when you are up by 10 points or more, what kind of message are you sending to the players and parents by devastating the opposing team? I thought there was a reason the NCJLA made it mandatory to complete PCA training?

Don't get me wrong, I want this league to be competitive, but this isn't only about U15A, there are teams at every level getting blown out, but are all the coaches on the same level about the impact they are creating when running up the score? If you are U11 and your team is getting mopped up every week, why would you want to keep playing lacrosse? You end up having dads and coaches spending more time trying to raise spirits of players than teach lacrosse.

And about this whole 4 goal rule. I don't see the purpose with it at 15A if it is not a rule in HS. Additionally, as kids are coming through the ranks, how does it help them playing at B one year and then they move up to A only to not have a rule that could potentially impact their playing. Who's to say that this rule isn't crippling some players and teams from becoming truly competitive?

I heard a quote this year that pretty much changed my whole thinking: "If you want twice the results, you have to put in four times the work." Those clubs that are coming up have got to work harder, and those clubs that are at the top should look at their impact on the game. It's not just about undefeated seasons and championships, but genuinely raising the level of lacrosse as a collective in Northern California. I applaud those teams in the A divisions that may not be Diablo or the Firehawks, but at least they are challenging themselves to get better every year. I think the 4 goal rule should be removed at all levels, it helps no one push themselves harder.
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Re: Four Goal Rule - Useful or Not?

Postby bigwayne » Sat May 15, 2010 4:36 pm

Had the 4 goal rule used against us in the playoffs today. Ref even had the printed rules but was
unclear on this being a playoff game today. ](*,)
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No change for 4 goal rule for 2011

Postby PLCFan » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:16 pm

Just took look of the rules for 2011

http://www.ncjla.org/Page.asp?n=35496&s ... =ncjla.org

2011 Rules adoptions (boys)
http://files.leagueathletics.com/Text/D ... /16278.pdf

Looks like they are keeping the Four Goal Rule for 2011 for all divisions.

13. Face Off (Rule 4, Section 3 pg. 90) - At any point during a regular season game there is a four point lead, the
team that is behind will be given the ball at the midfield line in lieu of a face-off as long as the four-point lead is
maintained, unless waived by the coach of the trailing team.
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Re: Four Goal Rule - Useful or Not?

Postby lamo lax » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:10 am

The four goal rule should be by ref discretion
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