US Lacrosse is attempting to send a consistent message regarding checking to youth players. It is the hope of the Rules Committee that mandating no full checking will allow the beginning player to work on the basic fundamentals of the game – passing, catching, footwork, proper positioning, and marking – before they are introduced to the more advanced skill of stick checking.
Once players have mastered the basic fundamentals, programs will want to introduce modified stick checking. Players on 5th through 8th grade teams will be allowed to use modified checking as an intermediate step towards full checking. Modified checking is defined as checking the stick if it is below shoulder level, using a downward motion away from the other player’s body. Use of modified checking will allow the older youth player to learn proper checking skills, while at the same time encouraging good cradling and stick handling skills for the attack player. Umpires and coaches should strictly enforce this rule, never allowing checks near a player’s head or face.
It should be noted that stick-to-stick contact is not necessarily a violation of the no checking/modified checking rule. A defender who is holding her stick in good defensive position may force the attack player to cradle into her stick causing contact. This is not considered a stick check, as the attack player initiated the contact, not the defender. A similar situation would exist when the defender puts her stick up in an attempt to block or intercept a pass and the attacker makes contact while in the act of passing or catching the ball.
Please note that it will be left to individual school districts, counties, and leagues to determine appropriate grade/age level groupings. For summer leagues and tournaments, 8th graders may be considered rising 9th graders as of June 1.