New Women’s NFHS 2022 Lacrosse Rules and Goalies
About a month ago the women’s high school lacrosse rules panel came together with a bunch of rules changes that will go into effect for the 2022 season.
The changes have been approved by the board of directors for both the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and for USA Lacrosse. Here is the full list of changes.
There are 19 rule changes in total and most have to do with improving the flow of the women’s game.
The idea is to create fewer stoppages of play while still maintaining the safety and integrity of the women’s game.
I’m all for it. Every time I watch a women’s game the sheer number of whistles and stoppages is surprising to me.
In this post we’ll have a look at the rules which specifically impact the goalies, and there are quite a few.
Women’s Lacrosse Rule Changes that Impact Goalies
Here are the rule changes which specifically impact us goalies.
Shin Padding Now Optional
- Under Rule 2-6-1a, goalkeepers are no longer required to wear shin protectors. This equipment is still recommended for goalkeepers, but with no injury data and no safety standard in place, the committee opted to align with both the collegiate rule and the boys’ rules. Goalkeepers still have the option to wear shin protection with padding up to one inch in thickness.
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you’ll know that I am 100% for young goalies getting padded up.
That said, if a goalie feels more comfortable without the padding (especially during game days), I’m fine with them not wearing it.
So I’m actually good with this rule which turns the padding from “required” to “optional”.
There’s no reason the women’s game should have different rules than the men’s game on this one.
If you want to wear the padding – and I recommend you do – wear it. If you don’t want to wear the padding, don’t. Simple as that.
Many female goalies who I’ve spoken to never wore shin padding anyways. Even if it was required by rule, the rule wasn’t very well enforced and only on a few occasions would an official make the goalie throw on the shin guards.
Again, I think that lacrosse goalies should wear padding but I don’t think you’re going to get mass adoption by making it “required” via the rules. To me, the answer is better designed padding that’s functional but also looks cool.
But until there is very well designed lacrosse goalie leg protection I like this rule change making it optional for women to wear the leg padding if they want.
What is odd about this rule change is that female goalies are still required to wearing padded thigh pants. This rule change is only about shin guards.
If you’re going to make shin protection optional, why not make the thigh protection optional as well? That is aligned with both the collegiate rule and the boys’ rules.
Allowance to Wear Tinted Eyeglasses
- A change to Rule 2-6-1 also details a new equipment option for goalkeepers – the allowance to wear tinted eyeglasses under a non-rigid helmet eye shield.
I’m not sure I 100% understand this rule change. Under the current rules eyeglasses were not permitted under the helmet?
Or was it just “tinted” eyeglasses?
Anyways now if you want to wear tinted eyeglasses under your helmet, by rule you can.
As a goalie who wore contacts for a vision issue, this is a good thing.
A lot of lax goalie Moms/Dads ask for recommendations about glasses.
If you’re in the market for Rec Specs, these ones come highly recommended from a lot of parents – Optics Outfitter Rec Specs
In addition to the prescription and scratch protection, you can get light-responsive lenses which tint in the sun.
And now according to this rule change, that is legal for goalies.
Goalies Can Get GB’s with One Foot Out of Crease
- Within Rule 7-2-1, a goalkeeper only needs to keep one foot inside the goal circle in order to reach out her crosse and bring the ball back inside the goal circle. Previously, the goalkeeper could not execute this move with any part of her body grounded outside the goal circle.
I hate when they are differences in the rules for goalies in the men’s and women’s game. (Hello rules committee, please allow women goalies to score goals).
And while I’m on that topic, can we just start calling it a “crease” for all games? I refuse to write the word “goal circle”.
Even though I’ve worked with a lot of female goalies I never coached women’s lacrosse so sometimes these rules sneak up on me as I just assumed it was the same as the men’s game.
In the men’s game, as long as you had one foot in the crease, you’re in the crease.
In the women’s game, if you had one foot outside the crease you could not scoop a loose ball outside the crease.
This rule changes that. So once put into effect, the technique of keeping a single foot in the crease and scooping a GB around the crease is in full effect and highly encouraged for those female goalies.
I love this rule change as goalies can flash more of their athleticism to win loose balls for their team while remaining protected by the crease.
False Start Penalty Changes
- Rule 10-1 PENALTIES was modified to change the penalty assessment of a false start penalty committed by the goalkeeper or her deputy in the goal circle. PENALTY 5 of the rule now states that the goalie or her deputy may remain in the goal circle for a free position and no defensive player is placed behind the player taking the free position.
What is a goalie’s deputy? Should I have a deputy? Sounds pretty cool.
Ok so I researched the term –
DEPUTY is a player on the defensive goalkeeper’s team who may only enter or remain in the goal circle when her team is in possession of the ball and the goalkeeper is out of the goal circle.
In the men’s game, that just sounds like a brave defenseman who jumps into the goal to wear one in a chaotic situation. So I guess I had deputies after all.
Anyway this rule change switches what happens if a goalie false starts, which is probably pretty rare given that proper goalie technique is to be “set” in your stance.
Before they had to leave the crease, essentially giving the opposition a free goal. Now they can stay and defend the net. That’s good.
Goalkeeper Allowed to Return to the Crease
- 5-5-3, 5-5-3b(1) & (2) – Allows the goalkeeper to return to goal circle unless the goalkeeper committed the foul, eliminating the advantage to the opponent with free movement if the goalkeeper is required to stay out when closest to the incident.
In the women’s game there seemed to be a lot of rules which really discourage the goalie from leaving the crease.
The rulebook says they “lose all their goalie privileges” which seems pretty threatening.
I love athletic and active goalies. I love seeing a goalie leave the crease to win a possession for their team.
Previously if a goalie was outside of the crease when a foul was committed, they essentially had to stay outside of the crease on the restart, almost ensuring the opposing team gets a free goal.
With this change, assuming the goalie isn’t the one who committed the foul, they’re allowed to return to the crease to protect the goal. I like it.
Restart Possession from the Crease
- 4-3-3d, e, f & g (NEW)– Establishes that when play is restarted for a possession time-out and the goalkeeper has possession of the ball in the goal circle, play will resume from the goal circle and clarifies that if play resumes with a free position it will begin at the spot of the free position.
This is one is more about making the game more fluid and faster.
If the goalie had the ball in the crease and a time out was called, they’re restart not in the crease. Now they restart in the crease.
Shouldn’t change our position all that much.
Quite a few rule changes will go into effect for the women’s high school game starting in 2022.
There are 19 total and in this post we took a look at 6 of those rule changes and how they will impact the female goalies.
Some will impact goalies more than others, but I will say that I am for all of the rule changes.
What rule change do you want for female goalies next?
- Allow female goalies to score goals – they currently can’t as once they leave the crease they’re considered field players and the deep pocket is illegal to score.
- Change references to “goal circle” to just say “crease”. Curious what female goalies think on this one? Do you hate the term goal circle as much as I do?
- Make thigh padding optional. I’m 100% for goalies getting padded up but let’s make it consistent with the men’s game and have it be optional.
Until next time, Coach Damon