2017 Proposed NCAA Rule Change and its Impact on Goalies | Lax Goalie Rat

2017 Proposed NCAA Rule Change and its Impact on Goalies


The NCAA rules committee released their list of experimental rule changes that they’ll try out during Fall Ball of the 2017 season.

The rule committee is always looking for ways to keep the game fast and exciting and to that effect there are a handful of proposed rule changes for the 2017 season.

No proposed change will impact the position of goalie quite like this one:

Two-point goals. This experimental rule awards two points if a team scores within 30 seconds of gaining possession. After 30 seconds have elapsed, normal rules will apply. If a team calls a timeout, the offensive team shall not be awarded two points. This experimentation includes a variety of timing options (visible shot clock, etc.).

How will this proposed rule change impact the goalies? Let’s take a look.

Emphasizes the Importance of Clearing

Leading the clear has always been an important part of a goalie’s game.

But with this proposed rule change the stakes for an unsuccessful clear just doubled.

If the attack regains possession from a botched clear and scores within 30 seconds the goal would be worth 2 points, not 1.

Under this experimental rule this play from the NCAA 2016 championship game would have given Maryland two points instead of just one.

We should be putting lots of emphasis on successful clears anyways but now I would encourage goalies to focus even more on clears.

Put in extra work on stick handling, wall ball with a short stick, and on practicing your outlet passes.

Emphasizing clears is not just about preventing the 2 point goal, it’s also about creating them for your own team.

A goalie who can deliver a dime of an outlet pass to a streaking middie not only prevents a 2 point goal against your team but can help start 2 point opportunity for your own team.

Rule Changes

Conditioning Must Be Better

The MLL plays with a shot clock of 60 seconds on every possession.

Goalies making the transition from the NCAA level to the MLL often comment that their conditioning needs to be higher at this level due to the number of shots you see.

If this 2017 proposed rule ends up making it into the official rules (which I doubt), NCAA and MCLA goalies will face more shots.

Therefore your conditioning will need to be better.

The goalie should be one of the better athletes on the team and should also be in good shape. Because as soon as your body gets tired, your mind gets tired.

And successful lacrosse goalies know they must have a strong body and mind to excel in this position.

Emphasizes Defending Fast Breaks

With this proposed rule it makes sense that we’ll see a lot of teams push fast breaks and attempt to score. Whereas without the rule teams might be more likely to pull up and enjoy a long possession.

Therefore goalies and team defenses will need to be adversed in handling the 4 on 3 fast break and even an unsettled 5 on 4, or 6 on 5 break.

First study up on the theory of lacrosse fast defense and then work on it during practice.

The key for goalies is to successfully defending a fast break is the following:

  1. Setup your defense before the situation happens. Identify who will take point on the break, who has got back left, who has got back right in the triangle.
  2. Identify a fast break is happening and alert your defense “Fast Break”.
  3. Give a loud “Hold” or “Go” call to communicate when the defense triangle should rotate.
  4. Make the save and start your own fast break.

Here is Coach Rienzo from BTB Lax describing how to play fast break defense:


Whether this new 2-point rule ends up in the official rules remains to be seen.

It’s definitely a creative approach to attempt to speed up the game and encourage scoring however I think its a little too extreme and ultimately won’t be approved. My guess is that the NCAA ends up adopting the MLL’s two point goal arc.

But that doesn’t mean as goalies we can’t prepare for this new rule and new style of play.

If this rule is approved it puts extra emphasis on the following areas of a goalie’s game:

  • Their clears
  • Their condition
  • Their fast-break play

So as you’re training your goalie be sure to cover these 3 particular areas to be ready for this proposed rule change of 2017.

Until next time! Coach Damon

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2 thoughts on “2017 Proposed NCAA Rule Change and its Impact on Goalies

  1. Hi Coach Damon! After reading this, I was wondering if this new rule applies to both, the women’s and men’s game, or only the men’s game only. Thank you!

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