New Women's NFHS 2022 Lacrosse Rules and Goalies | Lax Goalie Rat

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?

My ideas:

  • 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

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9 thoughts on “New Women’s NFHS 2022 Lacrosse Rules and Goalies

  1. Now, let’s let the defenders go through the crease. Having them go across the top to defend puts them at a disadvantage, and also puts them in a position to get hit with a pass or shot forced to the crease.
    Let’s also take away the horizontal crosse penalty. Keep both of these consistent with the college game. Less chance of a player being struck in the head if the defender approaches with a horizontal crosse.

      1. 100%. Defenders are at a constant disadvantage which impairs goalies to be as effective as they can. The net result of the current rule is “foul”. Better to come all the way around the crease and purposefully foul then allow a layup. More often than not leaving the goalie to a 1v 1 significant advantage to the shooter. As a result girls/women are being “coached” to foul to prevent that situation (doubters just watch the FF this year). If we are going to continue to allow free possession 8m run-in I would advocate for a 2’ larger diameter crease giving the goalie a fighting chance at making a stick save since the theoretical “wall” does not exist as stick follow through are passing through this “wall” virtually every run-in shot. I’ve spent the vast majority of my career coaching men’s goalies. My daughter decided she wanted to play the position so I studied harder than any exam k-Masters. What I’ve found is a position in dire need of assistance. My daughter will fill in for box and field for the boys 2028 and come out with 2x-3x anoint of saves vs. her own game. Can’t be a skill issue; it’s within the womens game itself.

  2. Should goalies really be scoring? Isn’t that just a vanity goal, instead of passing to a teammate? Couldn’t men’s rules be changed to match women’s, also?

    1. I remember a game my freshmen year against Whittier where in the 3rd quarter our goalie took it the length of the field and scored. It was a momentum changing play. I do think goalies should score if nobody picks them up. And to the 2nd question – yes of course mens rules could change to match women’s where they have a better rule in place.

  3. “Goalies Can Get GB’s With One Foot Out Of Crease” So now a goalie can bring the ball back into the goal circle but can she rake it into her stick outside of the goal circle or is that still a cover? By having one foot planted inside the goal circle, does that mean the goalie maintains the protection of the goal circle and opponents can not check her stick (with the ball in it) while it is outside of the goal circle?

    1. The goalie cannot rake the ball back into the crease, ever, regardless of how many feet she has wherever if there are players around her (she can only rake if no players are there). She always has the protection of the crease but in reality, how long are their legs? It doesn’t give them that much of an advantage. It does however, give her the opportunity to get involved in “protecting” her area, instead of just watching and waiting. Just as a field player would run as soon as she got the ground ball; a goalie would step back into the crease. All that said, I am just a goalie mom of a 16 yr old goalie. Even though she has played in that position since she was 8, I am often told by her that I don’t know what I am talking about (hahaha), so take my comment with a grain of salt.

  4. These rules won’t make the game safer. The girls should have the same rules and gear as the guys. These girls are getting hit in the throat, neck, face, and head with stick checks. The continuous stoppage makes the game unbearable to watch. Let tell our girls that they can play a game just like the boys but we are going to make the game totally different.

  5. Any idea why the tribe7 Fort 7 is not on the approved list of goalie heads for Women’s Lax? Men have used it in the NCAA.

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