New Official Lacrosse Balls for 2014


There has been quite a bit of discussion among the coaches in Section V about the rule changes for 2014. They are many and there are a number of significant changes.

Ball markingOne that has drawn quite a bit of attention relates to new specifications for the ball used in games. In the past, under Rule 1-Section 5, balls were required to be stamped with a mark indicating they it was Federation (NFHG) approved. The National Federation of High Schools provide the rules used by New York State teams.

This year the balls must be stamped "Meets NOCSAE standards. NFHS". The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment has long provided the standards for official lacrosse balls. They specify the size, weight and density among other standards.

Although it was announced last year, the requirement to have stamped NOCSAE balls came as a surprise to many school districts, who may have purchased noncompliant balls through New York State bids. Thankfully, many vendor are helping to replace or "swap out" non compliant ones for approved ones. There has been a great deal of scrambling since the announcement, and the question being asked is, "Why now? Why so soon?"Ball Bounce

The answer is both compelling and understandable. The Rules Committee, which meets each summer, was presented with strong research evidence showing that, among other things, the density and compression of random lacrosse balls vary greatly. Some balls are "as hard as concrete", and others "bounce over the moon". The compression standard for approved NOCSAE lacrosse balls are designed for safe ball and other equipment (like helmets and pads) are designed around the standard.

The NOCSAE standards are very specific, but in the past, there was no enforcement for dealing with balls that were hard enough to crack a helmet (or perhaps a rib).

The new rule requires that games are played with lacrosse balls that bounce (and compress) at a rate that allows protective equipment to do their job.

With the great growth of the sport (at all levels) there can be no doubt that playing with an appropriate and safe ball is a no-brainer.

Links to more information:

Frequently asked Questions   -   Ball Standards   -   2005 research data   -   USLacrosse Article