Stylin Strings

Stylin’ Strings Influences RULES CHANGES: NCAA 2013

As many of you know, we make the sticks for The University of Virginia Men’s Lacrosse Team. The rule changes proposed by the NCAA rule committee made sending out the incoming Freshman Wahoos’ sticks a headache. The most dramatic proposed rule change was the shooting string restrictions.

With the rules changed now, prior we gathered as many interpretations as we could. So many industry experts seemed to be saying so many various things that we decided to use some of our contacts and try to reach the source. Jon Hind is the Chair of the NCAA Lacrosse Rules Committee. The explanation we received from him and his colleagues matched nothing that we had gathered from the rest of the lacrosse community.

Some of the questions we had for Jon Hind were as follows.

Skaggs: Where is this 3.5 to be measured from? Will it be the top of the plastic of the bottom where plastic meets pocket?

Hind: The 3.5 inches will be measured from the top of the plastic.

Skaggs: So if a head has a scoop with a steep arch does one measure from the highest point and then move down 3.5 inches?

Hind: No, the measurement of 3.5 inches travels with the curve of the scoop.

Skaggs: So what you are saying is that the shape of the scoop will be identical to the bottom limitation of the shooting strings? We could in essence just pull that same shape down by 3.5 inches from the top of the plastic?

Hind: Yes that is correct.

So with this in mind we made up a diagram. The first image shows the proposed legal area for the shooting strings. The second image shows the most plausible placement for shooters within these regulations.

So there you have it. This image was presented to Jon and he clarified that that is in fact the proposed rule, and the ramifications of this rule results in two shooting strings.

Here is the kicker. The rules committee was not trying to limit players to two shooters, far from it. Jon did not see that this proposed rule would eliminate the third shooting string. The intention of the rule was to minimize the hold that players attained from U shooters. Even a low straight shooter can allow for a level of hold that they feel is a detriment to the game. All opinions aside, the NCAA Rules Committee is concerned with the avoidance of someone having what they consider to be an unfair amount of hold not with eliminating the third bottom shooter or making some new chapter in pockets by forcing players to use something completely foreign.

Once Jon Hind saw our image our conversation changed. It changed from asking him questions to him asking us questions. He was legitimately interested. Many of us like to think that the people who make the rules are isolated from the game and indifferent to the affects their decisions have. This is not the case with Jon Hind. Our conversation went as follows.

Hind: Would this be an issue as far as you are concerned?

Skaggs: Yes the limitations of the pocket would severely hinder the players game

Hind: So what would only having two shooters do? How would it affect the players?

Skaggs: If a player used a low pocket, once the fibers softened and the materials wore down, the two shooters would act like a brick wall. Players with high pockets would no longer be able to nestle the ball against the bottom shooter. Traditional stringing’s would need constant adjustment as the natural fibers began to stretch under the second shooter because of how high it is.

Also, the players have never used a stick that would meet the regulations. Everyone has used a three straight, weather it is theirs or a friends, but they will have to adjust their whole game. Granted, most of them will be skilled enough to do this.

Hind: What would you suggest now that you know what it is we are trying to achieve?

And on it went back and forth. Jon Hind, and the rest of the NCAA Rule Committee’s opinions were surprisingly open. After a long discussion Justin wrote up a few proposed ideas for him to maul over. We had proposed an additional inch to 4.5 inches from the original 3.5 inch mark. The NCAA has ruled on 4 inches from the scoop. You can see this in the image above. Stay tuned for our release of the NCAA legal pockets we will be offering to UVA players and on our website this season.

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