Parents and Spectators . . . this is a really nice video explaining some of the reasons that players get called for personal fouls for illegal body checks
There are few things that cause a fan to yell out from the stands incorrectly more than how personal fouls and illegal body checks are called on the field and most of the time it comes from not knowing how the referees are interpreting contact and applying the rules.
I constantly hear complaints in the stands about ‘let them play’, ‘it’s a contact sport’, etc. True, but there are lines that can not be crossed, no matter how physical a game is. Just look at the NFL today and the recent rule changes concerning ‘targeting’ receivers has evolved. In years past it was common for a receiver to go over the middle and get laid out by a defender that was solely looking to hurt someone than play the ball. A similar rule was instituting concerning leading with the helmet, how the quarterback is treated and on the chop block when another player was blocking the defensive player. All of these were put in place to take away the gratuitous attempts to injure someone.
In lacrosse there are similar rules now in place, put in over the last few years in some cases. Yet spectators seem too think at times that high school lacrosse should be called in a similar way to the NFL 10 years ago. Over the last couple of years the NFHS and US Lacrosse have evolved some of the contact rules to make the game safer and those changes tend to be the ones that spectators understand the least.
The first section of this video explains how distance plays into a call. Once the ball is more than 5 yards away from the player HE CAN NOT BE HIT. That’s one most spectators don’t understand.
The second section of this video explains how a late hit gets called after a goal is scored and while it is somewhat of a judgment call I can certainly say that most spectators would NOT have seen this play as a penalty. Listen to the explanation in the video as to why.
The third section explains the issue of when a player is ON THE GROUND, even if he is playing the ball, he CAN NOT BE HIT with a body check. Automatic penalty. That was also a point of emphasis during faceoffs, when sometimes a FOGO was clobbered while he was still engaged in the scrum. Note that the body check that knocked the ball carrier down was legal and called that way. Sometimes, while watching in the stands, you will see this sequence and think the first body check was the one called, but it wasn’t.
When watching, be patient until you hear/see the ref’s call. And remember that the most important thing a high school/youth/etc. referee has in the back of their mind is SAFETY of the players involved!