Lacrosse Shot Clock Rules

There have been multiple rules changes made to the game of lacrosse over the last couple of years. Partly because lacrosse has become more mainstream and popular than ever, and these are the crucial steps to make the game more exciting to watch and play. In this post, we will learn about the most recent lacrosse shot clock rule changes and how it impacts the game and you as a player.

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What is a shot clock?

A shot clock in lacrosse is a clock sitting at the scorer’s table on the sideline that tracks how much time the offensive team has remaining in their offensive play. The idea is simple. It’s intended to promote a better game flow and to encourage more switch of ball possessions. 

Lacrosse had this glaring problem where ball possession was too easy to maintain. The lack of an apparent shot clock can give a big advantage to the team that has long possessions. Coupling with repeated faceoff wins, it’s very difficult for the team playing catch up to score. The conversation for a shot clock only intensified after the 2011 national quarterfinal when Syracuse lost 7-6 to Maryland after Maryland won 11 of 14 faceoffs and was called for stalling 10 times. 

Needless to say, after many years of flirting with the idea of having a shot clock, it finally made its way into the collegiate level lacrosse. To rebalance the dynamics, a shot clock has found its benefit and advantage.

What are the new shot clock rules?

Beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, a team has 60 seconds reset when the offensive team retains possession after taking a valid shot. Furthermore, instead of the old 30 seconds getting the ball all the way into the restraining box, a team now has 20 seconds to get the ball over the midline after they gain full possession of the ball. 

Taken from the NCAA’s press statement, “The shot clock will not reset during flag down, slow whistle scenarios. Once adjudicated, the shot clock will reset to 60 seconds after loose-ball technical fouls in the offensive half of the field. If a foul is committed and the clock is above 60 seconds, the shot clock will be reset to 80 seconds. “

After possession is earned on a faceoff, once the player crosses the midline, they will have a 60-second shot clock that starts if they pass to another player in the offensive half. If the player decides not to pass the ball over the midline, the shot clock will start after they reach the box. 

Watch this clip below for a video from ECD that shares his opinion on new shot clock rules:

What should you expect from the changes as a player?

From introducing to implementing a rule change, the committee tested it out in other leagues, tournaments and levels and surveyed collegiate coaches to ensure this is the right move. The positive feedback suggests a new shot clock rule will promote more fluid offense and remove subjectivity from officials. It also took into account the trend toward the increased focus surrounding offense and pace across many sports. 

As an offensive player, this means you would need to be more methodical and determined with your passing. Stalling and dragging will become less and less popular. Rather you should utilize running and sprinting to create room in between the defense line. The game will be faster so be prepared to hustle. 

Make sure to incorporate the new shot clock rules in your daily practice so that you get used to the faster pace. Based on the collegiate game I watched thus far, it’s definitely more fun and exciting for both players to play and fans to watch.

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Adrian James
I am Adrian from Florida. After playing lacrosse for 15 years, I decided to start this website to share my journey and knowledge to help people get better at lacrosse.

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