High Hits: Old news, New outlook


It’s old news by now, you’ve heard LAS talk about it, you’ve heard 412 talk about it, now I guess you’ll get to hear my two cents on the topic. When we came across the Tennessee highlight video, I went through it like normal to check it out and a very familiar trend surfaced. High hits, pushes in the back, blatant cross-checks, and much more. What’s going on in the MCLA? To be clear, this isn’t just Tennessee, you see it EVERYWHERE, it just seems like now it is becoming more and more prevalent in games nationwide. I know refs are trying to call high hits more and what not but that doesn’t change the fact that these hits are still happening.

Why though? Are refs just calling games tighter? Are we trying to protect players more? Are players just dirtier? If so, why are they dirtier or even just more careless about their checks. Everyone knows it IS possible for people to hit properly, the other 50 penalty-free minutes of most games prove that point exactly. The thousands of hits each year in the NFL prove that point exactly: people CAN HIT properly.

As I’ve fallen more and more into my role as a Coach, I’ve noticed that I have also become more concerned with the general well-being of my players (like any Coach). I would never want to see them have to sit for a season because they were concussed from a high hit or something even worse from a dirty cross check. My roommate and best buddy from high school had his trachea almost collapse because he got cross checked in the throat. I know a lot of these are accidents, but sadly a lot of them aren’t. So where am I going with this?

I feel like to fix the problem, you have to find the root cause of it. To me, the root cause of these penalties lies with how they are coached. I know there are some players that you just can’t fix, James Harrison is proof of that. But if you coach a player to hit properly and get after them for not doing so, they become more aware of how they hit, check, what-have-you and find other ways to get the ball back, i.e. boxing out, being faster than the other guy, lifting their bottom hand while they go for a gb, hitting the brakes so he flies by you, there are so many different ways.

Maybe coaches are becoming just more lax about what goes on during games, but personally if I saw any of the guys I coach even so much as push someone in the back when they are boxed out, I’d get after them. Maybe we just reward huge hits too much with our cheers? Who knows.

Sound off in the comments, I’m curious to hear your responses and what you think. Why is this becoming more and more of an issue? How do we fix it?


    • I’m not blaming the Coaches 100% at all, they def care for their players, but maybe are a little more relaxed as long as things are called in their favor?

      How are refs 100% at blame though? Refs aren’t the ones hitting helmet to helmet, etc.

    • Really? Yeah it’s definitely the refs fault for cultural phenomena prevalent throughout the lax world. Among the high rate of high hits, refs are also responsible for famine, earthquakes, and general hopelessness.

      I award you no points, and we are all dumber for having listened to you. Additional points subtracted for taking the time to create the username “blame the refs!!”

      • so who do we blame. im from the birth place of lacrosse and my team knows how to hit and stick check with proper techniques and the refs in ny call games like a division one. im a parent so if my kid gets knocked out due to a dirty hit and no flags are thrown of course im gonna blame the refs. Players play, coaches coach, refs ref its their job to protect the players and game. No points for you with ya mumbo jumbo bs..

        • You do realize though that if we leave everything up to the ref. Every new trend with how the game is played will be reactionary which is not acceptable in my mind. Yeah I would hate to see a ref miss a call that endangers a player. But even if he makes the correct call it doesn’t turn back time. Sticks don’t kill people the player cross checking a kid to the neck does.

        • Oh if only we were ALL from the birthplace of lacrosse and knew the “right” way to play. And only if ALL refs and parents and players and coaches could all be from the birthplace of lacrosse. Then we’d all live in perfect harmony.

          And then we wouldn’t need LaxAllStars and we wouldn’t need to grow the game and we wouldn’t care when everyone views lacrosse as a preppy meathead sport because people from New York come on message boards and piss testosterone on everything because they are so entitled and self-important and think they know the answer to everything.

          Can I come play on your team? Because on your team we know who to blame and when we get blasted on Jagerbombs after the game we know exactly which guy in the bar to drag into the alley and give the business. That sounds awesome.

    • As a referee, I see more and more high hits, we are calling more and more at the college and HS level. I believe part of the problem is that the players are not taught what is a legal verus illegal body check. You just have to call them early and often and send the message.

    • Boom. It’s a positive feedback cycle where you see whole sidelines whooping and jumping even in just anticipation of a big hit coming. Then of course when the kid goes to the penalty box (that is if he is penalized) he gets pats on the ass and under the breath comments from coaches saying, “Way to bring it kid!”

      Then you get these buffoons making highlight reels featuring penalties and fights. It’s really black-tie classy stuff. To quote 412, “This is as club lax as it gets.”

    • not schools, regions play different styles of lax!! and when you play like that ,no skills what so ever. bc you can just get ya football team and throw them on the feild and do the same thing as the UT team i guess there style would be meathead caveman style!! come to the North East we shall teach you the proper way to play lacrosse!!

  1. I agree 100% that it seems that high hits are much more common now than I remember 10 years ago. After I saw this video the first thing I did was talk with the team about removing the fight and the hits that were penalties. Unfortunately they left for spring break when they posted it and have not had a chance to edit them out. We have had several high hits inflicted on our players that have lead to two concussions already this year. From the Tennessee coach to the players and coaches that we had illegal hits against I assure you those hits will be removed as soon as possible and I do not strive to lead a program that gloats in illegal hits.

  2. to be honest the south just dosent know how to play lacrosse. from that video alone checks werent controled, cross-checking like crazy and pushing from behind like crazy. guess there style down south is just crazy with no skills behind it. and yes hits do pump up a team but when its clean not dirty.

  3. I can tell you in my neck of the woods (Louisiana), the refs are reallllly cracking down on not just high hits, but big hits in general. It’s made a standard body check very hard to execute without getting a penalty flag thrown. I’ve only heard of 3-4 concussions this season in the WHOLE state!

  4. As a player, at 6’2 165, I can’t body check much, I’m a widery, lanky, fast kid, I was made to run around people not through them. But because of this I’ve noticed a lot of uncontrolled checks, when they have no chance of even hitting close to the stick. With the high hits, I’d say it’s the teams and refs in areas. But it filters down through the refs, I wouldn’t say entire areas, because certain teams are very clean and very well managed with great programs. But I got a shoulder injury from a combination of two illegal hits in the BACK! I missed 2 weeks because of this, and as a starter this hurt a lot. Some teams do what the refs let them. Others play by the rules, and since many refs in the south are horrible those teams that do what the refs let them. I think this will get cleared up as the game grows more though.

  5. Big hits are glorified in American sports. It’s just fact. When I decided to play lacrosse in 8th grade, I heard it was “like soccer, BUT you get to HIT PEOPLE with metal sticks”. Sadly, that’s how those who don’t know lacrosse yet view it. Once the proper knowledge if the game spreads, and as more people pick it up, they will understand.