skip to content

Europe's Number 1 Lacrosse Equipment Retailer

  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

  • Free UK shipping Over £150

  • Hassle Free Returns

UK Shot Clock? No thanks.

UK Shot Clock? No thanks.

Clive Perrin |

World Lacrosse, our notional overlords, have come out with a truly genius idea. It’s so groundbreaking and well thought out that I can’t begin to wonder why it hasn’t happened earlier. I’m excited. In fact, I haven’t been this excited since 6s was announced for the Olympics, and that is saying something.

Welcome to the (proposed) era of the field lacrosse shot clock ladies and gentlemen. Unless you’re one of the few players outside of the USA and Canada to have played NCAA, NLL or PLL then your experience of a lacrosse shot clock will have been limited to what you see on your mate’s ESPN or PLL pass.

(Image courtesy of Hannah Rosenberg, Cornell Athletics)

No longer will you need to spend four minutes desperately searching for an opening in the other team’s defence, but instead you will now have a minute (probably, and sorry for the American English but that would be a blog post in itself, as they want the sport “harmonizing” with other disciplines which incorporate one) to generate a shot on target! I can tell you’re excited.


(Image courtesy of Matt Stamey, Inside Lacrosse

As someone who is genuinely impressed when I manage to catch the ball, I can’t wait to not touch it under the new rules. Why? Because with every second counting, teams can’t afford to waste any time at all and unless you’re a superb dodger or finisher, you aren’t going to play much at all on the offensive side. Likewise, unless you’re fast and athletic, are you going to make it into that defence?
With shorter offensive possessions, substitutions need to be quicker and players fitter. With just one minute to generate a shot on goal, players will be huffing and puffing after the first quarter of up-down play.


(Image courtesy of Kingston Youth Lacrosse)

So far it sounds like I’ve just had a whine, and I have. But it’s coming because we are once again at the mercy of a governing body which doesn’t care about how the sport is played outside of North America.
When deciding on how to implement the shot clock in the United States, one of the biggest issues raised was taking the pressure away from the on-field officials and having a visible shot-clock so that everyone was aware of how long a team had remaining offensively. That sounds amazing if you play in a high school or college stadium in the United States with a huge scoreboard that can display this information, but less so here in the United Kingdom.

It isn’t going to happen. Clubs cannot afford large shot clock displays and arrange for an additional person to manage it. Most games are being played with a two-person referee team because of the current shortage of officials, and the CBO is frequently somebody roped in from the sideline. And this is where World Lacrosse slip up again. They are suggesting that the shot clock be administered by an on-field official, not a display such as those used in the US.
We have fewer referees than ever before and now we want to add to their responsibilities. I’m sure I’m not the only one seeing a disconnect here.

(Image courtesy of England Lacrosse)

Indulge me just a little more, and picture this. Two teams in the bottom division are playing each other. On the blue team, the average player is in their 40s but they’ve had some 16-year-olds finish playing at a junior level. On the red team, the average age is lower but includes a few players who are new to the sport and have very little experience. Only two referees are available, both past their prime, and the CBO is someone’s friend who has never watched a game in their life. If this sounds familiar it’s because it happens across Europe on a weekly basis.
The red team win the face-off and get their substitutions done. They start passing the ball around, cutting here and there and trying to identify matchups. They manage to take a shot which misses, but they have the backup. They start moving the ball again, but this time the blue supporters are ranting and raving that the clock has gone for too long. The red team score. The blue captain then runs over and starts asking how a violation hasn’t taken place. The referees look at each other, and realisation dawns on them. Neither of them started the shot clock. Is the goal wiped out because of a referee error? Does the goal stand, with a now-enraged blue team having no respect for the officials? The poor referee is damned if they do and damned if they don’t in this situation. You’ve all pictured a particular referee when you read that. The fact you have shows the fallacy of the shot clock.

(Image courtesy of Clark Bell, Inside Lacrosse)

For those arguing that it’ll mean more goals and be more exciting, I recommend 6s or basketball. Lacrosse was called the fastest sport on two feet long before the idea of a shot clock appeared. That still stands. We don’t need the North American obsession with shot clocks, we need to recognise that not every lacrosse player is an athlete in their prime. Here in the United Kingdom, it isn’t uncommon to see players in their late 30s and early 40s playing on A teams one league below the Premiership. These are still good players but the pace is going to be too much for many of them.

World Lacrosse needs to recognise that the reach of their decisions goes far beyond North America. Yes, it would see new tactics to gain an advantage but the sport in the UK is haemorrhaging players as is. The sport needs help to grow, but this wouldn't be it.

EDIT: Just before posting this, I had a little Google for pricing options. For just £600 your club can have its own wheeled shot clocks. Any clubs have a spare bit of cash to pass round and someone to operate them? Asking for a friend.