World Lacrosse Sixes:
Blog 17th August 2021 by The Brit
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are my own and mine alone. There is no intent to besmirch, undermine or castigate any individual or organisation or to cause offence. They are posted in order to share opinion and promote discussion on topics within the lacrosse community.
So World Lacrosse Sixes, where to begin, what’s all the fuss about?
We already have multiple formats of the game, Men’s & Women’s Field Lacrosse, Box Lacrosse, Intercrosse (Pop Lacrosse), Polocrosse (Lacrosse on horse back).
There are even variations within the main formats, MLL & PLL, NCAA & High School all have different rules and then on top of that there is the International game, overseen by what was ormally known as the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF), which then became The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) and now it’s new brand World Lacrosse.
The People’s Front of Judea… Splitters!
Sixes is just another flavour of my favourite sport, what’s the big deal?
The Big Deal is that Sixes was already the agreed format for inclusion in “The World Games” to be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA in July 2022.
Not to be confused with the World Championships (Men’s Field), The World Cup (Women’s Field) or The World Indoor Lacrosse Championship (Box Lacrosse)
The World Games is a multi-sport International event for all the sports outside the Official Olympic Schedule but very much wanting and vying to be inside The Olympic Games.
Men’s & Women’s Lacrosse are both included in The World Games 2022 in the sixes format. In 2017 only Women’s Lacrosse was at The World Games in Wroclaw, Poland, and it was the full field 10-a-side format
6 Teams took part USA, Canada, Australia, Team GB, Japan & host Nation Poland.
1 Gold – USA / 2 Silver – Canada / 3 Bronze – Australia
This was great news for lacrosse to be invited to the party, but it was the side party not the A-List After Party with Beyonce & Jay-Z
The sun came up, the world kept on spinning and lacrosse stayed in the same position it had always been, in spite of the sterling effort by all the women’s lacrosse athletes who were competing in Poland so soon after playing in the 2017 Rathbone’s Women’s Lacrosse World Cup in Guildford.
The real game changer was the announcement on the 20th July 2021 that the International Olympic Committee grants full recognition to World Lacrosse, and with.it access to the IOC
Development Fund for aspiring Olympic sports.
With this announcement, all the work done previously by administrators and visionaries within lacrosse had taken a huge step towards lacrosse being included again in The Olympic Games, the target being 2028 in Los Angeles, USA.
It is no coincidence that the Men’s Field World Championships were moved from Vancouver, Canada 2022 to Los Angeles, USA 2022. (now 2023 due to COVID-19)
The new World Lacrosse Sixes were designed specifically for Olympic inclusion.
“The King is Dead, Long Live The King”
I was very much a skeptic to begin with, I watched several of the Olympic Rules Trial events and was thoroughly underwhelmed. People don’t like change and yet like Death & Taxes, change is inevitable. I am a fan of most forms of the game and the event hosted by US Lacrosse in Palm Springs Florida really brought it home to me.
USA vs WPLL (women’s lacrosse)
This event had most of the best women’s players on the planet, and yet was dull as dishwater. It wasn’t helped by the WPLL players wearing their own individual WPLL uniforms (Red, Black, Pink, Blue) vs Team USA in white. The spectacle wasn’t enhanced by other games taking place in the background and fans on the sidelines walking around to different games like you would see at summer tournaments, Lake Placid or Vail Shootout
As for the lacrosse there was an unfamiliarity with the rules by players, officials & coaches alike. At one point there was a 2-on-0 breakaway from 30 yards by USA a scenario I personally had never seen before. The Circus had come to town, there was great skill and scoring on display but pretty soon you were wondering what else was on?
Other descriptions at the time was it was a never ending West Genny drill or like watching a practice at a club you didn’t know, there was lots of action but it was all the same, fast break then breakaway then fast break, rinse & repeat, ultimately leading to the sensation that you just didn’t care what happened next or who scored.
I realised Sixes wasn’t designed for me, an ex-player, ex-coach long term fan (old)
It was designed for Gen Z who had never seen lacrosse before and had the attention span of a Goldfish, ADHD who needed stimuli every 8 seconds and who believe anything that happened before they were born is irrelevant & ancient history.
"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him"
Surely then I should be shouting at the kids to stay off my lawn and proclaiming it wasn’t like that back in my day. Small children playing in the park, jumpers for goal posts, rush goalie, play until it went dark, with your mum shouting “your tea’s ready”
Nostalgia is not what it used to be…
The reality is when I first started playing lacrosse it was 12-a-side, wooden sticks, stand on the whistle, and if you checked someone on the head (no helmets) you had to stand 5 yards behind them on the restart as a penalty.
Lacrosse always changes, 12 to 10-a-side, to 13 man squads, international rules, body checks, 23 man squads.
World Lacrosse Sixes (UK) - The Fly
The presentation and coverage of this event was awful as a spectator of the Live Stream Opening Weekend.
Only four teams and yet there was a colour clash on the opening game
Commentators not knowing the rules or the player’s names
Showing replays during live action so you actually miss goals being scored
This was not SKY Sports or Match Of The Day, it wasn’t even Eurosport or Setanta?
And yet in spite of the terrible production & lack of information with regards to who the athletes were and zero stats, they even got the scores wrong in more than one game. The underlying product, when we could see it was excellent.
There were 24 games in total (12 Men’s / 12 Women’s) 639 goals scored with average score 14-13. Between the Men’s & Women’s very similar scoring. 316 Goals in Women’s 323 Goals in the Men’s.
“Fast & Furious”
The average time between a goal being scored & play restarted was < 2 seconds in the Men’s and between 3-4 seconds in the Women’s.
World Lacrosse Sixes was created with input from players and coaches with vast experience. Dana Dobbie (Canada) played Box as a young girl as there wasn’t women’s field lacrosse in her area.
The Architects & Designers of this game had a blank piece of paper with some guidelines of what would be required for acceptance as an Olympic sport.
It isn’t the similarities or differences between Sixes & the other formats of the game that make it interesting, it is the fact that it is a completely different game. New Field, New Rules, New Strategies.
It isn’t Field on a small pitch or Box out on a field.
They have made fundamental changes to the Rules that completely change the nature & character of the game. (see below)
30 second Shot Clock
Goalie restarts after a goal
No retained possession after a missed shot
No Long Poles, Body Checking or Cross-Checks (Men’s)
No fan, Shooting Space or Free Position Shots (Women’s)
They have created a free flowing, fast paced, all action form of the game
For The Players by The Players
The product is excellent
Hopefully the Home Nations Sixes in Peffermill, Edinburgh hosted by Scotland Lacrosse can do a much better job of presenting & covering the games Men’s & Women’s Sixes 28th-29th August 2021