Lacrosse 101

Before you attend a single lacrosse game, you will want to know and understand the following general rules:

Positions

Attack: The attackman's responsibility is to score goals. He generally restricts his play to the offensive end.
Midfield: The midfielder's responsibility is to cover the entire field playing both offense and defense.
Defense: The defenseman's responsibility is to defend the goal. He generally restricts his play to the defensive end of the field.
Goalie: The goalie's responsibility is to protect the goal and stop the opposing team from scoring.

Equipment

In addition to a stick, all players must wear a helmet with an attached mouthpiece, gloves, shoulder pads, rib pads, arm pads and a protective cup. The goalkeeper is also required to wear a throat protector and chest protector.

Basic Rules Men's lacrosse is a contact game played by ten players: a goalie, three defensemen, three midfielders and three attackmen. The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent's goal. The team scoring the most goals wins. Each team must keep at least four players (defensemen) including the goalie, in its defensive half of the field and three players (attackmen) in its offensive half. Three players (midfielders) may roam the entire field.

All games are 4 quarters.

  • U11 (3rd/4th) Grade games are 10 minutes running time.
  • U13 (5th/6th) Grade games are 12 minutes running time.
  • U15 (7th/8th) Grade games are 12 minutes stopped time.
  • Each team is given a break between each quarter, with an extended break at halftime.Teams change sides between periods.
  • Each team is permitted two time-outs per half.


The team winning the coin toss chooses the end of the field it wants to defend first. 
Play is started with a face-off after each goal and at the beginning of each period: the ball is placed between the sticks of two midfielders at the center of the field. When the official blows the whistle to begin play, each face-off player tries to gain possession of the ball. The midfielders in the wing areas can release immediately and the attackmen and defensemen must wait until the referee has signaled that one player has gained possession of the ball. 

Players may run with the ball in the stick, pass and catch the ball. Only the goalkeeper may touch the ball with his hands. 
Stick checking is the controlled poking and slapping of the stick and gloved hands of the player in possession of the ball. Body checking is permitted if the opponent has the ball. However, all contact must occur from the front or side, above the waist and below the shoulders. An opponent's stick may also be stick checked if it is within five yards of a loose ball or ball in the air. If the ball or a player in possession of the ball goes out-of-bounds, the other team is awarded possession of the ball. If the ball goes out-of-bounds after an unsuccessful shot on goal, the player nearest to the ball when and where it goes out-of-bounds is awarded possession. An attacking player cannot enter the crease around the goal, but may reach in with his stick to scoop a loose ball.

Penalties

There are 2 types of penalties: Personal Fouls and Technical Fouls. The penalty for a personal foul is a 60 second suspension from play and possession of the ball to the team that was fouled. The penalty for a technical foul is a 30 second suspension if a team is in possession of the ball when the foul is committed, or possession of the ball to the team that was fouled if there was no possession when the foul was committed.

The player committing the penalty is required to leave the field, and his team places a player in a penalty box to serve the penalty. The penalized team then plays man-down until the penalty is over.

Personal Fouls

     Slashing: Occurs when a player's stick contacts an opponent in any area other than the stick or gloved hand on the stick.
     Tripping: Occurs when a player obstructs his opponent at or below the waist with the stick, hands, arms, feet or legs.
     Cross Check: Occurs when a player uses the handle of his stick to make contact with an opponent.
     Unsportmanlike Conduct: Occurs when any player or coach commits an act which is considered unsportsmanlike by an official, including taunting, obscene language or gestures, and arguing.
     Illegal Stick: Occurs when a player uses a stick that does not conform to required specifications. A stick may be found illegal if the pocket is too deep or if the stick was altered to gain an advantage.
     Illegal Body Checking:
Occurs when any of the following actions take place: (a) body checking of an opponent who is not in possession of the ball or within five yards of a loose ball: (b) avoidable body check of an opponent after he has passed or shot the ball; (c) body checking of an opponent from the rear or at or below the waist; (d) body checking of an opponent by a player in which contact is made above the shoulders of the opponent. A body check must be below the neck, and both hands of the player applying the body check must remain in contact with his stick.

Technical Fouls

     Holding: Occurs when a player impedes the movement of an opponent or an opponent's stick.
     Interference: Occurs when a player interferes in any manner with the free movement of an opponent, except when that opponent has possession of the ball, the ball is in flight and within five yards of the players, or both players are within five yards of a loose ball.
     Offsides: Occurs when a team does not have at least four players on its defensive side of the midfield line or at least three players on its offensive side of the midfield line.
     Pushing: Occurs when a player thrusts or shoves a player from behind.
     Screening: Occurs illegally when an offensive player moves into and makes contact with a defensive player with the purpose of blocking him from the man he is defending.
     Warding Off: Occurs when a player in possession of the ball uses his free hand or arm to hold, push or control the direction of an opponent's stick check.

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