Lacrosse Rules

This article will teach us about Lacrosse Rules. Lacrosse is an exciting team sport that originated among indigenous peoples in North America. It is played by two teams of 10 players each, who use netted sticks called crosse to pass, catch and shoot a small rubber ball into the opposing team’s goal.

The objective of lacrosse is to score more goals than the other team within a set time. It is a fast-paced game that requires speed, agility, endurance and skill. While lacrosse has complex rules, they can be broken down into basic components that govern the field, equipment, gameplay and scoring.

Field and Equipment

A regulation lacrosse field is 110 yards long and 60 yards wide. It contains two goal creases, a center line and two restraining lines. The goals measure 6 feet by 6 feet and sit inside a circular crease with a radius of 9 feet.

Each player uses a lacrosse stick or crosse that is usually made of wood, laminated wood or synthetic material. The head of the stick has a netted pocket for catching, carrying and throwing the ball. Goalies use larger crosse with more protective padding.

The lacrosse ball is solid rubber and must be 7.75 to 8 inches in circumference. Players wear protective gear like helmets, gloves, shoulder pads and padding for vital areas. Goalies wear full-body padding and chest protectors.

Lacrosse Rules : Gameplay Rules

  • A game consists of four 15-minute quarters with a brief halftime.
  • Each team can have up to 10 players on the field – 3 attackers, 3 midfielders, 3 defenders and a goalie.
  • The ball can only be moved by passing with the crosse or running with it. Players cannot touch it with their hands.
  • Legal checking involves using controlled crosse contact to knock the ball loose. Illegal body checks or slashing with the stick are fouls.
  • Fouls result in turnovers or player ejections. Ejected players must remain out for a certain time.
  • Substitutions can be made freely from the sideline area.
  • Restarts after goals involve faceoffs at the midfield line. The ball is placed between two opposing players who scrap for possession.

Scoring and Match Procedures

  • A goal counts when the entire ball passes over the goal line. It must be shot from the front or side – not from behind the goal.
  • One point is awarded for each goal scored. Goals by teammates within an “assist” time count for additional points.
  • Stalling tactics are prohibited. The ball must keep moving towards the goal.
  • The team with more goals at the end of regulation time wins. Tie games go into overtime with more sudden-death periods.
  • Timeouts stop the clock and allow coaching. The clock runs continuously otherwise.
  • Personal fouls, technical fouls, penalties and ejections are enforced by the officials.

Advanced Lacrosse Rules and Strategies

There are many additional lacrosse rules and tactics that enhance gameplay:

  • Screens involve legal stationary blocking that allows teammates space to maneuver.
  • Picks are another form of legal obstruction that helps clear space.
  • Fast breaks counter quickly after gaining possession.
  • Crease violations prevent goal hanging and increase scoring difficulty.
  • Extra man offense strategizes playing with a one player advantage after penalties.
  • Zone defenses coordinate area coverage and deny high percentage shots.
  • Clearing moves the ball safely from defense to offense.
  • Faceoff specialists employ advanced draw techniques.
  • Two-way middies play both offense and defense fluidly.
  • Power faceoffs secure possession after fouls and timeouts.

10 Fascinating Facts About Lacrosse Rules

Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in North America. While the game can look chaotic to spectators, there is actually an intricate set of lacrosse rules that govern gameplay. Here are 10 fascinating facts about the guidelines that shape this unique sport:

1. Ancient Origins

Versions of lacrosse were played by Native American tribes as early as the 12th century. Contest matches could last days and involve hundreds of players. The French gave lacrosse its modern name, loosely translating to “the stick”.

2. Standardized Field

In the late 1800s, lacrosse leagues began codifying consistent field dimensions. Today’s regulation lacrosse field is 110 yards long and 60 yards wide. Goals measure 6 feet square and sit inside circular creases with a 9-foot radius.

3. Equipment Innovation

Native American lacrosse sticks were hand-carved wood with loose netting. Modern synthetic crosses feature molded heads with strung nylon mesh for better ball control. Advanced padding and helmets ensure player safety.

4. Contact Rules

Legal “checking” involves controlled stick contact to dislodge the ball. Any contact initiated with the body, called “body checking”, is illegal. Slashing, cross-checking, and high sticking are also forbidden.

5. Time Formats

Regulation games consist of four 15-minute quarters, with 2-5 minute halftime. Men’s games use a stopped clock while women’s lacrosse has more continuous clock play. Tie games go into sudden-death overtime periods.

6. Player Positions

Teams field 10 players: 1 goalie, 3 defensemen, 3 midfielders, and 3 attackmen. Players substitute freely from the sideline area. Two-way midfielders excel at both offense and defense.

7. Scoring System

Goals must fully cross the line. One point is awarded per goal. Assists within certain time limits earn additional points. The team with more goals after regulation time wins.

8. Advancing the Ball

Players must pass or run the ball using only their stick. Illegal hand contact results in penalties. Allowable stick checking dislodges possession but body checking is prohibited.

9. Faceoffs

Specialized faceoff players crouch down to scrap for possession when play restarts. Power faceoffs also follow fouls halting fast breaks.

10. Penalty Enforcement

Personal and technical fouls lead to turnovers or player ejections. Ejected players must remain off the field for 1-3 minutes. Extra man offense scores against shorthanded defenses.

While the basics provide an overview, teams develop advanced offensive, defensive and transition strategies. Lacrosse combines centuries of tradition with modern innovations to create North America’s oldest and fastest team sport.


While lacrosse appears chaotic to the casual viewer, it is a complex sport with well-defined rules that ensure fair and exciting competition. The basics include the field, equipment specifications, allowable checking, fouls and ejections, scoring system and time formats.

Players further develop strategic skills for offense, defense, transition and specialized roles. With its roots in ancient indigenous games, lacrosse continues to grow in popularity as North America’s oldest team sport.

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