As we approach the NCAA Champion games in May and are near the start of the PLL 2022 season in June, fans are planning to buy tickets and support their local teams and favorite colleges. For inexperienced fans, now it’s a good time to learn some lacrosse basics, such as how long is a lacrosse game. This will not only allow you to better prepare yourself, but you will also get a better understanding of the game development.
Depending on what level of lacrosse game you are going to, a lacrosse game could last anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes. On average, a lacrosse game has 60 minutes run time into four 15-minute quarters. There will also be a 2-minute time out followed by each quarter with a 10-minute halftime between the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
Since different lacrosse levels have different rulings over the length of game, we will go over them in this post.
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How is a lacrosse game structured
Before we get to the finer details, let’s first remind ourselves of the structure of a lacrosse game and the associated terms. If you are also a fan of other sports, you probably have heard these terms before. With this knowledge, you will be able to fully understand how a lacrosse game operates and when you can go take a break from the intense action.
Instead of halves, lacrosse games are broken into quarters. In 2021, NCAA officially changed women’s lacrosse games from two 30-minute halves to four 15-minute quarters. Therefore, there are four quarters at every game in all levels of lacrosse.
Furthermore, there are two types of intervals. One is two-minute intervals between the first and second, the third and fourth quarters. Two is the 10-minute halftime between the second and third quarters. This is the only time before a game ends where the team is able to leave the field. This is also the time when fans go to take a break, grab a snack and use the restrooms.
During the regulation time, teams have opportunities to call timeouts. The different league has different rules. College lacrosse allows 2 timeouts per half whereas PLL only allows 3 timeouts per game. Lastly, if the scores are tied after the regular hour, there will be overtime. Again depending on which level you play, different rules are applied. But in general, overtime in lacrosse is sudden death.
Now you have a good understanding of how a lacrosse game operates. It’s time to dive into how long a lacrosse game takes at each level and league.
See below for a summary table:
|PLL (Professional)||4 x 12-minute quarters|
|NCAA (College)||4 x 15-minute quarters|
|High School||4 x 12-minute quarters|
|Youth Lacrosse||4 x 8-minute quarters|
How Long Is A PLL Game
The PLL implements all the basic lacrosse rules you already know about. That said, as a new lacrosse league launched in 2019, the PLL has made some changes to the games, including the game duration.
The regulation time of a PLL is 48 minutes. It’s broken into four 12-minute quarters. And, it also includes the standard 2-minute intervals and 10-minute halftime commercial break. As aforementioned, each team has 3 timeouts per game which adds another 3 to 4 minutes to the game.
In case of a tie, the game will automatically go into overtime, which is a 12-minute sudden death. So if we don’t take into account overtime, every PLL game is 65 minutes. If we do, every PLL game is 77 minutes. As you continue reading, you might be surprised to see that PLL games aren’t the longest in duration. But because the intensity is the highest in professional lacrosse, 12 minutes is considered a sweet spot for players.
How Long Is A College Game
College games are very similar to the structure of the PLL games as they are the closed second in terms of competitiveness and skills. In fact, college games are considered the standard when we talk about lacrosse games. As a great way to prep professional players, college games are the longest.
The regulation time of a college game is 60 minutes. It’s broken into four 15-minute quarters. And the standard 2-minute intervals and 10-minute halftime are also applied. Plus college lacrosse allows 4 timeouts per game.
In case of a tie, the game will go into sudden death overtime. Unlike the PLL which has 12-minute overtime, college games consist of 4-minute overtimes. Whoever scores the first goal wins the game.
If we solely look at the duration of a game, college lacrosse without a doubt is the most intense. To balance that, college teams have the most number of players so they are able to rest.
How Long Is A High School Game
High school players are often at the stage of honing their skills while continuously growing. So in terms of physical conditions, they aren’t yet at the college level. Because of that, high school games are shorter than college games.
The regulation time of a high school game is 48 minutes. It’s broken into four 12-minute quarters. The structure of the time stays exactly the same as college games, 2-minute intervals after the first and third quarter and a 10-minute halftime.
If at the end of the regular playtime, the teams are level on points. There will be sudden death overtime, which is also 4-minute long. 48-minute regulation time is just as long as the professional games, so high schoolers must work on conditioning to build stamina for the game.
How Long Is A Youth Game
For players who are playing below the high school level, they will be playing the shortest game. Considering youth players are under 14 years old, rule-makers had to make sure youth players can play full time.
The regulation time of a youth game is 32 minutes. It’s broken into four 8-minute quarters. Youth games also include 2-minute intervals and a 10-minute halftime. Thus without overtime, a youth game is roughly 46 minutes long. If we take into account sudden death overtime, it could add another 4-minute or more to the game if no team scores.
Above is the breakdown of every level of the lacrosse game and its different structures. It’s interesting to see how college lacrosse has the longest game while professional and high school lacrosse share the same game duration.
In the next section, let’s talk about how you can get the best watching experience watching in the crowd.
How To Get The Best Watching Experience
Although every game is different, there are so ways to ensure you get the best experience. First, learn about the rosters of the two teams. If you are a fan of one, you probably already know the players quite well. This makes sure you have an idea of who is scoring the goals and who is making great contributions.
Second, during halftimes, you can use the 10-minute to get up and walk around the stadium to get some snacks or talk to other fans. If the crowd is very active and energetic, it brings out the best from the players as well as the fans. So, participate and enjoy yourself as much as you can.
It’s easy to assume lacrosse games all run the same length and have the same setup. I hope this post has done a good job clarifying the confusion. And next time whether you are going to watch a PLL or college game, you know exactly what to expect.
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