One interesting and fun question I often get from beginners and casual fans is can you kick the ball in lacrosse. The first instinct tends to tell us no because lacrosse is played with your sticks and players aren’t allowed to touch the ball using their hands. So this led to some fans falsely believing you can’t kick the ball in lacrosse.
The answer is yes. You can kick the ball in lacrosse in both men’s and women’s lacrosse. In fact, from men’s youth lacrosse to professional league, kicking a lacrosse ball is totally legal. In women’s lacrosse, any level above U12 lacrosse considers kicking a ball legal. Moreover, not only is it legal, many coaches also encourage players to kick the ball out of a ground ball scrum for an easy scoop.
So now you know kicking the ball is in fact legal. This is, in my opinion, a unique aspect of lacrosse that many fans don’t know about. As our discussion continues, you will see there are also some nuances worth mentioning. Hence, let’s dive in.
Can you kick the ball to score a goal in lacrosse?
If players can kick the ball, can they also kick the ball into the goal? Another Yes! Again in both women’s and men’s lacrosse, players are allowed to kick the ball into the goal. Although you rarely see this happen, according to both NFHS and NCAA rulebooks, kicking the ball in any direction is legal, which includes kicking the ball into the goal.
“A shot is considered a ball propelled toward the goal by an offensive player with the intent of scoring a goal. A shot can only be made when the ball is parallel to or above the goal line extended. Additionally, it can be either thrown from a crosse, kicked, or otherwise physically directed.” (Source)
What about the opposing defender or goalie kicking the ball into their own goal?
Yes, the goal will count. It will be an unfortunate event for the defensive team but it doesn’t matter who kicks the ball in, the offensive team gets a score. This is why defensive players need to always turn themselves away from the goal and avoid loose balls right in front of the goal.
What makes kicking illegal in lacrosse?
It’s not legal to kick or step onto your own stick or the stick of your opponent. In other words, any kicking of lacrosse sticks both head and shaft in women’s and men’s lacrosse is considered illegal.
Hence, during faceoff, be extra careful not to kick your opponent’s stick. Also, make sure you didn’t step on or kick anyone’s stick before making a score otherwise the goal will not count.
Read also: Lacrosse shot clock rules
How to use kicking the ball as a tactic?
As aforementioned, when you find yourself in a pack of players fighting for a ground ball, aka ground ball scrum, or when you overrun the ball, kicking it is a great tactic to get it out for an easy scoop. It not only creates more space but also helps you push the ball forward toward the opponent’s goal.
Now this might be a rare situation but just in case the defender knocks the ball out of your stick and it lands right in front of the goal, simply kicking it in is also an option. Since you won’t have the time to scoop it up and shoot, it’s the fastest and the best way to score.
Read also: Lacrosse vs. Field Hockey Differences Explained
More Q&As on kicking the ball in lacrosse
To wrap up our discussions, there are some additional questions we should address here that contain different scenarios on the topic of kicking the ball.
Q: The goalkeeper leaves the crease with possession of the ball and loses it. The goalkeeper inadvertently kicks the ball back in the crease. Does the goalkeeper get a new four-second count?
A: Yes. The goalkeeper will get a four-second count but the shot clock continues.
Q: If player 1 drops his/her stick, which is not broken, and player 2 accidentally steps on or kicks player 1’s stick, does this count as a foul?
A: No foul for interference because the stick is not in player 1’s possession. Also player 2 didn’t intentionally try to kick player 1’s stick.