If you’re reading this article, it probably means that you’d like to learn basic lacrosse rules for beginners.
To begin with, the game of Lacrosse is played among teams.
It involves the passing of a ball to fellow teammates, with the help of a customized stick, complete with a net/mesh-like material at the top.
However, the rules of this game differ from one league to another.
In this article, we will go through all the lacrosse rules for beginners that you need to know about before you play the game. I have also included links to specific posts I wrote on the rules. Feel free to check them out in-depth if you want to learn more.
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Basic Lacrosse Rules For Beginners
- The playing field of Lacrosse is normally 110 yards lengthwise with a width of 60 yards.
- The goals stand at opposite ends and they measure 6-ft by 6-ft. There’s usually a circular line of 18-ft diameter around it.
- Players aren’t allowed to score when within the circular line, which is called the crease. Opponents can only reach the other team’s crease area via their stick.
- The midfield is marked with a line ( the midfield line).
- Each team on the lacrosse team should have 10 players (except for women). 4 of which play as defenders on the other half of the field. 3 take care of the remaining offensive 1/2, while the remaining 3 can play anywhere within the field.
- The playing time is divided into halves, then to form 4 quarters of 12 minutes. However, the college and the kids’ lacrosse might take a slightly longer time.
- When players commit fouls, they stay in the penalty box for around 1-3 minutes.
- Players aren’t allowed to touch their opponents, touch the ball or be on the offside. It’s considered a foul, which is punishable.
- The beginning of a game is marked by a face-off (for men’s lacrosse), where players from both teams lay their playing sticks horizontally, near the ball as they await the official whistle.
- Players have to compete to possess the ball once the whistle is blown. And once a team dominates the other and takes possession of the ball, they swiftly move toward the middlefield line, as they attempt to reach their opponents’ goal to score.
- Teams have to change sides in between periods. And each team can only have 2 time-outs in each half.
- When a ball gets out of bounds, the game has to stop. The team whose player happens to be closest to the current location of the ball possesses it.
However, in case the ball didn’t go out of bounds because of a shot, the team that didn’t touch the ball can possess it.
Men’s Lacrosse Rules for Beginners
The general rules mentioned above also apply to the lacrosse men’s game.
However, there are a few additional rules and some specifics that you should know.
- Normally, the squads include 25-30 men.
- Players are allowed to body check only when the opponent owns the ball or at a distance of about 5 yards from the ball.
- Men are can wear more equipment during the game as injuries can occur during checking.
- Players can also stick check each other on the sticks or gloves, in an attempt of hitting the ball off or denying the other player the chance to hold the ball.
- Each player uses a different size of the stick, depending on their playing position. For instance, offensive players use shorter sticks, while the defenders and the goalkeepers use longer ones.
- The players in the lacrosse men’s games use sticks with a finishing of mesh netting.
- The men’s team can contain only 10 players. 3 players for each of the field parts; defense, midfielder and the attacker, complete with 1 goalkeeper.
- They also apply a face-off at the beginning of the game as each team tries to gain control of the ball.
- Men play their lacrosse game in a field of 110*60 yards, which is around 30yards smaller than that of women.
For more detailed rules, check out the official NCAA Men’s Rules.
Women’s Lacrosse Rules for Beginners
Women’s and Men’s lacrosse rules have a lot of similarities.
But even though they share the basic rules, some regulations only apply to women’s teams, such as:
- Both body and stick checking that are aimed at hitting an opponent is prohibited in women’s lacrosse. Players committing this foul face a penalty.
- The women players don’t have a long list of gear requirements since injuries are often at the bare minimum.
- The sticks of the players are all similar in size, so players get to pick sticks randomly. It’s only the goalie who uses a longer stick.
- The Women’s lacrosse game uses sticks with the classic thick strings, tightly tied. They run end to end and don’t form pockets like the nets on the men’s lacrosse game.
- The players are allowed to cradle as a way of securing the ball within their sticks.
- The number of players in the women’s lacrosse team is normally 12. That’s 6 defensive players, 5 offensive players, and the goalie.
- The women’s team playing field is about 120* 70 yards. And they can even be as long as 140 yards.
- Women start the game by drawing a draw. Here, the ball is placed at the center and is thrown into the air at the sound of a whistle.
For the detailed version, check out the women’s official rules of the NCAA.
Lacrosse Boys 14U Rules for 2022
The Boys 14U rules include:
- The game involves 10v 10 players.
- Players face-off, and use youth/regular sticks and body checking, but shouldn’t participate in takeout checks.
- After a break, the game resumes only after the defensive players are around 5 yards from the ball carrier.
- When a stick foul occurs, the penalties are non-releasable and should take 2 minutes.
- When the score difference of 12goals or more is reached during the 2nd half of the game, the game gets into the running time.
- It’s illegal to use one-handed stick checks.
- Players can foul out with 5 minutes of personal fouls or 3 personal fouls.
- Like the men’s lacrosse-playing field, the Boys 14U’s field is 110* 69 yards.
- A coin is tossed to help teams select their goals at the beginning of the game. Thereafter, they alternate.
Check out the Official Lacrosse Boys Rules.
Lacrosse Boys High School Rules for 2022
Most of the rules for Boy’s High School rules are similar to those of the boys 14U. However, there’re a few additions, which include:
- Players face 1-3 minutes of a non-releasable penalty when they throw a crosse at the ball, their opponents or official game personnel.
- The game can commence as soon as all offensive players are 5 yards or further from the ball-possessor.
- The playing equipment and uniforms of the players must adhere to the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) standard ND200.
- The rules changes for 2021 also recognize the value of concussion safety. Therefore, teams will benefit from an official’s time-out, whenever a player exhibits concussion-like symptoms after an injury.
- The CBO can no longer determine if a team qualifies to play based on the number of players on the playing field.
For more information, check out the NFHS High School Official Lacrosse rules.
FAQ About Lacrosse Rules
Now, let’s have a look at some frequently asked questions about lacrosse rules.
Can you run with the ball?
Yes, once you get hold of the ball with your stick, you are allowed to run across the field with it.
Alternatively, you can choose to pass it on to your teammates.
Yes. This applies to both men’s and women’s lacrosse. Players are allowed to kick the ball into the goal, but not with the aid of their hands.
Can lacrosse be played in the rain?
Yes, lacrosse can be played in the rain and on wet grounds. So if it rains, that’s not reason enough to cancel the game.
However, the coaches can agree to cancel it depending on the extremity of the weather.
Can you push from behind in lacrosse?
No. pushing from behind is considered an illegal body check and is punishable by a penalty.
Can you hit people with a stick?
You can hit other players using your stick, only on their sticks or gloves.
You should, however, restrain from hitting players using your stick below their waist, back or above their shoulders.
Also, if you must hit their arms, limit yourself as excessive beating can draw a flag.
Additionally, if a player is holding their stick only using one hand, then you aren’t allowed to hit the other free hand.
What is the 3-second rule in lacrosse?
The 3-second rule is considered a safety rule in lacrosse as well as a major foul.
It’s applied the moment the ball crosses the restraining line located at the attacking part of the field. The referee is allowed to use a held whistle.
If the attacking team plays at 15m of the goal and scores, the referee can use the advantage flag, making it a major foul.
What is an illegal pick in lacrosse?
It’s picking a ball out of the visual field of your opponent, which doesn’t give enough space or time to stop or change of direction, leading to contact.
The game of Lacrosse is characterized by various rules. And although there’re some basic lacrosse rules for beginners, which apply to all games, rules also vary depending on the league.
From the Women’s, Men’s, Boy’s, and Girl’s lacrosse, you need time to master all of them.
But there’s nothing impossible with a little bit of patience and dedication.
Start with the most important ones and learn the rest along the way.
This article makes a good learning point. And we hope it quenched your lacrosse rules learning thirst.