Lacrosse Game Basics
Basics of the Game
How to Play
The Object of Lacrosse is to score the most points and WIN! - have fun of course, but winning is fun too, right..
Points are scored when a player kicks, nudges, bats with the stick, or throws with their stick the very hard tennis sized rubber ball into the opponents net. Players cannot use their hands to throw the ball into the net.
The Length of Play:
Games are divided into four timed quarters. The length for the quarter depends on the age group of the game being played.
Youth Quarters are typically 8 minutes long
High School quarters are 12 minutes
Colleg, Pro, and International Games have 15 minute quarters
At the end of each quarter teams must switch ends.
Team with the most points at the end of the fourth quarter WINS! Ties are decided by sudden death playoffs.
The Field Layout:
The basic layout of a lacrosse field utilizing NCAA rules is 110 yards long by 60 yards wide. Lacrosse rules have been modified for most High School and Youth organizations so that a standard football field can be used. Goal nets are positioned 15 yards from the end line giving about 13.5 yards between the back of the crease and the end line.
Womens and girls teams have 12 players on the field including one goalie.
Mens and boys teams have 10 players on the field including one goalie.
Mens Team Positions:
Play begins with a face-off in the center square or circle. Here, two opponents face each other and try to win possesion of the ball. The players start the face-off on their hands and feet with their sticks laying along the center line, and the ball between the heads of the sticks. At the officials signal, players use various methods to win possesion of the ball. Most often the ball will be passed off rather than the two players fighting for it. Once a player is able to pick up the ball with their stick, possesion occurs. The object is to get close enough to the opponents net to throw the ball into the net and score a goal. A goal counts as ONE point. In professional lacrosse there is a a two-point line where a player can also shoot.
Offensive players run down the entire length of the field running and passing the ball to fellow teammates. Players need to be aware that they are offsides by not leaving enough players on the defensive end.
Offensive players cannot enter the Cease Area. Only the goalie and defensive players may enter the cease circle. If an offensive player enters the Cease Circle, it is a cease violation and possesion goes to the opponent.
When a player takes a shot at the goal and the ball goes out of bounds, the team that is closest to the line where the ball went out of bounds has possesion of the ball. The stick is an extension of the player so the players will sometimes thrust their sticks out toward the line to get closer.
Once there is a goal scored there is a face-off. So the team who just scored could easily regain possession.
Another unique rule is in the final two minutes of the game, the team that is ahead must play with the provision that they must stay within the attack zone. Failure to stay in the attack zone constitutes offensive delay of game and possession will be transferred to the losing team. This rule only applies to the team that is ahead.
The game of lacrosse is very physical and contact is very much a part of the game. There are two different types of check that can be used: Stick Checks and Body Checks. Stick checks can be made as long as the attempt is to try to contact the opponents stick. And in some of the older aged divisions body checks can happen as long as the check is to the body above the waist and below the neck.
There are two types of penalties: Technical Fouls and Personal Fouls
Personal Fouls - slashing, tripping, illegal cross checking, and checking from behind a player are usually given 1 minute penalties. Penalties can be increased for 2 or 3 minutes or even ejection can be assessed for major or especially sever personal fouls.
Technical Fouls - such as Offsides, Cease Violations, pushing from the rear, thumbing and warding off constitute a loss of possesion.