Welcome to Lacrosse! A Guide to the Rules

Welcome to the world of lacrosse! This is a long-running sport, played since at least the 12th century! If this is your first exposure to lacrosse, then you have come to the right place, because we’re going to teach you the basics and rules of the sport. Lacrosse shares quite a few similarities with hockey, so if you’re familiar with that sport, you should be able to pick up lacrosse easily. We have a fair bit to cover, so let’s get started.

Lacrosse is played with ten players on each team: three attackers, three defenders, three midfielders, and one goalie. Each player carries a stick called a crosse. There are two sizes of crosses, a short stick and a long stick. A team can have a maximum of four long sticks, which are typically used by the defensive players.

Attackers focus on the offensive aspect of the game. Their job is to score as many goals as possible. As with most sports, the team with the most points by the end of the game wins.

Midfielders stay around the middle of the field and play both offense and defense. Their job is to try to keep the ball from entering their side of the field and passing the ball forward to the attackers.

Defenders hang back near their team’s goal and assist the goalie in keeping the other team from scoring. They pass the ball to the midfield players to force the opposing team to return to a more defensive play.

Goalies are the last line of defense between the opposing attackers and the goal. They work closely with their defenders, reading the other team’s attack and directing the defenders accordingly.

The lacrosse field is divided up into four main sections. For easier understanding, we’ll explain it from the point of view from a single team. There is the attacking zone, the midfield, the defensive zone, and the goalie’s zone, marked by a crease.

Play begins with a faceoff in center field. Two players go face to face and try to scoop the ball up before the opponent. Once a team obtains possession of the ball, they have 60 seconds to either score a goal, bounce a shot off of the goal posts, or the opposing team intercepts the ball. If the attacking team does not meet these requirements, possession is turned over to the other team. If the goalie makes a save, he has four seconds to get the ball out of the crease or pass it to another player. Failure to do so awards the ball back to the other team.

A game of lacrosse is divided into 15 minute quarters, typically with a couple of minutes in between the first two and last two quarters and a 30-minute halftime break between the second and third quarters.

Lacrosse also has two kinds of penalties: personal fouls and technical fouls. Examples of a person foul would be slashing, tripping, or checking from behind. Personal fouls result in the offending player being taken off the field for a period of time, typically one minute. Technical fouls include a player being offsides, crossing into the goalies crease, and thumbing (holding the ball inside the crosse’s net with one’s thumb.) Technical fouls result in possession being given to the other team.

There is so much more to lacrosse, so feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to address any questions you have!