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Quick Guide to Lacrosse Rules

Lacrosse is a fast-paced, contact sport played with a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick. Understanding the rules of lacrosse can enhance your enjoyment of the game, whether you’re a player, a fan, or new to the sport. This comprehensive guide covers all the essential rules of lacrosse, from the basics of gameplay to specific regulations.

The Basics of Lacrosse

The Field: A standard lacrosse field is 110 yards long and 60 yards wide, with goals at each end. The field is divided into three areas: the attack area, the midfield area, and the defensive area.

Objective: The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting the ball into the opponent’s net. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins.

Teams: Each team consists of 10 players: three attackers, three midfielders, three defenders, and one goalkeeper.

The Gameplay

Face-Off: The game starts with a face-off, where two players battle for possession of the ball at the center of the field. Face-offs also occur at the start of each quarter and after each goal.

Ball Movement: Players use their lacrosse sticks to catch, carry, pass, and shoot the ball. The ball must be kept in motion and cannot be touched with the hands.

Checking: Stick checking and body checking are allowed to dispossess opponents of the ball. However, checks must be legal and not overly aggressive.

Offside: A team is offside if it has more than six players (including the goalie) on its offensive side of the field or more than seven players on its defensive side.


Goals: A goal is scored when the ball completely crosses the plane of the goal line. Goals are worth one point each.

Crease: The crease is a circular area around each goal. Only the goalie is allowed to enter the crease, and no offensive player may score from within the crease.

Penalties and Fouls

Personal Fouls: These include slashing, tripping, illegal body checking, and cross-checking. Personal fouls result in a one to three-minute penalty, during which the offending player must sit out, and the opposing team plays with a man advantage.

Technical Fouls: These include offside, holding, interference, and pushing. Technical fouls result in a 30-second penalty or loss of possession.


Stick: The lacrosse stick has a head with a netted pocket for carrying and controlling the ball.

Ball: The lacrosse ball is made of solid rubber and is 7.75 to 8 inches in circumference.

Protective Gear: Players must wear protective equipment, including a helmet with a face mask, gloves, shoulder pads, elbow pads, and a mouthguard.

Game Duration

Length: A standard lacrosse game consists of four 15-minute quarters, with a 10-minute halftime break. In case of a tie, sudden-death overtime periods may be played.


Referees: Lacrosse games are typically officiated by two or three referees who enforce the rules, call fouls, and ensure fair play.

Understanding these rules is crucial for fully appreciating and enjoying lacrosse. As you watch or play the game, keep these guidelines in mind to deepen your understanding of this exciting and fast-paced sport.

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