Lacrosse Essentials

Lacrosse is an outdoor field sport where two teams compete to score more goals than their opponent.

The field of play is roughly the size of a football field and is bisected by a midfield line separating offensive and defensive zones.

Goals are scored by using a crosse (i.e., lacrosse stick) to shoot or bat a small solid rubber ball into the other team's net. Players can also kick the ball into the goal, but may not use their hands to throw it in.

Players must master the skills of throwing, catching, and scooping balls with their sticks in order to improve their chances for success.

Boys teams have 10 players on the field at any time:
  • 3 Attackmen
  • 3 Midfielders
  • 3 Defenders
  • 1 Goalie
Girls teams have 12 players on the field at any time:
  • 5 Attackers
  • 6 Defenders
  • 1 Goalie

Goal nets are situated at opposite ends of the field and are surrounded by a goal crease that only goalies may enter.

As with soccer and hockey, a goalie serves as the last line of defense against an attacking offense.

The game is divided into four equal length quarters. If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, sudden death overtime periods are used to decide a winner.

Faceoffs for possession of the ball occur at the beginning of each quarter and after every goal at center field.

Once possession is gained, teams employ unique strategies to run with and pass the ball down the field toward the opponent's goal to set up high quality shots.

Player substitutions are handled on the fly with lines of players running on and off the field when they are tired. This format leads to a very faced paced / action-packed game.

Rules infractions are judged by referees on field and based on the set of rules used, can result in everything from loss of possession and free shots to suspension from play in a penalty box and ejection.

Listed above are the essential elements needed to better understand lacrosse.

For a more in depth look at the nuances of the game and its gender specific rules, please be sure to check out our sections on Boys Rules and Girls Rules found elsewhere on our site.