Lacrosse rules for beginners

A lacrosse game comprises of two teams on opposing sides using lacrosse sticks to catch, run, carry, shoot, and pass a ball to the opponent’s side to score the highest number of goals. There are four types of lacrosse games.

These are:

  • The field lacrosse,
  • The box lacrosse,
  • The women’s lacrosse
  • And the intercrosse

All the lacrosse games play by various rules ensuring the players observe professionalism. Let us discuss the lacrosse rules for beginners who want to try this exciting game.

Rule # 1: Number of Players

Two opposing teams play a lacrosse game at one time.  A lacrosse team comprises of ten players. The players include a goaltender, three attackers, three defenders, and three midfielders. The defensive half of the field must always have at least four players, including the goalie at all times.

On the other hand, the attacking half of the field must have at least three players all the time. The three midfielders are allowed to any side of the track that they want.

Rule # 2: Proper Scoring Of a Goal

It is mandatory that a player uses his lacrosse stick to shoot the ball into the goal. A goal is not recognized unless it goes beyond the goal line completely. Again, the player making the goal shot should make the shot while outside the goal crease. Failure to observe any of these may result in either a penalty or a null goal.

Rule # 3:  No Ties in a Lacrosse Match

A lacrosse game is played in four fifteen-minute quarters. Every team player in the lacrosse game seeks to score more goals than their opponents within the allowed sixty minutes of the game.  

This rule eliminates the games ending with a tie. Should sixty minutes elapse while the two playing teams are still at a tie, they have to go through sudden death overtime.

Sudden death overtime is overtime sessions played until the first team scores to determine the winner.  It is a very active time, hence the name. Sudden death overtime can only last for a maximum of five minutes.

Lacrosse rules for beginners

Rule # 4: The Use of the Lacrosse Stick

Both the attackers and midfielders can use the short lacrosse stick. This stick is more comfortable to control and convenient when sidestepping defenders in tight combat.

On the other hand, the use of a long lacrosse stick is permissible for up to four players per team, especially the defenders. It comes in handy when keeping the attacking players at bay.

The goalie uses a lacrosse stick with a sizeable head. Such a stick makes it easy for him to block the incoming shots.

All players are permitted to adjust the pocket depth of their lacrosse sticks to gain control of the ball or quickly release the ball.

Rule# 5: The Face-Off

All lacrosse games start at the faceoff.  The players facing off must line up at the center field with their backs facing their defense. Faceoff is achievable with the use of a right hand only.

This technique is due to the strict faceoff positioning rules that require players to place hands and feet on the left of their lacrosse stick’s heads.  They then await the referee to blow the whistle for them to make a move.

Rule #6: How to Pass the Ball

The team player in possession of the ball tries to get the ball to the opposing goalie to make a score. This team player may either pass the ball directly to another teammate within his range. Or he may also opt to move the ball along the ground to a nearby teammate.

Still, he can choose to cradle the ball with his lacrosse stick and run with it.  The passing of the ball ensures the teammates are well positioned to shoot the ball into the goal.

In response, the opposing team works to try to stop the team in possession of the ball from scoring. They do this by either blocking the shots, body checking or stick checking.  The opposing team will do their best to get hold of the ball so that they also try to make a score.

Other Rules


A lacrosse team is allowed an unlimited number of player substitutions. These substitutions can be made in the fly so long as it’s within the assigned area.

Shot clock

In Major League Lacrosse (MLLs), once a player has taken the ball, he/she has up to 60 seconds to shoot the ball at the opposing goal. If the player fails to shoot the ball within the 60 seconds, the referee awards the ball to the other team.

Two Point Goal

Also in MLL only, if a player shoots the ball from the outside outer radius and it goes in, this is worth two goals. This rule applies only to field lacrosse games.