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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Penalties for Breaking the Rules
If a team player breaks any of the lacrosse rules for beginners, he must serve a time penalty. The time penalty means that his team will play without him until the penalty period is over.
A team whose team player is serving time at the penalty box is known as Man-down team. They must defend their net vigorously until the penalty period expires. The team that has more players is the Man-up team or the extra man offense. This team has a man advantage. They have a more natural time scoring or defending their net.
The penalty duration varies depending on the foul committed.
A player that commits a technical foul must serve the thirty-second penalty. A player is allowed up to five technical fouls before being ejected from the game. Examples of technical fouls include holding offsides, obstructing an opponent’s movement, pushing an opponent, interference, stalling, and warding.
Offsides – Lacrosse games allow a maximum of seven players on the defensive half of the field. If a team surpasses this limit, the extra player is guilty of an offside. Hence, he is sent off for thirty seconds.
A player that commits a personal foul serves a 60-second penalty at the penalty box. A player is ejected from the game if he commits four personal fouls. Personal fouls include crosschecking, use of an illegal stick, illegal body check, hitting the opponent on the head with the lacrosse stick (slashing), and tripping an opponent.
A player found guilty of a significant foul must serve a three-minute penalty. Major fouls include the use of illegal equipment, disputing with the officials, three-second violation, and reckless shooting.
The lacrosse rules for beginners discussed above apply in all the lacrosse games. A beginner must familiarize him/herself with these rules early enough so that they can get used to observing them. These rules apply to all teammates, failure to which, a player risks wasting some valuable time at the penalty box. The rules make the whole process of carrying, passing, catching, and shooting the ball into the net fair and authentic.