The line that traverses the entire field in the middle is called the “midfield line”
Ø There has to be four players in your defensive zone or on your defensive side of the midfield line at all times. This is typically the goalie and three defensemen. Midfielders can and do stay “back” and in particular when a defensemen is clearing the ball and can run it over the midfield line. In this case the Midfielder will typically raise their stick and call out “middie back” so the referee can easily count the players. If there is not the correct number of players on the defensive side of the field this is a change of possession infraction and the other team is awarded the ball at midfield.
Ø Typically there are three players in the attack zone unless the team has penalty and is a ‘man down’.
Ø The box around the crease is called the “restraining box” or in lacrosse terminology the “box” The lines around it are called restraining lines. During faces offs the defense and attack must stay in the “box” until possession for one team or the other happens and the referee calls this out.
Ø The small rectangles to either side of the box are called the “alleys”. When an infraction is called by a referee that is a change of possession the team taking the ball will begin play here if the infraction occurred in the Defensive or Offensive Zone. If the infraction occurs in the midfield area the ball can be awarded in the wing area or the center.
Ø The “crease area” is 9’ radius circle around the goal. Only the goalie can be in this area or defensemen for that team can run through it. However, when the ball is outside of the crease neither the defense or goalie can re-enter the crease. A goalie is considered in their crease even if one foot is on the line and they are reaching out with their stick. Once the ball is in the goalies possession they have three seconds to exit the crease. If an opposing player touches or checks the stick of the goalie while they are in the crease it is goalie interference and the ball is awarded at the midfield line. This includes the goalie being in the act of passing.
Ø The “special substitution area” is where players enter and exit during live play replacing each other. At the higher levels of the game you will see offensive and defensive specialists entering the game for both sides once the ball is cleared and in a settled situation. This includes a “long pole” middie whom is a player that plays the midfield position with a long defensemen stick
Ø Players serving penalties take a knee near the scorers table behind
Ø The “wing area” is where wing midfielders line up for face offs and can not leave until the whistle is blown by the ref. It is common to see one of the wing midfielders rush to the area of the face off to try to gain possession of the ball and the other to line up further down the line and run to a defensive position several yards behind the face off circle in case their team does not win the face off.
Ø The limit line on the sideline opposite the benches is where the spectators watch the game. It is against the rules to be a spectator on the player’s side of the field.
Men's Lacrosse Positions
Attack: The attackman's responsibility is to score goals. The attackman generally restricts his play to the offensive end of the field. A good attackman demonstrates excellent stick work with both hands and has quick feet to maneuver around the goal. Each team should have three attackmen on the field during play.
Midfield: The midfielder's responsibility is to cover the entire field, playing both offense and defense. The midfielder is a key to the transition game, and is often called upon to clear the ball from defense to offense. A good midfielder demonstrates good stick work including throwing, catching and scooping. Speed and stamina are essential. Each team should have three midfielders on the field.
Defense: The defenseman's responsibility is to defend the goal. The defenseman generally restricts his play to the defensive end of the field. A good defenseman should be able to react quickly in game situations. Agility and aggressiveness are necessary, but great stick work is not essential to be effective. Each team should have three defensemen on the field.
Goal: The goalie's responsibility is to protect the goal and stop the opposing team from scoring. A good goalie also leads the defense by reading the situation and directing the defensemen to react. A good goalie should have excellent hand/eye coordination and a strong voice. Quickness, agility, confidence and the ability to concentrate are also essential. Each team has one goalie in the goal during play.
Rules for Mens Lacrosse
Men's lacrosse is a contact game played by ten players (except U9 and U11 where its 8v8): a goalkeeper, three defensemen, three midfielders and three attackmen. The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent's goal. The team scoring the most goals wins.
· Each team must keep at least four players, including the goalie, in its defensive half of the field and three in its offensive half Three players (midfielders) may roam the entire field.
· Generally, high school games are 48 minutes long, with 12 minute quarters. Each team is given a two minute break between the first and second quarters, and the third and fourth quarters. Half-time is ten minutes long.
· Teams change sides between periods. Each team is permitted two time-outs each half. The team winning the coin toss chooses the end of the field it wants to defend first.
· Men's lacrosse begins with a face-off. The ball is placed between the sticks of two squatting players at the center of the field. The official blows the whistle to begin play. Each face-off player tries to control the ball. The players in the wing areas can release; the other players must wait until one player has gained possession of the ball or the ball has crossed the goal line.
· Center face-offs are also used after a goal and at the start of each quarter.
· Players may run with the ball in the crosse, pass and catch the ball. Only the goalkeeper may touch the ball with his hands.
· A player may gain possession of the ball by dislodging it from an opponent's crosse with a stick check, which includes the controlled poking and slapping of the stick and gloved hands of the player in possession of the ball.
· Body checking is permitted if the opponent has the ball. However, all contact must occur from the front or side, above the waist and below the shoulders. An opponent's crosse may also be stick checked if it is within five yards of a loose ball or ball in the air.
· If the ball or a player in possession of the ball goes out of bounds, the other team is awarded possession of the ball. If the ball goes out of bounds after an unsuccessful shot on goal, the player nearest to the ball when and where it goes out of bounds is awarded possession.
· An attacking player cannot enter the crease around the goal, but may reach in with his stick to scoop a loose ball.
Men's Lacrosse Personal Fouls
The penalty for a personal foul is a one to three minute suspension from play and possession to the team that was fouled. Players with five personal fouls are ejected from the game.
§ SLASHING: Occurs when a player's stick contacts an opponent in any area other than the stick or gloved hand on the stick.
§ TRlPPlNG: Occurs when a player obstructs his opponent at or below the waist with the crosse, hands, arms, feet or legs.
§ CROSS CHECKING: Occurs when a player uses the handle of his crosse to make contact with an opponent.
§ UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT: Occurs when any player or coach commits an act which is considered unsportsmanlike by an official, including taunting, obscene language or gestures, and arguing.
§ UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS: Occurs when a player strikes an opponent with his stick or body using excessive or violent force.
§ ILLEGAL CROSSE: Occurs when a player uses a crosse that does not conform to required specifications. A crosse may be found illegal if the pocket is too deep or if the crosse was altered to gain an advantage.
§ ILLEGAL BODY CHECKING: Occurs when any of the following actions take place: (a) body checking of an opponent who is not in possession of the ball or within five yards of a loose ball: (b) avoidable body check of an opponent alter he has passed or shot the ball; (c) body checking of an opponent from the rear or at or below the waist; (d) body checking of an opponent by a player in which contact is made above the shoulders of the opponent. A body check must be below the neck, and both hands of the player applying the body check must remain in contact with his crosse.
§ ILLEGAL GLOVES: Occurs when a player uses gloves that do not conform to required specifications. A glove will be found illegal if the fingers and palms are cut out of the gloves, or if the glove has been altered in a way that compromises its protective features.
Men's Lacrosse Technical Fouls
The penalty for a technical foul is a thirty second suspension if a team is in possession of the ball when the foul is committed, or possession of the ball to the team that was fouled if there was no possession when the foul was committed.
· HOLDING: Occurs when a player impedes the movement of an opponent or an opponent's crosse.
· INTERFERENCE: Occurs when a player interferes in any manner with the free movement of an opponent, except when that opponent has possession of the ball, the ball is in flight and within five yards of the players, or both players are within five yards of a loose ball.
· OFF SIDES: Occurs when a team does not have at least four players on its defensive side of the midfield line or at least three players on its offensive side of the midfield line.
· PUSHING: Occurs when a player thrusts or shoves a player from behind.
· SCREENING: Occurs illegally when an offensive player moves into and makes contact with a defensive player with the purpose of blocking him from the man he is defending.
· STALLING: Occurs when a team intentionally holds the ball. without conducting normal offensive play, with the intent of running times off the clock.
· WARDING OFF: Occurs when a player in possession of the ball uses his free hand or arm to hold, push or control the direction of an opponent's stick check.
About U13 and U15 Boys Lacrosse
Over the past several years a major emphasis and change in Lacrosse in 2008 from First grade through High School is reducing unneccessary and violent "takeout" type checks. It continues to a major focus for EMLOA (Easter Mass Lacrosse Officials Association).
Checking or Contact is allowed at the U13 and U15 levels of Youth Lacrosse.
The objectives are:
1. To gain possession of the ball
o Contact with an opponent carrying the ball and knocking them out of bounds
o Separating an opponent from carrying the ball, AND staying in the play for the ensuing ground ball
o Eliminating an opponent from a ground ball situation from competing for it within five yards
Any check considered to be intending to put the opposing player "On the ground" will be considered for 1-2 minutes unreleasable penalty - meaning: no matter how many goals are scored, the player stays off the field and the team remains short handed or 'man down'. This often called a "take out" check where the player obviously only has one goal and that is to check their opponent and inflct as much force as possible without any regard to the stated objectives above.
Many officials are giving the penalty with a warning that, if it happens again, depending on severity, the player can be ejected from the game. All ejections are followed by a one game suspension and the player is asked to leave the field with a parent.
As parents, we need to be especially watchful for analogies of hockey or football, or cheering for 'big hits'. The proper sports analogy for a well played lacrosse game is basketball. For example, picks (stationary offensive players) are a useful offshoot of basketball for rubbing off a defender and gaining 'separation'.
High Level College Lacrosse - it is rare that any team has more than 3-4 penalties per game - it usually results in goals over 75% of the time. Games are often won and loss in man up / man down situations. This is also true at the High School level where man up offenses are often so effective that ball ends up in the back of the net upwards to 60% of the time.
Other rules to be aware of:
o SPEARING (head on head contact, or leading with head) - especially happens during ground balls - very dangerous, can lead to upper body severe injuries. This is different than brushing or indirect contact - that is why we wear helmets. NOT ALLOWED IN ANY CONTACT SPORT - no excuses.
o SLASHING - this when your stick is 'out of control' - IT DOES NOT REQUIRE CONTACT TO BE CALLED. Any stick contact below waist also considered slashing. Wild swings with one or two hands with or without contact will be called. Our stick is a tool for possession, not a weapon. The game is about keeping the ball in the air and skill.
o CONTACT FROM REAR. May be a push, awarding possession to other team, or intentional roughness, with penalty - NOT ALLOWED IN ANY CONTACT SPORT - no excuses.
o CROSS CHECKING: Hitting the player with the stick parallel to ground, both hands seperated on the stick. This will be called when the contact made is with the stick, not the hands. (In other words, a defensive player can have his hands on the stick touching each other and push the offensive player back with his hands). If the hands are seperated on the stick such that the offenve player is being hit by the stick directly, it is cross-checking.
o Offensive players cannnot initiate contact. The most common call is WARDING - This is where the offensive players uses his off hand or arm to 'ward off' (push away, or stiff arm) the defender. Not allowed - lose possession. Running your defender into a stationary pick is allowed and an excellent tactic. Penalities can and are called for players carrying the ball that opt to "run over" an opponent as opposed to trying to avoid them.
o WINDING UP - a player taking a running start of two steps or more away from the opposing player is a penalty called for illegal body check at least.
o TRIPPING - putting your leg or stick out deliberately to down the opponent. If you leg has been stationary for a second or more and the opposition players trips, no call.
OUR Primary goal is SAFETY.
Our SECOND goal is possession of the ball (it is tough to score without it), trained use of our sticks and strong footwork are our allies. Knocking the other guy down to gain possesion is not Lacrosse. And we hate to play shorthanded.
We are asking all coaches and parents to reinforce these above at practices and games. It is especially important for boys just coming off hockey, or football players, although many of these rules already live in the other sports they are not a part of field lacrosse.