Lacrosse Rules & How To Play Lacrosse

Lacrosse Rules: How To Play Lacrosse
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What are the basic lacrosse rules?

Read on to find out the essential information you need to know on how to play lacrosse.

Since the establishment of lacrosse in the 12th century, there have been a lot of refinements in the sport.

In this article, we will detail the basic rules of lacrosse and guidelines on how to play lacrosse. Other exciting highlights include a brief history of the sport.

The Objective of the Game

Just as with every other team sport, the main objective of the game is to emerge the winner. As two different teams face each other, both sides try to score goals. The side with the most goals becomes the winner.

Lacrosse Rules

How to Play Lacrosse

In lacrosse, every player holds a lacrosse stick, which has a standard length of 40–42 inches. The goalie uses a stick with a top of 12 inches, width, and length of 3.3 feet to 6 feet. Players make use of the head of the stick to pass, shoot and catch the ball.

The goals have a measurement of 180 cm by 180 cm, sitting in a circular ‘crease’ of 550 cm in diameter with a distance of 73 m in-between.

The total playing time of a game is 60 minutes, partitioned to four phases of 15 minutes apiece. Play starts at the commencement of each quarter and following every goal. For the first play, two players place their sticks on the floor corresponding to the mid-line with the two heads of their sticks on differing sides of the ball. The game commences after the whistle is blown.

When the ball is hit to areas out of play, the ball is granted in opposition to the team in possession before the ball went out.

During the game, both sides are allowed to make substitutions.

Team & Player Positions

Two teams of ten players, each which include a goalkeeper generally called a goalie to face each other on a field which extends 110 yards by 60 yards.

Each team is divided into three positions; the attack, midfield, and defense. On each side, an utmost of four players carries a lacrosse stick longer than the rest, which is the defensemen and perhaps a defensive midfielder.

Each side is required to keep four players in its defensive area and three players in its attack all the time, while the midfielders can stay in either area. Any team that breaches this rule is offside and loses the ball if they are in possession of it or acquire a technical foul if not in possession.


Lacrosse Equipment – Rules of Lacrosse

Being a sport characterized by the pace and high energy levels, it is enforced for every lacrosse player to wear protective gear such as helmets, shoulder pads, gloves, and elbow pads. To add to the list is the apparent equipment, the lacrosse stick, and the ball, which describes the sport.


Every lacrosse team aims to play the ball with their lacrosse stick into the goal. Achieving this act is an addition of a point (goal). Goals could be scored during regular play or when penalties are incurred in favor, in the case of a foul.


As both team score goals, the side with the highest goals finishes as the winner. Sometimes when the regular 60 minutes estimated time is exhausted, depending on the game, it could extend to overtime till one of the sides emerge as the winner.


Fouls could be personal or technical, and penalties are incurred if judged by the officiating referee.

Fouls are of two types: Personal fouls and Technical fouls. All other fouls are formed based on these two.

  • Personal Fouls like cross-checking, slashing, elbowing, high-sticking, spearing, and unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Technical fouls such as offsides, holding a player with hand or stick, or obstructing, pushing, or tripping a player with the lacrosse stick are also prohibited.


In case of any fouls, penalties are given. When a personal foul is committed, a one-minute penalty is awarded and the guilty player is sent off to stay in the substitution zone for a duration of 1–3 minutes as determined by the official.

Although depending on the level of foul, the player could be released or not. During a releasable, the guilty player returns after goals are scored not minding the penalty duration.

In contrast, during a non-releasable, the guilty player stays off not minding the number of goals scored during the penalty duration.

However, when a technical foul is committed, a thirty-seconds penalty is given if not in possession of the ball or a turnover if in possession.

Lacrosse History

Lacrosse, being a native American sport since the 1100s, was a traditional sport that encompassed a team of about a hundred to a thousand men. The game was played from dawn till dusk for 2-3 days at once. Although in the 1600s, it became a well set up sport standardized by Jesuit priests in modern-day Canada.

The Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf from France saw men from the Huron tribe play the sport in 1637 in existing Ontario. He named the sport ‘lacrosse,’ a French word which means ‘the stick’ in English. The given name gives the impression that it’s coined from the French expression for field hockey.

In time, the sport spread to English speaking nations, and by the 20th century, there were several clubs in Europe, the United States, and Canada.

Presently governed by the World Lacrosse, lacrosse has instigated to thrive at the intercontinental stage, as several teams are being instituted all around the world, predominantly in Europe and the Eastern part of Asia.

ALSO READ: Ice Hockey Rules & How to Play Ice Hockey

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