Lacrosse Rules & How To Play Lacrosse

Lacrosse Rules & How To Play Lacrosse
Lacrosse Rules & How To Play Lacrosse. (Photo credit: 12019 / Pixabay)

Since the establishment of lacrosse in the 12th century, there have been a lot of refinements in the sport. In this article, we will consider the rules of Lacrosse, the gameplay as well as the players and equipment required for the sport. This can also serve as a guide on how to play lacrosse.

Background Information

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 and 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 a number of clubs in Europe, the United States and Canada.

Presently governed by the International Lacrosse Federation (IFL), lacrosse has instigated to thrive at the intercontinental stage, as a number of teams being instituted all around the world, predominantly in Europe and Eastern part of Asia.

In 2015 only, lacrosse was played by of 750 thousand children in the world and is reported to be one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.

How to Play Lacrosse

The objective of the Game

As two different teams face each other, both sides try to score goals. The side with the most goals becomes the winner.


In the game of lacrosse, every player holds a lacrosse stick which has a standard length of 40-42in. A stick with a top of 12 inches width and a length of 3.3ft to 6ft is used by the goalie. Players make use of the head of the stick to pass, shoot and catch the ball. The goals have a measurement of 180 by 180 cm sitting in a circular ‘crease’ of 550 cm in diameter with a distance of 73 m between.

The directive total playing time of a game is sixty minutes, partitioned to four phases of 15 minutes apiece. Play is begun at the commencement of each quarter and following every goal with a first play whereby 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 and begin play 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. Fouls could be personal or technical and penalties are incurred if judged by the officiating referee.

Team Players & 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 defence. 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 on 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 Sport
Lacrosse Equipment. (Photo credit:

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 obvious equipment, the lacrosse stick and the ball which describes the sport.


As with every competition, the main objective is to emerge the winner. The aim of every lacrosse team is 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 normal play or when penalties are incurred in favour, in the case of a foul.


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

Lacrosse Rules

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

Personal Fouls like cross-checking which happens when a player carries a check with the two hands on his hockey stick and no part of the stick on the ice; slashing which is when a player sways his hockey stick at an opposition member or hampers him by slashing with his stick or other fowls that may put other players in danger like elbowing, high-sticking and spearing an opposition member with the tip of the stick blade while the stick is being held.

Technical fouls such as offsides, holding a player with hand or stick or obstructing a player and pushing or tripping a player with the lacrosse stick are also prohibited.

In case of any of these 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 the duration. 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, thirty seconds penalty duration is given if not in possession of the ball or a turnover if in possession of the ball.

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