THE GAME OF LACROSSE


The following excerpts from The Coach - LACROSSE have been placed in the public domain by AZRU Sports for the benefit of the sport of lacrosse. All remaining portions of The Coach - LACROSSE remain under copyright©





The Game      Lacrosse is played between two teams. The object of the game is to advance the ball into the opposing teams territory and shoot the ball into the opponent's goal. The team scoring the most goals at the end of regulation play is the winner. The ball  is kept in play by being thrown, carried or hit by the stick, rolled or kicked by one or more players in any direction, provided  the ball stays in the field of play. A team is comprised of 10 players; 1 goalie, 3 defense men, 3 mid- fielders and 3 attack men.     Each team must keep at least 4 players, including goalie, in its defensive half of field and 3 players in its offensive zone. The 3 mid-fielders are free to roam entire field. The game has four quarters, plus a halftime. Teams change ends between quarters. Youth games are generally 32 minutes long, with eight minute quarters, two minute breaks between  quarters and a ten minute halftime.  High school games are generally 40-48 minutes long with either 10 or 12 quarters and 12 minutes at halftime. Collegiate games are 60 minutes long with 15 minute quarters and a 15 minute halftime. Each team is permitted 3 time-outs, only two in a half of play. used to start each quarter and to resume play after each goal.
    The game starts at the center of the field with a face-off. Face- offs are also The ball is placed between sticks of two face-off players at the center of the field. The play starts when the official blows the whistle and face-off players try to control the ball. Wingmen are allowed to participate for control (release) of the ball. All other on-field players must wait until one player has gained possession or the ball has crossed a goal area line. Players maneuver the ball by passing, running, etc., to gain position which will provide opportunity for a player to attempt to score goal, by throwing ball with stick, past goalie, into goal. The only player allowed to touch the ball with his/her hands is the goalie.     Players attempt to gain control of the ball by scooping or catching it with a stick or by dislodging the ball from opponent s stick by checking. Checking involves poking, slapping or hitting an opponent's stick and gloved hand. Players may also attempt to gain possession of the ball by controlled body checks. Attacking players may never enter the area immediately around opponent's goal, known as the crease. Nor may a player physically touch the goalie while the goalie is in crease. Should the goalie gain possession of the ball, opposing players may try and block the clear by standing in the goalie's line of sight and waving sticks. Opposing players may also reach into the crease to try and retrieve loose or ground balls, but may not interfere with the goalie. Unlike other sports, should the ball go out of bounds after an unsuccessful shot, possession is awarded to player closest to the ball when and where it went out of bounds. The Team    There is no limit on the total number of players each team may carry on its roster. Most teams carry six to nine defensemen, six to nine attackmen, nine to twelve mid-fielders and three goalies. This provides three complete rotations of players (4 for mid- fielders). This is only a general rule of thumb and will vary  considerably based on availability of players and coaching philosophy. There can be a maximum of four long sticks on the field at any one time (not including goalie). The remainder must be short sticks.     There will be situations (penalties) where one or both teams will be required to play with less than the full ten member team. These are typically known as Man Up or Man Down situations and are usually handled with special field formations. Upon issuance of a penalty, which requires one or more players to go to "The Box", substitutes are not permitted to take their place. Team must play with a reduced number of players on the field.


The Field
    The game is played on a rectangular field measuring 110 yards long by 60 yards wide. The field is marked at 55 yards with a center line and at 30 yards across the center line with an (X) to indicate face-off zone.
    Goals are typically manufactured of steel or aluminum, measuring 6 feet square at the widest opening and converging to a point 7 feet behind opening. A mesh net is tightly secured to goal. Each goal sits inside a circle with a radius of 9 feet, called the crease. Each crease is positioned 15 yards from the field's end line and 30 yards from each sideline. sits inside a circle with a radius of 9 feet, called the crease.
Other Important Areas of the Field Include: Goal Area - area inside restraining lines at each end of field. Defense Clearing Area - area behind two solid lines which run across the field 20 yards in front of the goal. Wing Areas - indicated by two lines, 20 yards long and 10 yards in front of each sideline. "The Box" Area - is located directly in front of the officials' table and is used as a holding area for players to wait out their penalties. It is also the access area for substitute players entering and exiting the field. field-5

Rules & Regulations The game of Lacrosse is physical. Rules have been established which are intended to protect safety of players and maintain control over the game. Each game must have a minimum of two officials; a referee and an umpire. There may also be a field judge and a chief bench official. Decisions regarding third and fourth officials are made by the organization hosting the game. It is the coach's responsibility to teach and instill in each player that they are expected to be physical, but not violent. They are required to play with mental and physical control. The NCAA has put forth a comprehensive series of regulations and penalties for infractions. Following is a brief summarization of some of the major and common rule violations. PERSONAL FOULS are infractions of a serious nature, which carry suspension from the game for periods ranging from a minute to three minutes, depending on the severity and intent of the infraction. The penalty's length is determined by the officials. A Cross Check is a check by one player on another with the part of the stick between player's hands. Slashing occurs when a player swings his/her stick at an opponent in a deliberate, vicious, or reckless fashion, or when the stick comes in contact with any area of opponent other than on their stick or gloves, unless opponent is actively attempting to deflect a legitimate check with part of their body. Slashing also occurs when the stick of a player strikes any part of an opposing player's body above the neck, unless when done by a player in the act of shooting, passing or scooping the ball.
Illegal Body Checks occur when checking a player not within 5 yards of the ball, a late hit, contact from behind or above the shoulders or below the waist. This also occurs when a body check is thrown on an opponent who does not possess the ball, or when an avoidable body check of the opponent is made after the opponent has made a shot or pass. "Illegal Body Check" Tripping is obstructing an opponent at or below the waist with any part of the stick or body. If a player makes a legitimate check with the stick to dislodge the ball from an opponent's stick and subsequently the opponent trips over his/her own or the checker's stick, this is not tripping.
"Tripping" Unnecessary Roughness occurs when a player uses unnecessary and deliberate violent contact on an opposing player or is an infraction of the rules by being excessively violent when holding or pushing. Unsportsmanlike Conduct occurs when a person who represents a team attempts to argue with or influence the decision of a game official, using threatening, profane, abusive, or obscene language or gestures during the game; or baits, taunts or acts in a manner considered unsportsmanlike by a game official.. Illegal Crosse is the use of a crosse which does not conform to NCAA rules and standards.. Illegal Gloves are gloves which do not conform to required standards or when the glove's fingers and/ or palms have been altered or removed..

Positions Basic Skills Four Positions: Goalkeeper (Goalie), Defenseman, Mid-fielder (Middie) and Attackman. More advanced teams will contain face-off specialists and long stick middies. Goalies - #1 priority is to stop ball and to be the last line of defense. Requires courage, good reflexes, reaction time, and ability to think quickly. Goalie is the quarterback of the team Controls and dictates play of defensive unit. Calls out location of ball and presence of cutters. Tells teammates when to check opponents. Controls clearing process. Must be the most fearless and courageous player on field. Deals with dozens of high velocity shots during a game. Must be willing to absorb shots over any part of body. Must be a leader and command respect of teammates. Must keep his/her composure when mistakes are made and not be overly critical of him/herself or the team. Defensemen - Top priority is to neutralize opponents attack and prevent close range shots. Requires agility, quickness, good reflexes, ability to react quickly, and to calculate cutoff angles. Being aggressive, but always under control makes an excellent defenseman. Speed becomes important for long stick middies. Size helps, but is secondary to reactions, agility, mind set and speed. Mid-fielders - Primary responsibility is to move the ball from defensive end into their offensive zone and assisting in defense of the goal. Regardless of offensive contribution, mid-fielders must be good defensively. Characteristics of good mid-fielders are speed, stamina, hustle and determination. They need to possess good stick skills and have the ability to effectively play ground bars. Should be able to switch back and forth from offense to defense quickly and frequently. Attackmen - Primary responsibility is to score goals. Must be most proficient stick handlers on team or possess the basic qualities that will make good stick handlers. Must have great hand/eye coordination, having the ability to utilize both hands, and being adept at fakes and dodges. Quick feet, speed, agility, maneuverability and courage are needed. Must be able to take physical punishment from opposing defensemen and middies. Must possess great shooting, passing skills, and accuracy.


Guidelines for Player and Position Selection Evaluate the following qualities, then rank each player on a scale of I - 5, (I being highest), based on the level of each quality a player possesses. (Use Player Evaluation forms starting on page 23.) Agility - Maneuverability - Aggressiveness - Reaction Time and Quickness - Speed - Catching - Passing - General Stick Work Those who possess best overall stick skills or demonstrate ability to quickly acquire those skills and have speed, agility and quickness should be placed on attack. Those who possess demonstrated speed, endurance and agility should be assigned to mid-field. Those who possess clearly demonstrated agility, aggressiveness, and reaction time should be placed on defense. Those who appear to be leaders, who demonstrate courage and quick reaction time, should try goalie position.       If a player ranks 4 or 5, and has little speed, try at crease defense.       If a player ranks 4 or 5, and has speed, try at defense, placing in 3rd or 4th fine.       If a player ranks I - 3, and has speed, play any of the positions. Without speed, place as face-off specialist or crease