Rules of Lacrosse | How it is Played?

On watching, this may look like a funny game in which players run with small sticks that look similar to net sticks used for catching stray dogs. But instead, they use these sticks to score a goal.

It’s a team sport which is also the oldest organized sport in North America. Some believe that this game was played by indigenious people of the Eastern Woodlands. However, the game has been extensively modified and may not be the same as of its older version.

Rules of Lacrosse

It’s a fast and frenetic contact sport which can prove nasty as well if protective gears are not worn by the players. The game is less popular in Asian countries but it has a significant following in Europe and in the USA where domestic level tournaments are also held for the promotion and growth of the game.

Object of Playing Lacrosse

The object of the game is to score as many goals as you can and in the end, the team with the most number of goals is declared winner. To score a goal, each team has to shoot the ball into the opponent’s goal which is always guarded by the keeper. The ball can only be caught or shot with the help of a stick.

How to Play?

Lacrosse is played with a stick and a ball. Each side has an equal number of players and a stick in their hands. Both teams try to score goals by hitting the ball in the opposition’s goal post. There are designated roles of players and the size of their sticks can vary as per their roles.

Moreover, there are rules regarding infringements, time period and goal scoring which you need to learn before you start playing Lacrosse. You can find every rule regarding the game in the general rules of Lacrosse below.

General Rules of Lacrosse

  • Both teams can field 10 players at a time.
  • Unlimited substitutions can be made during the game.
  • Common infringement occurs when a player commits an offside or holds an opponent. The punishment for these infringements is the offensive player is sent to the penalty box for a period of time, usually 30 seconds or one minute.
  • If more than 7 players of a side stand in the defensive half, it is known as offside.
  • Games are started and restarted with a faceoff.
  • There is a shot clock, according to which, the team which gets the possession of the ball must shoot the ball in the goal in 60 seconds, otherwise the other team will be given possession of the ball.
  • If the ball is shot from outside the defending half, 2 points are awarded for a goal. Otherwise, each goal is worth 1 point.
  • The opposing team can stop the team within the possession of the ball by blocking their shots, body checking and stick checking.
  • It is necessary to have 4 players in the defensive half of your goal, including the goalie (goalkeeper).
  • Similarly, the team must have players in the attacking half of the field.
  • There are two types of sticks, short and long lacrosse. In every team, up to 4 players can use the long lacrosse sticks.
  • Abusing or argumenting with officials is considered a major foul and it can lead you to 3 minutes exclusion from the field and your team will be left one player short.

Time Duration of a Game

Lacrosse games consist of 4 quarters, the time length of each quarter can vary between 15-20 minutes.

Playing Field

A standard level Lacrosse field measures 110 yards in length and 30 yards in width. The goals are surrounded by circular creases with a diameter of 18 feet. A player cannot step ahead of this crease to score a goal.

Playing Equipment

The equipment required for the game are Lacrosse stick and a ball. Moreover, players also wear certain protective equipment to ensure maximum protection during the game.

Stick: The lacrosse stick has two parts, a head and a shaft. They are usually made of hollow metal. A standard Lacrosse stick can measure up to:

  • 40 to 42 inches (100 to 110 cm) long for offensive players,
  • 52 to 72 inches (130 to 180 cm) long for defensemen (who usually carry long sticks),
  • the stick length for goalies is 40 to 72 inches (100 to 180 cm).

Ball: The balls used in it are solid rubber made. They measure between 7 3/4 and 8 inches in circumference and weigh between 5 and 5 1/4 ounces in weight.

Here are some of the protective equipment used by players during the match:

  • Gloves
  • Elbow pads
  • Shoulder pads
  • Chest pad
  • Neck guard


This Faceoff is similar to rugby but in Lacrosse, not all players stand with their heads pressed against each other but only one from each side. Both players have the equal opportunity to get possession of the ball during this faceoff.

Famous Lacrosse Tournaments

The Lacrosse tournaments are held at domestic level in countries like Ireland, Canada and USA where their own governing bodies sanction these tournaments. The World Lacrosse Championship is also held with a 4 years gap but only a limited number of countries participate because the game is still in the development phase in different regions of the world.

Governing Body

World Lacrosse, previously known as the Federation of International Lacrosse, is the international governing body of lacrosse. Its responsibility is to cater men’s and women’s and also indoor version of the sport. The governing body was established in 2008 by a coalition of previously separate men’s and women’s international lacrosse associations.