The exciting, slam-bang action of lacrosse has made it one of the fastest growing team sports.
The teams consist of ten men, including three attackmen, three midfielders, and three defensemen, plus one goalie. Generally, the attackmen must remain in the attack, or offensive half of the field, and the defensemen must remain in the defensive half, while the midfielders can run back and forth on both sides. The midfielders, therefore, are platooned and frequently substituted. For an attackman to move to the defensive half of the field, or for a defenseman to move to the attack half, a midfielder must remain behind in his place.
The field is 110 yards long and 60 yards wide. The goals are 80 yards apart. The goal face is six feet square.
The game consists of four 15-minute quarters. In the event of a tie at the end of regulation time, two five-minute overtime periods follow. These are not sudden death, and the full 10 minutes of overtime is always played. If the score is still deadlocked at the end of the second overtime, the game is declared a tie.
Scoring is simply one point per goal. The ball must break the plane of the goal face. for the goal to count. Different from most sports, in lacrosse a shot must be in the goal before the final gun. If it is in the air at the gun and goes into the goal afterwards, it does not count.
Out-of-Bounds rules are always somewhat unique in lacrosse. If a player steps over the out-of-bounds, or if a stray pass goes out untouched, the rules are the same as in other sports, with the team that touched it last before it went out losing possession. However, if an attempted shot misses the goal and goes out-of-bounds, or if a missed shot is deflected out, the ball is awarded to the team nearest the ball when it crossed the out-of-bounds line.
Equipment for the individual player is a helmet with a face mask, a stick, and protective gloves. The stick or "crosse" is from 40 to 72 inches long. The head of the stick with its leather webbing is seven to 12 inches wide and approximately 18 inches from top to handle. The players also wear arm-pads and the gloves are heavily padded, as the glove of a player in possession of the ball is considered to be part of the stick and is fair game for checks by the opponent's stick. Goalies wear additional protective gear, usually in the form of a chest protector similar to those used by the catcher in baseball.
Substitutions may be made whenever the clock is stopped or as "running" substitutions while the ball is in play. All substitutes must check in at the scorer's table and running substitutions must enter the field at the designated area in front of the scorer's table. These running substitutions must not enter the field until the players are replacing have crossed the out-of-bounds line.
Penalties may be either loss of ball or expulsion of a player. In the latter case, the player must sit out 30 seconds to one minute (or sometimes up to three minutes in extreme cases) according the nature of the foul, and his team must play short-handed during that time. An offside occurs when a team has three men in its attack half or four men in its defensive half of the field. This is a technical foul, causing loss of ball if the guilty team is in possession, or a 30 second penalty if the offsides team is not in possession. Bodychecking is legal on an opponent in possession of the ball and within five yards of a loose ball; the initial contact being from the front or side and above the knees. Checking from behind, slashing with the stick, tripping, contact on the opponent's helmet with the stick, and unnecessary roughness are all expulsion fouls, for one minute in most cases. The player committing the foul must sit out the time in the penalty box in front of the scorer's bench at midfield. A substitute who will enter the game at the end of the foul may take his place in the penalty box, but the player committing the foul must remain out of the game until the full penalty time has been served or until the opposing team scores, which terminates the penalty. A flag is thrown for a delayed whistle on a penalty in certain situations so that a foul on the defensive team does not break the momentum of a play by the attacking team.
Lacrosse PositionsAttack: 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.