Lacrosse Rules

The lacrosse uniform has a lot to say about your team, so when designing your lacrosse uniform be sure and know the official rules. But rules may vary from one school or organization to another, so please check with your local athletic club or association to know the rules for your team.

Youth or High School Lacrosse

Women

The following set of rules is from the 2010 Women's Rules, Official Rules for Girls and Women's Lacrosse.

  1. The Playing Area and Goals
  2. Equipment and Uniforms
  3. Game Personnel
  4. Time Factors and Scoring
  5. Game Play
  6. Fouls
  7. Penalty Administration
  8. Definition of Terms
  9. Manufacturer's Specifications
Rule 1: The Playing Area and Goals

This rule details the dimensions of the playing field, which is 110 - 140 yards long, by 60 - 70 yards wide. Other markings, such as lines, circles, and arcs, and other areas such as the coaching, playing, and spectator areas, are detailed.

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Rule 2: Equipment and Uniforms

This rule gets into the specifics of standard lacrosse equipment, including the field and goalkeeper crosses, the ball, and players' uniforms and safety equipment.

The field and goalkeeper crosse handles must be made of composite metal alloy. The remainder of the cross may be made from rubber, gut, wood, leather, fiberglass, nylon, plastic or other synthetic materials.

The Ball

The lacrosse ball must be solid yellow or bright orange, and measure between 7-3/4 inches and 8 inches in circumference, and weigh between 5 and 5-1/4 ounces.

Details about goalkeeper's equipment are given on page 15 of Rule 2.

See page 16 for details about players' equipment, such as shoes, cleats, eye and nose protection, headgear, etc.

A field player's uniform consists of: shirts, kilts (or shorts or pants), socks and shoes.

For details concerning the decorating and constructing of the lacrosse jersey, check out Lacrosse Uniform Decoration Rules.

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Rule 3: Game Personnel

This rule covers the number of players on a team and their positions. It also covers coaches, administrators, umpires, scoring and timing.

Important points: The game is played between two teams; there are 12 players per team. The game is overseen by two umpires. Their job includes being on the field 30 minutes prior to the game to enforce the rules, oversee timers and scorers, and be available for captains and coaches.

The official timer is from the home team and sits at a table opposite center circle.

This person's job is to time the game, among other things.

The scorer is from the home team and is positioned at the table opposite center circle along with the timer. This person also keeps a record and roster of players and their lineups.

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Rule 4: Time Factors and Scoring

The rule highlights important aspects of timing and scoring; duration of play, time outs, suspensions, etc.

Important points: A game is 50 minutes long for high school players, 60 minutes for adults, and is divided into two halves. Half time is 10 minutes long.

Teams are permitted two timeouts each per game, including overtime, and should be no longer than two minutes. The coach or player can request a timeout after a goal is scored by the possessing team or a dead ball occurs. See Rule 4 for details about suspensions, forfeits, and overtimes.

Scoring: The team that scores the most goals is the winner. Equal number of goals results in a tie. A goal is scored when the ball legally passes completely over the goal line between the goal posts and under the cross bar. See page 26 for details.

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Rule 5: Game Play

This rule details start and restart of the game.

The game is started by a draw except when a free position or throw at the center line has been given. There must be 12 players on the field before starting, with exceptions. Until the whistle blows, no more than five players per team may be between restraining lines during the draw. For details about start and restart of play, stand, restraining line, out of bounds, and goal circles, see pgs. 30-34.

For details about throwing, substitution and miscellaneous incidents, see pg. 35-40.

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Rule 6: Fouls

This rule emphasizes major and minor fouls and their penalties. Major fouls include:

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Rule 7: Penalty Administration

This rule details actions that may be taken as a result of fouls.

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Rule 8: Definition of Terms

A short glossary of lacrosse terms is available here; to view the complete list of terms and their definitions, see publication.

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Rule 9: Manufacturer's Specifications

Crosses and other equipment must meet legal specifications. The ball, goal, and net are covered in Rules 1 and 2.

Men

A complete set of current US Lacrosse rules for youth and high school-aged men is available for a fee: US Lacrosse Men's Rules.

  1. The Game, Field and Equipment
  2. Game Personnel
  3. Time Factors and Scoring
  4. Game Play
  5. Personal and Expulsion Fouls
  6. Technical Fouls
  7. Penalty Administration
Rule 1: The Game, Field and Equipment

This is basic information about the game. The number of players on a team, a diagram of the field, and how the equipment must conform to requirements is given here.

A team consists of 10 players, but there can be as few as seven. The field dimensions should conform to standard regulation sizes, but it's up to the coaches and officials.

Equipment and clothing must conform to requirements. They generally includes: crosse, helmet, rib pads, jersey, shorts or pants, undergarments, socks, and shoes with cleats.

The game jersey should be a single dominant color with numbers on the front and back large enough to be seen anywhere on the field by officials.

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Rule 2: Game Personnel

This rule highlights the responsibilities of the home team and its officials.

Main points:

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Rule 3: Time Factors and Scoring

Information about the duration of play, timeouts, and scoring is found here.

A junior or senior division game is quartered. A game is comprised of four, 10-minute segments, unless there is a tie in which case two, four-minute sudden victory overtime periods are played. Lightening and Bantam divisions are quartered also, but with a little longer time each quarter - 12 minutes. Overtime is played in one, 15-minute non-sudden victory segment. If it ends in a tie, it's a tie.

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Rule 4: Game Play

The rules of play for youth divisions, with a few modifications to the standard rules, comprise Rule 4. Modifications to this rule involve facing off, advancing the ball, and time outs. Youth games should emphasize correct use of the stick, and developing sportsmanship skills.

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Rule 5: Personal and Expulsion Fouls

Main points:

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Rule 6: Technical Fouls
Rule 7: Penalty Administration

Rules 6 and 7 discuss technical fouls and penalty enforcement. For details see publication link.

College Lacrosse

Women

NCAA women's lacrosse goes by rules published by US Lacrosse; therefore Official Women's NCAA 2010-11 Lacrosse Rules and Interpretations are nearly identical to US Lacrosse rules.

Men

As with the women's NCAA division, Official Men's NCAA 2009-10 Lacrosse Rules and Interpretations are nearly identical to the US Lacrosse rules.



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