A brief outline of the major rules in the game of field lacrosse is outlined below. Major fouls are identified as Personal or Technical in nature. Time served penalties or change of possession calls are used to enforce infractions of the rules.
- Each team must keep at least four players, including the goalie, in its defensive half of the field and three in its offensive half. Three players (midfielders) may roam the entire field.
- Generally, games are 80 minutes long, with 20 minute quarters. Each team is given a two minute break between the first and second quarters, and the third and fourth quarters. Halftime is ten minutes long. Modified games are played at the Mini-Tyke to Youth Divisions and last 60 minutes long, with two 25 minute halves. Each team is given a 10 minute break at half time.
- Teams change sides between periods. Each team is permitted one timeout each half. The team winning the coin toss chooses the end of the field it wants to defend first.
- Men’s lacrosse begins with a face-off. The ball is placed between the sticks of two squatting players at the center of the field. The official blows the whistle to begin play. Each face-off player tries to control the ball. The players in the wing areas can release; the other players must wait until one player has gained possession of the ball or the ball has crossed the goal line.
- Center face-offs are also used after a goal and at the start of each quarter.
- Players may run with the ball in the crosse (stick), pass and catch the ball. Only the goalkeeper may touch the ball with his hands.
- A player may gain possession of the ball by dislodging it from an opponent’s crosse with a stick check, which includes the controlled poking and slapping of the stick and gloved hands of the player in possession of the ball.
- Body checking is permitted if the opponent has the ball. However, Mini-Tyke, Tyke and Youth play a NON-CONTACT game in House League. Incidental contact may occur, but is monitored by the referees. All contact must occur from the front or side, above the waist and below the shoulders. An opponent’s crosse may also be stick checked if it is within five yards of a loose ball or ball in the air.
- If the ball or a player in possession of the ball goes out of bounds, the other team is awarded possession of the ball. If the ball goes out of bounds after an unsuccessful shot on goal, the player nearest to the ball when and where it goes out of bounds is awarded possession.
- An attacking player cannot enter the crease around the goal, but may reach in with his stick to scoop a loose ball.
The penalty for a personal foul is a one to three minute suspension from play (time served penalty) and possession to the team that was fouled. Players with five personal fouls are ejected from the game.
- SLASHING: Occurs when a player’s stick contacts an opponent in any area other than the stick or gloved hand on the stick.
- TRlPPlNG: Occurs when a player obstructs his opponent at or below the waist with the crosse, hands, arms, feet or legs.
- CROSS CHECKING: Occurs when a player uses the handle of his crosse to make contact with an opponent.
- UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT: Occurs when any player or coach commits an act which is considered unsportsmanlike by an official, including taunting, obscene language or gestures, and arguing.
- UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS: Occurs when a player strikes an opponent with his stick or body using excessive or violent force.
- ILLEGAL CROSSE (stick): Occurs when a player uses a crosse that does not conform to required specifications. A crosse may be found illegal if the pocket is too deep or if the crosse was altered to gain an advantage.
- ILLEGAL BODY CHECKING: Occurs when any of the following actions take place: (a) body checking of an opponent who is not in possession of the ball or within five yards of a loose ball: (b) avoidable body check of an opponent alter he has passed or shot the ball; (c) body checking of an opponent from the rear or at or below the waist; (d) body checking of an opponent by a player in which contact is made above the shoulders of the opponent. A body check must be below the neck, and both hands of the player applying the body check must remain in contact with his crosse.
- ILLEGAL GLOVES: Occurs when a player uses gloves that do not conform to required specifications. A glove will be found illegal if the fingers and palms are cut out of the gloves, or if the glove has been altered in a way that compromises its protective features.
The penalty for a technical foul is a thirty second suspension (time served) if a team is in possession of the ball when the foul is committed or possession of the ball to the team that was fouled if there was no possession when the foul was committed.
- HOLDING: Occurs when a player impedes the movement of an opponent or an opponent’s crosse.
- INTERFERENCE: Occurs when a player interferes in any manner with the free movement of an opponent, except when that opponent has possession of the ball, the ball is in flight and within five yards of the players, or both players are within five yards of a loose ball.
- OFF SIDES: Occurs when a team does not have at least four players on its defensive side of the midfield line or at least three players on its offensive side of the midfield line.
- PUSHING: Occurs when a player thrusts or shoves a player from behind.
- SCREENING: Occurs illegally when an offensive player moves into and makes contact with a defensive player with the purpose of blocking him from the man he is defending.
- STALLING: Occurs when a team intentionally holds the ball, without conducting normal offensive play, with the intent of running times off the clock.
- WARDING OFF: Occurs when a player in possession of the ball uses his free hand or arm to hold, push or control the direction of an opponent’s stick check.