Perhaps the first sport in North America, "baggataway” was played by Native Americans as far back as the 1400s, often with thousands of people participating and goals spread miles apart. French colonists referred to the stick used to play as a “crosse” — French for a “bishop’s staff” — and lacrosse was created. A Canadian dentist, W. George Beers, established the rules in 1867 that formed modern lacrosse.
The first recorded game of women’s Lacrosse was played in Scotland at St. Leonards in the spring of 1890. The first headmistress of the school, Miss Louisa Lumsden, had the opportunity to visit New Hampshire in September of 1884, where she saw a match played between the Canghuwaya Indians and the Montreal Club. She took the game back to St Leonards. From St. Leonards lacrosse spread throughout Great Britain and was brought back to the United States by Rosabelle Sinclair who became the athletic director at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore in 1926. From this point women’s lacrosse has evolved sporadically to get to the point that it is today.
The women’s game is similar to the men’s game, but there are some major differences. The women’s game is about finesse and skill with minimal contact, whereas the men’s game is more physical with full contact, hence the need for different equipment and rules. Women play with shorter sticks with shallow pockets and on a smaller field. The woman’s game only requires goggles, cleats, and the stick which are shorter with a shallow pocket than the men’s. Men are required to wear much more padding and a helmet. There is also difference in the size and the number of players on the field.
Traditionally an East Coast sport, lacrosse has experienced recent growth at the high school and college levels, and the game has expanded across the country.
Object of the Game
Teams accumulate points by throwing the ball into the opponent’s goal. The team with the most goals wins the game.
A competition will consist of two (2) twenty to twenty five-minute running time halves depending on age level, with a five minute halftime period.
Start of the Game or Half
The action begins at the start of each half and after each goal with a face-off at the center of the field. The team that takes possession of the ball during the face-off is on offense
Offense and Defense
Lacrosse is played at a quick pace mixing various aspects of hockey, football, and soccer. With the exception of the goalies, players can only touch the ball with the crosse, or stick. Teams advance the ball toward the opponent’s goal by running and cradling it or passing it to a teammate. If given the opportunity, the offense attempts to score during the fast break, before the defense can set up. During the set offense, when players are near the opponent’s goal, proper spacing between players and balance in formation allow teams to execute plays that are designed to exploit defensive weaknesses. A player with the ball may attempt to drive during an isolation play, or feed the ball to an open player. Players without the ball are constantly cutting and setting picks to become open and create scoring opportunities.
The defense attempts to stop the other team from scoring by deflecting or intercepting passes, taking the ball from the opponent, or forcing bad shots. Man-to-man defense is the basic strategy, but a zone defense can be used for more advanced teams and is often used in a man-down situation. Once the defense takes possession of the ball, it tries to clear the ball to the midfielders who then transition the ball to offense.
One point is awarded every time the ball enters the goal.
The crosse, or stick, for girls has a shallower pocket than the boys sticks consisting of a plastic head at the top of the stick has strings or mesh that form a pocket to aid in catching and throwing the ball and an aluminum or titanium shaft that connects to the head of the stick. Goalies use a larger stick and pocket. The ball is solid rubber and is about the size of a baseball. Players wear shorts or sweatpants, short-sleeved jerseys, and shoes with cleats. To prevent injuries, players wear goggles and mouthpieces. The goggles must be SEI certified no later than January 1, 2020, and the mouthpiece shall be of any readily visible color other than clear or white and must not have graphics of white teeth. Goalies must use throat and chest protectors and can also wear shin guards and football pants, with or without pads.
Field of Play
Lacrosse is played on a large rectangular grass field. The field has markings with specific functions:
Midfield line: Divides the field into equal halves. The X centered on this line is where face-offs take place. Also, the proper number of players on each team must remain on each half of the field to avoid being called for offsides.
Sidelines and endlines: Mark the boundaries. When a ball or player goes out of bounds, the opposing team takes possession. Following a shot, the player closest to spot where the ball went out of bounds has possession. Therefore, a teammate should always be in a position to back up a shot.
Goal: Points are scored when the ball passes through this six-foot by six-foot square.
Crease: Circle surrounding the goal that the offense cannot enter. Players can reach into the crease with their stick to gain possession of a loose ball, but cannot touch the goalie. Crease violations result in a penalty.
Attack area/defense clearing area: The offense has 10 seconds to move into this area after crossing the midfield line. Once the defense has possession of the ball, it has 10 seconds to advance out of this area. Also, attackers and defenders must remain in these areas during the face-off.
Two teams compete with 8 players on the field depending on age level. Players fall into four categories:
Attack: Offensive-minded players who possess great stick skills that allow them to shoot with precision and fake. They use speed and agility to elude defenders. Attackers also endure punishing hits from opponents.
Midfield: Always on the move, these players advance the ball up the field and play both offense and defense. Help defenders and tally assists by taking the ball from defensive area to attackers. They are fast, durable, and stick savvy. Also called “middies.”
Defense: Defenders use size, speed, strength, and skill to keep attackers from scoring. An aggressive mindset is beneficial, but playing under control and selecting the proper angle to prevent close range shots are more critical skills.
Goalie: Uses lightning-fast reflexes, quick decisions, and courage to stop a barrage of high-velocity shots. Body must handle punishment from the ball, and mind has to quickly recover from mistakes. The goalie directs the defense by calling for checks and relaying locations of the ball and attackers.
Definition of Terms
Attempted Pass occurs when a player attempts to pass using the mechanics of a throwing motion in the specific direction of a teammate.
Blocking takes place when a player moves into the path of a player with the ball without giving that player a chance to stop or change direction causing contact. When a player is running to receive the ball, a “blind side” defense player must give her enough time and/or space to change her direction.
Body Checking is a technique whereby a defender moves with an opponent without body contact occurring, following each movement of the opponent’s body and crosse with her body and causing her to slow down, change direction, or pass off.
Charging takes place when the player with the ball pushes into, shoulders, or backs into and makes bodily contact with her opponent who has already established her position (though not necessarily stationary).
Checking is an attempt to dislodge the ball from an opponent’s crosse by using controlled crosse to crosse contact.
Clear Space indicates the space between players which is free of crosses or any parts of the body.
Critical Scoring Area indicates an area at the end of the field where the attacking team is shooting for goal. Its boundaries are 12 meters (13.1 yards) in front of the goal circle to the end line and 12 meters (13.1 yards) to each side of the goal circle. No extra lines will be marked on the field and this will be called in the judgment of the official.
Dangerous Play are actions that are rough, threatening and/or are without regard to player safety. May be carded.
Directly Behind the Goal Circle is the area between two lines extending perpendicular and back from the goal lines extended, tangent to the goal circle.
8-Meter Arc is the area in front of each goal circle inscribed by two lines drawn at 45-degree angles extending from the intersection of the goal circle and the goal line (extended); connected by an arc marked 8 meters from the goal circle.
Free Position is the penalty awarded for any foul. The player taking the free position may run, pass or shoot. A major defensive foul within the 8 meter will result in an offensive free position on an 8 meter hash. This player may go to goal.
Goal Circle is the circle around the goal to protect the goalkeeper. No player’s stick or body may break the plane of the goal circle.
Grounded refers to any part of the goalkeeper’s body touching the ground outside the goal circle while she attempts to play the ball from inside the goal circle.
Illegal Cradle is when the ball carrier holds the head of her crosse with or without cradling, within a 7-inch sphere surrounding the head in all directions or close to her body or teammate’s body.
Illegal player is an extra player, suspended player, ejected player or a player not listed or incorrectly listed on the roster and/or in the scorebook at the start of the game.
Illegal Procedure refers to fouls that are procedural in nature, i.e. False Start; Illegal Substitution; Too Many players; etc.)
Indirect Free Position is the penalty awarded for a minor field foul by the defense inside the 12-meter fan. The player taking the free position may run or pass but may not shoot until another player has played the ball.
Marking is guarding an opponent within a stick’s length.
Modified Check is an attempt to dislodge the ball from an opponent’s crosse in which the checking crosse movement solely occurs below the shoulder of the player with the ball. The check must be down and away from the body.
Offsetting is when a player from each team commits a foul (major and/or minor) during the same play, or when the attacking team commits a foul during a slow whistle situation.
Offside refers to a team with more players over the restraining line than is allowed by the rules.
Penalty Area is the area directly in front of the scorers/timer’s table and at the rear of the substitution area where any player who has been carded will sit or kneel while serving their penalty time.
Penalty Lane is the path to the goal that is cleared when a free position is awarded to the attacking team inside the critical scoring area in an area in front of the goal line. The path is defined by the imaginary parallel lines that extend rom the width of the goal circle. All other players must clear this lane when a free position is awarded in front of the goal.
Penalty Zone is is the area 8 meters away from the goal circle above goal line extended (includes the entire 8-meter arc and both “pie” areas) and the area created by the extension from the 8-meter marks (on the goal line extended) back to the dots and between the dots.
Pick is a technique in which a player without the ball, who by her positioning, forces the opponent to take another route. To be legal it must be set within the visual field of the opponent allowing enough time and space to stop or change direction. It may be moving or stationary.
Red Card is given to an offending player, coach or any team personnel, who is immediately ejected from the game. Anyone who has received a red card shall be prohibited from participating in the team’s next game.
Restraining Line in full field play is a solid line at each end of the field 30 yards up field from the goal line which extends fully from one side of the field to the other side. The restraining line in cross field play at 10U and 12U is at midfield.
Running Clock means the game clock runs continuously without stopping unless the official calls for a card, injury/emergency timeout, or team timeout.
Scoring Play is a continuous effort by the attacking team to move the ball toward the goal and to complete a shot on goal. The scoring play is over when:
a. A shot is taken.
b. The attacking team loses possession of the ball.
c. The attacking team passes or carries the ball behind the level of the goal line and stops the continuous attempt to score.
d. The attacking team stops the continuous attempt to score or the player with the ball is forced by the defense to lose her forward momentum.
e. The attacking team fouls.
Slash is a dangerous swing of the crosse at an opponent’s crosse or body whether or not the opponent’s crosse or body is struck.
Slow Whistle is a held whistle, with flag raised, once the attack has entered the critical scoring area and is on a scoring play.
Sphere is the 12-inch area surrounding the head in all directions.
Stop Clock means the clock stops after each goal and on every whistle within the last two minutes of play in each half unless there is a ten (10) or more goal differential.
Subsequent Foul is one that occurs after the initial foul has been called. For a example, a player is awarded a free position because of a foul by her opponent but then before play starts she, or her team, commits another foul such as taunting the opponent.
Three Seconds in the Arc is when a player while defending in the 8-meter are remains in that area more than three (3) seconds without marking an opponent within a stick’s length.
Three-Second Good Defense is when a player with the ball holds the ball for more than three (3) seconds while closely guarded/marked.
Toeing the Line refers to the placement of the foot up to, but not on a boundary line.
Transitional Checking is allowed at the 14U level where checks may occur that are outside of the 12 inch sphere and the defender is in front of or ahead of the the ball carrier and the defender stick is not reaching across the opponent’s body to attempt the check
12-Meter Fan is a semicircle area in front of each goal circle bounded by an arc 12 meters from the goal circles.
Yellow Card is given to an offending player, coach or team personnel. A second yellow card to the same individual will result in that person being suspended from further participation in that game.