Men's Outdoor Lacrosse
(Boy's rules will vary)
Men's field lacrosse is played with ten players on each team: a goalkeeper; three defenders in the defensive end; three midfielders (often called "middies") free to roam the whole field; and three attackers attempting to score goals in the offensive end. It is the most common version of lacrosse played internationally. The modern game was codified in Canada by Dr. William George Beers in 1856. The game has evolved from that time to include the protective equipment and lacrosse sticks made from synthetic materials.
Each player carries a lacrosse stick (or crosse). A "short crosse" (sometimes called a "short stick") measures between 30 inches and 42 inches long (head and shaft together) is typically used by midfielders and attackmen. A total of four players per team may carry a "long crosse" (sometimes called "long pole", "long stick" or "d-pole") that are 52 inches to 72 inches long. The head of the crosse on both long and short crosses must be 6.5 inches (17 cm) or larger at its widest point and 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) inches wide or wider at its narrowest point. The designated goalkeeper is allowed to have a stick from 40 inches to 72 inches long and the head of a goalkeeper's crosse may measure up to 15 inches wide, significantly larger than field players' heads to assist in blocking shots.
The field of play is 110 yards long and 60 yards wide. The goals are 6 feet by 6 feet. The goal sits inside a circular "crease", measuring 18 feet in diameter. Each offensive and defensive area is surrounded by a "restraining box." Each quarter, and after each goal scored, play is restarted with a face-off. During a face-off, two players lay their stick horizontally next to the ball, head of the stick inches from the ball and the butt-end pointing down the midfield line. Face-off-men scrap for the ball, often by “clamping” it under their stick and flicking it out to their teammates. Attackers and defenders cannot cross their “restraining line” until one player from the midfield takes possession of the ball or the ball crosses the restraining line. If a member of one team touches the ball and it travels outside of the playing area, play is restarted by possession being awarded to the opposing team. During play, teams may substitute players in and out freely. Sometimes this is referred to as "on the fly" substitution. Substitution must occur within the designated exchange area in order to be legal.
For most penalties, the offending player is sent to the penalty box and his team has to play without him and with one less player for a short amount of time. Most penalties last for 30 to 60 seconds. Occasionally a longer penalty may be assessed for more severe infractions. The team that has taken the penalty is said to be playing man down while the other team is on the man up. Teams will use various lacrosse strategies to attack and defend while a player is being penalized. Offsides is penalized by a 30 second penalty. It occurs when there are more than six players (three midfielders/three attackmen or three midfielders/three defensemen) on one half of the field. The zones are separated by the midfield line. Defensemen and attackmen can cross the midfield line, however the team must assure that a midfielder "stays back" in order to avoid an offsides penalty (a midfielder will raise his crosse to signify they are staying back).
In men's lacrosse, players can be awarded penalties of two types by the referee for rule infractions. Personal fouls always result in the player serving time in the penalty box, located at the side of the field between the opposing teams' interchange benches. These penalties can last one, two, or three minutes at the referee's discretion. Two and three minute penalties are usually reserved for the most serious slashing or unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. Technical fouls are less severe and result in 30 seconds being served only if the foul was committed while the opposing team was in possession of the ball. If there was a loose ball situation or the player's team was in possession at the time of the foul, they only result in a turnover. Technical fouls are "releasable," meaning that a player may return to the game without spending the entire duration of his penalty in the box if the opposing team scores during the penalty. Fouls form an important part of men's lacrosse as while a player is serving time, his team is 'man down'. At this time his defense must play a 'zone' while they wait for the penalty to expire while the attacking team has its best opportunity to score. A list of the fouls in men's lacrosse is as follows:
- Slashing: Occurs when a player's stick viciously contacts an opponent in any area other than the stick or gloved hand on the stick.
- Tripping: 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 between his hands 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, arguing, or obscene language or gestures.
- Unnecessary Roughness: Occurs when a player strikes an opponent with his stick or body using excessive or violent force.
- Illegal Crosse: 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 any other part of the crosse was altered to gain an advantage (In addition, the penalized player may not use the illegal crosse for the remainder of the game). A head must also not be too pinched so the lacrosse ball cannot come out.
- Illegal Body Checking: Occurs when any of the following actions takes place:
- a. body checking 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 after he has passed or shot the ball.
- c. body checking an opponent from the rear or at or below the waist.
- d. body checking an opponent above the shoulders. A body check must be below the shoulders and above the waist, and both hands of the player applying the body check must remain in contact with his crosse.
- Other Illegal equipment: not having a mouthguard, or not having it in the mouth, open ends on the shaft of the stick (no butt end), no shoulder pads, no arm pads (in most leagues, goalies do not have to wear arm pads so they can move their arms faster to block shots.)
- 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.
- Holding: Occurs when a player impedes the movement of an opponent or an opponent's crosse, or a player has his crosse in between the arm pads and the players body.
- 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 player, or both players are within five yards of a loose ball.
- Offsides: 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.
- Moving Pick: Occurs 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, as opposed to a legal pick, standing next to a defensive player, blocking him from the player he is covering.
- Stalling: Occurs when a team intentionally holds the ball, without conducting normal offensive play, with the intent of running time off the clock. This is called if no attempt is made to get in the box.
- 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 this includes pushing him off.
The goalkeeper's responsibility is to prevent the opposition from scoring by directly defending the 6 feet wide by 6 feet tall goal. A goalkeeper needs to stop shots that are capable of reaching over 100 miles per hour, and is responsible for directing the team's defense.
Goalkeepers have special privileges when they are in the crease, a circular area surrounding each goal with a radius of 9 feet. Offensive players may not play the ball or make contact with the goalkeeper while he is in the crease. Once a goalkeeper leaves the crease, he loses these privileges.
A goalkeeper's equipment differs from other players'. Instead of shoulder pads and elbow pads, the goalkeeper wears a chest protector. He also wears special "goalie gloves" that have extra padding on the thumb to protect from shots. The head of a goalkeeper's crosse may measure up to 15 inches wide, significantly larger than field players'.
A defensemen is a player position whose responsibility is to assist the goalkeeper in preventing the opposing team from scoring. Each team fields three defensemen. These players generally remain on the defensive half of the field. A defensemen carries a long crosse which provides an advantage in reach for intercepting passes and checking.
Tactics used by a defensemen include body positioning and checking. Checking means attempting to dispossess the opposition of the ball through body or stick contact. A check may include a "poke check", where a defensemen thrusts his crosse at the top hand or crosse of the opponent (similar to a billiards shot), or a "slap check", where a player applies a slap to the hand or crosse of the opponent. A "body check" is allowed as long as the ball is within a certain distance of the contact and is made to the torso of the opposing player.
Midfielders contribute offensively and defensively and may roam the entire playing area. Each team fields three midfielders at a time. One midfielder per team may use a long crosse, and in this case is referred to as a "long-stick midfielder."
Over time, the midfield position has developed into a position of specialties. During play, teams may substitute players in and out freely, a practice known as "on the fly" substitution. The rules state that substitution must occur within the designated exchange area in front of the players' bench. Teams frequently rotate the midfielder specialists off and on the field depending on the ball possession. Some teams have a designated face-off midfielder, referred to as a "fogo" midfielder (an acronym for "face-off and get-off"), who takes the majority of face-offs and is quickly substituted after the face-off.
Each team fields three attackmen at a time, and these players generally remain on the offensive half of the field. An attackman uses a short crosse and generally demonstrates good stick-handling with both hands. These are the players who score most of the goals.
Duration and tie-breaking methods
Duration of games depends upon the level of play. In international competition, college lacrosse, and Major League Lacrosse, the total playing time is sixty minutes, composed of four fifteen-minute quarters. High school games typically consist of four twelve minute quarters, while youth leagues may have shorter games. Time generally continues to run in dead ball situations such as in between goals. However the clock is stopped for any interruption during the last three minutes of the fourth quarter, and at earlier stages referees may stop the clock to avoid a significant loss of playing time—for example when chasing a ball shot far away or during care of an injured player. The method of breaking a tie generally consists of an overtime period in which the first team to score a goal is awarded a sudden victory. International lacrosse plays two five-minute overtime periods, and then applies the sudden victory rule if the score is still tied.
Ball movement and out of play
Teams must advance the ball or be subjected to loss of possession. Once a team gains possession of the ball in their defensive area, they must move the ball over the midfield line within 20 seconds. If the goalkeeper has possession of the ball in the crease he must pass the ball or vacate the area within four seconds. Failure by the goalkeeper to leave the crease will result in the opposite team being given possession just outside the restraining box. Once the ball crosses the midfield line, a team has 10 seconds to move the ball into the offensive area designated by the restraining box or forfeit possession to their opponents. The term used to define moving the ball from the defensive to offensive area is to "clear" the ball. Offensive players are responsible for "riding" opponents, in other words attempting to deny the opposition a free "clear" of the ball over the midfield line.
If a ball travels outside of the playing area, play is restarted by possession being awarded to the opponents of the team which last touched the ball, unless the ball goes out of bounds due to a shot or a deflected shot. In that case, possession is awarded to the player that is closest to the ball when it leaves the playing area.
A field lacrosse player's equipment includes a lacrosse stick, and protective equipment, including a lacrosse helmet with facemask, lacrosse gloves, and arm and shoulder pads. Players are also required to wear mouthguards and athletic supporter.
Each player carries a lacrosse stick measuring between 40 and 42 inches (1.0–1.1 m) long (a "short crosse"), or 52 to 72 inches (1.3–1.8 m) long (a "long crosse"). On each team up to four players at a time may use a long crosse: the three defensemen and one midfielder. The lacrosse stick, or crosse, is made up of the head and the shaft (or handle). The head is roughly triangular in shape and is loosely strung with mesh or leathers and nylon strings to form a "pocket" that allows the ball to be caught, carried and thrown. In field lacrosse, the pocket of the crosse is illegal if the top of the ball, when placed in the head of the stick, is below the bottom of the stick's sidewall. The head of a crosse may be 10 inches (25 cm) in length. The maximum width of the head across the top is 4 to 10 inches (10–25 cm), for international competition, or 6.5 to 10 inches (17–25 cm) according to NCAA regulations. The NCAA instituted stricter specifications to ensure the "safety and integrity of the game." As the shape of the crosse evolved, dislodging the ball from an opponent's crosse became more difficult, and defenders used an increased amount of force when checking. The rule change was intended to reduce injuries, as defenders would need less forceful checks in order to dispossess opponents.
Head of a men's lacrosse stick
Most modern sticks have a tubular metal shaft, usually made of aluminum, titanium or alloys while the head is made of hard plastic. Metal shafts must have a plastic or rubber cap at the end. The heads are strung with string, leather, and mesh. The strings in the pocket are called shooting, accuracy, or "v" strings.
Many players have at least two lacrosse sticks prepared for use in any contest. Traditionally players used sticks made by Native American craftsman. These were expensive and, at times, difficult to find. The introduction of the plastic heads in the 1970s gave players an alternative to the wooden stick, and their mass production has led to greater accessibility and expansion of the sport.
Source: Wikipedia - Field Lacrosse