Boys Lacrosse 101

Field Lacrosse 101

The Differences between Field and Box Lacrosse are like Night and Day by John Atchison,


Going back as far as the beginnings of each sport, you see one that was born from the land, played by First Nations, and past down for generations. The other arose from owners looking to add patrons during slow times for ice rinks.From field types and sizes of different areas, to things such as length ofsticks, you will find that Field and Box lacrosse are vastly different games.So let us take a moment now and examine the differences between these two exciting varieties of this sport.

The Field of Play

In the game of fieldlacrosse, the game is played out in the elements, usually on large, grassfields within a stadium or college setting. For the most part, this is the gameyou will see on the TV set most often, and the one that is played on NCAA andhigh school fields throughout the country.

The field of play is 110 yards (100 m) long and60 yards(55 m) wide. The goals are 6 feet (1.8 m) by6 feet (1.8 m). The goal sits inside a circular "crease",measuring 18 feet (5.5 m) in diameter. Each offensive and defensivearea is surrounded by a "restraining box".Each quarter, and aftereach goal scored, play is restarted with a face-off. During a face-off, twoplayers 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-menscrap for the ball, often by "clamping" it under their stick and flickingit 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 teamtouches the ball and it travels outside of the playing area, play is restarted by awarding possession to the opposing team. On a shot, though, possession is given to the player closest to the ball when it leaves the field. It is for this reason you will often see players racing after the ball following a missed shot, holding their sticks out, trying to win possession by being closest to the ball. 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.

Game Length

In field lacrosse youare playing 4 quarters, broken into 15-minute intervals. This gives a team afew more additional breaks to recover from the fast pace of the game.

Shot Clocks? That's a basketball term, right? No my friends, its not. In the game of boxlacrosse, the offensive team is definitely on the clock per say. They have 30 seconds to take a shot at the goal, or the possession resorts back tothe defensive team. You will not find the same thing in a field lacrosse game,where a team can take as much time as they like, as long as they are notwhistled for a stalling infraction.      


Goalies have a bit of a different time as well. There are two big differences in this area. In the field lacrosse game, the goalie is asked to protect a goal that is 6 feet wide and 6 feet tall, whereas in the game of box lacrosse, the goaltender is dealing with only a 4 by 4 foot goal. There is also a great disparity though in equipment for the goaltender as well. If you have watched field lacrosse, you notice that the goaltender basically looks like he has the same equipment as all the other players on the field, with the exception of a bigger crosse at the end of his stick. The box lacrosse goalie could not look anymore different. They wear a combination of: Gloves, helmet, shoulder pads, chest protector, leg pads, and sometimes thigh pads. It is a wonder with all the padding, and the smaller size of the goal, that anyone scores in box lacrosse, but they do.


The number of players on the field, and the name of the positions they play also differ in both type of lacrosse. In the indoor game, you will find there are only 6 total players (1 goalie, 5 forwards) on the field at any one time. Gone are the distinctions as well of defender, midfielder, and attackers. All the players on the field, with the exception of the goalies, are forward sand do it all on the field. This is because in the box game, there are no offensiveand defensive zones per se, and offsides is not in the rulebook. In field lacrosse, a much different setup ensues. You have a total of ten people on thefield, but instead of everyone doing the same thing; you do have players playing those specific roles mentioned above. The field is broken up into zones, and of course, the offsides rule has to be abided to. During play, each team must keep four players in its defensive half of the field and three in the offensive half, or be called offsides. Offensive players may not step into the crease that circle around the goal, in their offensive half of the field. Defensive players may step in the crease, but not carry the ball into it.


Each player carries a lacrosse stick (or crosse). A "shortcrosse" (or "short stick") measures between 40 inches(1.0 m) and 42 inches (1.1 m) long (head and shaft together) and is typically used by attackers or midfielders. A total of four players per teammay carry a "long crosse" (sometimes called "long pole","long stick" or "d-pole") which is 52 inches(1.3 m) to 72 inches (1.8 m) long; typically used by defenders or midfielders. The head of the crosse on both long and short crosses must be6.5 inches (17 cm) or larger at its widest point. There is no minimum width at its narrowest point; the only provision is that the ball must roll out unimpeded. The designated goalkeeper is allowed to have a stick from 40 inches (1.0 m) to 72 inches (1.8 m) long and the head of a goalkeeper's crosse may measure up to 12 inches (30 cm) wide,significantly larger than field players' heads to assist in blocking shots.


Players are allowed to check, or hit, the player with the ball and any player within 3 meters of a loose ball. Players can check with their body or stick; when body checking, the player cannot make contact above the shoulders, below the waist or from the rear, and must have both hands on his own stick. Stick checks must be on the opponent's stick or gloves. While you will see lots of checks on the arms and sides, they will not be called penalties if the defender had a chance of hitting the stick or glove but the offensive player moved his stick or spun so that the check would land elsewhere. Players may never cross check, which is using the part of the stick between the gloves.

For most penalties, the offending player is sent to the penalty boxwhich is located between the teams' benches. His team then must play without the player for a designated amount of time based upon the foul. (Most penaltiesare "releasable", that is, the penalty ends when a goal is scored by the non-offending team.) Technical fouls (such as offsides and holding) resultin either a turnover or a player's suspension of 30 seconds, while personalfouls are generally penalized one minute (although some infractions, such asplaying with a stick that does not meet the specifications of their designatedlevel of play, may serve non-releasable penalties of up to three minutes). The team that has taken the penalty is said to be playing man down while the otherteam is on the man up. Teams will use various lacrosse strategies to attack anddefend while a player is being penalized. Offsides is penalized by a 30 secondpenalty. It occurs when there are more than 7 players on the defensive side of the field, (three midfielders/three defensemen/one goalkeeper), or more than 6 players from one team on the offensive side of the field (three midfielders/three attack). The zones are separated by the midfield line.

Personal Fouls

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. Illegal Body Checking: Occurs when any of the following actions takes place:

  1. Body checking an opponent who is not in possession of the ball or within five yards of a loose ball.
  2. Avoidable body check of an opponent after he has passed or shot the ball.
  3. Body checking an opponent from the rear or at or below the waist.
  4. 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.

Technical Fouls

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 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. Screening: 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. Stalling: Occurs when a team intentionally holds the ball, without conducting normal offensive play, with the intent of running time 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.

Hand Signals

Edmonton Razorbacks Lacrosse Copyright 2016


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