Boys Lacrosse 101

Whether you are new to the game of lacrosse, or are unsure about what you’re seeing on the lacrosse field, here’s a brief Boys Lacrosse 101 to help you enjoy the game!

What is lacrosse?  Lacrosse is a game played with a small, yet hard, rubber ball about the size of a baseball.  Players each have a stick, or crosse, which consists of 2 parts: the head and the shaft.  The head is strung with a net, and the shaft is of varying lengths based on the age and/or position of the player.  Lacrosse is a healthy combo of hockey, soccer and basketball on a field that is size-appropriate based on the age of the players.  Players advance the ball by cradling (running while protecting the ball) or passing to teammates until they can get a scoring opportunity and attempt to put the ball in the opponent’s net.

What equipment does my player need?  In addition to a stick, each player needs a lacrosse-specific helmet, shoulder pads, elbow pads and gloves.  A protective cup and mouthguard are also required.  While these items can be found at Dick’s Sporting Goods, we recommend a trip to a lacrosse specialty store (Lacrosse Wolf in Bellevue) to be fitted by a lacrosse expert who is available to ensure proper fit and answer any and all questions you may have.

What positions are there?  On the boys side the four positions are Goaltender, Defensemen, Midfielder, and Attack.  At the 12U and 14U levels there are 10 players on the field at a time.  There is 1 goaltender and 3 each of D-men, Middies and Attacks.  At the 8U and 10U levels there are 5 and 7 players on the field, respectively, with no goaltender at the 8U level.

What rules do I need to know?  There are a lot of rules unique to lacrosse, and understanding them will add to the joy of watching the game.  The best way to get a feel for the game is to watch these video's produced by US Lacrosse.  The highlight specific points of emphasis, discusses rules interpretations and provides numerous video clip examples of what is a foul, and what isn’t, as well as how the game is played.

What are some terms I’ll hear often?  Below is a small list of common terms you may hear during a game:

Ball down – when the ball is on the grass it is considered “down” and no team is in possession.
Scoop – when the ball is on the grass, players are encouraged to scoop it up, not “rake” it.  Players are taught to get low and scoop through the ball because raking (think pulling back, raking leaves) is poor technique, and a foul at 8U and 10U.
Midline – it’s the line that extends across the middle of the field.  Depending on age, a specific number of layers must be on each side of the midline at all times.  Failure to have the appropriate number of players on each side results in an "offsides" violation.
Middie back – Middies (Midfielders) will stay back in the defensive zone if a Defenseman advances the ball beyond the midline, ensuring at least 4 players are in the defensive half of the field.  Middies who stay back will often lift their stick in the air to ensure the referee sees them and doesn’t call “offsides” when the ball crosses the midline.
Releasable, or Non-releasable, penalty – referees have the discretion to make fouls releasable or non-releasable.  The severity of the punishment is at the discretion of the referee and is usually indicative of the severity of the foul.  Releasable means the player is released if the opponent scores during their man-advantage.  Non-releasable means the player who fouled serves his full time regardless of whether the opponent scores.  He is therefore “non-releasable”.