As a Herndon Optimist Youth Sports program, we emphasize sportsmanship, learning and fun!

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Overview of Boys Rules

Men's lacrosse is a contact game played by ten players: a goalkeeper, three defensemen, three midfielders and three attackmen. The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent's goal. The team scoring the most goals wins.

  • 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, high school games are 48 minutes long, with 12 minute quarters. Each team is given a two minute break between the first and second quarters, and the third and fourth quarters. Half-time is ten minutes long.

  • Teams change sides between periods. Each team is permitted two time-outs 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, 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, 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.
There are personal and technical fouls in lacrosse. The penalty for a personal foul is a one to three minute suspension from play and possession to the team that was fouled. Players with five personal fouls are ejected from the game. The penalty for a technical foul is a thirty second suspension if the team is in possession of the ball when the foul is committed, or possession of the ball goes to the team that was fouled if there was no possession when the foul was committed.

Personal Fouls
  • SLASHING: Occurs when a player's stick contacts an opponent in any area other than the stick or hands.
  • TRIPPING: Occurs when a player obstructs his opponent below the waist with his stick, feet or legs.
  • CROSS CHECKING: Occurs when a player uses the handle of his stick to contact 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: Striking an opponent with hi stick or body using excessive force.
  • ILLEGAL STICK: Occurs when a player uses a stick that does not conform to required specifications.
  • ILLEGAL BODY CHECKING: Occurs by checking a player not within 5 yards of the ball, a late hit, or contact from behind, above the shoulders or below the waist. 
Technical Fouls
  • HOLDING: Occurs when a player impedes the movement of an opponent or an opponent's stick.
  • INTERFERENCE: Occurs when a player interferes with the free movement of an opponent.
  • OFFSIDES: Occurs when a team does not have 4 players on the defensive side of the midfield or 3 players on the offensive side of the midfield.
  • 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.
  • STALLING: Occurs when a team intentionally holds the ball, without advancing towards the goal.
  • WARDING OFF: Occurs when a player with the ball uses his free hand to direct an opponent.