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Girls Lacrosse Rules and Terminology

Blocking: Moving into path of a player without providing space for the player to stop or change direction.

Charging: Player with the ball comes into contact with a defender who has already established position.

Checking: Hitting the opponent’s crosse to dislodge the ball.

Clearing: Passing or carrying the ball out of the goal circle.

Cradling: Running with the stick in either one or both hands in a manner that keeps the ball in the pocket.

Cutting: Attacker runs toward the goal looking to get open to receive a pass.

Deputy: A defender who can enter the goal circle in the absence of the goalie when her team has the ball.

Draw: A technique to start or resume play in which a ball is placed in between the sticks of two opposing players, a whistle is blown, the sticks are drawn up and away, and the ball is sent above the heads of the player before one of the players takes possession of it.

Fast break: An opportunity to score in transition to offense with at least a one-man advantage.

Free position: After a foul, all players must be at least four meters away from the player who was fouled. The attacker may run, pass, or shoot the ball after the whistle is blown to resume play.

Free shot: Penalty awarded from a hash mark on the 8-meter line when a major foul is committed within the 8-meter arc. All players, except the goalie, must move outside the arc. When the umpire blows the whistle, the player can take a shot on goal or pass while the defense moves in.

Free space to goal: Inside the critical scoring area, defenders must stay out of the space between the player with the ball and the goal circle, unless they closely mark an opponent.

Indirect free position: Following a minor foul within the 12-meter fan, play resumes from the 12-meter fan and the player may run or pass, but cannot shoot.

Marking: Defender is within a stick's length of an opponent.

On the fly: Substituting during play. When one player exits the field through the team substitution area, another can enter.

Penalty lane: The path that is cleared between the player with the ball and the goal when a free position is awarded to the attacking team inside the critical scoring area.

Pick: Offensive player impedes opponent’s ability to defend a teammate. Must be within the visual field of the opponent.

Scoop: Picking up a ground ball in the crosse pocket.

Scoring play: A single possession of the ball in which the offense moves the ball in an effort to score.

Slashing: Recklessly swinging the crosse at an opponent’s stick or body.

Slow whistle: Permitting play to continue during a penalty inside the critical scoring area on a scoring play to allow an offense to maintain its advantage.

Stand: All players, except the goalkeeper in her goal circle, must remain stationary following the sound of any whistle.

Sphere: An imaginary bubble, about seven inches around the head of a player, that an opponent’s crosse cannot enter to ensure safety.

Three-second rule: Defensemen may not remain in the arc for more than three seconds without guarding another player.


Women’s lacrosse field dimensions vary, and natural boundaries or visible guidelines are used to determine the perimeter of the playing area. Common characteristics include:

Restraining line: Divides area where a maximum of seven offensive players and eight defensive players (including the goalkeeper) are allowed; otherwise, a team foul is called.

Goal: Points are scored when the ball passes through this six-foot by six-foot square.

Critical scoring area: Unmarked area 15 meters in front and to the side of the goal, and 9 meters behind it. Includes the “fan” and the “arc.” Defenders must allow free space to goal when the offense is inside this area. Also, penalties within this area have special consequences.

Twelve-meter fan: 12-meter semi-circle used in the administration of minor fouls. Also called the “fan.”

Eight-meter arc: Line inside which defenders must be within a stick's-length of their attackers. Used to administer a free shot. Also called the “arc.”

Hash marks: Five marks on the eight-meter arc used for a free shot. Play resumes from the closest hash mark to the foul.

Goal circle: Circle that surrounds the goal and indicates the area in which only the goalie can enter. Also called the “crease.”

Center circle: Circle in the middle of the field where a draw is held.

Team substitution area: Area where substitute players may enter the field on-the-fly.



Two teams compete with 12 players each: a goalkeeper, 5 attackers, and 6 defenders (can also be categorized as goalkeeper, 3 attackers, 5 midfielders, and 3 defenders).


Attackers include the first home, second home, third home, and two attack wings. The first home (1H) is highly skilled with the stick and is relied upon to score. The second home (2H) is a versatile playmaker who must get open to set up scoring opportunities. She possesses a great shot and knack for finding an open teammate. The third home (3H) is an all-around player who is a key to transition from defense to offense. She must be able to quickly change from an offensive mindset to marking. The attack wings (AW) are often involved in finishing a fast break. These speedsters need to be strong passers and shooters. They are often first to gain possession off a draw.



Defenders include the point, coverpoint, third man, center, defense wings, and goalkeeper. The point (P) marks the first home. Decision-making, positioning, and shot blocking are key skills. The coverpoint (CP) is usually the best one-on-one defender who relies on speed and footwork to mark the second home. The third man (3M) is a multi-dimensional athlete whose primary duty is disturbing the attack in the midfield. On defense she looks to intercept passes and quickly pick up an open attacker. Also has occasional scoring opportunities. The center (C) is a pivotal player in transition from defense to offense. She also controls the draw. The defense wings (DW) need to match the speed and endurance of the attack wings and possess a good outside shot. The goalkeeper (G) attempts to save each shot with her stick, but can also use any body part to keep the ball out of the goal. Lightning-fast reflexes, quick decisions, and courage are required to stop a barrage of high-velocity shots.

Lax 101 - Girls

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