WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL WOMENS LACROSSE
Known as the "fastest sport on two feet"
HISTORY
Women's lacrosse is a sport played with twelve (12) players on each team. Originally played by the indigenous peoples of
the Americas, the first tribe to play it was the Hauser tribe, of the Great Plains. The game was introduced in 1890 at the St Leonards
School in Scotland. The first game was introduced by Louisa Lumsden. One of Lumsden's students, Rosabelle Sinclair, established the
first women's lacrosse team in the United States at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland.
OBJECT OF GAME
The object of the game is to use a long handled racket, known as a lacrosse stick or a crosse, to catch, carry, and pass a solid
rubber ball in an effort to score by ultimately hurling the ball into an opponent's goal. The triangular head of the lacrosse stick has a
net strung into it that allows the player to hold the lacrosse ball. Defensively the object is to keep the opposing team from scoring and
to dispossess them of the ball through the use of stick checking and body positioning.
RULES
Women’s lacrosse is played with a team of 12 players; one of the players is usually the goalkeeper. Women play with;
Three (3) attackers (starting with the position closest to the net that a team is shooting at, the attack positions are called
"first home", "second home", and "third home"),

Five (5) midfielders (a "right attack wing", a "left attack wing", a "right defensive wing", a "left defensive wing", and a
"center")

Three defenders (3) (starting from the position closest to the net a team is defending, these positions are called "point",
"cover point", and "third man")

One (1) goalie
Later these positions will be defined.
Seven (7) players play attack at one time and seven (7) defenders are present. There is a restraining line that keeps the other
four (4) players (plus the goalie) from going into the attack. If those players cross the line, they are considered offsides and a penalty is
given.

EQUIPMENT
Women's lacrosse rules are specifically designed to allow less physical contact between players. As a result of the lack of
contact, the only protective equipment required is a mouthguard and faceguard/goggles. Although these are the only protective
equipment, there are still many injuries due to accidental checks to the head and the overall aggressiveness of the sport. The pockets
of women's sticks are shallow making the ball harder to catch and more difficult to shoot at high speed. The pockets also make it
harder to cradle without dropping the ball. The goalkeeper must wear a face mask and helmet with a mouth guard, throat protector
and chest protector. The goalkeeper may wear padding on hands, arms, legs, shoulders and chest which does not excessively increase
the size of those body parts.
PLAYING AREA
There are TWO different surroundings around the goal on both sides of the field; the 8 meter arc and the 12 meter fan.
When committing a major foul inside either of these areas, the offense regains the ball and has a direct opportunity to goal. If outside
the 8 meter arc, but inside the 12 meter fan, a "lane" to goal is cleared of all other players and the person who committed the foul is
relocated 4 meters behind the offender. If inside the 8-meter-arc and a defensive foul occurs, all players that were previously inside
the surrounding must take the most direct route out. The player who was fouled now moves to the nearest hash mark that is located
around the edges of the arc and has a direct lane to goal. The defender who committed the foul is relocated on the 12-meter fan
directly behind the shooter.
The shooting space rule in women's lacrosse is very important in keeping the players safe. It occurs when a defender moves into the
offender's shooting lane to goal, at an angle that makes the defender at risk of being hit by the ball if the offender were to shoot.
DURATION/LENGTH OF GAME
Women's games are played in two 25-minute halves with a 10-minute halftime. These 25 minutes periods are running time
and may stop-clock after goals, except for the last two minutes, during which time stops when the whistle is blown. While the whistle
is blown, players must stand in place. In women's lacrosse, players are not allowed to intentionally touch the ball with their body to
gain an advantage or cover the ball to protect it from being picked up by an opponent. Teams switch playing sides for the second half
and are allowed one time-out per half. Although games can end with a tied score, some leagues use “sudden death” overtime, in which
the first team to score during overtime wins the game.
BALL IN/OUT OF PLAY
The "draw" is what starts each half and after every goal. This is when two girls playing center, one from each team, stand in
the center circle with the backs of their sticks facing each other. The referee places the ball between the two sticks. Each girl has to
push their sticks together parallel to the ground to contain the ball. There are allowed four players from each team to stand along the
circle surrounding the center circle during the draw. The players’ sticks around the circle cannot break the line until the whistle is
blown. The centers must lift and pull their sticks over their heads releasing the ball. The team that takes possession of the ball during
the draw is on offense.
When the referee blows the whistle during play everyone must stop exactly where they are. If the ball goes out of bounds
on a shot then the player that is closest to the ball receives the possession. If the ball goes out of bounds not on a shot then the other
team is awarded with the possession. For example, if a player threw a bad pass to her teammate and the ball went out of bounds then
the other team would receive the ball.
Protecting one's stick from being checked is a very important key in the game of women's lacrosse. In order to protect the
stick from being checked, the player must cradle the ball. If the player has a strong "cradle", it would make it much more difficult to
recover the ball for the opposing team. "Cradling" is the back and forth movement and twisting of the head of the stick, which keeps
the ball in the pocket with centripetal force. Field players run while cradling the ball and look to pass to open teammates with the
objective of creating an open shot at the goal. The action of pushing the head of the stick forward and pulling the shaft back produces
extremely accurate and fast shots.
In women's lacrosse, players may only check if the check is directed away from the ball carrier's head. Also, players may only
check using the side of their stick. If caught by one of the referees using the flat of the head, it will be called as a "held check" and the
opposing team will get the ball.
There are two types of fouls in woman's lacrosse, major and minor. When a minor foul is committed anywhere on the field,
the player who fouled is set four meters to whichever side she was guarding the person she obstructed. If a major foul occurs outside
of the 12 meter fan or eight meter arc, the fouler must stand four meters behind the player she fouled.
PENALTIES
Penalties for women's lacrosse are assessed with the following cards;
 The green card, given to the team captain, is for a delay of game.
 The yellow card is for a first-time penalty and results in the player being removed from the field for two minutes. In USA: any
player receiving two yellows sits out the rest of the game and the next game for that team.
 The red card is the result either of two yellow cards or a flagrant foul or extremely unsportsmanlike behavior, and causes the
player to be ejected from the game. If the red card is for unsportsmanlike behavior, the player is also not permitted to play
in the following game. USA rules differ in that a red card is not the result of two yellow cards and any player receiving a red
card sits out the rest of that game and her team's next two games.
Some common penalties : Rough/Dangerous Check, check to head, slash, holding, personal space, illegal contact, reach across body,
illegal cradle, blocking, pushing, obstruction of free space to goal (shooting space), 3 seconds, tripping, dangerous shot, covering,
empty stick check, hand ball, body ball, jewelry, illegal uniform…
POSITIONS
First Home: Score. Located in front of the goal, must continually cut toward the goal for a shot, or cut away from the goal to
make room for another player. She should have excellent stick work.
Second Home: Playmaker. Be able to shoot well from every angle and distance from the goal. She possesses a great shot and
knack for finding an open teammate.
Third Home: Transition the ball from defense to attack. Be able to feed the ball to other players and fill in wing areas. Must
be able to quickly change from an offensive mindset to marking.
Right and Left Attack Wings: Transition the ball from defense to attack. Wings should have speed and endurance and be
ready to receive or pass the ball. They are often first to gain possession off a draw.
Point: Marks first home. Decision-making, positioning, and shot blocking are key skills.
Coverpoint: Mark second home. She should be able to receive clears, run fast and have good footwork.
Third Man: Mark third home. She should be able to clear the ball, run fast and have good footwork. On defense she looks to
intercept passes and quickly pick up an open attacker. Also has occasional scoring opportunities
Center: Control the draw and play both defense and attack. She should have speed and endurance.
Right and Left Defensive Wings : Mark the attack wings and bring the ball into the attack area. Wings should have speed and
endurance. Possess a good outside shot.
Goalkeeper: Protect the goal. 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. She should have
good stick work and confidence.
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.
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.
Draw: A technique to start or resume play in which a ball is placed inbetween 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.
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